Lawrence, Kansas, residents and grateful parents, Alijiah and Justin McLaughlin, have much to celebrate. After a challenging pregnancy, including life-threatening complications, their extremely rare monochorionic-monoamniotic, or “MoMo,” twins go home on Jan. 21, well before their projected discharge of Feb. 4, which was Alijiah’s actual due date.

The McLaughlin’s journey started back in early September on Alijiah’s mother’s birthday, when the couple planned a surprise 3-D sonogram to reveal the baby’s sex. Instead of learning just the sex of the baby, the real surprise was the doctor’s announcement to the couple, “You’re having twins!”

Shortly thereafter, the young parents learned scary news: Alijiah was pregnant with MoMo twins, which represents only 1% of identical twins and .1% of all pregnancies. With MoMo twins, both the mother and babies are considered high-risk, as the twins share the same placenta and amniotic sac. As the babies grow, the umbilical cords are close together and entanglement of the cords can potentially result in blood flow being cut off and the death of one or both twins.

On Oct. 21st, at only 25 weeks pregnant, a sonogram revealed a potentially life-threatening knot in the babies’ umbilical cords. Alijiah was admitted to Overland Park Regional Medical Center’s Antepartum Unit, a specialized unit for high-risk mothers, with the goal of keeping mom safely pregnant for as long as possible.

Following a six-week stay with continuous monitoring and highly specialized care for both mom and babies, the twins made their appearance on November 30th: “Baby A,” Winnie Rook, weighed 3 pounds, 9 ounces and “Baby B,” Wyleigh Wren, weighed 3 pounds, 11 ounces.

“MoMo twins often require a NICU stay for breathing support, feeding assistance, or for treatment of complications that occur during pregnancy,” says Overland Park Regional Neonatologist Thomas Lancaster, MD. “In this case, the early medical intervention during Alijiah’s pregnancy and a smooth delivery with no complications resulted in the twins being born with prematurity complications, yet stable. We anticipated their discharge to be close to their actual due date in early February, but Winnie and Wyleigh exceeded our expectations. It’s an honor to be a part of the McLaughlin’s journey and witness the joy they are experiencing.”

“We are so grateful for the expert and compassionate care we’ve received at Overland Park Regional Medical Center,” says Alijiah. “I’ve gone through some hard times throughout the pregnancy, especially being separated from my three-year old Weston. However, both my husband and I have learned to be adaptable, patient and lean on our support system.”

Big brother Weston was finally able to meet one of his little sisters, Winnie, when she was discharged Jan. 14. On Jan. 21, it is expected that the twins will be reunited, as Wyleigh may be discharged, and Weston will finally meet his other sister.