A Sunbeam to Warm you, A Moonbeam to Charm You, A Sheltering Angel, That Nothing May Harm You

Saturday, March 29, 2008

12 DAYS OLD and we love Daddy pictures

Just to show how proud we are of Daddy and how we can't wait until he comes home.

Isn't he a beautiful lump?
Hello all, Mommy here. We have decided to keep this blog going, so everyone who has given us such love can keep knowing our Johnny. We are settling in, still, figuring out what he likes and doesn't like and how we fit together. He adjusted to the cloth diapers wonderfully and we are doing a few loads of laundry a week. He is a wiggle monkey and never seems to stop moving. He is awake nearly all morning, just looking around and cuddling, but he sleeps well at night. Papa likes to feed him formula and spend some quite time, so Mommy gets some extra rest and gets to pump at night.
Our current dilemma is if we are going to continue to give him breast milk and for how long. He is such a big, healthy and hungry baby and latching was not working. We made the decision not to stress and fight (as we were beginning to do) we began to pump and give him bottles, but he just can't get enough. I spend most of the day pumping and already have a blocked milk duct. Johnny is the joy of my life, he is everything and I want what is best for us. I know that there is a lot of information that says that breast is best but I don't want that to be our lives. I was formula fed and I am an extremely healthy person. There are pros and cons for both and we are currently debating and seeing what we think is best for Johnny. He has is first appt on Monday so we will see how his size is and what the doctor says.
I can not say how much I love this little baby. My entire life has changed and my out look on the world. I have never felt so much hope as I do when I look into his little eyes. We took him out today, we got these pictures done and then we walked around the mall. It made me so happy to have him out. I can't explain how I was filled with this joy, I really felt like a mother. I don't know why taking him out made me feel like a mom, but I felt so responsible and full of love.
We had a special visit from Aunt Cookie and John Robert's godmother, Crissy from Ohio this week end. What a wonderful visit! He showed off just enough. His christening will be in Ohio on May 18th (after Daddy comes home) and he'll have THREE godparents, not only cousin, Crissy but Uncle Tommy and Aunt "Natny".. What a lucky little boy. Aunt Cookie is even planning a wonderful celebration for afterwards at her house. We truly are blessed.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Easter Bunny

Papa took Johnny on his first trip out today. They visited the Easter bunny in the mall. Johnny did an amazing job, and just gets cuter every day.

First Pictures

His first Monkey
Our hospital picture.

Mommy made this outfit for him.

Johnny is so beautiful!!! I am amazed everyday. We are still settling in and figuring everything out, but we are well on our way. Johnny is 23 hours old in these pictures. The photographer came to our hospital room to take these, it was nice to have some one who knew how to photograph a newborn right there.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Home and Getting Settled

Jen Here...WOW!!! It has been a very crazy week, as I am sure you are all aware. I can't thank every one enough for the support you have all given us. Just reading the comments and getting the emails from you all shows how much Johnny is really loved. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Having him here and getting him settled, playing with him and reading him books, I feel like I have changed just in the last few days. My heart is filled with joy and mind is filled with figuring out what to do next. I want to do everything perfect for him and give him every chance for everything. I feel a little lost, but Grams and Pops are guiding and letting me make decisions and Natalie and Thomas are laying information at my feet. I am just so grateful to have these people in my life, especially at a time like this. If it were not for the love of my family I would truly be lost and alone, Johnny and me are lucky beyond compare. That goes past Grams and Pops, thank you to everyone who prayed for us and cares for us, that love you all gave to us during those 40 hours obviously helped!!!! We couldn't have done it without you.

So we have spent the last day trying to get settled. We are adjusting and readjusting plans laid before he was born. Moving diapers and bottles and washing cloths. Pops ran to Target today and now was have everything you could imagine a baby would need and then some. Last night was long, but Johnny is not a quite sleeper and I took every sound as a cry, resulting in me staring at him for hours and feeding him way too often. But we are getting used to each other. Pops feed Johnny so I could pump (trying to get my milk to come in ASAP) I am still sore, but only my stitches, aside from that I feel great, like having Johnny in my arms takes away anything that could possibly be wrong. Johnny got his first,First Easter card and his first $10 bill from Great Grandma Joyce. And Mark and Kara sent a beautiful gift basket full of cloths and blankets. The cloths are too big, but what is funny is that Johnny's head is so big that the hats are too small. (He also has freakishly long toes and fingers, I blame Shawn)

Shawn has moved into a tent and is getting more and more excited about coming home. He is sad that he wasn't here, but Thomas and and this blog had Shawn so involved that this life here is really starting to be real. He bought Johnny a stuffed camel! I know that doesn't sound like much, but it is. All of a sudden Shawn is researching IRAs and CDs. He wants me to explain Johnny's movements and his cries and everything. We miss him, but we are less them two months away from being complete!!!

