It’s a Girl…

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I’m still working on Charlotte’s birth story, but here is the story about how we found out baby number five was going to be a girl…

Even before we discovered we were pregnant with our fifth baby, Adam and I were totally determined to once again have the gender be a surprise all the way up to delivery. During Alec’s pregnancy, I went back and forth and had my moments of weakness about not finding out, but when all was said and done and he arrived, it was one or the coolest things ever. So there was no question that’s how we wanted to do things the next time around.

At 20 weeks pregnant we had our big anatomy scan/ultrasound. We were confident and determined to not find out the gender. The ultrasound went great and we walked away so happy that there were no red flags and that our baby appeared perfect and healthy. As our doctor was “checking boxes” at the end of ultrasound, he clicked “not seen” for gender. The only concern was that my placenta was low lying which is far from ideal. My doctor said we would have a follow-up ultrasound to watch and see if the placenta moved up and out of the way like it was supposed to.

At my 24 week appointment, I had my follow-up ultrasound. I reminded the doctor that I didn’t want to know the gender. The ultrasound was only like 30 seconds. He looked, saw the placenta had moved where it was supposed to (yay!) and that was it.

At 28 weeks I had another appointment and again, the doctor wanted to do another ultrasound to double check the placenta. Since the last ultrasound was so short and all he did was look at the placenta, I didn’t even think to remind him that I didn’t want to know the gender. Again, he checked the placenta right away and saw it was fine. Then he also checked the baby’s heart rate and we were done. He put away the wand and then he said “oh wait, there’s one more thing I want to check.” He put the doppler back on my abdomen and immediately said “yep, this baby is a girl.”

I’m sure that because my chart said “gender not seen” that he thought he was just covering all bases. He probably should have said “oh, I see we didn’t see the gender, should we check for it?” Maybe my chart should have just said “patient wants to keep gender a surprise.” Or maybe I should have been sure to remind him I didn’t want to know. It all went down so fast. After he told me I was having a girl, he was probably a little confused that I didn’t reply. I just laid there in stunned silence. It had nothing to do with the revelation that we were having another girl (which I had suspected from the get-go because I was so sick and had always been sicker with my girls than my boys.) I just wasn’t expecting to find out at that moment and like that.

I walked away with a tiny itch of disappointment that the big gender reveal wouldn’t happen at delivery like we had planned. After about 2 minutes of “well, there that goes” all that was left was pure jubilation and excitement that we were having another girl!!! Anyone who knows me knows I have zero gender preference. It was fun to start envisioning what our new life would be like with our 3 girls and little boy. And I’m nothing if not consistent (girl-boy-girl-boy-girl.)

I called Adam immediately and said the ultrasound went well…and that I also knew the gender. He was equally excited that we were having another girl.

We decided to keep the gender a “surprise” from EVERYBODY else. We didn’t tell a single soul we knew we were having a girl. We tried so hard to not lie or be dishonest. When asked we tried to carefully phrase our response. When asked “are you having a boy or a girl?” or “do you know the gender?” we tried to always reply “it’s a surprise” instead of saying we didn’t know. Sometimes we couldn’t help be being a little misleading, depending on how people phrased the question or how much they pushed for an answer, but that’s the thing about “surprises”, right? It’s a secret you keep for a little while. So misleading or not, it was our secret to keep. Especially since we were the ones who most wanted it to be a surprise and it was spoiled for us.

It didn’t take long for our smarty pants Megan to suspect that we knew the gender and weren’t telling. I tried not to straight up lie to her, and she could tell. She knew I was lingering a little longer in the baby girl section at the store. She’d heard me slip when referring to the baby and say “she” more than once. I bought Jane and Alec pink outfits to wear to meet their new sister. When Megan brought this up as “irrefutable evidence” that I knew the gender, I was sure to make her “meet the new baby outfit” blue. I considered telling her the truth, but I knew she wasn’t 100% sure and still wanted the element of surprise.

