Monday, November 23, 2015

A Miracle in Slow Motion

Happy 2 month birthday Jaxson & Cadence!

Today the twins are two months old (32 weeks 4 days adjusted, gestational age.) We are still 7.5 weeks away from their due date and our approximate discharge date. According to statistics for 23 weekers, there was only a 21% chance they'd survive. We stood confident in our faith believing they were destined to be, yet for weeks I struggled to share photos of the underdeveloped fetuses before me. I feared touching or breathing on them. Two months later I can't stop taking photos of their adorable features and I can't wait to hold them, touch them, or even just change a diaper every time the opportunity becomes available.

Recently they have both begun sucking on pacifiers, they have both outgrown the smallest size diapers & blood pressure cuffs,  and have more than doubled their birth weights! The PDA in Cadence's heart is still open and will need to close eventually on its own or with surgery. So far she is not symptomatic of if causing her distress so we are in the "wait and see" stage. They have both survived their first eye exams and will be retested in two weeks. They are both IV/picc line free and have graduated from 2, to 3 hour feeds. Jaxson has been making small fussing noises and an occasional soft cry for weeks. We started to become concerned about sweet silent Cadence. Matt and I had both heard mouse sized squeaks come from her on rare occasions but Saturday, 59 days after birth, was the first time we heard her cry. Jaxson's cry has grown and he is now fiercely opinionated. Someday I'll be begging for the screaming to silence but for now I love every noise they make simply because they are strong enough to make it. 

Both babies have been on various types of respiratory support including intubation, NIPPV, CPAP, and high flow nasal cannula. Both babies required (re)intubation on three occasions each totaling 19 days for Jaxson and 28 days for Cadence on the vent. All nutrition is still given by feeding tubes and we look forward to introducing the bottle when they get a little stronger. 

After 60 days apart, Jaxson and Cadence met for the first time outside of the womb yesterday! On one hand, it could be questioned if they are capable of comprehending who the other is at this time. On the other hand, I personally believe they reached out to feel each other's bodies and thought, "Oh there you are! I've been wondering for 60 days if you made it out alive!" Half asleep they reached out to touch each other's faces, chests and hands. It was a truly joyous moment for Matt and I to experience together. 

The NICU is an open space. We all give each other privacy but it's impossible not to notice and covet joy when you see another baby in a car seat about to head home. It's impossible not to weep in mourning for another parent as they loose a precious infant. I have faith that my babies will come home but I'm also fully aware of the extreme fragility of their lives. Every day is a cherished gift. Statistically they should not be here today. However, here we are, watching an astonishing miracle unfold in slow motion right before our eyes. The marvelous development that takes place in the dark secrecy of the womb has been made transparent for us to observe. It's not ideal but it is all part of God's plan for their lives and we choose to trust the process and enjoy this extra bonding time together. It's an honor to witness. 

Jaxson Brave 
Born 620 grams (1lb 6oz) 12 inches
Now 1370 grams (THREE 3 pounds!!!) 
39 cm / 15.5 inches long 
He is slightly above the 3rd percentile

Cadence Grace 
Born 500 grams (1lb 1oz) 12 inches
Now 1200 grams (2lb 10oz) 
36 cm / 14.25 inches long
She is slightly below 3rd percentile 

This post was written with one thumb, on my phone, in the NICU with a baby on my chest. 
Please forgive typos. 

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Happy One Month Birthday Jaxson and Cadence!

On 9/18/15 Hollie and I entered the hospital suspecting a simple bladder or kidney infection. I will never forget the moment I came to realize the nature of the problem was much more severe. We were 23 weeks pregnant, Hollie’s cervix was dilated to 10cm and one of the sacks of water was bulging outside of her body. I saw sadness, worry and fear flood Hollie’s eyes with tears. The doctor’s face was covered in shock and actual horror. In that moment my body froze and my mind left the space my feet were standing in. I could physically see danger, anxiety, fear, and brokenness float in the room around me but I was standing inside a cylinder of protection and these emotions were not able to penetrate. My mind was fully aware of the severity of the situation but my soul was fully protected and standing strong in the midst of it.

