Our foster to forever girl turns TWO!

So tomorrow is a day definitely to be celebrated because it’s Gracelynn’s first birthday as a JOHNSON! From the moment I laid my eyes on her, I knew that God has amazing things in store for her precious life.  He chose to give her life when it could easily had been taking from her with the use of some really harsh drugs while her biological mom was pregnant with her.  It’s God’s grace that saved her life, knowing how much of a profound impact she is going to make (and has already made) on so many lives.  Being born at 24 weeks gestation, at only 1lb and 8 oz.,she started out with this life as a fighter.  She fought to live, she surpassed ALL odds, she had amazing NICU nurses who loved her and treated her as if they were her own.

I am amazed at how everything worked out for the first four months of her life that we missed.  When we got the phone call from CPS stating that “there is a medically fragile newborn ready for discharge in the hospital in San Antonio, Tx” we immediately said yes.  THEN we got the phone call that stated that they chose US for this baby girl, and we got in the car right away to go meet her precious self! She was SO little for being 4 months old, and we had to gown/glove up from head to toe when meeting her because her high risk of spreading an infection/getting an infection.

Let’s just say two years have flown by, and we could have never imagined what a wild ride we would have been on with her case in foster care, and then finally closing that chapter of her life with her adoption.    Shane and I are both amazed by how much our baby girl has grown, how funny she is, and how incredibly hyper she is!

I wanted to leave you all with some sweet pictures of our baby girl from the moment we met, until now! Hope you all enjoy them (as much as we did/do)♥♥!!

Gracelynn- you were everything our family needed and we are so blessed and thankful that God picked us to be your forever parents and family!!

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©2018 Sheridan Johnson @Journey with the Johnsons. All Rights Reserved.

The FULL birth story–details and all

Ok so it started out being my 37 week check-up on January 9th, 2018 and I for sure was hoping that I had dilated more to a 5 by this point since I had been dilated to a 3-4 the past few weeks and I was DETERMINED that this was the THE birth day of my child!

My doctor examined me and said that once he stripped my membranes it would dilate me even more (and I would be around 5cm dilated) and that I could be sent to labor and delivery at Detar North Hopsital in Victoria, Tx.  With my bags all packed in my car, and my mom with me, we grabbed a bite to eat (which I couldn’t eat much at this point because I was so nervous/anxious that today would be the day that I would get to meet this precious miracle of mine) and headed to the hospital.  Of course they had to examine me once I was admitted (I was just about 5cm dilated), and ask 1,000 questions (or at least it felt like it) that I have already answered when I was in pre-term labor 3 weeks prior, but I did not mind and was ready to get hooked up to pitocin and get this labor started!

It was near 1:15pm or so that I was initially hooked up to pitocin and I estimated that I would have the baby around 5pm (which I was way off) lol but I asked my doctor and the nurses this time if I could go at a slower pace on the pitocin so that I could labor all naturally again and be able to enjoy walking around and talking/playing with my kiddos (and they said yes).  During this time I had my step-dad bring up 2 of the kiddos to the hospital and Shane brought the other 2 when he get off work.

Every 2 hours just about I dilated 1 more cm and during this time, the day nurse that was taking care of me was SO sweet and made sure that I had enough ice chips and the super amazing thing she did was find me a wireless monitor so that I could be on the labor ball, and walk around with my kids in the room, etc and just have freedom from the uncomfortable bed.  I LOVED this and I will remember that forever!

During the transitional part of labor (about 7cm-10cm) I was doing fine with my breathing techniques and having Shane hold my hand and rub my back throughout the entire labor until this point (and then she broke my water).  I had asked to be checked and I was 8cm dilated and 100% effaced and I had nicely (because with Rochelle I was screaming and yelling the entire end of my natural-no pain medication labor) asked the nurse if she had anything that could lessen the pain ( I do this every time I am about to push lol) and she said “sweetie I am so sorry at this point if I give you anything, it could slow the rest of the labor down and you are about to start pushing so right now I don’t think that would be the best option” and I took a deep breath and said “ok thank you, could you please call my doctor right now I feel like I need to push”.

Well, she had come back a minute later and brought all the delivery supplies into the room–at this point my mom had taken Brielle downstairs around 8:45-9pm (She was the only child that stayed because she just HAD to see if I was having a boy or a girl since we had waited to find out until birth and they don’t allow visitors past 9pm in the delivery room) and I knew I was about to have our baby.

