“My nephew was born 48 hours ago at 34 weeks. My sister had gone in two weeks prior due to high blood pressure and at first, we were able to visit. After two days, we were told that due to COVID-19, visitors were no longer permitted. It wasn’t an easy pill to swallow but we all understood the precautions.
Three weeks ago, I will admit I was aware, but not worried. Stores were still open, life was still going on. We were just be safe: washing hands, keeping our distance. It seems to burn slow as first and then as most fires do, it quickly engulfed everything around it. As schools were shutting down and people were being to isolate, my sister and her boyfriend sat in the hospital wondering what would come next for their baby boy. As the following week came and went, so did the heightened alert. We all watched slowly as the virus began to seep across the world.
We are now amidst a global pandemic while my sister was bringing her baby into the world. On March 22nd at 4:09 a.m., we had received the text Liam was born. The 20 hours prior were tough, however, nothing compared to what my mother or sister were feeling.
My mother’s baby girl was in the hospital without her. She was welcoming her first grandchild, and it broke her heart, not only was she not there to meet him but she wasn’t there for my sister.
My sister Jen, however, is a trooper. She and her boyfriend endured the previous two weeks so gracefully, knowing that in the end, they would be parents, and to them, that was all that mattered.
After Liam was born, they were able to hold him briefly until he had to be taken to the NICU due to difficulty breathing, as well as feeding. Although this was expected due to his early arrival, it was difficult knowing we couldn’t physically be there to comfort them. For anyone who has had a family member in the NICU, whether it be for two days or two months, the experience can be traumatic. Thankfully for many of these families, support from loved ones keeps them going. Due to precautions put in place for COVID-19, I wasn’t able to see my sister for the first time in three weeks until today. She walked out of the hospital wearing a mask, and tired, happy eyes. Today was the first time after being a mom for 48 hours that she was able to have her baby on her, skin to skin.
She showed us a picture the nurse had taken. That picture has captured one of the most beautiful, powerful moments. My sister is far from alone in this. Her boyfriend is amazing and had been her rock through all this, and for that, I am forever thankful. The rest of our family, both immediate and extended, swarmed around her, but it’s from a distance.
To help stop any further spread of the virus to new parents and babies, only one parent is allowed in the NICU at a time, for 2 hours a day. To help contain the virus, mothers and fathers are experiencing these early moments of their baby’s life separately. They are enduring the emotions that come in those moments alone, and are doing it without a fight or complaint because they are going through it during the peak of a global pandemic. I know right now their situation is not exactly unique. Unfortunately, this may be the new norm for the next few months for many families and babies to come.
As a family, we are taking the highest precautions to keep ourselves safe because we now see first-hand the effect it can have. We are social distancing and washing our hands constantly. We are scrubbing our homes with bleach and taking shoes and clothes off at the door. No more shaking hands. No more hugs for the time being.
People like my sister and her boyfriend are forced to make some of the biggest sacrifices, just to keep their family safe. I know this pandemic is a lot to process, and I know it is still far from over, but please remember amidst all the news and social changes, beautiful things are still happening every day, I know because that picture above is proof.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Karli Goebel. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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