Upon admission were given a chart of statistics designed to help us determine how to proceed. On that date the twins were at the 23 weeks 1/7 day gestational age making their viability unlikely. Our labor and delivery nurse mentioned that she was trained to offer support with grief and loss. The choices presented to us were to choose resuscitation and life support or to choose palliative comfort care. According to chart provided we were given the following data about our twins’ gestational age.
  •        Survival rate for those resuscitated: 21%
  •      Overall survival rate: 38%
  •      Significant long term neurologic disability in survivors: 40-60%

The professional medical recommendation on how to proceed with babies born in the gestational age of 23 weeks 0/7 days – 23 weeks 6/7 days is as follows: “Palliative comfort care is recommended. Resuscitation and NICU care are not recommended because of the high mortality rate and the high risk of neurologic disabilities in survivors.” As I stood listening to this advise I did not cry or even slouch. My mouth calmly said “thank you for this information,” and “I understand” but my heart was screaming at the top of my lungs “you essentially want me to abort my children!” and “you don’t understand, they are already miracles, we have waited ten years for this, they are destined to be our miracle children!!!”

Against medical recommendations, we chose resuscitation and life support for our micro preemies. After days of bed rest, our twins were born on 9.23.15 weighing 1 lb 6 oz (Jaxson Brave) and 1 lb 1 oz (Cadence Grace). The word “mini” in “Journey to Mini-Moore” has a whole new meaning now. They are one month old today (27 weeks 6/7 days gestational adjusted age). Their tiny organs are still premature and extremely underdeveloped; they are supposed to have 16 more weeks on the inside to grow (yes, four more months!) We’re not out of the woods, but look how far they have come! As I stare into their incubators day after day I have witnessed the honor of a miracle unfolding right before my eyes.

Jaxson Brave
Cadence Grace

As a mother who did not carry these children that I am not biologically connected to I can report this: I am passionately and deeply bonded with my children. I’ve never seen a photo of the biological donors, so I’ve always wondered what my kids will look like. Now I have studied their facial expressions for countless hours every day. I’ve observed details that most traditional mothers could not experience at this gestational age. Details such as the cowlick on Jaxson’s forehead, the blondness of Cadence’s long eyelashes, and that the babies’ second toes are longer than their big toes.  They have heard my voice and felt my touch daily for the past month. I have experienced the feeling of their tiny lungs breathing quickly as they rest on the slower, larger swells of my own chest. They grab hold of my finger when I touch their hands and their bodies calm under the soothing cupping of my own hands. The butterfly sized tickles of Jaxson’s tiny legs kicking the bare skin on my chest or Cadence’s delicate hand stretching over my neck are tangible moments that most adoptive mothers or intended parents don’t experience until hours, days, or even years after birth. The NICU experience is a roller coaster ride I would not wish upon any parent or child. However, I must accept this chapter as another piece of our journey and choose to soak up the blessing of this indescribable bond. Nothing about our journey has been simple or traditional but God has provided for our needs every step of the way and so I choose to trust Him to finish what he has started. Happy one month birthday Jaxson and Cadence!

If a photo is worth a thousand words than these videos are worth a million:

WATCH FIRST - Cadence on 9.28.15, five days old, 480 grams: 

WATCH SECOND - Cadence on 10.22.15, 29 days old, 630 grams: 

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for daily photos and updates. 

Please consider a donation to help with medical bills, hospital lodging, and loss wages for the Moore family. Click HERE to help. Every $5 makes a difference. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Welcome Mini-Moore Twins!

Hello All,
I'm sorry I haven't had time to update our story due a sudden unexpected change... the twins are here! Jason Brave Moore (born 1 lb 6 oz) and Cadence Grace Moore (born 1 lb 1 oz) were born at 23 weeks + 6 days gestation on 9/23/15. I'll update the blog as soon as I find time but in the mean time please follow our journey here:


Sunday, August 30, 2015

He(s) or She(s), what will they be...?

Have you ever tried to force a key into the wrong lock? It may seem as if it should fit, even look like the right match, but it typically doesn’t take long before you can feel that it’s just not the right key. For years our journey was filled with one wrong key after another. All paths towards parenthood are beautiful: natural pregnancy and birth, cesarean, IVF, surrogacy, international adoption, domestic adoption, foster-to-adopt. Why were none of these perfectly lovely options fitting two people who just simply wanted to be parents!?

<------- THIS is why.....

It's so evident now. THESE are OUR children. No children before these were ever destined to be ours. Once our unique path finally became known, all of the "trying" and "working" and "forcing" stopped and everything simply fell into place as it was always meant to be. 

Someone recently asked me, "Isn't it hard? You know, not feeling the babies grow inside of you? Missing out on that special experience?" To her surprise, my answer was an honest "No! Quite the opposite actually." Every doctor's appointment and every ultra sound create memories I never dreamed of experiencing personally. I always imagined traditional adoption for us and a bonding experience that would begin hours, weeks, or even years after birth. We began bonding with our adopted children before they ever saw the inside of a womb.

