Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The little things in life.....

45 days in the NICU and to be honest I don't recall much because I was such a zombie from lack of sleep and numb to the reality of Kingston's birth and what the rest of our lives and Kingston's life holds. Now I say that, because every doctor and specialist that met with Kingston told us that he probably wouldn't ever situp, walk, talk, hear, see and pretty much be a vegtable.
December 10 we took Kingston home. All of his supplies were waiting and the house and we got a quick 20min "review" on how to feed him, use his machines and what we needed to do if his MIC key ( g-tube which goes directly into his stomach )were to come out. COME ON, I am not a nurse. I was so scared. After everything the doctors and the nurses told us to prepare for and after reading the statistics of CHARGE sydrome dying before the age of 3 from asphixiaition was frightening. I haven't had a full nights sleep since. Day after day passed....sometimes they all blended toegethe because I didn't leave the house for weeks at a time. Everytime Kingston would breathe weird I would jump, I had my 2 yr old at home with me too and Wil had to work 2 jobs to even survive paying our bills.
Many nights passed where Kingston would scream and scream and since he was completely deaf and blind, there wasnt anything that we could to calm him. Finally, Wil thought of putting the stereo next to his crib and BLASTING rap music. And thank the Lord, the bumping bass would put him to sleep. We still couldnt sleep cause the music was so loud, but Kingston was able to calm down and that was enough for us.
Weeks passed, and more surgeries were performed. One day, my mom brought over a cd of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and of course I rolled my eyes because it was 100% obvious that Kingston could not hear. One of the best days of my life. My mom turned on "Angel Passing Through The Room" by Sissel, and Kingston turned his head and smiled. He's been hearing music ever since. I posted the video of Kingston responding to music or any sound at the for the very first time!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

March 2008.....The Year That Changed Our Lives

March 2008 we found out that we were pregnant with baby number 2.....

I was scared. After my pregnacy with Jaxin, I didn't think that I could physically handle it again. But this would be a pregnancy that would go down in the books as  a test of my mental/emotional strength and my faith.

May 2008 my Grandpa Leavitt passed away unexpectingly. Before he passed, he had to hear from every single grandchild. When I was saying my good byes Grandpa opened his eyes and firmly squeezed my hand and said "stay strong". I had no idea what he meant by that, but I knew that he did.
 At the end of the month of May we moved out to Iowa to be near my brothers and sisters. I had a job lined up and I was feeling good. July came and I was starting to feel something that was all too familiar, kidney stones. I took myself to the ER one evening, sick as could be. They did an ultrasound, and we found out that baby #2 was a boy!  They transferred me to the maternity floor and I knew that something was wrong when the nurses and the ER doctor were whispering back and forth. They didn't tell me a damn thing. I made it to the maternity floor, where an OBGYN came in and sat next to me. He started out by saying, we found something on the ultrasound that is quite concerning. He told me that there was an obvious cleft lip/nose and palate in the ultra sound. He also told me that he couldn't promise that that would be the only issue with the baby. Til this day, I can't believe that I even had to hear this, but he said " You have 2 weeks to decide if you want to abort". What? Why would he say that if it was "only" cleft. I knew there was much more to it than that. I was alone, and I didnt even know how to feel or even to respond to that comment. Could I do this? Over and over in my head I could hear "stay strong, stay strong Terril".
I declined the idea of abortion and asked what I needed to do next. I was sent to a specialist so that we could get 4D ultrasound pics of baby boy and keep an eye on the entire pregnacy. 3 or 4 weeks later I went to the specialist and got the 4D pics. I cried and cried and cried. It was so hard to see my little baby boy so disfigured. How was I going to react when he was born? How was everyone going to react when he was born? Hpwever, the amazing thing about the 4D was that we knew exactly what he was going to look like. For the next 10 weeks I showed every neice and nephew the ultrasounds so that they knew what to expect when they met baby boy.
7th month of pregancy, not only did I have the stress of my child being born disfigured but the kidney stones came back with a vengance. I was BACK in the ER and to make a long miserable story short, I had to have another kidney surgery while pregnant. Except this time they place a nephrostamy tube through my back and dierectly into my right kidney. And at the other end of the tube was a bag for my urine to drain into. I had to tape that bag around my leg for the next two months. It was painful, miserable and extremely uncomfortable.
Week 36, October 18, 2008: We just had the missionaries over for dinner and we were headed out the door for family home evening at my brother's house. I was having contractions all night,but I thought I could make it. I stood up and immediatly dropped to the floor. I wasn't sure what this pain was, but it wasn't just labor pains. Wil rushed me to the hospital. I don't remember much for the next 12hrs except the pain, and hearing my mom and baby sister crying and pleading the nurse to give me more pain medicine. I thought that I was going to die. It was the most surreal experience  that its hard to even explain. I remember the doctor finally arriving late that night, and not leaving my side. I could hear him telling my mom and Wil that he was giving me so much medicine for the pain that it would take out a horse. He didn't know what was wrong, but he new it was serious. I couldn't handle the pain anymore, I passed out from the pain and the next thing I knew I was being prepped for a c-section. They began the surgery and when they pulled baby boy out I heard "code pink, code pink". Im thinking "what in the hell does that mean"? I turn my head and see my little boy, purple, and about 10 people around him shoving tubes down his throat....the next thing I know is the doctor yelling at me "he doesn't look like he is going to make it Terril, if I tie your tubes this will be it." I couldn't go through this another time, he had to tie them. Til this day, I'm not sure if I would have made a different decision if I was more coherent, but its the decision I made and now I have to live with that as well.
A scream, I heard my baby scream! And then I don't remember anything after that until a nurse was quietly talking to me in my hospital room. She said " he survived and he is in the NICU, I can't tell you anything except that he is stable." I was so scared to see him. It took me all day before I did, but once I did, it was love at first sight. Kingston Maddox VanderKallen , 5lbs 2 oz was born on October 19,2008. A day I will never forget. He was born with cleft lip/nose and pallate, CHARGE syndrome, deaf and 100% blind. This is my lifes calling, to make sure Kingston has the best life possible and to teach him as much as I possibly can and to let him meet as many people as possible, because he WILL change your life like he did our family. For the best.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


