Jenna Bush Hager never lost her name from the “Hoda & Jenna” fourth-hour of “Today,” but this morning, November 11, marked the first time in months that the friendly co-host from Texas sat next to her morning show partner, Hoda Kotb. More remarkable than their “Excited to Be Reunited” festivities for the special broadcast is that the NBC ladies only lasted five shows together back in mid-April.

That’s when surprising news came that Hoda Kotb’s second adopted daughter, and delight of her life, Hope Catherine, had arrived.

Not wanting to squelch one second of Hoda’s maternity joy, Jenna Bush Hager kept her own pregnancy a secret from America, but not her closest circle. Jenna also wanted to ensure that the beloved Kathie Lee Gifford got the sendoff she deserved after 11 groundbreaking years on “Today” with Hoda Kotb. She guarded her growing secret with help from Spanx and sports bras, but on April 22, Jenna Bush Hager finally was free to be an expectant mom, and she revealed that her baby was the first male grandchild in her presidential family.

To say that Hager did her hosting duty for “Today” is an understatement. On the day of her last on-air “Today” shift with Willie Geist (before maternity leave) on August 2, she was at the hospital giving birth within hours to her son, Henry Harold Hager. His sisters quickly dubbed him as “Hal.”

There were baby pictures and welcome back wishes galore this morning. Jenna is back in the saddle again, and she hasn't lost a step or any of her Texan accent. She isn't the only familiar face stopping by “Today” this week.

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Perfect timing

The fourth hour of “Today” is famously known high emotion, so much so that a tissue box descends from the rafters, perfectly on cue with the tears.

“I’m already crying,” Jenna Bush Hager exclaimed before embracing Hoda Kotb for the first time on the show in nearly seven months. Hager did show off some moves as Baby from “Dirty Dancing” for the traditional Halloween festivities on “Today,” but tears don’t belong on the dance floor.

Showing off a precious recent photo of baby Hal smiling, and more of him surrounded by his sisters, Hager confessed that "[she] squeezed him a little tighter last night, and cried on his little head.” At the same time, the new mother also related that while having three young children is sometimes hard, her son is far more mellow than his female siblings.

“As long as he’s fed, loved, and held close to someone who loves him, he's great,” according to mom. She admits that her girls, Mila (Margaret), 6, and Poppy Louise, 4, are already more dramatic. A question, “Are you okay?” gets a reply of “Yes, but I'm having a bad day!” Hal doesn't seem prone to bad days just yet. Mom was savoring having a place that she wanted to come back to, and Jenna settled into feeling right at home.

“How did your mother do it?” Jenna Bush Hager inquired of Hoda Kotb. The Bush family mothers, as well as Hoda’s, managed work, motherhood, and multiple siblings, and with perfect timing again, former first lady, Laura Bush called in to “Today.”

Mrs.

Bush was delighted for the reason that Jenna was on maternity leave, but voiced that she was also glad to have Jenna back at a place “where dad and I can keep an eye on you.” There were some audio issues, and the first daughter called out “Mama, mama?” making sure of the connection. She promised that Grandma would see Hal in person at Christmas.

Another friend rings in

A long roster of stars sent happy wishes to welcome Jenna Bush Hager back to her “Today” duties. The timing was convenient, since most were on the red carpet of the People’s Choice Awards Sunday night, November 10.

One of Jenna Bush Hager's big girl crushes, Trisha Yearwood, called with good wishes, too.

Only a beloved professional with timing like Kathie Lee Gifford could bring spontaneity and smiles straight from a doctor's office, and that's just what she did.

“Welcome back, sweet girl,” Kathie Lee said. Her name alone brought squeals from Jenna and Hoda. Hearing that her call was coming in the middle of a mammogram was the true topper of the greeting. Kathie Lee promised that she would be visiting “Today” tomorrow, November 12, to talk about her latest Hallmark Christmas movie in her Godwink series.

She signed off by saying “I'm going to keep getting smashed, and I'll see you tomorrow.”

Even on Jenna Bush Hager's big day back, Kathie Lee still knows how to make it more fun.

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