Siouxland toddler comes home for the first time
After spending the first three years of his life in the hospital, Jack Miltenberger finally arrives home.
Three year old Jack has been through a lot in his short life, going from hospital to hospital after he was prematurely born in September 2013. But after today, instead of spending his nights in a hospital room, Jack gets to come home.
After suffering from numerous complications, he has never before been home until today.
"He was so excited. We would stop at a traffic light and he would be clapping his hands and smiling and laughing. He was so excited to just be in the car, and I really hope that he knew exactly where he was going and that he was finally getting to come home," says Erin Miltenberger, Jack's mother.
Jack spent much of his first year at the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio followed by a transfer to Sioux Falls.
Jack requires 24-hour care from nurses, which kept him in the hospital for so long.
But the Miltenbergers found four full time nurses to provide the home care their son needed, allowing him to enjoy life closer to family.
"Last night was, I'll take what Erin thought, a kid on Christmas Eve. Glad he's home. Glad he's going to be sleeping here tonight," says Ben Miltenberger, Jack's father.
"I think we're more excited about the little things that we're going to be able to do now, like tucking him into bed at night every night and having dinner as a family," says Erin Miltenberger.
Forget the balloons and banners, this homecoming features the simple things, like a bedroom, toys, and even a visit with the family pets.
"Instead of playing in a hospital room and by himself, he'll have family around and be able to play with him. His big brother and little sister are able to come down and play with him. You don't have to drive up an hour just to go see him. Just hop downstairs or just stay down here and hang out," says Ben Miltenberger.
Erin and Ben Miltenberger are hoping that Jack will come off his ventilator this summer, and they are also planning on having Jack attend preschool soon. But for now, they will enjoy having him home with his brother and sister.