2006: Super bowl Sunday. We are pregnant!

I'm not going to lie, I wasn't 100% thrilled about the fact that we had been married 2 weeks and I was already pregnant. I had just got an AMAZING job at the corporate offices for Journeys in Nashville, and there was talk about me becoming the supervisor for all of the Journey stores maintenance requests. Feeling a little down and conteplating if this would work, the kidney stones struck again. That was the answer I was looking for. It made our decision easy.Wil and I agreed that we needed to be around our family for this upcoming journey. So, we packed up and moved to St.George, UT.
Pregnancy was everything I imagined it to be. Literally the worst 38 weeks of my entire life. I was extremely sick the entire time. Not only morning sick, but approx 54 kidney stones sick. By month 7, I had to have stint placements to help pass the stones. Those failed miserably, and one actually fell into my bladder. I couldn't move, I couldn't do anything. Good thing St.George,UT has a dinky urology office with a doctor that was older than dirt. I wasn't too happy about tweezers going up to take the stints out, WHILE I WAS AWAKE. Let just say, baby #1 was the first and last child I wanted.
September 27,2006 I remember so clearly. It was the first day in 38 weeks that I felt like getting out of the house and going somewhere. I was starving for the first time as well, all this pregnant mama wanted was some Taco Bell. How could it really be that perfect of a day? My water broke, and now I was a mad hungry mama. Wil took me to the hospital and all my doctors just so happened to be there. Within 2hours, Jaxin Edward VanderKallen was born (c-section) . He was perfect, 5.12lbs and 19inches long. Blonde blonde patch of hair on the back of his head ( looked like a mullet) and the bluest eyes you have ever seen. He looked just like Wil in the most opposite kinda way!
We were blessed with the most amazing little boy that we could ever ask for or ever even expect. There are more stories to come about the extent of Jaxin's impact that he has with every single person that he meets.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Why do all great love stories include a Juke Box? Will's Perspective

