The Homecoming… finally

After 40 days in the hospital, over 3 weeks of postpartum night sweats for mom, several oxygen dips, too many Bradycardia episodes, bilirubin treatment, a failed car seat test, gavage feeding tubes, and of course lots of progress and growth along the way, Genesee was finally approved for discharge!

Prior to this much-anticipated moment, on the eve of Genesee’s homecoming, mom performed a trial run, where she “roomed in” with my sister at the hospital, just to make sure they liked each other.

Spoiler alert: They loved each other! And since mom was also successful at keeping Genesee alive without tubes, machines, or 24-hour medical care, it was time to pack up our bags and bring little G home… so long as we could get past the nurses who were plotting to steal her.


But just as the NICU staff hated to see sweet Genesee go, we couldn’t stand to see her stay another minute. And so, just like that, on August 29, 2017, we buckled our precious, premature bundle of absolute joy into her car seat and took the fastest, safest, and most direct route to the Onalaska Culver’s Restaurant. (Because turtle sundaes, duh.)


Then, at long last (and upon completion of a romantic drive-thru lunch as a fully intact family of four), Genesee had arrived home. Finally. Just where she belonged.


Of course, I immediately assumed my big brother role: helping with sponge baths, discarding diapers, patting for burps, exchanging snuggles, taking G for walks, and modeling shopping cart etiquette.


Being the lovely assistant is great and all, but the best part of having a little sister is the bond we already share. In fact, you’ll often find me holding her hand, kissing her forehead, or just loving on her like only a big brother can.


Genesee’s homecoming was a long time coming, but it was definitely worth the wait; she fits right in and completes our family that didn’t even feel incomplete until she came along. Adding two feet to our house was the ultimate home improvement!

Me vs. Hospital

I like to pride myself on my 10-second attention span (easily 5 seconds longer than most of my buddies), but spending hours upon hours at the NICU is a true test. So, game on!

Surviving the hospital takes precision and skill. And manipulation. Once my parents started to pity me for having to exchange my weekends for NICU visits, I took advantage of the situation by suggesting an alternate route to the hospital (via toy stores) so we could purchase new cars that would pass the time and ensure good behavior.


Hospital: 0 | Jaeger: 1

The nurses decided to play along too by making me a car garage!


But the cars only went so far. Literally. I was restricted to driving them within the confines of Genesee’s very small NICU cubicle. Eventually (10 seconds later), I grew tired of my too-small race track and decided to outsmart the hospital and keep myself entertained in the following ways:

I utilized mom’s breast pump to increase the milk supply.


I jumped off every empty couch I could find in an effort to perfect my dismount.


I documented Genesee’s silly faces so she can thank me later.


I taught Genesee how to be a bed hog like me.

I snapped selfies with my ladies.


I taste-tested the hospital bakery items.


I convinced my parents to take me to a playground to break up the day.

And to Riverside Park.

And to the Children’s Museum.

In the end, however, the hospital was stiff competition, wearing me down and attempting to defeat me.

…But my shirt reminds me why we’re there, what I have to look forward to, and who the real winner is.




Take off your shoes and stay a while…

Apparently, I’m not the only one adored by nurses. The La Crosse NICU team liked my sister so much that they decided to keep her for several weeks after she arrived! Needless to say, this extended hospital stay somewhat counterbalanced the excitement and convenience of having little G in a more familiar zip code. But while we couldn’t take Genesee home right away, fortunately, with amazing friends and family in our lives, we were able to bring home to her:

Rock Star

So basically, my sister is a rock star! The medical staff at Mayo Rochester decided Genesee was doing SO well that they cleared her to be transported to the La Crosse hospital on August 3! And because of her rock star status, they ordered her a sweet ambulance ride to ensure a safe arrival at the NICU, and allowed mom to tag along as part of Genesee’s fan club. Upon hearing the news, Dad and I enthusiastically drove to La Crosse, secured front row seats to the show, and then, as we caught our first glimpse of little Miss Rock Star, this crowd went wild!

Celebrating Mom

In the midst of this whole ordeal, I watched my mother age…. not as a result of stress, but because birthdays have a way of making us grow older. Mom, however, didn’t even realize that July had turned to August, but it wasn’t lost on Dad. In fact, after a long day at work, he made a special 2-hour trip out to Rochester on that Tuesday evening so we could celebrate mom. First, we showered her with Dad-selected-and-Jaeger-approved gifts. Then, we enjoyed the most serene August 1st skies from our cute sidewalk patio table, and treated mom to Pasquale’s authentic New York Style pizza with a birthday cake chaser! Finally, after our bellies were no longer empty, we decided to fill up our hearts by returning to the NICU where we admired the most precious gift of all, my adorable little sister.