Again I can't find words to thank you all for your support and excitement. Be looking for pictures and updates. This baby is amazing and we want to share him with everyone. A baby cannot love or be loved too much.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Plenty of pictures to come

Uncle Tommy is working tirelessly downloading two cameras full of pictures. He'll be burning cd's with all and videos for anyone interested. The hospital staff was amazed that Jenn's brother could film all this and be so supportive right there in the thick of it.

Happy Daddy from Iraq

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Hello all, Grams here. I just have a couple of minutes. I stayed in their room last night and all went well although John Robert seemed to be the only one who got any good sleep. We've had a lot of "visitors" today. The audiologist came in and cleared his hearing, it's perfect. His pediatrician came and checked him out and pronounced him a beautiful big boy (he's 8 lbs 2oz and to Jen's pain has a 14" head) The photographer came in the room and took his picture so look for that in the mail soon. The Lactation Specialist came in and John Robert finally latched on and Mommy couldn't be happier, she was bound and determined to do this for him. The midwife who took care of the delivery came by and checked the stitches, she ripped pretty good but doesn't even care at this point. She got a shower and feels great if not a little sleep deprived, now I need to get some rest but I guess that can wait until May when they go home. Oh ya, the most exciting thing is he got circumcised! Well gotta go. I'm hoping Thomas can get more info out to you tonight and some more pictures. I can't believe he's only 24 hours old. It seems like we've known him forever.

Monday, March 17, 2008

What do we do now?

Mommy eats a steak that Uncle Charlie and Aunt Michele bought at Outback.

John Robert puts on clothes for the first time.

Enjoying some time together.


I've tried to post some videos, but it just isn't going to work. Here are some pictures from today. I've sent some videos to Shawn in hopes that he'll be able to see them. If anyone wants pics, please let us know so we can send you some hard copies.

Mommy and Son Together For the First Time

Mom and Baby Healthy

Mommy watching her son get checked out while she gets sewn up.

Check out this cute kid

Wearing his hat knitted by his Mommy

More Details

Jenn labored for over 30 hours.
She pushed for about 40 minutes.
She had a slight rip that required a few stiches

Mommy's First Words "He's here, he's here, oh my God he's so beautiful."
No epidural!!!

We will make sure we get as many pictures up as we can. When I get home today I'll try to put some video up! I can send pictures to Wal-Marts or Targets near you if you'd like. Just reply to the comments and we'll get some out so you can take them around to show off.

John Robert Branson

Shawn You're a Daddy!!!

Born 12:44pm, March 17, 2008
8lbs 1 oz
20.25 inches long
Jenn screaming "Oh my God, he's so beautiful."
Talking to Daddy for the First time

Talking to Grams and Pops for the First Time

First tears for Mommy

Fully Dialated

Pushing...Shawn on the phone, he's on his way

A few more hours, no a few more hours, no a few more...

Well, we thought we'd have this baby by now, but he's proving to be stubborn and slow. The midwife said he is unpredictable. They just checked her again (new midwife, Jasmin) and her cervix is 100%, the baby is down, but she is only at 8cm on one side. The other side is ready because she was laying on her side. They've had her lay on her other side and given her another dose of nubane so that she can sleep. It is still expected to be a few more hours from here. Jenn is getting frustrated at the little progress she is making, but they say it is still progress and that is good. Since she is making steady progress, a C-Section is not in play and is not a needed option.
The contractions are still steady and still tough, but they are only last between 6-8 seconds. Jenn is being very careful not to take any meds that will cause her or John Robert to be out of it at the time of birth. They have offered her and epidural and it has even been discussed, but Jenn pushes the idea out right away. They say there is no risk now because she has done most of the hard work and would only serve as relief to her.
Shawn has been communicating on Yahoo Messenger with me and is updated the second someone comes in the room. I am transcribing there words to him.
Right now Jenn is trying to fall asleep and I suggested Shawn go and do the same so he is awake when this happens and not worn out for work tomorrow.
Feel free to respond if you have any thoughts or concerns. Any words of praise I am reading to Jenn.

