By Dave Andrusko
It’s easy to use the word “miracle” when talking about extremely premature babies who beat the odds. But if ever there were twins (about to celebrate their first birthday) whose survival qualifies as genuinely miraculous, it is Cadence Moore and her brother Jaxson.
Let me explain just some of the extraordinary circumstances surrounding Cadence who was born at 1Ib, one oz., and Jaxson, who weighed in at 1Ib, 6 oz. Let’s start with their mom, Jourdan Moore, and her husband, Matt.
The couple, who married in 2005, always wanted a family. But, as The Mirror’s Rebecca Lewis explained,
Jourdan suffered from severe Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory condition of the intestines, meaning she was in and out of surgery and switched from medication to medication.
The only treatment she responded to was methotrexate, a drug used for cancer patients and autoimmune diseases.
It is also used to induce abortions, meaning she could not carry a baby to full term while she was taking it.
For ten years they tried unsuccessfully to adopt and then heard about embryo adoption. For those unfamiliar with the term, it refers to embryos who reside in a kind of suspended animation, frozen in liquid oxygen. Typically, they are “left over” (not implanted) from in vitro fertilization.
They adopted embryos from an anonymous family, but, as noted, Mrs. Moore could not carry the babies herself. Lewis tells us that Mrs. Moore’s best friend, Hollie Mentesana, volunteered to be a surrogate mother to carry the two embryos implanted in her womb.
Both babies survived the April 28, 2015, transfer and the first 23 weeks of pregnancy. But on September 18, 2015, Mentesana was admitted to Portland’s St. Vincent’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon. She discovered she did not have a bladder infection, as she expected, but that she was so dilated Cadence and Jaxson needed to delivered by emergency Caesarean to have any chance.
However because the babies were so very immature, doctors told Jourdan and Matt to expect the worse and counseled them, Lewis writes, to accept that the babies had next to no chance.
“I didn’t want to believe it, as we’d come through so much to reach that stage.
“Still, we had no choice but to prepare ourselves for their deaths.”
They were given the option to resuscitate and give life support, or opt for palliative care – with doctors advising them to choose the latter option.
“The survival rate for resuscitation was 21 per cent,” Jourdan explained.
“The doctors wanted to let nature take its course, but we couldn’t give up on our miracle children.
“Thankfully, we didn’t and now we have two gorgeous one-year-olds. It’s amazing.”
Five days after Hollie was admitted to hospital, Jaxson and Cadence were born.
Mrs. Moore was incredibly faithful during the 98 days her babies were in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). She went home only once during that entire time span–for two hours.
“As an adoptive mother, I never had a chance to feel the babies kick inside the womb,” she told Lewis. “I did five hours of skin-to-skin contact every day with each baby, so I was able to bond with them at such a young age.”
Now nearly a year old, the babies have their share of medical problems but nothing overwhelming. For example, not surprisingly, they are small for their age. However, the potentially serious issues resolved themselves over the last twelve months.
Lewis ends her great story by again quoting Jourdan:
It wasn’t until two thirds of the way through our hospital stay that we were sure they would be fine.
“I was in the NICU every day and saw babies that didn’t make it, despite being born bigger and stronger than mine.
“I’m so blessed and lucky that we had a good outcome, but that’s not the case for everyone.”