Alec Abkemeier and Melissa Johnson

Melissa Johnson and Alec Abkemeier

Melissa Johnson and Alec Abkemeier weren’t expecting company on New Year’s Day. Then Remy arrived.

Melissa and Alec had recently moved to Northfield from Lakeville. They were planning to have their second baby at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.  

Then just around midnight on New Year’s Eve, Melissa’s water broke and contractions began. Their toddler Declan was sleeping; Melissa’s mom would take care of him, but she was 20 minutes away – and then it would be a 50-minute drive to the hospital.

Melissa had a short labor with Declan. Her mom, a nurse, thought this baby might come quickly, too.

“We got kind of spooked,” Alec recalls. “We knew about Northfield Hospital; we had heard great things about it, so we decided to go there rather than risk having the baby in the car.”

“It was definitely an adrenaline rush drive to the hospital,” Alec recalls. “The Birth Center didn’t know we were coming.” Melissa and Alec entered through the Emergency Department. After a quick assessment and COVID screening, they were moved to the new triage room in the expanded Birth Center, where they met their birth team for the first time. Three hours later, Remy was born – the first baby of the New Year.

“The staff was great, and the nurses did a wonderful job,” Alec says. Frankie Stocker, RN “was so receptive, and really listened to us” – a welcome change from the metro hospital where Declan was born.

“When my wife said she needed to push, Frankie checked her dilation and called in the Emergency Room doctor to deliver the baby,” Alec recalls. “Everything was done in good time, and very professionally.”

Afterwards, it was a short drive home for Alec to tell Declan all about his new little brother.

And their new year was off to an excellent start.