Hollie, Matt and I went to the anxiously awaited "anatomy appointment" together on Friday August twenty eighth. Hollie is intuitive when it comes to gender guessing. She knew her first born was a son, and she was correct. She knew her second born was a daughter, and she was correct. Hollie was confident this pregnancy was twins, she was correct, and for months she has confidently proclaimed that they are most definitely two girls. I am not intuitive in this way so I wasn't sure what to expect, but due to her track record, I was leaning towards agreeing with Hollie. Matt was hoping for a son. For the first time ever he was more nervous heading into the appointment than I was.

Penis. It's a boy!
The technician began scanning and measuring every organ and limb one by one. For many minutes Matt's face looked the way it does in the most intense moment of a huge sports game: both eyes intently focused on the screen, both arms in tight fists, foot tapping and possibly not breathing. Baby "A" was squirmy and entirely uncooperative so photos were taking longer than usual. The tech asked, "are we wanting to find out the sex of these babies?" Almost before the word "yes" could come out of our mouths she proclaimed, "baby A is a boy." Hollie and I laughed in dis-beleif while Matt released a much needed exhale muttering "thank you Jesus" under his breath.

Baby "B" was much more cooperative and quickly revealed that she was a girl. Our hearts are overjoyed. In our unique scenario, there are not many physical characteristics left open for prediction. 

No penis. It's a girl!
There's no "maybe he'll have his daddy's eyes" or "I wonder if she'll have her mommy's smile". We have no biological connection with these adopted embryos, no photo of the biological parents, but now we know one thing for sure. We are expecting a boy and a girl, a son and a daughter. We feel like we've won the lottery! Pregnant! Twins! One of each!

If there's one thing I've learned thus far, it's this: don't force it. The key is never going to open the wrong lock no matter how hard you try. It's worth the wait. God's perfect plan is always so much more than we could ever imagine. Be patient and don't give up. There's joy in the journey.

Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see photos and video from our gender reveal party, baby shower, birth, and more!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Tats for Twins

Win $250 & Support Mini-Moore! How...?

Buy a Temporary Tattoo: 
  • one for $3, two for $5, five for $10 
  • paypal online here 
  • or cash/check in person 

Take a Pic of You & Your Tat:
  • be creative, adorable or ridiculous
  • selfies and group shots are all welcome

Post on Instagram and/or Facebook before September 1st:
  • include the following in your caption: "#tatsfortwins" -and- "@journeytominimoore"
  • tag 5 friends / followers
  • repost our original TatsForTwins post
  • up to 3 entries (different photos w/ 5 different tags) allowed per person


WIN! Online Shopping Spree will be awarded to the best photo entry!

Cosmetics, skincare, nutrition and more from Caitlin with Arbonne ($100 value)
Organic herbal eye pillow with hemp drawstring travel bag from Botanical Dreams ($20 value)
Necklace, bracelet & earring set from Its' a Beth ($20 value)
Handmade soaps and Scrubs fron Envia Handmade ($10 value)
Books, electronics, and more on Amazon ($100 value)

That's a $250 value!

Questions? Email
All proceeds support the Mini-Moore(s) Journey.

Not into tats? How about a tote?
Canvas totes are a great way to support the environment and mini-moore.
$15 for one or $25 for two. Paypal online HERE or check/cash in person.
Throw in a few bucks for shipping if you feel inclined.

This fundraiser is sponsored by:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Scare

The past few weeks have been a whirl wind of emotions. Hollie's received three blood tests checking our HCG levels on the following days:
  • 9 days post transfer her HCG was 265
  • 13 days post transfer her HCG was 1522
  • 15 days post transfer her HCG was 3005
These numbers are far above an average singleton pregnancy. THIS website explains average beta HCG numbers for those of you who are intrigued. Signs were pointing towards twins but nothing could be confirmed until our first ultra sound which was weeks away. Hollie felt certain of multiples. Matt and I remained cautious with our emotions. For the next 19 days post transfer everything seemed to be going well. Hollie reported feeling extremely tired and a little nauseous, both normal signs of pregnancy. Matt and I began brain storming about baby names, planning out our nursery, and imagining the reality of life as parents.

On Monday 5/18 Hollie called me to report she was spotting. She had called the doctor and they said not to worry, this can be normal in the first trimester, especially after IVF. I'm a worrier by nature but I tried to remain calm and not waste energy on negative thoughts. However, there was a monster in the closet just waiting to expose itself: the spotting could be nothing, but it could also be a miscarriage. Our egg donor was 39 at the time of harvesting her eggs before creating our embryos. This increases the odds of miscarriage which we were aware of going into this. On Tuesday night Hollie texted to alert us that the bleeding has increased quite a bit, more than what she felt was considered normal. We prayed together that night and hoped it would clear up by morning. 

