Posts Tagged ‘babies’

More foolishness on this week’s edition of the TVFury podcast as the guys muddle their way through Kobe’s return, building furniture from IKEA and buying birthday gifts for babies.

We dare you to listen to the full 23 minutes.

Here’s the link.

Double trouble

Posted: October 17, 2013 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
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Sort of overnight, my 10-month-old son, Ty, learned to crawl. He’s been working on it for some time, mostly in vain and to great frustration, taunted by his slimmer, swifter twin sister, Taylor.

On Tuesday he just sort of got it, moving around pretty well within the upstairs level of the house. At first, it was glorious – suddenly, he wasn’t begging for help or complaining about being immobile. I was able to get some things done around the house. You know, real manly stuff like doing the dishes and entering diaper points on the Pampers web site. (Free plug. Comp gift?)

Then the reality set in: We now have two saboteurs to track instead of just one. The twins are sort of like raccoons – and I mean that in the nicest possible way – in that they get into anything and everything. To wit, Taylor seems determined to find out what electricity tastes like, hellbent on gnawing through a power cord. No sooner did I pry her off my laptop outlet and pull the cord tighter to get it off the floor than Ty (a dead ringer for Butters from South Park, by the way) scooted in and tried to swing from it like a tiny Tarzan.  (more…)

My wife and I will be doing the First Day of School thing this week, and not for the first time. But this one feels vastly different, genuinely nerve-racking.

Kailey is only 3 – she hits that mark today, in fact. That’s why she’s allowed to start school Wednesday. Well, that and being born at exactly 24 weeks gestation and weighing 1 lb., 6 oz., rallying from the brink of death a handful of times and still eating through a gastronomy tube. Her twin, Breley, survived only two days.

The kid has had a tough road, although you’d never know it just by looking at her. She’s got a mop of curly brown hair and these bright green eyes and this vibrant spirit that can dominate our six-person household. (more…)

Team Tiny Miracles shirts: Now with extra swag.

Team Tiny Miracles shirts: Now with extra swag.

Things have been normal or something close to it at home for nearly a month. No difficult pregnancies, life-threatening illnesses, births, deaths or extended leaves from work. Just six people – half of them under the age of 3 – playing and laughing and eating and sometimes bickering and hardly sleeping. It’s been mostly glorious, the least eventful stretch my family has had in 3 years.

But now it’s time to pick a scab.


If I had a fireplace, I’d be sitting by it tonight. Coffee in hand. Multicolored lights from the tree reflecting around the room. It’s Christmas Eve, a time for reflection, especially this year.

My wife and I brought home two kids this week, a boy and a girl, after a 29-day stay in the NICU, the shortest of our two sentences. That makes five kids – one deceased and four by scientific means – in a shade under nine years. Five kids. I never thought I’d be that guy. (more…)


Posted: November 27, 2012 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
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My hands are about to be hella clean. And, yes, I’ve been waiting a long time – a hella long time – to drop a hella bomb.

Why? Because I’ve got offspring in the local NICU again. It was surreal to say the least, walking through those secured doors again Sunday night, putting on my purple parent lanyard, washing up to my elbows at the scrub-in sink, being bombarded by beeping monitors. (more…)

Oh, boy

Posted: October 9, 2012 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
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My wife and I are well on our way to having a second set of twins, you know, because singletons are just way too easy. And as they continue to develop, get further away from the terrifying 24-week mark, the stomach-shredding fear of losing another child lessens every so slightly. It’s being replaced by a different and much more playful worry: What am I going to do with a son?

Yes, we’re the type that like to know the genders ahead of time, and the ultrasound techs have long been telling us that we’re in for a boy and a girl. That will bring the offspring total to four chicks and one dude. And I have no idea how that’s going to go. (more…)

Life and death

Posted: September 5, 2011 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
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Our premature twins each weighed 1 lb., 6 oz.

I don’t want to write this.

It’s one of those pieces, one of those topics that requires you to go to a dark place, think about uncomfortable things – to relive the pain and confusion all over again.

But I’m going to do it anyway. Because feeling the hurt is one of the only ways I can feel her …

One year ago today, Breley Ann Vandrovec died. She was the middle of our three children, the oldest of twin girls born at just 24 weeks gestation. She died so that her little sister, Kailey, could live, taking the brunt of an in-utero infection. They each weighed 1 lb., 6 oz.

She was 2 days old. Her eyes were still fused shut. She had my feet and narrow nose. She died in my wife’s arms.

I think about that part of it a lot – how she never got to experience the full extent of her mother’s love. In that regard, she was cheated.

How do you reconcile expectation with reality? The day they were born, there was maybe one bubble-gum cigar moment – when I realized I was wearing two hospital bracelets. I put a picture of my wrist on Twitter. So proud.

They looked like apple-head dolls as they were wheeled past me – one at a time – on their way to the NICU. I wasn’t allowed in the delivery room because I was a faint risk. I had stayed up late catching up on some work and waking up to dangerously premature labor made my head spin. My wife and I lived different and separate nightmares.

Kailey and Breley were so sick that they were put in separate suites in the NICU. We bounced back and forth, trying to take in two sets of words and prognoses that we didn’t understand.

One died, one lives. How do you celebrate and grieve simultaneously? We didn’t know then and we don’t know now. Yet this is the way it will be forever.

People say, “At least one survived.” And they’re right – mathematically speaking, one is better than none. But that’s not the way it works. We lost a child and are reminded of that every day through her surviving twin.

Kailey turned 1 on Saturday.

Kailey is doing well – better than we could have imagined a year ago. With a heart surgery looming, we were almost too frightened about her health to attend Breley’s funeral. She weighs 17 pounds, has five teeth, perfect vision and no obvious developmental issues according to her corrected age. We’re practically oblivious to the fact that she needs extra oxygen at night and eats exclusively through a G-tube – those once foreign concepts are minor inconveniences when you’ve come as far as she has.

She’s more content than any baby has a right to be. I hope that continues. I hope she’s not haunted by the complexity of her start, hope she doesn’t feel perpetually incomplete without her twin.

We’ll teach Kailey about her sister – we already have. There are pictures in her room. We’ve hung a dragonfly – a spiritual symbol of loss – in our entryway and put a plastic version on her birthday cupcake. We keep a footprint mold, the urn and a blanket next to our bed. We incorporated a stuffed animal given to us at the NICU – Breley Bear, we call it – into our family pictures. We’ve started an endowment in her name.

Lately, I’ve used Breley as motivation when I’m on the treadmill. And I hate that. It seems trivial and vain. But it’s also real. ‘If she could do that then I can do this.’ So I take her with me – just the two of us – and that feels good. We never got to do any father-daughter stuff.

She was so tough. I’m so proud. And sad and mad and thankful and inspired. I hope I cry today – it’s another way to feel close to her. I feel guilty that it’s been so long.

One year ago, we were blindsided by a set of complex and conflicting circumstances. Life and death. It was awkward, confusing, impossible.

And today? We’re still there. Sure, we’ve healed, grown, changed. But, deep down, emotionally, we’re stuck and to an extent always will be. It’s not a feeling – this paradox has become a part of who we are.

Too sad to smile, too happy to cry.