Ronald McDonald House

Although my sister needed to remain in the NICU for an undetermined amount of time, mom got discharged from the hospital on Saturday, July 29, just three days after Genesee’s birth. Luckily, we were able to check into the Ronald McDonald House so we could stay in Rochester and IT. WAS. SUPER. DUPER. Not only was RMH filled with trains, games and free ice cream, it also had such a wonderful mission and became a much-appreciated home away from home, alleviating stress during such a challenging time. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to stay with mom when Dad had to return to work. Mom says I was the perfect sidekick and the best little helper. But really, did she expect anything less? I mean, sure, I might be trying to step up my game a bit, but most of my awesomeness comes naturally.

More Love!

After Genesee made her big debut, we continued to enjoy lots of visitors! It was wonderful and lovely and all fun and games until I started to suspect that folks weren’t making the trip to see me and my dance moves. It almost seemed like that sister of mine was stealing the show. How could that be? She isn’t even entertaining, unless you get easily impressed by someone sleeping, pooping, and repeating. Hmmm…. I guess I’ll have to learn how to share the spotlight… or step up my game!

Meeting Genesee

Welp, the situation took a dramatic turn! Mom finally convinced herself that she simply had to hang out at the hospital for an uneventful few weeks until a routine c-section would be scheduled between weeks 35-37. But suddenly, in the middle of the 33rd week, just five days after mom became a Mayo Rochester antepartum patient, the dreaded phone call came. At 7:04 a.m. on Wednesday, July 26, Mom informed Dad that she had experienced vaginal bleeding (as a result of blowing her nose in the bathroom) and was being rushed to the operating room. (Thank goodness Mom was surrounded by AWESOME nurses and doctors!) Dad responded, “Okay honey. Good luck. I’ll be right there.” But really, we were at home, two hours away. As we quickly packed the car to head to Rochester for the longest 91-mile drive ever, the doctors efficiently and confidently prepped mom with a pep talk, a catheter, intravenous therapy, and general anesthesia. Then, as mom drifted off to sleep, the surgeons made an incision in her lower abdomen and pulled out my baby sister three short minutes later, at 7:15 a.m.

After being sewn back together, mom returned to consciousness around 9:15 a.m. and numbly asked, “Is she alive?! Am I alive?!” Upon hearing the doctors respond “yes” to both questions, mom instantly felt the excruciating pain of an expeditious cesarean section, endured under just general anesthesia. Fifteen minutes and several doses of morphine later, Dad and I arrived at mom’s bedside in a state of disbelief and concern. But after being reassured that mom and baby should recover well, we were escorted to another bright and busy room where the three of us became four of us.

This was the day I officially became a big brother; I even have a certificate to prove it.


Although my sis and I were both born via emergency c-section, with a full head of black hair, and immediately sent to the NICU, there are several things that set us apart:

  • Sister is a girl. (I’m a boy.)
  • Sister was born almost 7 weeks early. (I was one week late; a true dilly-dallyer as Dad often calls me.)
  • Sister weighed only 4 lbs and 11 oz and measured 18 inches at birth. (I was bigger! 7 lbs, 5 oz and 21 inches.)
  • Sister was born in Minnesota, a different state than me. (I’m a Wisconsinite.)
  • Sister didn’t have a name until a couple days after she arrived. Apparently, my name suggestions (“Cuckoo Clock” or “Apple Surprise”) did not stick.

Eventually, sissy-butt became known as Genesee Jaydeigh Goodenough (pronounced JEN-eh-see JAY-dee). Although Google will tell you that Genesee means “Beautiful Valley,” the name is actually a connection to our maternal family. Once upon a time, my Aunt Nay Nay (Helen Renee) lived in a southeastern Wisconsin town named Genesee and my Nana Florence would always say that the trick to remembering how to spell it was to combine the names of Papa Florence (GENE) and Aunt Cha Cha (ChelSEE). Plus, the initials of Genesee’s first and last name (GG) are like “Gigi,” the nickname that Nana Florence gave to my mom when my cousin Brooklyn was born. Jaydeigh, on the other hand, derives from my dad’s nickname “JD,” which stands for “Joel Duane” (the first names of Dad and Grandpa Goodenough). And so, her middle name celebrates family too, by preserving our paternal roots!

