After months of pregnancy hardships amid a global pandemic, a Chicago couple finally meets their baby boy Saturday.
Born weighing four pounds and three ounces, Forest Gace Walter Conlin was born to Robert Conlin and Shona Moeller the day before Father's Day after months of setbacks.
"He’s doing well. Momma is doing well. I’m a mess and doing well," Conlin said in a Facebook post Saturday.
Moeller spent much of the past three months at AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center in Hinsdale with no visitors allowed to visit due to the coronavirus crisis.
The couple has already been forced to face more unexpected challenges during this pregnancy than they ever imagined.
At 20 weeks, Moeller's water broke early and her baby was given a 1% chance of survival.
"I, of course, just like was inconsolable," Moeller said. "Just buried my head in my hands and Robert was enveloping me."
The couple was given their options: terminate the pregnancy or wait and see what happens.
"Those first few weeks we kind of just played a wait and see game," Moeller said.
As she returned home, Moeller said she began to grieve the loss of the child she hadn't even had a chance to meet. But a few days later, something in her changed.
"It just was like a calm that came over me that I was like, 'I think this baby might make it,'" she said. "It was so hard to think that because everything else was telling me otherwise."
Once she got to 23 weeks, Moeller knew she could be admitted to the hospital for treatments that could help the baby develop, despite the lack of fluid. But that meant a weeks-long hospital stay without her husband by her side as the coronavirus outbreak worsened.
"I didn't sleep for like three days before I left for the hospital because I knew I wouldn't be with him," she said. "I was just so terrified to be going through this experience without him... we knew that [the hospital] was the best place to be but it was just so hard saying goodbye."
The father-to-be made the most of the situation and began surprising his wife with elaborate date nights outside her suburban hospital window as she spends weeks on bed rest awaiting the birth of their baby boy.
"I lost it the first time he sent up flowers and some of my favorite foods and then I saw him with his table and flowers and candles... I just lost it," Moeller said.
Moeller and her husband are both relationship coaches and said they wanted to practice what they preach. They are now updating their journey with new baby Forest on Facebook for friends and family to follow.