7 Sweet Stories of Family Members Meeting Babies Born During the Pandemic for the First Time
The COVID-19 crisis might be socially distancing people, but it's not stopping these families from loving on the new babies in their lives.
Baby's home from the hospital, you're starting to settle into a routine, and everyone's eager to meet her. Typically during this time, you're fielding calls and texts about who can meet the new bundle of joy when, and making sure hands are thoroughly washed before anyone holds the baby, but when it comes to Baby's first visitors during a pandemic, families are getting creative.
Keeping in mind social distancing orders and practicing caution to keep these newborns healthy, these seven families share how they introduced their new arrivals to family.
1. Tina DiFazio, Somerset, NJ
Tina DiFazio, 34, and her husband Michael, 39, welcomed their first baby, Ruby Evangeline, into the world on April 23. Five days later, Tina's identical twin sister Kim met baby Ruby—through a sliding glass door. Because Aunt Kim is a nurse, they all wanted to be extra cautious as not to expose the baby to any germs, but that didn't make the experience any less emotional.
"When this pandemic is over, Michael and I want both of our families to meet in person and hold baby Ruby," says Tina. "Video chats and meeting though a glass door work for now, but we are looking forward to them [embracing] our little gem."
2. Eileen Feliciano, Brooklyn, NY
Eileen Feliciano, 40, didn't get to meet her newest little, Theodore (aka Teddy), in-person until April 20, nearly three weeks after he was born. Teddy was born on April 1 and delivered via emergency C-section after the family's surrogate went into respiratory failure with suspected COVID-19. Eileen's husband, Jason, flew cross-country to Wisconsin and quarantined for 14 days before meeting Teddy, and Eileen remained quarantined in New York with her 5-year-old twin girls. Since the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) was on lockdown, Eileen says that "for two days they were not able to send photos, so we had no idea what our son even looked like until day three," which was when the family's daily 30-minute video sessions began.
Eileen's hoping that once the coronavirus crisis is over and her surrogate recovers that she can get a chance to meet baby Teddy and have some closure, since she was unconscious when he was delivered.
3. Nikeya Young, Crete, Illinois
Nikeya Young, 39, gave birth to twins Nalea Rionne and Nissi Regine on March 15, nearly six weeks before their due date. After Nikeya was released from the hospital 10 days later due to severe preeclampsia, and the babies released another week after that, her husband, Rodney, suffered a medical emergency and spent four days in the hospital himself with no visitors allowed due to coronavirus restrictions. That meant that Nikeya was home alone with her toddler and preemie newborns while recovering from a C-section.
"Throughout all of these difficult events, my family members and our church family were calling/texting frequently to check in, sending monetary donations and food via Uber Eats and Grubhub, and just making sure I was OK and staying sane," she says. After getting to "meet" the babies on social media, they all finally had a chance to virtually see the twins on April 28 on Zoom during her son's fourth birthday party. Now the family's just counting down until they can hold the girls in their arms for the first time.
4. Emily Bernstein, Atlanta, GA
Weeks before Emily Bernstein, 30, and her husband Peter, 33, welcomed their first baby, Ruby, to the world on April 21, their immediate family took extreme quarantine measures to ensure they'd be able to meet the baby right after she was born.
"Starting mid-March, we didn't go anywhere. All groceries were either delivered or picked up so we didn't have to go inside of a store. We wiped anything and everything that came into the house with Lysol and disinfected as much as humanly possible," says Emily. "While both sets of new grandparents and new aunts lived in Atlanta with us, we used social distancing to be safe. That way, we felt comfortable knowing that we were all quarantined the same way and had minimal-to-no concerns that we had contracted the virus."
Now that Ruby is home, the couple is still being as cautious as possible, but felt a little more comfortable once the two-week mark came and they knew they had not brought the coronavirus home with them from the hospital. Emily's grateful to have her parents and siblings around Ruby, and the couple's best friends were even able to meet her through a window.
5. Julianne Goodwin, Hendersonville, TN
The first time Julianne and Spencer Goodwin introduced family to their newborn, it served as a big reveal. "We didn’t know the sex of our baby until he was born, and we waited to reveal to our families when we got home that he’s a boy," says Julianne. "We are so blessed to have parents who decorated the outside of our house to come home to."
After the couple brought home baby Graham three days after he was born on April 6, their parents wore masks and stood 6 feet away outside their house, patiently waiting to find out if they had a new grandson or granddaughter. Julianne sums up the experience: "Not how we envisioned our first family photos would be, but at least we have the memories of this crazy time!"
6. Kelly Wheatley, Prosper, Texas
Kelly Wheatley, 35, gave birth to her third child, Reece, on April 28 in Texas—two days after her sister welcomed her first child, Londyn, in Seattle. Kelly's parents were with her sister because she was anxious as a first-time mom, but Kelly was lucky to have the help of her husband, Terrence's, mom.
"We had [my mother-in-law] quarantine for two weeks prior to the arrival of Reece so that she was able to come and watch our girls, Rylan, 3, and Remy, 18 months, while we were in the hospital," says Kelly.
Just 24 hours after giving birth, Kelly and Terrence made their way home and introduced their daughters to their new little brother. Family and friends have yet to meet Reece up close and personal, and Kelly makes sure to wear him in a wrap when out for a walk to make sure she can keep a distance from others.
"Once Reece is a month old, we are going to drive the 20 hours to California to be with my family," says Kelly. "Having three kids under 3-and-a-half while being stuck at home, especially with the Texas heat and our community pool remaining closed is very hard, and we need the help and support of my family. We can't wait for all of this to be over so that all of our friends and family can love on him."
7. Kathleen Romas, Ontario, Canada
Kathleen Romas gave birth to her second daughter, Sofia, on April 16—completely alone except for the medical staff. "Our situation is unique because this past November, my husband was involved in a serious car accident coming home from work in a snowstorm," Kathleen explains. "He is currently a paraplegic in a rehab hospital. Due to COVID, he is in lockdown in his hospital with no visitors or in-or-out privileges."
The nurses were extremely supportive of Kathleen during this time, taking photos of the birth and holding the phone so Kathleen's husband could meet his new baby via WhatsApp.
Big sister, Emilia, 3, got to meet Sofia 48 hours later. A family friend, who quarantined for 14 days so she could watch Emilia while Kathleen was in the hospital, is the only other person who has physically met the baby—everyone else has seen Sofia through a window. Kathleen says, "We hope she can meet Daddy soon when I get the all-clear to drive, and at least do a window visit."