Megan and Jane both wanted the baby to be a girl from the very get-go. I’m not sure how passionate Megan was about it, other than it meant our pattern remained intact. Jane however really wanted another sister. I’m happy things worked in her favor. I thought another little boy would be so fun for Alec, but luckily he is too young to have an opinion and there’s still plenty of time to even out the score.

Hopefully no one is offended that we kept this surprise to ourselves. I can think of a handful of people that I was dying to tell, but it was more fun this way. We sure love our little girl!!!

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The Birth of Charlotte Johanson

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I had felt for a while that baby number five would arrive at least a few days ahead of schedule. I’m not sure if my body was telling me this or if it was just wishful thinking during such a difficult pregnancy, but I felt so certain about it happening. When I was 38 weeks and 4 days (Thursday June 11th) I had a check up with my OB. He checked for progress and found I was at 2 cm. I had no progress even up until 40 weeks with Jane or Alec (and maybe even Megan…I don’t remember…) and I took that as another indicator that things would happen sooner than later. My doctor did a sweep at this appointment, although I am not sure it was a full on sweep because it wasn’t as intense or painful as ones I had had with the other children. We discussed the option of inducing at 39 weeks, but neither of us really felt good about that plan, so nothing was scheduled. I made an appointment for another week and headed home.

I started to have some cramping and contracting that very day, but nothing that made me think labor was near. Off and on through the next few days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) was the same thing. Just random contracting at no regular intervals and with no real intensity. I was really hoping that labor might happen that weekend because Adam had so much going on the next week. He had been invited to give an astronomy presentation at our stake girl’s camp on Tuesday, and had big planetarium presentations at BYU both Wednesday and Thursday. Missing any of those events wouldn’t have been the end of the world, but of course we wanted things to work out so he didn’t have to miss them. But the weekend came and went with no activity.

Monday I was so defeated and ready to be done being pregnant. I tried to stay pretty active during the day. I took the kids to the splash pad and we also did a lot of outside play. More contractions, but again, nothing to make me think labor would soon be here. Tuesday I was super emotional. I was so ready to have my baby! Adam went to the temple in the morning and he worried through the entire session that I would go into labor while he was there. He decided afterwards that if he was stressed enough about being in the temple for 2 hours out of contact that he shouldn’t go up to girl’s camp since it was hours away and also out of cellphone range. I hadn’t had much of an appetite for a few days previously and found I was so hungry on Tuesday so we went to Pizza Pie Café for dinner. Throughout the evening I started to have more intense although not regular or painful contractions. We put the children to bed at 8:00 and I decided to get some laundry done and clean up around the house. At about 10ish contractions started and they were relatively strong. With both Alec and Jane I had regular and painful contractions every evening for several days before they were born so a big part of me thought even if things started up that it would be a few evenings of contractions before it was the real deal. It was quite stressful trying to decide if the baby was really on the way yet, especially because my mom wanted to be at the baby’s birth. With Alec I called her in the middle of the night and told her to come (from Vegas) under these exact same circumstances only to have Alec hang in there for 3 more days. So I waited to call her until I felt certain something was actually happening.

I had contractions every 10-15 minutes for two hours. They weren’t super intense but they had a little kick to them. Then one came at 9 minutes so I called my mom at 12:13am and told her I didn’t know if it was the real deal but I could go to the hospital and at least get checked and keep her posted. Adam and I contacted his cousin to come be with the sleeping children and headed to the hospital. By the time we pulled out of the driveway, at about 12:45am, contractions were at about 4 minutes apart and were starting to really hurt. Things honestly went from “maybe this baby will arrive in 3 days” to “this is happening and this is happening fast.”

