First baby of year born Tuesday night at MRHS

MEGAN JANKE (left) holds newborn daughter Eden Marie when the family posed for a selfie on Thursday morning. Two-year-old Henry met his sister via FaceTime on Wednesday. Jarret Janke said he was happy to see his sister.

As violence erupted in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, one Madison couple had better things to think about -- a newborn daughter.

Eden Marie Janke was born to Megan and Jarret Janke on Tuesday just eight minutes before midnight. Weighing in at 8 pounds, 6 ounces, the 20.5-inch girl was the first baby of the year to be born at Madison Regional Health System.

On Wednesday afternoon, her voice was strong as her parents talked about their dreams for her future.

"I think it is so important for our family to teach her the right things and to spread kindness that way," Eden's mother said.

Her dad united his dream with one he believes all parents have for their children, saying, "I hope they can grow up in a safe place where they don't have to worry about bad things happening."

Both parents, who learned of Eden's gender when she was born, were eager to take her home to introduce her to her 2-year-old brother Henry. His introduction to his sister was on FaceTime after he awoke to find his grandpa with him rather than his parents.

"He was happy to see his baby sister on the phone," Jarret said, also acknowledging that Henry was a little disoriented to find his parents gone first thing in the morning.

Both parents are teachers in the Madison Central School District. Jarret teaches physical education and health at Madison High School. Megan is a second-grade teacher at Madison Elementary. She said her students were very curious about her pregnancy.

"I had one student who loved to walk by and rub my belly like a Magic 8 Ball," Megan said.

She indicated she was fortunate in having a "great" student teacher during the fall. This was especially helpful toward the end of her pregnancy when she became a little uncomfortable.

Both parents plan to stay home for a week and then Jarret will return to work while Megan stays home with their children for 12 weeks.

"When she goes back to school after her 12 weeks, I plan to take a week," Jarret said.

According to the Mayo Clinic website, the overall risk of COVID-19 to pregnant women was low, but those who contracted the disease appeared to be more likely to develop respiratory complications. When asked how the pandemic affected their decisions, Jarret noted the stress of worry during pregnancy can also cause complications, so they opted to maintain a positive attitude.

"We actually enjoyed the extra time that we got to spend with just us," he said, noting they spent that time with their toddler on their acreage and describing the pandemic as a "blessing in disguise."

He joked that Eden's birth could be attributed to the pandemic.

"We were planning on Number Two, but she did come a couple months earlier than we talked about," he said.

Jarret indicated that choosing her name was "one of the hardest things to do." They talked about names, created a list and then whittled away at that list until only one remained.

They were excited at her birth to learn they had a daughter. They chose not to learn her gender earlier. For them, that is part of the miracle of birth.

"Finding out with a piece of paper just doesn't do it," Jarret commented.

He said they would have been happy with either a son or daughter because they plan to have more children.

"If this one would have been a boy, we would have hoped for a girl next time," Jarret said.

They both come from larger families and want that experience for their children. Jarret is one of seven children and Megan is one of four.

Eden's grandparents are Fred and Linda Janke of Madison and Doug and Julie VanderPoel of Pipestone, Minn. Her great-grandparents are Leonard and Doris Janke of Madison, Gunner (deceased) and Della Magnuson of Madison, Tom and Marilyn Mogensen of Pipestone, and Jack (deceased) and Vernice VanderPoel of Sioux Falls.

Jarret indicated they both have tightly-knit families and look forward to introducing their daughter to family members.

"She's been a good baby so far. She's spent most of her time sleeping," he said. He described their daughter using words most parents will recognize: "We think she's pretty cute."