Woman Gives Birth to Rare Twins Without Knowing She’s Pregnant

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ANKENY, Iowa -- An Ankeny woman went into a walk-in clinic with stomach pains and received news she never expected, she was pregnant with a rare set of twins and didn't even know it.

Shelby Magnani and James Croskey are embracing their new roles as parents. It’s a role they didn't plan for and had no idea was coming.

“I had really sharp pain in my left side and went into the doctor, and they said we think you might be pregnant. They told me I was six months and told me to get down to the ER. They did an ultrasound and told me it was twins,” says Shelby Magnani.

Turns out Magnani was even further along, about 34 weeks, and was taken in for an emergency C-section within hours of going to the clinic with stomach pains.

“It all happened pretty fast, an hour and hour and a half and I was in recovery before I knew it," says Magnani.

Her fiancé James Croskey was shocked to hear the news.

“It`s pretty nuts, still sinking in.”

Also sinking in, the twins already beat some very long odds.

“About one to two percent of all pregnancies are twins but even rarer than that is monoamniotic twins. They have one placenta and one amniotic sac and both of those twins share the placenta as well as the sac,” says Dr. Jennifer Krupp with Perinatal Center of Iowa.

Dr. Krupp says less than one percent of all twins are monoamniotic and those babies face serious complications including a fifty-percent survival rate.

“The entanglement of the cords is what we worry about. We bring the patients into the hospital at 24 to 26 weeks, so we can monitor the babies several times a day, because we know the risk of one or both of those babies dying is fairly significant,” says Dr. Krupp.

Magnani and Croskey realize how different things could have turned out.

“I`m still trying to process.  It`s crazy how high risk mono-mono twins can be, and how good they`re doing now, it`s really a blessing,” says Magnani.

Ava and Anna were delivered by C-section on Thursday weighing just four and three pounds each.

The girls will spend the next several weeks in the NICU at Mercy but other than some monitoring are expected to be okay.

“They`re both just little miracles, it could have been so many things that went wrong that didn't,” says Magnani.

Magnani and Croskey missed out on the worst part of having monamniotic twins, the worry. Now they can just focus on the best part, being parents to two beautiful little girls.

“I love them, I love them more than anything,” says Croskey.

Doctors expect Anna and Ava to be able to go home in a couple weeks.

Croskey and Magnani are both attending classes at DMACC for automotive technology and hope to open their own business following graduation.

The family is scrambling to find clothes, diapers and everything else needed to care for the twins.  A donation site has been set up to help raise money for the girls, click here for more information and to donate.



    • Mama Bear

      Well, it looks like they fixed the typos. Hopefully they didn’t ruin you ENTIRE day, knowing how harrowing seeing them can be. Now perhaps you will somehow find a way to overcome the trauma and focus on the point of the story…a happy ending.

      To the parents of Ava and Anna: Glad everything turned out well. Congratulations!

  • Linda

    I wonder if they know how truly lucky and blessed they are to have these two miraculous little souls? God does have a plan. Our daughter just went through the exact same kind of pregnancy, and she lost one of her little boys. Prayers and blessings to the new family :-)

  • Natasha

    What I don’t understand is how woman can’t tell they are pregnant. I have seen many stories where they thought they were just stressed and eating a little more, not knowing they were pregnant, then out pops a baby. I just don’t understand how that can happen to some. Shoot I wish it happened for me lol. I hated my pregnancies but I love my boys too much to let the pregnancies get to me. Now I need that daughter.


    This is a fascinating and happy story! As a mother of identical twins I am amazed that’s she was 6 months pregnant and did not know. I would love to ask her some questions- because between the severe morning sickness, extreme discomfort in general and weight gain there was no doubt I was pregnant with 2!!! Happy to know the babies are healthy and parents are excited. Congrats !!!

    • Sue

      Did you watch the video, Genessa? She’s not a large lady at all.

      Odd as it seems, this does happen. Some women continue to have their periods. some don’t, but, assume it is because of stress, or dieting. Some women have never had regular periods at all. I would guess the babies didn’t move much, which would explain how they managed to not tangle their umbilical cords which is a big fear with mono-mono twins.

      Best wishes to this new family!!

  • Michael Ray Overby

    This is an amazing story. I take issue with the part that refers to “So many things could have gone wrong…” That’s inaccurate. More accurate? “About Half of MoMos are Lost, usually in Pairs, due to Cord Entanglement. I am so glad that didn’t happen here, despite my complete lack of Monitoring during my Extreme Risk MoMo Gestation.

  • Denise

    I can’t believe she didn’t know she was pregnant. What difference does her size make? If she was a stringbean, she still gained some weight and I’m sure they moved at some time. smh.

  • Mes Cross

    Usually, the “I didn’t know I was pregnant” happens with women that are a bit bigger. I think that was a crazy story. I’m glad that they got such a special surprise out of left field. They are lucky that the twins didn’t have worst outcomes. It is great to hear a heartwarming story.

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