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Published May 19 2010

West Fargo family finally brings home New Year’s baby

For the Skalickys, every moment with their preemie still feels like a miracle.

After nearly six months in the hospital, Andrew Skalicky – Fargo-Moorhead’s first baby of 2010 – is home.

And, for the first time, the West Fargo baby, his sister and parents cuddled on their couch Monday night – a simple moment that meant a lot to Cassie and Jason Skalicky.

“It was like, ‘Oh my gosh, all four of us are here,’ ” she said on Tuesday. “It was awesome.”

Since he was born on New Year’s Day, Andrew has called MeritCare Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Fargo home.

Born more than four months prematurely, he weighed 1 pound, 8 ounces. His twin, Natalie, weighed just over 1 pound and died 12 hours later.

While coping with the tragic loss of their newborn daughter, the couple also cared for Andrew.

“He’s just been such a miracle,” she said. “There just aren’t many that survive 23 weeks.”

Now, after 137 days in the hospital, four surgeries and countless procedures, Andrew weighs 7 pounds, 13 ounces.

Free of tubes and monitors, he’s adjusting to the noises of life outside a hospital – from the buzz of lawnmowers outside to squeals of excitement from his 6-year-old sister, GraceAnna.

“He’s been a rock star,” Jason Skalicky said.

While the couple knows this latest milestone isn’t the end of the recovery for their fragile son, it’s still a step toward normalizing a new life together.

“There were days I didn’t even know how to keep going,” Cassie Skalicky said. “We had a normal (life) – going to the NICU every day. Now, we have to find a new normal.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kelly Smith at (701) 241-5515