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(Image: The Weber Family)

Expecting During a Pandemic: The Weber Family

Originally, the idea was to write up one article about welcoming a baby during the pandemic. We put the call out on social media hoping for two or three responses, and waaaaaaay more flooded in! We realized people were feeling alone, wanted to tell their stories, and that this may be a good weekly outlet for others going through similar circumstances, and to give hope and power (even if it's through the screen) that you're not alone! Whether you're expecting, already welcomed a little one, or had to put your fertility treatment or adoption proceedings on hold due to COVID-19, we'd love to hear from you and share your story in this weekly feature on Seattle Refined. Email or reach out on Instagram @June.In.January to be featured.

The Weber Family (Cara, Nico and their dog Foxy) live in Shoreline. They've been in the Seattle area for almost four years after moving here from Orlando, and Munich before that. Nico is from Tübingen, Germany and Cara is from Cleveland, Ohio and the couple met at Oktoberfest in Munich, fittingly, and love a good beer. They've been married for almost six years, love traveling and visiting friends and family. Cara owns a hair salon and Nico works at Amazon. They are soooooo excited to meet their baby girl!

Seattle Refined: Ok - let’s set the stage. It’s March 23, 2020 - and the Governor just issued the Stay Home Stay Healthy Order. Where are you in your journey at that point?
Cara Weber: I'm three months pregnant. My husband works at Amazon and they started working from home March 5th, [and] I decided to leave work March 9th. I'm a hairstylist and I was freaking out because I was literally touching peoples heads and faces. I also had some sort of PTSD starting to surface from taking care of my mom when she was sick, everything had to be super sterile, we couldn't risk getting her sick so I decided to leave work early and I've been home since then. The Stay At Home order was such a scary time, it's one of those moments you won't forget where you were and what you were thinking. My husband left to go stock up on food and I cried on the couch. It was a really scary moment. So many unknowns.

Take us forward from there. What were you thinking/feeling? What kind of prep/worries did you have that you didn’t anticipate having?
All of my doctors appointments became virtual. I really wanted the reassurance of going in to get my vitals taken and to hear the baby's heartbeat. My doctor told me to order a fetal doppler to listen to her heartbeat at home, but they were unavailable. I finally got one months later. I also learned that I had an anterior placenta (in the front of the abdomen, acts like a shock absorber) so I wasn't able to feel the baby move, or feel her move as much. I wanted the reassurance even more, but that's how it was. My husband was able to come to our ultrasound appointments so we were super grateful for that.

What have been your biggest joys during this time?
I am so grateful for all of this time. The time to myself, the time with my husband and our dog as we welcome this new baby into our family. Life was so busy before, thinking back we barely saw each other. Life has really slowed down, no one gets to slow down under normal circumstances and just chill beforehand so I am happy to just be able to process everything and enjoy our time together before baby.

What are your biggest fears/worries during this time?
Our families are all far away and we really want them to be able to come out and meet our little girl, but we just don't know when that can happen. It's heartbreaking. We also want to protect our girl from getting sick.

When your child asks you about what it was like having her during the Pandemic of 2020, what are you going to tell them?
I will tell her about all the time we had to enjoy together and prepare for her arrival, but I'll also have to share that no one saw me pregnant. We couldn't go meet our friends at our favorite restaurants, couldn't go get things I was craving.

Final Update: Where do things stand now? How is the entire family?
We are about four weeks out from our due date. We are all doing well. We just started doing in-person visits at the doctor again. We are relieved to find out my husband is allowed to leave the hospital twice a day to take care of our dog while we are in the hospital. We plan on having friends meet the baby through a window or maybe in the back yard from a distance when we get home. Not having our family around is the hardest part. We will of course be Facetiming with them but I really hope we can figure out a way for them to see her in person. I have family that would fly out but they just don't have the time to quarantine after traveling. My in-laws are retired and could quarantine for 14 days once they travel here but they are from Germany and travel is not allowed at the moment.

For people whose loved ones are giving birth, pregnant, bringing a baby home, or pausing their fertility treatment right now - what can you do to support from afar?
My sisters threw us a virtual shower and we had people join from all over the world. We felt a lot of support from everyone attending, it was super sweet. I've had friends drop off gifts on our porch. Reach out, send good vibes, and virtual hugs. It's hard times.

And to other families reading this, going through something like this themselves - any words of encouragement, support or advice?
Hang in there! It's hard to navigate the unknown but look for the silver lining.