On Wednesday morning 5/20 Hollie called again and the monster had officially jumped out of the closet. The bleeding was worse, she had called our doctor, and they wanted us to come in right away for an ultrasound and blood work. Matt and I both left work and I couldn't control my tears all morning.

As we arrived at the doctor Hollie laid on the exam table and Matt and I held each other at the head of her bed. Our doctor came in and asked Hollie to explain what was happening. Our doctor explained that it was very early to perform an ultrasound, we may not be able to see much, but let's take a look. As soon as an image appeared on the screen I held my breath. I thought, "am I seeing what I think I'm seeing?" Yes indeed! Our doctor said "there are two sacks here."

We are officially having twins! She went on to explain that they both looked healthy and then we experienced something I will never forget: the heartbeat. Two heartbeats! We could hear and see the pulsing heartbeats right there on the screen! What a miracle, especially so early. We were only 22 days post transfer and we could SEE both babies and HEAR both heartbeats!!! Baby "a" on the left and baby "b" on the right are both measuring perfectly on size and both have good solid heartbeats. Our doctor explained that Hollie has a subchorionic hemorrhage. This was nothing to be worried about, nothing that would cause harm to our babies, but it was something that needs to drain and would continue to bleed for a little longer. When the doctor left the room I burst into tears of joy which I'm sure could be heard from the next room and down the hall. Matt and Hollie smiled and rubbed my back. We arrived to this appointment in fear of devastating news and left flooded with pure joy! It's official; we're going to be parents of twins!

The babies are coming soon!
Click HERE to learn more about the fees associated with this process.
Click HERE for details about joining the "Meal a Month" club. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Are We Pregnant?

Tuesday April 28th, 2015.

Transfer day is finally here. Hollie and I waited together in our patient room. A nurse came and gave Hollie a hospital gown, hair cap and feet booties along with medication to help her cervix relax. The embryologist came in to confirm we were who we said we were, confirm we wanted to transfer two and inform us that they both survived the thaw. One was fully hatched and the other just about to hatch from its shell. We called Matt on speaker to let him know how things were going. Our doctor came in to say hello and she approved for me to join them in the treatment room. I was dressed in oh-so-attractive full body scrub gear and asked to spit out my gum. The embryologist showed me our embryos up on a screen. I had seen photos of other embryos before, but these were OUR perfectly beautiful little mini-babies that I was looking at for the very first time. 
Our doctor prepped Hollie, the embryologist brought two of our embryos into the room in a little straw, and they were gentle placed inside Hollie’s cozy womb. It was quite medical, scientific and non-romantic inside the sterile treatment room. I froze silently in fear of disrupting the process. Hollie was more relaxed, talking to the doctor about Netflix shows and making jokes like “this feels a little different than the last time I got knocked up.” As I returned to our patient room, I began sobbing before the nurse wheeled Hollie back to me. Our doctor came in to ask if I was okay. I’m NOT a “hugger” type person and I never really bonded with our doctor on a personal level. Yet, I could not contain myself from leaping into her arms and whispering “thank you.” Hollie laid flat for about an hour while we listened to music, called our husbands and gazed at photos of our silly hats and our beautiful embryos.
I drove Hollie to a quiet place for 3 days of bed rest together in which she was not allowed to sit up past a 45 degree angle except to use the restroom. Originally, we thought these days would be filled with countless hours of Netflix marathons, but mostly we slept. I don’t know who slept more: Hollie from all the hormones and the procedure placing two foreign beings into her body, or me from the mental exhaustion and all the flooding emotions. Our bond is something special. It’s impossible to be anxious when you’re in Hollie’s presence. She is sarcastically hilarious, supernaturally calm and is extremely productive in rationally nipping my anxiety before it flares out of control. Our husbands and other visitors brought us meals and snacks. Then we went back to our homes for the hardest part, the wait…
Monday May 4th, 2015
Matt and I had a long conversation that Monday night. I wanted Hollie to take an at-home pregnancy test. Not because I was impatient or anxious, but because I wanted the maternity process to feel organic. If I got pregnant on my own, the at-home test would be a whirl of emotions we’d experience together and I longed for that natural feeling. Matt worried it was too early, only 7 days post transfer and the at-home tests are less accurate than the blood test which was only 3 days away. I worried that listening to a voicemail with a beta HCG number would feel cold, medical an impersonal.

