LITTLE FALLS, Minn. — Jenny Borgstrom hardly remembers bringing her baby home from the hospital in March. She was sleep-deprived and everything was nerve-wracking, Borgstrom said.
Her baby, Winston Rochat, was born more than three months early and weighed a mere 1 pound, 1 ounce.
He lived in St. Cloud Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU, and Borgstrom traveled between the hospital and her Little Falls home each day.
Now Winston weighs more than 13 pounds, 11 ounces, and his downy orange hair has turned into a little red faux-hawk. He likes to pump his arms and legs, chatter and laugh on an ottoman in his living room.
"He wakes up every morning cooing," Borgstrom told the St. Cloud Times . "That's all you could ever ask for is a happy baby, after everything in the NICU."
Her dad jokes that when Winston was born he looked a little like the extra-terrestrial in Steven Spielberg's movie "E.T."
"Now he's such a cute little boy with his little red hair," said Winston's grandfather Gregg Borgstrom. "It's been fun to watch."
Winston is about the size of a 2-month-old baby, though he was born nine months ago. He's not cleared of health complications yet.
In June he had emergency surgery for an incarcerated hernia with other complications, Jenny Borgstrom said. Private-duty nurses visit the house for eight hours about three days a week.
Physical and occupational therapists come to the house to work with the baby, too. Preemies are known to be tight in their shoulders and pelvis, said Jaclyn Hoffman, a registered nurse.
The nurses are still around because Winston's growth has been slow, Borgstom said.
"He's pretty much on his own growth chart," she said.
She worries over Winston, but they have had breakthroughs and moments of relief. Smiles and giggles were a big step forward.
"We share a lot of moments of joy, just because how funny he is," Borgstrom said. And it was huge for her family when Winston first laughed, because they're all "a bunch of giggle boxes."
Before she brought Winston home, Borgstrom worried how her three dogs would take to him, and now they snuggle together, she said.
"He just blended right in," she said.
Borgstrom struggled to watch her son at the eye doctor, when a wire would hold his eye open and he threw up every time, she said. But now he's been cleared of an eye disorder called Stage 3 retinopathy of prematurity.
It's been hard for Borgstrom to celebrate Winston's milestones out of order. They didn't get to take newborn photos. Her baby shower happened after his birth.
"I look at him sometimes, and I just cry," Borgstrom said. "Some people have had it worse."
Borgstrom's dad worries too, but he thinks of Winston's growth as a process, with spurts and plateaus. He's also seen his daughter grow and become a mom in unusually difficult conditions.
"Jennifer is a really, really tough individual. She's really stepped up to the plate," Gregg Borgstrom said. He and his daughter have enjoyed watching her 13-year-old brother Jack with Winston.
Jack wasn't allowed in the NICU, and he first met Winston through a window.
"His eyes were so big, when he could see this really, tiny baby," Gregg Borgstrom said. Now Jack holds Winston and makes funny noises for him.
Winston likes anyone who "talks baby to him," Jenny Borgstrom said.
He does have some particular tastes, she said. At first he would listen to only the oldies, through Chubby Checker radio, but now he likes Raffi and Bob Marley.
He's discovering his hands and feet, and he's starting to teethe.
"He's just come so far. I get worried too," Jenny Borgstrom said. "He's such a miracle. I don't know how that happened."
An AP Member Exchange shared by the St. Cloud Times.