My first impressions of Genesee are as follows:

  • She’s really furry.
  • She has long fingers.
  • She’s strong.
  • She’s not much for conversation… doesn’t even cry, but she is quite the grunter and squeaker!
  • She is loved.
  • And as you’ll hear in the below musical tribute (dedicated by Auntie Cha Cha), the world is a “better place” since she came along.

Welcome to the world, Genesee Jaydeigh Goodenough!

Feeling the love

Although the circumstances around mom’s hospital stay were unfortunate, there were definite perks that came with the deal: FOOD, FRIENDS, and FAMILY!! We received so much support through phone calls, text messages and visits. In fact, I was overwhelmed and humbled by how many people made the trip out to Rochester to witness my dance moves and bring me goodies. Thanks, peeps! We felt the love.

The Mayo Clinic (Rochester) Referral

On July 21, Dad and I had to rush mom and her belly to the world-renowned Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester, MN because her 32-week ultrasound revealed information that put her into the high-risk pregnancy category. The placenta previa condition that was noted at the 20-week ultrasound had now changed to vasa previa, a rare and potentially “disastrous” condition, according to the doctor. And so just like that, mom was admitted to the hospital…

Luckily, mom did not have to endure bed rest or intrusive monitoring; she just needed to be close to an operating room should my little sister try to arrive early. In fact, if mom saw any blood, the doctors would need to deliver my sister within minutes otherwise she might not survive. Whoa?! That’s a lot to take in. So, mom cried and tried to prepare for the worst. Dad asked questions while searching for balance between optimism and realism. And because everyone navigates stress in different ways, and because I interpreted the doctor’s orders as a free hotel stay, and because I’m only 3 years old, I decided to cope by showcasing my latest and greatest dance skills in exchange for free smiles and stickers from all the nurses. Clearly, as you’ll see from the videos below, I’ll be the one to pull us through this difficult situation.

Family Reunion 2017

On July 15th, we road tripped to Papa’s to make sure he’s been behaving and to accompany him to the family reunion. There’s always new toys to play with or new projects to work on at Papa’s house, but my favorite thing to do is peruse the car magazines with him and compare notes. During this particular visit, we also reunited with extended family in Racine, where I indulged in cupcakes and met my Great Great Aunt Dorothy who just turned 99 years young!! What is the secret, I wonder, to aging so gracefully and living such a long, full life? I hope the answer is cupcakes. It’s gotta be cupcakes. Happy Birthday, Aunt Dot!

O Canada!

Here’s one way to celebrate America’s Independence Day: Head to Canada!

On June 29, we embarked on our trip to Vermilion Bay, Ontario for a fishing adventure on Eagle Lake! After a relaxing night’s sleep in Duluth, MN, and a stop at a stretch-your-legs wayside on Pelican Lake,

we had finally arrived!

We found our home-away-from home at one of Cedar Point Lodge’s quaint cabins.

Of course, most of our vacation was spent on the water, fishing for fishes. (I caught 5 Northern pike one night!)

But, it’s not a successful vacation without heading into town for a little shopping, sight-seeing, and ice cream too!

Some of my favorite moments included racing cars on the kitchen table, building Lego characters in the cabin, playing walkie-talkie with anyone who would respond, welcoming Dad and Grandpa home from their 1st shift fishing escapades, admiring the lake from our deck, and learning how to take enjoy a shower!

Although there were no July 4th fireworks to be applauded, I did get to admire a double rainbow in the sky and a new stamp in my passport!

In the end, this adventure was about spending lots of quality time with my family, so no sparklers or explosives were needed to make this trip an absolute blast! ….That’s how we celebrate America’s Independence Day.