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We got to the hospital and got checked in and in a room a little before 1am. They checked me and found I was at 6cm, and contractions had slowed to about 6 minutes apart. They ordered my epidural and the anesthesiologist was there quickstyle. There were some complications getting the epidural to work, however, and it was a pretty awful experience. Because I have such severe back pain, I couldn’t hunch my back over enough to open up my spine so the needle could get into my epidural space. After multiple needle pokes, the doctor decided to have me lay on my side in fetal position with my knees up and my arms hugging my knees and my head in my chest. It was so awkward and uncomfortable. Not to mention the strong contractions I was having through it all. But it worked. Thank goodness. Because of my chronic back pain, I had been looking forward to the epidural since the day I found out I was pregnant (joking, not joking.) The anesthesiologist later told me he has only had that happen about 3 times. Lucky me.
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Once the epidural kicked in I tried to relax while Adam got some work done. They checked me again a little after 2am and I was still at 6cm, “maybe 6 and a half” they said. I was content and confident my mom would make it in time. Adam dozed off and I tried to sleep but it never really came. At 3:30am the nurse came in and told me my doctor ordered poticin if we wanted but we said no. So she checked me again and I was still at a 6, which was fine with me because I wanted my mom to make it. She said there was some fluid when she checked me, but not enough for it to be my waters. At 4am my doctor came in to check me. He checked me and said my water was already broken and I was at 10 centimeters and it was time to push. I only know now that that is what he said. At the time I didn’t really process what he said and I thought surely I wasn’t ready to push since 30 minutes ago I was still at only 6cm.

Suddenly the doctor and the nurse were getting everything ready. I think I asked them what they were doing and what was happening and they were like “you’re having a baby. You’re at 10.” Next thing I knew the doctor was telling me to push. It seriously all happened so fast! I pushed once and they were like “wait, we need the baby nurse.” So they got the “baby nurse” and then they had me push again with the next contraction. Then the doctor said “okay, with the next contraction your baby will be here.” Then he said “or you can just push now if you don’t want to wait.” So I pushed and I felt her arrive. I love that part. Only thing is, she was very blue and wasn’t crying. I asked if she was okay and my doctor said, “let’s just have the nurse take a look at her.” So instead of handing her to me he handed her to the nurse. I said, “be careful with her. Please don’t drop her.” The nurse chuckled and said, “there’s a first for everything I guess.” It wasn’t long before they had her crying. The sweetest little cry (they told me later the cord was around her neck – just like my other 4 children.) Then they brought her right over to me and placed her on my chest. Baby Charlotte arrived 4 days early at 4:04am on June 17th, 2015.

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At this point I started shaking and trembling something fierce and I kind of checked out mentally. My baby was here and she was perfect and healthy but it had happened so fast and I was struggling to process it all. I’ve always loved labor and delivery. It’s my favorite part of pregnancy (other than the baby obviously!) I felt kind of robbed of that time between 6cm and 10cm. 30 minutes? That’s seriously not enough time. At 10pm I wasn’t even sure if labor was really starting and at 4am I was holding my new baby. I was sad my mom had missed it and I knew she would be disappointed. And all the stress and worry for the health of my baby that had accumulated over the 9 months of pregnancy was now shifted to caring for this new tiny human. More than with Jane and Alec I had worried that Charlotte would be born sick like Jack. It was such a mixed feeling of fear and relief when she arrived. And as I lay there holding her, I was just so overwhelmed and emotionally and physically exhausted. I recognize now though that it was a very positive and wonderful birthing experience. After all, it’s beyond wonderful any time a baby arrives healthy and perfect. I often close my eyes and go back to that moment; the moment I laid shaking and weary and confused and holding my new child. But when I go back there and experience it again in my mind, I can feel the peace and joy and calm and closeness to heaven that I missed the first time. I hope those are feelings and a memory that will not soon leave me.

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Once I pulled myself together I nursed Charlotte and spent some time discovering every little part of her. She weighed in at 7lbs 11oz and was 19.5 inches long. She had lots of light brown hair, with little splashes of blonde throughout. She had one of my dimples high up in her check and my tiny little mouth. She was squishy and pink and perfect.

