Flight diverted to Denver for Oregon mother’s premature delivery

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AURORA, Colo. -- It was an unexpected delivery for a Portland, Ore., couple.

Amy and Nathan Moore are celebrating the birth of their newborn son, Levi, in Colorado. after their plane had to be diverted to Denver when Levi came into the world much sooner than expected.

Monday marked the 10th day of life for Levi. Each day has been spent inside the NICU at University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora.

"I didn't fully know, or process, where we were until after the baby was delivered and I asked what hospital we were at,” said Levi’s father, Nathan Moore.

Moore and his wife, Amy, did what many couples do when they’re expecting: They booked an extended "babymoon” after a wedding in Cancun, Mexico. It was to be their last big vacation alone before Levi’s arrival.

“We figured we'd take some time for us," Nathan Moore said. "Kind of a last trip beforehand."

With Levi’s due date more than two months away, the Moores never expected what happened on their connecting flight home to Portland from Houston: Amy started having contractions.

"I was totally in disbelief," Amy Moore said. "It's not time for him to be born yet. It's not time."

The plane was diverted to Denver. An ambulance rushed Amy Moore to University Hospital.

"[I'm] glad that we made it here in time because we got here and it was like, 'OK let's get the labor coach because you're going to push and you're going to have this baby,'" Amy Moore said.

Levi arrived a few hours later, on Jan. 15.

“It's our first child," Nathan Moore said. "That was hard enough, but then everything else on top of it was just terror. But at the same time, it was our baby boy coming, which was amazing."

Levi was born 10 weeks early, weighing just 3 pounds, 6 ounces. He needed around-the-clock care.

"So happy to see him," Amy Moore said. "But I couldn't hold him. For me, it was, you know, I didn't have him inside me and I couldn't hold him."

Ten days later, Levi was off his IVs and taking mom's milk, while his parents took in their precious moments. Amy Moore finally got to hold her little boy.

"Terrifying, yeah, but incredible," Amy Moore said. "He just settled right against me."

More than 1,200 miles from home, with no family nearby and little more than a carry-on bag full of warm weather clothes, the Moores said they wouldn't have made it to this point without the kindness of strangers.

"We tear up every day, just more people reaching out to us and supporting us," Amy Moore said.

An NICU pharmacist provided warm clothes for Amy Moore.

"The nurses are not only taking care of our little boy but taking care of us," Nathan Moore said.

A Boulder-based clothing company is also sending warm coats. The Moores said a local couple even offered their home and car.

"They don't even know us," Nathan Moore said. "They showed up and invited us into their home."

The couple will stay in Colorado another six to 12 weeks until Levi is ready for the journey home.

"He's a rowdy boy," Amy Moore said.

"He's got a little personality already," Nathan Moore added.

A You Caring site has raised more than $9,000 for the family. Nathan Moore said any additional funds that are not used to care for Levi or bring him home will be donated to help other families with premature babies at University Hospital.