Resting and Awake Now

After Karen came in early this morning and told Jenn she was only 7cm and that she could have 2-4 hours to go, she really got discouraged. She didn't see an end in sight and didn't know if she had the energy to get to the end and then push. After taking the meds to sleep she is charged up and ready to go again. She is awake in bed, laying on her side and handling the contractions like a trooper again.

These are a few pictures of her laboring right before making the decision to sleep. She now feels she has the energy to go the rest of the way with no medicine.

Using the birth ball, she actually Pops to "shhh" at one point.

Mom just said, "I can't think of a time I was more proud of you Jenn." The Lord gives us what we can handle and support for what we feel we cannot.

Jenn's getting some rest and Nubane

Jenn's really tired and feels like she needs to get some rest to make it to pushing, so she is opting for a dose of Nubane. It is a mild narcotic that should take the edge off the pain for about an hour so she can rest. She is doing great...we are so proud of her.


Karen came in and said that she is about 7cm, but her cervix is 100%. Jenn is a little frustrated because she thought she would be further along. The contractions about been 1-2 minutes apart and pretty heavy. She can't talk through them at all. She's moved to the ball to help breath. The contractions are not suppose to get more intense, just lasting longer. This is the toughest time, right now.
The midwife said it could still be 2-4 hours. She's really tired, but trying to remember how long she's been doing this and 2 more hours really isn't that long to wait for your son. They talked about giving her sleeping meds or something small to dull the pain, but Jenn still wants to do this without any meds that would make her or the baby groggy.

Natalie Helping

Moved to the rocking chair to rock with the contractions and talk with Natalie.

Time Schedule

Expecting Karen the midwife in around 6, she will give us the next status report and time frame. Some of her contractions right now are less than a minute apart. She's moved to the chair and talking with Natalie. She seems more irritated with the monitor sitting right on top of the rash right now. Seriously...she's a trooper.

They're backing down the pitocin and the contractions are suppose to get more intense.

Bigger Contractions

Breathing heavy through a contraction.
Using Pops' Hand

No Patrick

Both Jenn and Shawn do not like the idea of including Patrick in his name. Shawn says he'll drink plenty of green beer each year to remember it is St. Patrick's day. Since their opinions are the ones that matter the most, John Robert Patrick is not going to happen. Shawn is on line now.

Posting Troubles

We're having signal issues in the room, keep checking and we'll do the best we can to get pictures and blogs up. Everyone is settling in now and watching Jenn breath though the big ones. She's starting to really use Pops/Coach now.

Water Broke

Karen came in and broke the water. Still 6cm but her cervix is 90%. Big Step!!!

Tough Laboring

Coming out of the bathroom...


Karen will be in soon to check her out and break her water. She is moving along pretty quickly now. She's been REALLY tough and been handeling much longer contractions. She said the pain is around a 7 now on a scale of 10. Mom and Dad are overflowing with pride and we are all amazed at how strong she is doing. We're very optimisitc now....

Everyone's up!

Natalie again--Pops just came in with exciting news! Jenn has been 6cm and 80% effaced since 1:30 am and the contractions have been coming in one, after the other, since then. He thinks they will break her water at 3:30 and then things will really start picking up! Here comes Johnny!

Shawn, if you are reading this, Jenn will not be able to handle any phone calls right now. But we will keep you updated here!

Thomas asleep in waiting room

Progressing steadily

Natalie here--I think me and my 8 cups of coffee are the only ones awake right now. I just spoke with the nurse who said Jenn is resting right now. She is at 6 cm dilated and is progressing steadily. They anticipate her to continue to dilate about a cm an hour, but it varies with every woman. They have cranked up her Pitocin, but she is doing great. Can I say what a trooper this girl is? I am totally impressed!

Ella is at our house with Charlie and Michele, getting some much needed rest. Thomas is asleep at the waiting room table, and Grams and Pops are trying to rest up too. We are all hoping for some action around 6 am! We'll keep you posted1

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Awake and Relaxing

The pitocin has been upped twice and the contractions have gotten bigger. Check out the length and height of this one...

Natalie has come in to help her relax a little bit and get Jenn up out of bed.

Pops is taking a nap because they've got lots of work ahead.