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Adam finally pried her from me and swaddled her tight and held her close. He sure loves his little girl.
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My mom arrived about half past 6. I called her shortly after Charlotte arrived and told her baby was here and it was a girl I kind of wish I would have waited to tell her the baby was a girl so she could have been surprised when she met her. My mom was able to be there when the other children arrived, however, and got to see their excitement about getting a new sister. Adam brought them over at about 8am. They were so cute and sweet and I was on cloud 9 with my 4 sweet babies.

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The children meet Charlotte:


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I know this is plenty long but I would be remiss if I didn’t express gratitude for the timing of Charlotte’s arrival as far as the other children are concerned. I was so worried about who we would leave them with when the time came. Most of our close by family had to work during the day and I was worried how Alec would do with someone he didn’t really know. I was also worried about someone else having to take care of mealtimes or bedtime with my children because my kids are very particular about food and sleep routines. I prayed and prayed for the best case scenario. I specifically prayed I would go into labor in the evening, shortly after the children went to bed. The timing worked out beautifully that all the children were asleep and slept the entire time we were at the hospital and Adam arrived back home just 5 minutes after Alec woke up and both girls were still asleep. Alec also has a tendency to wake in the night and wants only his mama but he didn’t wake at all that night. Everything worked out so well. And I’m so grateful to Adam’s cousin Kristen who answered our late night call and had no problem coming over. And speaking of timing, Adam obviously missed the girl’s camp presentation, but he was able to make it to his two BYU lectures which was very important to him. Prayers answered all around.

Between my 5 children I have had so many different labor experiences. I have experienced the most wonderful and perfect labor as well as a very terrifying and awful labor and everything in between. But I can honestly look back at all 5 labor and deliveries with fondness and happiness and gratitude for the children I have been blessed with. Looking back I have nothing but positive thoughts, even for the emergency c-section and even though my Jack arrived so sick and didn’t make it. I marvel that I got to bring all these sweet babies earth-side and that they are mine for all eternity. I am so grateful that Charlotte is here and that she is perfect and beautiful and I will spend every day of my life keeping her safe and making her feel loved. Thank you for choosing us Charlotte. We love you too much.

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Megan Finishes 3rd Grade!

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Megan had her last day of 3rd Grade on May 28th. She has had a great year!

First day of 3rd grade and last day of 3rd grade

First day of 3rd grade and last day of 3rd grade

Megan’s school always has a dance festival on the last day, and this year was no different. The morning dawned cloudy, and by the time Megan performed, it was raining pretty good. She was still all smiles and did a great job on her dance. For some reason the video isn’t loading (argh!) but I will keep trying and get it on here as soon as I can.

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We wanted to catch her teachers before we left school for good, but unfortunately, Megan’s Chinese teacher left straightway for the airport. We said goodbye to her English teacher though, and Megan would also like me to include the only picture we have of her with her Chinese teacher…which is from the very first time we met her.

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Honestly, I didn’t have a lot of interaction with Megan’s teachers this year. They loved her and only said the nicest and best things about her, but I think they were both a little young and overwhelmed. Megan had no complaints though, so we’re calling it a successful year. There were ups and downs for sure, but Megan continues to thrive…academically. The social is…coming along. I’m very proud of my girl and can hardly believe she will start 4th grade in the fall! She really is growing up so fast. Too fast.

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Congrats on another year of schooling, Megan! We love you!

Jane Completes UPSTART Year 1

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Jane has been doing the Upstart computer program through the Waterford Institute this school year. We are so fortunate to have the program set up at our local stake center at no cost to us. Jane started the program the week after Megan started 3rd grade, and finished the week before Megan finished.

Jane did awesome at her “computer class.” It was 3 days a week and initially only about 30 minutes a day, but Jane did so great that we bumped her up to about an hour each day. There were only about 5 other children in her session, and I have to say, she was the most disciplined and most willing to complete her work each day. I was so proud of her.

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Jane was very academically successful with this program. She learned to read and write all her letters and many numbers. She was introduced to the months of the year, the days of the weeks, the weather, music, the 5 senses, and many other things. By the end of the school year, she was reading small words.