I had been in the bed towards the end of the labor because it hurt too much to get up and I REALLY needed to focus on my breathing and working through the intense pain I was feeling. I knew I was going to transition from 8cm to 10cm pretty quickly and was really trying to prepare myself mentally for the actual delivery.  Of course (yet again) my doctor did not make it in time because just after all the nurses turned on the warmer for the baby, and got everything ready with my bed (taking it all apart, make sure all the sterilization procedures where in place and put on gloves) and I felt a HUGE sensation to push! All three of the nurses in the room told me “hold the baby in by crossing your legs” so I did just that two times and on the third time I told the nurse that was right in front me ” I NEED TO PUSH RIGHT NOW! I am sorry but I cannot hold this baby in anymore, get ready to catch”!!

Well, let’s just say one push later at 9:22pm weighing in at  7 lb 15 oz and 19 1/4 inch tall baby BOY Malachi Andreas Johnson was born and THEN my doctor arrived (about 3-5 minutes after I delivered) to get out my placenta and to see if I needed any stitching (I think he may have done one stitch to prevent excessive bleeding but no tearing thank goodness).

I was so excited to meet my son right away, and put him directly on my chest and start breast feeding right away (and he latched SO good I didn’t need any help from the lactation consultant this time– even though help was definitely provided).  Shane was an AWESOME labor coach the entire time and went over and beyond to make sure I was ok, make sure kids were taken care of ( and tried to help my parents as much as possible with this aspect as well)  and I am SO very thankful and amazed at the goodness of God at how everything turned out!

We had to stay in the hospital for a day and a half because they don’t discharge at night so because of his birth time, we left about 39 hours after his was born, and we (Shane and I) were SO ready to head  home and see all of the kiddos and be a family of 7!

I will leave you with some pictures of the journey to bring Malachi into this world, and I thank you all for the MANY prayers, support, encouragement, and love that you all have provided us during his pregnancy!

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©2018 Sheridan Johnson @Journey with the Johnsons. All Rights Reserved.

Burdens

rocks

Image credit: here

So this past weekend I went on a women’s retreat and one of the activities that we did was let go of all the many burdens that we carry around with us each day and give it to God.

Well, those who know me, know how much losing Lamar still hurts and affects me.  I have had this post for 2 years now in my drafts in fear judgement and criticism of others. What I have learned is that I am forgiven, redeemed, and loved by God, and that is why I am able to finally be lifted of the burden I have been carrying around for years and share with you all.

So here is my story of my son Lamar Grant Johnson:

So this has been a long time coming, and let me tell you, some of my best friends don’t even know the real story of what happened with Lamar.  So please if you are a close friend, don’t think this the wrong way that you don’t know the truth, because only a select few do.

On March 26, 2012 the day we found out we were pregnant with Lamar, was probably one of the best days of our lives.  He was our first baby, and we just barely tried for one month and got pregnant! We were imagining our life together, welcoming our first child in November of that year. (I honestly think my due date with him was Rochelle’s birth day)

When we first got our first “abnormal” screening from my blood work around week 16, my Doctor didn’t think much, as I was a young 22 year old that was healthy with no previous history of anything.  He gave us the opportunity to go see a specialist if we would like, or we could just wait another month to get more blood work done and a better view of the baby on the sonogram.  It was this week that we found out we were carrying a boy, and boy were we excited!!

At the specialist on week 19, the doctor stated multiple problems with Lamar (ASD,VSD, Tetrology of Fallot) basically stating that his blood flow is opposite of most people and he would not be “compatible with life”. His entire heart was formed wrong, his hands were inverted, and did not open up correctly and they knew he was having multiple genetic problems, and then offered me the option of getting this brand new blood work done to test for chromosomal abnormalities.  Of course, Shane and I were on board since we did not want to do an amniocentesis unless absolutely necessary.

The blood work came back that everything was fine(no chromosomal abnormality), but the specialist still had her doubts and highly suggested that we get an amniocentesis done.  I was so hesitant, and crying so hard that the amniocentesis felt like the worst pain in the world, and I could feel the long needle going through every.single.layer of my stomach.  On July 6th, 2012 this confirmed our worst fear.  The doctor and counselor both stated that this did not come from Shane or myself and it was called no translocation. The doctor stated that he would be stillborn, or we would have to watch him suffer while taking his first and last breath as I delivered him.  They kept saying and saying over and over again the word “abortion” and some how convinced Shane and I that, that was really the only option we had.

