Robert Conlin is a professional relationship coach, so he understands exactly how important it is to make your spouse feel loved and supported each and every day.
When his wife Shona Moeller was admitted to the hospital at 23 weeks pregnant in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak, he knew he’d have to find a way to stay close in spite of their physical distance.
Shonna is a high school teacher and part-time life coach whose pregnancy was going smoothly until 20 weeks, when her water broke way too early. She tried staying home on bed rest for weeks before heading into AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center in Hinsdale, Illinois to try to keep their son, a boy to be named Forest, from arriving far too premature.
While being isolated from your friends and families in the hospital can’t be fun for this mom-to-be, her husband’s weekly date nights have kept her spirits and optimism high.
Bob hasn’t been allowed to set foot inside the hospital due to coronavirus rules, but each week he orders takeout from one of their favorite restaurants and has Shona’s delivered to her room. Then he sits outside on the sidewalk 4 stories below and they FaceTime while enjoying their meal together.
As if this gesture wasn’t adorable enough, Bob also decorates his table for date night, complete with table cloth, candles, flowers, and a new handwritten sign with an encouraging message for his wife and son.
“I think it’s a little glimpse of some normalcy,” Bob explained. “We ask each other on dates all the time still and the first time I came [to the hospital] as a date night, I asked her the same thing, ‘Do you want to go on a dinner date with me?’”
The first time Bob surprised Shona with a remote date night she was shocked to see him standing outside the hospital. She says the fact that he went out of his way to let her know she’s not going through this difficult time by herself means the world to her. “In this time where I’m by myself, every gesture feels so monumental and lovely and sweet,” she said. “It felt like he had traveled the world to come see me because it meant so much.”
Bob says he was devastated when he learned they’d have to stay apart for the second half of Shona’s pregnancy. He found that finding something good to focus on has been the key to getting through a difficult time. “It was really sad and scary but we just focused on the baby and tried to make the best of the situation.”
Thanks to technology, Bob has also been able to be remotely present during milestone events like the baby shower Shona’s nurses threw her in the hospital. “I lost it when Shona FaceTimed me,” he said. “It’s so sweet.”
This couple has found the sweetest way to put a positive spin on a tough situation. Now for the best part: Shona has officially reached 28 weeks gestation, so the odds of Forest being born healthy are close to 95 percent!