I was working the front door, to the only night club in downtown Nashville with a dress code.  I remember these two young women that would walk by at least once a week and would stop to talk with a coworker of mine. One girl was obviously friendly to my coworker, the other I would get caught up in small talk every now and again.  Her name was Terril and she was gorgeous!  Her body was bangin' and her personality was like the 4th of July.  She was so much fun to talk to and I couldn't wait another week to see her smile and when I got the opportunity to speak to Terril again, I pulled this total cheesy line.  I got her talking about cell phones and soon had hers in my hand.  I input my phone number, giving her the hint to call me sometime.  She asked me what type of vehicle I drove and when I asked her to guess, she thought a sports car of some kind.  When I told her that I drove a '71 Ford F100 short bed regular cab Classic truck, I think that caught her interest.  In that same conversation we found out that we both worked at Opryland, Terril in reservations while I bar tended at the Pool.
We eventually got to talking and started making plans to have lunch together during work.  And after I put myself out there, she finally asked me on a date.  Terril had her friend drop her off when we met, so that she had to spend time with me and give me a chance (I never did thank him for that).  Our first date was a small Nashville bar where we simply played pool and talked to each other.  We were getting along, but I wasn't sure why I wasn't getting the right vibe.  I mean, I could tell she liked me (and I was definitely in to her) there was something holding her back.  Our conversation eventually lead me to the Juke Box while Terril was getting drinks.  While I was choosing some tunes, a girl came up behind me and wasn't being shy.  I was doing a great job playing it off that there was some strange girl with her arms around me, especially because I could see Terril out the corner of my eye, and she was not pleased.  Terril quickly came to my rescue and stepped between this girl making sure it was known that we were there TOGETHER :)
A few memorible dates took place soon after.  We went to the Titans game when they played the Seahawks.  We took the General Jackson (one of the largest paddle wheel boats in the Nation) from Opryland into downtown, where the boat docks directly in front of the stadium.  We sat ten rows from the side of an endzone where I had friends sitting close by.  It was 20 degrees plus wind when I joined my shirtless friends on the Jumbo-tron.  Terril took a great photo!  And we named our first son Jaxin.
On New Years Eve (welcoming the year 2006) I planned us a nice trip to a Tennessee State Park in the Smokey Mountains.  When we arrived, we quickly discovered that we were the youngest couple by 40 years.  It was awesome!  We had a pre-menu dinner set up in a banquet hall where the music matched the guests.  It was so cheesy, it was cute.  We even had to sneak in the bottle of wine.  The next morning we were going to take different hiking trails to a beautiful waterfall.  We still need to take that hike.  That night Terril came down with a bad fever and was passing kidney stones.  We rushed an hour to the closest hospital where we spent the night.  Holding her hand while she was lying painfully still, I knew I wanted to spend my life with her.
The following morning we both started joking about getting married.  It started as a playful conversation that got less funny over the next couple of weeks.  It was a chilli Wednesday morning on January 25th of 2006.  After breakfast I said; "We should do it.  We should get married." Terril paused and said in the slowest way possible; "When?" I said; "I have the day off!!"
Marriage license by 3pm.  Met with friends at The Beer Cellar at 4pm.  Minister in Centenial State Park downtown Nashville by 5:30pm. We both had only a couple friends each.  Terril's brides maid was Jessi, her same best friend that used to come by my work in downtown.  My best man was a female friend Jada (who later pee'd in the bushes).  We took an unplanned reception to the infamous Wildhorse Saloon where more friends gathered and we celebrated the most spontanious day of our lives.  Our wedding photo was taken with a Kodak disposable camera and to this day is the best photo I have ever seen!!

How two people fell in love.......Terril's Perspective

There is a love story behind every fabulous couple and fabulous family....Here is ours:

