First-time parents Kaitlyn and Conway Bloomer thought they were well prepared to welcome their new baby. But they didn’t anticipate a global pandemic.
They planned to attend Carle’s Prepared Childbirth course awaiting John’s arrival. First, a snowstorm and then COVID-19 derailed it.
“I guess this all prepared me for what I know now – you just never know what to expect with a new baby,” Kaitlyn said.
She had an “uneventful pregnancy” and arrived for an induced delivery, but elevated blood pressures and slow progressing labor prompted a C-section.
With advance notice, they had packed the necessities – clothes, medications, snacks, cell phones, chargers and toiletries. The list of essentials included items like a going home outfit and the baby’s car seat, things that traditionally arrived after delivery. But with COVID-19 visitor precautions in place, it all came in at once.
“Conway carrying his backpack, my roller bag and a car seat all around the hospital was quite a sight,” she said.
Women’s and Children’s Services director Chantel Ellis said early education for expectant mothers is key. “COVID-19 has disrupted many things, but babies will still come,” she said, adding, “we’re ready every hour of every day to care for moms and babies in the safest environment possible.”
Some families have less time to prepare for the baby’s arrival, so they encourage families to plan ahead by packing early and making arrangements for sibling care if needed.
“Babies arrive all times of the day and night,” Ellis said. “They are predictably unpredictable.”
Such was the case for the Norman family of Hume, IL. Expecting their third child, they thought they knew the drill, but mom Nathalee said little went as expected this time.
They hoped their older children could reveal the new baby’s gender, but COVID-19 kept big brother and sister at home.
“That didn’t go as planned, and neither did my delivery, she said. “My first two were scheduled, but this was spontaneous.”
Her water broke at home, and off they went to Carle. They used video tools to introduce new baby Gentry to others and stay connected, but they valued some privacy too.
“It was nice to be on our own schedule to develop a feeding schedule. It’s a little blessing in disguise, especially with his time in the NICU,” Nathalee said, noting, even with restrictions in place, she never felt trapped.
“Carle took great care of not just me and Gentry, but Grant too. They really got to know our family and delivered in-room meals. We always had what we needed.”
Many families have mixed emotions about visitor restrictions, but all agree they help protect their family’s health.
“It’s bittersweet,” Kaitlyn said, “but on the other hand, we adapted to being a family of three.”
The Ramshaw family started plans to grow their family two years ago with in vitro fertilization or IVF. Despite COVID-19, the couple welcomed a daughter, Sloane, with open arms two weeks ago.
“She’s just perfect, loved and spoiled – healthy and happy,” mom Lauren said.
Lauren arrived at a normal check-up with just a mask, but her baby’s elevated heart rate earned a fast pass to Labor & Delivery.
“I wasn’t really ready. I was still ticking off my to-do list like, buying groceries. I was mostly nervous about feeling stuck, not knowing how long we’d be here.”
Sloane had other plans.
Lauren told her husband, Jay, to pack – now – and not to forget the phone chargers and air pods, a must-have for dad.
Staying on the unit limited access to amenities, so staff made sure they had snacks and drinks.
“It was like a concierge service. I had essentials, but they provide comfort with warm blankets and extra pillows,” Lauren said. “I had a little cabin fever but then walked out with this amazing reward – those few small sacrifices are totally worth it,” Lauren said.
Categories: Culture of Quality