Micro preemie twins will make it a Mother’s Day to remember

•If the Moan twins and their three cousins had all arrived on schedule, their grandparents would have have five new grandchildren in 11 days. Click here to read more.

•Mother of micro preemies writes about the journey on Caring Bridge. Click here to read more.

by Joni Astrup

Associate editor

Two tiny baby girls will make this Mother’s Day one the Moan family of Elk River will never forget.

Kristin Moan touching her daughter Dylan for the first time.
Kristin Moan touching her daughter Hayden for the first time.

Identical twins Dylan and Hayden arrived four months early on Jan. 11, after Kristin Moan developed complications with her pregnancy and had to have an emergency cesarean section.

Dylan was born at 10:14 p.m., weighing in at a mere 1 pound, 3 ounces. Hayden arrived a minute later and weighed 1 pound, 7 ounces. Both were about a foot long.

Kristin Moan’s parents, Karen and Rick DuChene of Otsego, were there the night they were born. Karen DuChene describes the experience in one word: Unbelievable.

“If you have never seen a one-pound baby, it is one of the smallest miracles one can see,” she said.

Dad Eric Moan said they were so tiny that one of their legs was about the size of his finger.

Eric Moan changed Hayden's diaper for the first time.
Eric Moan changed Hayden’s diaper for the first time.

They were immediately whisked from Maple Grove Hospital to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, where they settled into the neonatal intensive care unit.

It was the beginning of a long journey filled with ups and downs for the twins and their loved ones. But after 109 days in the hospital, Hayden arrived home April 30.

Dylan was tentatively scheduled to be sent home on Friday, May 10 — just two days before Mother’s Day — to a family deeply grateful for their two miracle babies.

Couple documented journey on Caring Bridge

Eric and Kristin Moan were married about three years ago and looked forward to starting a family.

Eric Moan is a 1996 graduate of Princeton High School and works as an aircraft mechanic for the U.S. Air Force. Kristin Moan is a 1998 graduate of Big Lake High School. She works for Gander Mountain’s corporate office and is close to finishing her third college degree.

Dylan Moan at 5 days old.
Dylan Moan at 5 days old.

When she initially found out she was pregnant, they were anticipating one baby — their first. A ultrasound later revealed that they would be having twins.

Things took a critical turn on Jan. 11, when she had a placental abruption and the babies had to be delivered immediately.

“It’s an absolute miracle that any of us are here let alone all three of us,” Kristin Moan said. “Had I been at the hospital any later than I was, none of us would be here. That is a hard thing to take.”

The girls’ emergency arrival signaled the start of a new and challenging chapter. As Kristin Moan wrote April 3 on their Caring Bridge site: “Tonight my heart is happy, my heart is sad and my tears are for my babies who for some reason thought they needed to be 16 weeks early and put all of us on a roller coaster ride I never bought a ticket for. Heck, I didn’t even enter the amusement park willingly.”

Hayden Moan at 5 days old.
Hayden Moan at 5 days old.

Both girls are considered micro preemies and have faced challenges. Hayden had some bleeding on the brain which puts her at risk for cerebral palsy, though her parents said her medical team is pretty optimistic she will be fine. Dylan gave them a few scares, and at one point, they weren’t sure she would make it. She was transferred to the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital twice, once for respiratory issues and once to have laser surgery on her eyes. While she was under, she also had hernia surgery.

“It’s overwhelming,” Kristin Moan said. “We had expected the girls. We didn’t obviously expect to go through all of this.”

During the early days in the neonatal intensive care unit, no one talked about the girls’ chances for survival or when they may be able to go home. Eric Moan said they learned to take things day by day.

As time went on the girls made progress, and eventually their medical team began making preparations to send them home.

It was a joyous milestone when Hayden was able to go home and this past week the family was eagerly anticipating the arrival home of little Dylan as well.

Kristin Moan touched her daughter Dylan for the first time.
Kristin Moan touched her daughter Dylan for the first time.

Along the way, the Moans have been touched by an outpouring of support from family and friends. As Eric Moan wrote Feb. 4 on their Caring Bridge site: “Thank you for all the support, letters, prayers, food and gas cards. This is not an easy journey but every little bit helps.”

They continue to keep people up to date on the twins’ progress by writing almost daily on their Caring Bridge site, which has been visited nearly 43,000 times. The entries are full of unvarnished emotion, often poignant, at times funny, and brimming with love for their little girls.

The Moans said the overwhelming support they have received has made them want to reach out and help others.

“This experience has opened our eyes to a different outlook on life and how we need to treat each other in the future not only as a couple and a family but in society as a whole,” Eric Moan wrote in a May 7 posting on Caring Bridge. “For myself, I never realized the power of a huge support system during a rough time in one’s life.”

The Moans have already taken some of the money they have been given and donated it to a new widow and her young children after her husband died suddenly. Kristin Moan has signed up to participate in a mud run in August to raise money for multiple sclerosis, after her best friend’s sister was recently diagnosed with MS. And, they have agreed to talk with other parents of preemies in the future.

“We are so truly blessed with these two little girls,” she said. “They truly are miracles, and we will make sure they are aware of every person who has been there for us, helped us and made it easier to get through the last four months.”