A Kansas couple who weren't planning on having any more kids recently found out they were having twins -- and they went from shock to excitement and then to hearing news that no parent expects.
"We went in for our six-week sonogram and they just said there's one heartbeat and here's another," said Brittani McIntire of Hutchinson, Kansas.
But one twin had a hole in his heart and an abnormal brain, and wasn't growing properly, Wichita-based television station KWCH reports.
"He's only weighing 9 ounces and his sister is over 2 pounds," McIntire said. "His only chance of survival would be heart surgery, but they wouldn't do heart surgery because of his brain."
At each appointment, it's been more bad news. Until Tuesday, when doctors captured this:
"We didn't really see much. She said, 'there's his hand and there's her hand and it looks like they're holding hands,'" McIntire said.
The sonogram shows baby Mason on the left, with his tiny hand wrapped around the finger of his growing twin sister Madilyn.
"Most twins -- when she's trying to take pictures and stuff -- they're kicking each other and hitting each other," McIntire said. "With our twins, it seems like she was very protective over him."
Because doctors do not expect Mason to survive, this special moment showing siblings bonding before birth is something these parents say is no coincidence.
"We know we have a piece of them together that will last forever, and it's special to have," Ian McIntire, the twins' father, said.
"It's just nice with everything going on," Brittani McIntire said. "She's the only one who can actually be there and is holding onto him. ... It's comforting to know that if he does pass, he won't be alone."