Not Until March 17

Karen the midwife came in and did an exam. She was at 4cm, like before, but since the contractions had slowed down it had closed up a little. She has now worked back to 4cm. The Pitocian is doing it's job, she is having many more contractions and she is starting to feel them.

Right now Jenn is resting because they said there is no way the baby will be born today, March 16. That brings up an interesting question. He will be born on St. Patrick's day...should the name Patrick be incorporated in some way. Such as
John Robert Patrick Branson
Making either a double middle name or a double first name.
Please add your input and ideas.

(I like a double first name...John Robert is sweet!)

We will update soon with more pictures and contraction news.

Getting Started

Ella and Aunt Nenni Relaxing Before the Real Fun Starts
Jenn talking on the phone with Shawn before he takes a nap. It is around 2 in the morning in Irag.
The belly and tattoo stretched out.
Natalie checking the contractions and John Robert's heart rate.

Charlie and Michele stopping by to steal Jenn's food.

Finally Updating

Computer problems here at the hospital, but I think we're up and ready to go.

We've been here for a few hours and taking it slow. She is still 4cms and having mild contractions. They're only registering a 6 on the scale, when she has them. John Robert is doing great! His heart rate is 135, which is right where they want him to be.

They started off checking her vitals once an hour, but they now have her on monitors full time. They've started her on a small amount of Pitocion to help her dialate a little more. They only want to give her what she needs. The doctor "Karen" said she wants to mimic labor and will only give her as much as is needed and will stop it whenever the body gets itself going.

They did not use cervadel, to soft her cervix and will not break her water until active labor if it has not broken yet. She is very comfortable, except for the itching. The nurse is bringing her some lotion.

4cm so they are going to keep her!

They said her cervix isn't softening so I'm going to research that a little. She should be in her room in about half an hour. I'll let you know. Grams

Off to check her dlation

and no the beer didn't go with them! We're all just kind of lost wandering around the house not knowing what to do so I guess moving beer to the frig is as good a thing as anyting. Jen & Pops took Brutus for a mile and a half walk on this blustery day to see if that could move things along. When Shawn told a story of a nurse he works with who had no pain until 7cm when her water broke and Natalie followed it up with a similar story from a woman in her choir Jen decided to go back to the hospital to get checked. Ella wanted to go with them. She is so excited to go to the hospital to meet John Robert she couldn't even take her nap. More to come. . .

Trying to speed this up

Jen here. I am uncomfertable, but mostly stressed. This feels like it has been going on for so long and I just want to get on with it. Still no pain, but the tightness is more intense and starting to be accompained by odd twincges. I have been drinking water, walking around, and rocking on the birthing ball . Natalie went to get me a spicy lunch and Shawn is on line and keeping updated. But I have great fears this could last for a while yet.
Papa gave me the most beautiful "mom" braclet. Something I will have forever and rember this day and how supportive everyone has been. I am so lucky to have such a large family who are all so excited!!!


Jenn not "Loving It"

Well, at 8:00 I was yelled at to get out of bed because "Jenn is ready." I jumped in the shower, grab the computer, camera, cables, bag, bible and so on...get down stairs and they're relaxing on the couch.

The contractions are still about 5 minutes apart, but not very painful. At around 10:00 the midwife said to wait a little longer before coming in, until they start to hurt a little more. Jenn keeps complaining that they don't hurt.

In the meantime, Grams cooked, McDonalds, and Brutus came over to play with and terrorise Minnie Mouse and the cats.
Grams holding Minnie Mouse and Brutus.

Still at home

Papa trying to relax
None of us got much sleep Well me made it through the night with a few hours sleep. It wasn't good sleep but at least we were all as comfortable as possible. Jen is up taking a shower now, the laying down isn't working anymore. I imagine we'll be heading to the hospital within the next couple of hours. She hasn't talked to Shawn yet, he's suppose to be calling early this morning. It should be an exciting day.

This IS it!

Well she IS in labor but only 1cm dilated so they are going to let her come home and rest up for a few hours. Looks like he'll be born Sunday March 16, 2008. We'll be in touch! Grams

Saturday, March 15, 2008

This May Be It

Contractions 5 minutes apart about a minute long. She says it doesn't hurt enough to go to the hospital yet
Pops is timing everything We won't know anything for sure until she goes to the hospital but she's worried that since the pain isn't that bad it could be false labor and she doesn't want to go in for a THIRD time with no progression. Besides she's more comfortable here and we're 5 minutes from the hospital