I was right in my finals of my LVN program, and was heading towards my second semester of my RN program the semester after that.  I knew that if school ended in December, and I was due in November, that I would not be okay with having my child pass away and then me having to return to school that next day (the nursing program RARELY lets you miss a day of school–ever).

I was 23 weeks and 6 days, when we made the choice to have an abortion.  We prayed, and our asked for our families for prayers, and we just did not know what the right answer was, and we felt like God was not responding to our prayers at all (little did I know that we were not exactly waiting or being patient enough to hear His response as well).  We were new to the Christian life as a married couple and did not Jesus at the center of it all.

We had a week to make the hardest choice in our life from the moment we found out he had Trisomy 18, to the moment I had to make the hardest appointment in my life. On July 14, 2012 at 9:57am our son was born.  No, he was not the way I pictured him, and he looked exactly like the sonograms, I got to see his hands folded inward, his perfect pale skin, and even though they had to “put him together” for me to see him, I will never forget how perfect he looked. I am so sad that only I got to witness him, in front of a team who could care less about our situation, but I am so glad I did not take a lot of medication and got to feel everything.

While yes, we do think twice about our decision to have an abortion and still have our “what if” moments from time to time but we know we did what we thought would be best at that time.  It does mess you up, physically and emotionally having to end your child’s life knowing that at even given moment his would end on his own (inside of me, or at the delivery).

Because of our choice on July 14, 2012, we knew that if we were ever faced with the same situation, that we would continue the pregnancy.  You want to know why we fought so hard for Rochelle?  It’s because not only were we fighting for her, we were fighting for her brother, who never got that chance at life.  I am so glad God put Rochelle in our lives, and we knew exactly what to do with her, without ever for once thinking we were going to go through what we did with Lamar, again.  No, I will never again have another abortion, but it doesn’t mean we are bad people.  It means we did what we thought was best for us at the time.

I know, so many of you are going to be shocked, mad, hurt, and angry at Shane or I, but please do not express it to us in a rude or hurtful way.  This took so much courage for me to be able to speak about this, and I finally will have nothing more to hide and feel ashamed about.

Thank you to all of our family and friends who were there to support us, in making the hardest decision we have ever had to make in our life.  I am so glad that none of y’all judged us and you tried to put yourself in our situation as much as possible.  If you have ever been in my shoes, know that it is okay to speak about it.  It may take a while, but letting it go will eventually heal so many open wounds.

©2017 Sheridan Johnson @Journey with the Johnsons. All Rights Reserved.

4 months

4

ANOTHER wild, busy, crazy month has passed by and now our foster baby girl is 4 months old!

Height: I swear I keep telling myself I will find my tape measure.. but every month I fail to do so! So I will def. get it on the 12th at her 4 month appointment!

Weight: 13 pounds taken at home scale.

Likes:

-To grab her feet! It’s the absolute favorite thing of hers at the moment!
-To play with her sisters! She LOVES Brielle and our 17 month foster baby girl SO much!
-To eat, I swear she is going through a growth spurt, because this girl can eat a lot! She is up to 4 oz. every 2-3 hours (sometimes every 1-2)!
-To sleep! She loves to nap, and is great at sleeping at night.
-Her mouth! Well, she has been teething like crazy!
-To be outside. I remember it used to be one of our “tools” to keep Brielle happy!

Dislikes:
– Still only a fan of the “perfect temperature” bath.
– Hates when she is trying to feed herself her own bottle and it falls out and she can’t quite grasp it to pick it back up to put in her mouth.

Teeth: She FINALLY has a tooth!! About a week and a half ago! Her second one will be here one day soon as well!

Language:
She is cooing and interacting so much lately, it is adorable!

Milestones: She is SO close to rolling over, that I am sure she will accomplish this any day now!

Upcoming:

Family visit (1 hour every week on Tuesdays)

MD appt: 4 month appt sept. 12th

monthly visits with ECI team

Monthly visits with team (now just legal worker and case worker)

I will leave you with some CUTE (but blurry due to her being in foster care) pictures! We just love this baby girl so much!💓

©2017 Sheridan Johnson @Journey with the Johnsons. All Rights Reserved.