Before coming home to this conversation, I attended a church home group with some friends. We prayed for a woman there who was overdue by a few days. She was sitting across the room from me on a white couch, with a dark colored shirt covering her perfectly rounded tummy. From the other side of the room I could see a silhouette of rolling ripples from the baby moving. I couldn’t stop staring in awe at the visible life inside of her. I thought to myself, “I’ll never experience what that feels like.” Then I heard a voice say back to me, “Yes you will! Don’t you see? Your friend sitting right beside you at this moment has your child(ren) inside of her. You were there in the very moment she became pregnant and you will be there in the very moment your child(ren) enter into this world. You will see every ultrasound and feel the baby kick and move. You could even be there for an at-home pregnancy test!” As I shared this with Matt he felt my point and realized it was for the right reasons. We called to share this with Hollie and John on Monday night and they agreed to let us come over at 5:15am the following morning for an at-home test.

Tuesday May 5th, 2015
Matt and I purchased three different pregnancy test brands for fear that one might be less sensitive or less accurate than the others. We hoped at least one of them would show a faint pink line. When we arrived Tuesday morning it was still dark outside. Hollie was in her pajamas, John was dressed to leave for work, and their kids were sound asleep upstairs. Hollie dipped all three tests, then we all stepped away and waited for the longest three minutes of our lives. As the timer on my phone went off, indicating three minutes was up, all four of us cautiously approached the kitchen table where the three tests lay. I had knots in my stomach and butterflies in my chest. We were all eager and terrified at the same time.

As I glanced down at the table my vision quickly became blurred by tear filled eyes. Not one, not two, but all three tests were clearly and boldly positive! We shouted, laughed, cried, hugged and sighed. This is really happening! We’re pregnant! We vowed not to get overly excited until the blood test, but it was impossible not to. I took a photo of the positive tests and went back to look at it dozens of times as if I possibly could have forgotten how beautiful it was the first time. I found myself singing, smiling and laughing constantly for next few days. (Also lying to many of you who asked if we knew the results yet. Hehe, sorry!)
Thursday May 7th, 2015

Hollie went in for a lab draw Thursday morning and we instructed the nurse to leave a voicemail on my phone as late in the day as possible so we could all listen together after work. We anticipated the voicemail to be predictable and anticlimactic. So, we considered listening together via Face-Time, but ultimately decided to BBQ together at our place that evening. The four of us gathered around my phone and hit “play” to hear a message I had been tempted to listen to on my own for hours. The nurse said, “I’m just calling with your test results. I am very very very excited and happy to tell you that the results are positive. Your beta HGC today is 265. Normally we like to see a beta HGC at 50, and ummm, ahhh this looks fantastic. It’s a good solid number. Ummm (pause…), my gut says there’s two judging but this number, but we won’t be able to verify until we do the ultrasound.” TWO!!??!! Lots of screaming, crying and laughing drowned out the rest of the voicemail about prescription doses for Hollie so we had to play that part back later. My jaw dropped to the floor, John had his hand on his forehead, Hollie was clapping and laughing, Matt looked like he might pass out.  So it’s safe to say that we are very definitely pregnant!

Sunday May 10th, 2015
I remember last mother’s day well. The numb emptiness, the confusion and lack of direction, the sweet gifts from my sister. Today is mother’s day 2015 and I’m officially going to be a mom. I AM a mom! These child(ren) are not from my egg, nor my husband’s sperm, nor are they in my womb, but I still feel so deeply and undeniably in love with their spirits. A year ago I would have never imagined that our traditional adoption journey would have landed us here. I’m madly in love with and feel completely bonded to these little blob looking embryos, created by strangers DNA and growing inside the womb of another woman. Yet here I am today. A valuable lesson I learned this year, is not to force a plan for the sake of wanting a plan. Just because there are many beautiful traditional adoption stories, doesn’t mean that was the path meant for our journey to mini-moore. You can’t force a puzzle piece into a place it was not designed to belong. No matter how much it looks like it could fit, or how much you push and shove, it will never be meant to rest there. Blessings overflow when we wait, pause, listen to God’s will and step forward obediently no matter how insane it may seem. I’m in awe of the capacity of scientific medicine, the miracles of God’s provision, and the kindness of others all merging together to bless me on this mother’s day. We were married on Father's Day 2005, and ten years later we are finally pregnant on Mother's Day 2015. I am floating on clouds of hope, gratitude, anticipation and pure giddy excitement for what the future holds.
Could it be twins..? Will we make it full term with a healthy pregnancy? What are the costs involved in a journey like this? Follow the Blog, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram to receive updates on our journey such as: ultrasound images, fundraising events, and more! We wouldn't be where we are today with out supporters like you. Thanks for hanging out.