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Believing In Tiny Miracles

April 4, 2012, 6:14 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Believing In Tiny Miracles
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Imagine having not one, but two babies that could fit in the palm of your hand and weighed little more than a water bottle. 

That's what a Sioux Falls family experienced.  Only one of their two girls survived.  They're turning their pain into progress, raising awareness about premature births and the NICU.

You don't have to look hard at the Vandrovec house to see they believe in miracles because inside they have living proof.

"When you look at Kailey, you see a miracle. This kid had everything going against her," mom Jess Vandrovec said.

19-month-old Kailey Vandrovec's parents didn't know if she would even live to see her first hour, month or year. She was born premature at just 24 weeks and could fit in the palm of your hand.

"At that point, you just don't know how she's going to turn out because she had brain bleeds and such a huge hill to climb," Jess said.

But climbing is now what Kailey does. She's recently started talking and walking, but still has to be fed through a G-tube.

"Staying home with her all day, she wears me out. I can't get anything done.  And nap time comes and I'm exhausted because I'm chasing her all over the place," father Terry Vandrovec said.

While her mother and father celebrate every step of the way, they also take time to remember their losses. Kailey's twin sister, Breley, died shortly after birth.

"There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about Breley or wonder what would Breley be doing. I even see two babies crawling, or what would Breley and Kailey be doing now? Just the other day I asked Terry, 'I wonder if they would have their own language,'" Jess said.

The experience was even difficult on their eight-year-old daughter, Mya.

"The first time I saw her in the NICU, I was kind of scared because I went to go see all my cousins when they were just born, and they were a lot bigger than Kailey was," Mya said.

But now Mya is enjoying playing the typical role of big sister.

"It's really fun, but sometimes like if I have to study my spelling words, she'll always come knocking on my door, and it's kind of hard to focus on it," Mya said.

"She has a fighter personality. She's this sensitive, little girl, but she knows what she wants, and I hope she continues to never give up," Jess said.

"We've asked the doctors about that.  If the fight she went through creates that personality or if that was there, and that's why she survived. Nobody really knows," Terry said.

But Kailey isn't the only one who's fighting; now the family also tries to raise awareness about the NICU and CMN so others in their situation will have an even better outcome.

"Five years ago, a baby born at 24 weeks, there was just no hope. You couldn't do anything for them, so my hope is that five years from now, maybe a baby that's born at 22 weeks, 23 weeks, has a better chance," Jess said.

A chance for others to believe in miracles.

The Vandrovec family is one of several families you'll hear from during this year's Children's Miracle Network Special.  The hour-long broadcast will air Thursday night at 7 p.m. right here on KELO-TV.

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