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West Fargo preemie born on New Year's Day continues in recovery

FARGO -- Every day is like a milestone for Jason and Cassie Skalicky as they sit by their 4-week-old son's incubator.

Since the West Fargo couple gave birth to Fargo-Moorhead's first babies of 2010, they've gone through a rollercoaster of emotions.

"(There's) definitely been ups and downs," Cassie Skalicky said, adding that baby Andrew is showing promising signs of improvement by adding weight and breathing more on his own.

Just 12 hours after Cassie gave birth to twins more than four months prematurely, one of the twins, Natalie, died. She weighed 1 pound, 3 ounces.

At his birth, her brother Andrew weighed 1 pound, 8 ounces.

Today, he celebrates his 1-month birthday at MeritCare Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit in Fargo.

"That's a month older than we thought," Skalicky said. "He's doing really well."

His battle, though, isn't over.

In the past few weeks, he's had two surgeries.

His parents take comfort, though, that each day, Andrew gets stronger. On Sunday, they got to hold him for the first time.

"He's had some rocky patches," Skalicky said. "But he's doing really well now."

Nicknamed "Mr. Man" and "little warrior," Andrew's health improves each day.

On Thursday, he weighed 2 pounds, 2 ounces and was moved to a conventional ventilator, which allows him to do more breathing on his own.

"We have faith that he's doing well and will continue to do so," Skalicky said. "It's funny about the things you get excited about at the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), but we still need to take everything day by day."

Throughout the month, the couple and their 5-year-old daughter have received an outpouring of support from the community.

Nearly 13,000 people have visited their CaringBridge site in the past month. And donations are still being accepted at the family's benefit fund at United Savings Credit Union in Fargo and Dilworth.

"They call babies that were born at 23 weeks million-dollar babies," Skalicky said. "All of them (donations) are really going to help us out a lot."