May 2005: I woke up to snow in Cedar City, UT in May 2005( actually Mother's day) and my best friend, Jessi and I packed up our little cars with everything that we could possibly fit and hit the road for Nashville, TN. Our dream destination.  Little did I know that I would meet my future husband in Nashville that summer. Jessi and I went downtown at least 3 times a week to go dancing at the Wild Horse Saloon and to listen to as much live music as our little souls could handle before midnight:) Jessi met a cowboy that worked as security outside of a karaoke bar and we made a habit of stopping by every night before we headed home to say goodbye. One hot/humid night in August 2005 Jessi was taking so dang long talking with her "male friend" so I just started up conversation with the bouncer of the Red Iguana club next door. I never caught his name, but I talked with him for the next two weeks outside that club remembering him as the "mexican" who worked down town (later to find out he was Dutch/Indonesian). By the end of the 2nd or 3rd week of not knowing really who this guy was, I happened to run into him at Opryland which was where we both worked during the day. He was a different person there, in his glasses, his khaki shorts, and his tennis shoes. I decided right then and there, I should get his name. Matter of fact, he just took my phone and put his name and number in there, under Wil V....and from that day on, we played phone tag until November 25,2005. That's the day he went home to California for Thanksgiving. I couldn't stop thinking about this boy that I met downtown Nashville, who was not even a cowboy and he drove a beautiful classic 1977Ford truck. Never in my life did I imagine to find someone so out of his comfort of California, working in downtown Nashville.
Wil came home from California. I was happy to see him!! I took him line dancing for the first time in his life. It was the best night of my life. December 18,2005 Wil and his friend Corey took me and Jessi on the General Jackson Showboat Cruise ( that's where we got our son Jaxin's name from ) and we took the cruise ship up the Cumberland River to the Titan's stadium and watched the Titans vs Seahawks game. Amazing! We liked each other alot, and it was different from any other guy I had ever dated. There was something special about this man. Then came Christmas 2005, without any family to celebrate the holiday with, me, Wil, Jessi and 3 other friends all met up at the WaffleHouse for Christmas Breakfast. We were family, and I could feel it in my soul.
The best part our story is New Year's Eve 2005. Wil surprised me with a trip to the Smokey Mountains, where we had a cabin, a nice dinner planned for that evening at the "ball room" and then a hike the next day. We were the youngest people there, BY FAR! All we did was giggle cause I am pretty sure it was a senior citizen New Year's Eve getaway. To top it off, we had to sneak our own wine in to the dinner and Debbie Gibson was the music choice for their New Year's Eve party. Totally fabulous night, especially when Wil reached across the table and said "marry me". What?? I had only been technically dating him for 3 or 4 weeks....CRAZY, but I said "YES". We head back to our cabin and I collapse to the ground, shaking, high fever, and in terrible pain. Our trip was ruined by my reoccuring kidney stones and he had to rush me to a hospital somewhere in the Smokey Mountains( to this day I have no idea where we were). We made it to the ER and when he climbed up on the bed with me and helped me urinate ( by the way, not very comfortable in front of someone you have only been dating for 3 weeks ), I knew we were soul mates.  I just knew it! By January 25, 2006 we were at the court house in Nashville, TN getting our marriage license and calling a pastor to perform the ceremony. $150 later, 6 friends and a park with the Parthenon in the back ground, we were husband and wife!! I couldn't have asked for a more perfect wedding. In fact, I would do it again.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Start of Something New......

My first blog entry isn't going to be about anything specific. I want to share a little bit about my family and what I hope to accomplish.

First, I am Terril Robinson-VanderKallen. I am married to an amazing man, Wilhelmus Johannes Edward VanderKallen ( his mommy calls him Willie). We met in Nashville, TN in 2005 and we were married January 25,2006. We have 2 amazing boys. Jaxin Edward, age 5 and Kingston Maddox age 3. For those of you who know our family, Jaxin is unbelieveable ( which my blogs will go into great detail about how much I adore Jaxin and about how much he adores himself). He is extremely, smart, whitty and gorgeous. And Kingston, he is the best thing to ever happen to me. This may sound weird, since I have been blessed with Wil and Jaxin in my life, but its different. I wouldn't be the person I am today without Kingston. Once again, for all of you who know our know Kingston was born with CHARGE syndrome, hes 100% blind, partially deaf, born with cleft lip/nose and palate. But the kid has personality, and beautiful curls that go down to his diaper line and he has unconditional love for everyone in his life.

Everyone and their family do experience different ups and different downs. But I know that our journey will change many lives out there, and I am ready to share it with our friends, family and those of you out in the world who just need to meet us!
My next blog will start from the beginning 2006-2011........Here we go!