This upcoming fall, if we stay in Utah, Jane (and Alec) will be able to do the program for another year, again at no cost to us, and this time from home. If we move from Utah, the program will cost, but I think we will pay for it because of how successful Jane has been with it. Alec always attended the class with us and occasionally wanted to try, but he is just a little too young yet. He’ll be ready soon enough!

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Way to go Jane!

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Payson Temple Open House

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It sure is a wonderful time to be living in Utah. Temples are all around us and more continue to be built. Last year we were able to go to the Bountiful Temple Open House and this year we were able to go to the Payson Temple open house. We’re not sure the timeline for when the Provo City Center temple will be completed, but I would LOVE to be able to attend that open house as well.

The Payson Temple was GORGEOUS. The surrounding neighborhood and area was so pleasant and sweet and beautiful, it was a wonderful setting for a new temple. The beauty of the inside of the temple is unmatched. It was so glorious and lovely. The children loved it. They were so calm and peaceful and reverent. They could tell they were somewhere special for sure.

Megan enjoying the fountains on the beautiful temple grounds.
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The children outside the temple. They had a great experience.

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I love temples. I love that in the temple is when I can be closest to my Heavenly Father and my Jack and other loved ones who have passed on. One of the reasons why it’s so important to me to keep my home clean and calm is because I know it’s the next best thing to the temple. I’m grateful for my temple marriage. I love my little family and love experiencing things like this with them.
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Megan’s Science Fair Project

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Megan was so excited to enter her school’s third grade science fair. She had lots of great ideas, and we finally came up with one that was easy to execute as well as could teach her some scientific principles.

She decided to test the melting rates of ice in various substances.

Here is Megan’s explanation of her project and results:

The Melting rates of ice
By Megan Johanson
Question: Which ice cube will melt first?
Hypothesis: I think the ice cube with salt will melt first.
Variable: What I added to the ice.
Materials: salt, sugar, water, ice, bowls, a tablespoon measuring cup, timer.

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Procedure: 1. I put the ice in the bowls. 2. I put the ingredients in the bowls (one tablespoon), salt sugar, water and air. 3. I checked on it every 15 minutes.
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Result: The ice with the sugar melted first, then the air, then water,
and last, sugar.
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Substance Salt Sugar Water Air
Time 1h 35m 2h 42m 2h 00m 2h 21m
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Conclusion: My hypothesis was correct. This explains why we put salt on the ground at winter time. It helps the ice melt. I was surprised the sugar took the longest.

She took the entire thing very seriously. She is a very inquisitive and smart girl. I’m so proud of her and her hard work!

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Megan Soccer Season 2015

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Megan had a great time playing soccer this year. Megan loves being part of a team. She worked hard and played hard and had a lot of fun.

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Megan’s first game was March 25th and they played 8 games through May 2nd. She was one of the younger and smaller girls on her team, but she was a great little teammate. Her team this year (the Pandas) had a much more successful record than last year. Megan was especially awesome at assisting her teammates and playing whatever position her coach put her in.

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I was relieved that I didn’t have to coach this year! But Adam was recruited to Coach the first couple games as well as help out at practice. He did a great job! The real coach was also very awesome. He had to put up with some pretty strong attitudes, but he was always kind and patient. I would not have been as graceful! Ha!

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Sometimes Megan’s anxiety got the best of her, but mostly she had a great attitude and loved every minute of soccer. She is slowly becoming more coordinated and skilled. I am so glad that soccer has been such a good fit for her.

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I think Megan’s favorite part of soccer was when she got to toss in the ball when the other team kicked it out of bounds! She was always first to volunteer to throw it in!

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Megan celebrating a goal with another teammate. She really does love being part of a team. She is so supportive and excited for each player and their accomplishments.

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One of Megan’s teammates was also a classmate from school. Sarah was so nice to Megan and only had the kindest things to say about her. It was fun having her on Megan’s team as well as getting to know her mother.

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Of course we can’t forget Megan’s faithful cheerleaders! Even cousin Norine made it to a game!

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Way to go Pandas! Congrats on a great season!

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