VAN WERT — Out of the ashes of 2014, Phoenix has arisen. Literally.
Phoenix James Lee Johnson, of Van Wert, has the honor of being the region’s first baby of 2015. Born at 12:36 a.m. at Van Wert County Hospital, the new baby boy weighs 8 pounds and is 19 inches long.
His arrival was part of a light day in area delivery rooms, with the only other birth occurring Thursday afternoon at Lima Memorial Health System. The mother of that child declined interviews.
Phoenix’s parents, Kody and Sarah Johnson, were not totally settled on the name until the big moment.
“We had three names coming in, but we were pretty sure on Phoenix, so that’s what we went with,” Kody Johnson said. “She’s big on the four name thing. I just figure it’s more for the poor guy to learn.”
Phoenix is the first child that the couple, married since 2012, have together. Each of them has two children from previous relationships, Natalie, 7, and Cade, 5, coming with their dad and Zaelynn, 8, and Legend, 4, coming with their mom.
“We basically raised my two together,” Sarah Johnson said.
Kody Johnson added, “This is what she wanted for a long time, to have a baby between the both of us, and she got it.”
The prospect of a new brother was a welcome one for the kids, especially the youngest, who “couldn’t wait to be a big brother,” Kody Johnson said.
Sarah Johnson added, “Legend was really excited. He was my mother hen, always taking care of me.”
While the birth was relatively easy, Sarah Johnson did suffer a complication which kept her away from Phoenix for a time.
“I didn’t want him to go to the nursery,” she said. “My blood pressure dropped really low, and I had to take a bunch of medicine, and I couldn’t sit up with him. So I was kind of upset about that.”
After her treatment, she, her husband and their children were able to enjoy the day with the baby.
Van Wert County Hospital also took steps to welcome the year’s first baby, giving the family a basket with diapers, creams and other baby items, as well as an infant bathing chair.
“Citizens National Bank also donated a nice gift basket,” Kody Johnson said.
The greatest gift, of course, is Phoenix, who is already making a papa proud.
“He’s got a full head of hair,” he said. “He’s a good looking boy, just like his dad.”