A new dad was forced to watch the birth of his first baby on Zoom after coronavirus social distancing rules stopped him from being at his wife’s bedside.
Marty Gandelman, 34, sat on a sofa at home and watched nervously as his wife, Stephanie, also 34, delivered their son Jake in hospital late last month.
Steph, from Jersey City, New Jersey, always imaged her attorney husband, Marty, would be holding her hand at her bedside when she gave birth to their first child.
But after hospitals introduced a ban on the attendance of spouses in delivery rooms last month, she was made to settle for the next best thing and have Marty watch her battle through labor from the other side of a laptop screen.
Jewelry boutique owner Steph was induced into labor on March 27 after successfully falling pregnant on round four of IVF.
She delivered Jake, now three weeks old, at Mount Sinai Hospital, Manhattan, New York, and admits it was tough to go through childbirth alone with ‘upset’ Marty, stuck at home.
She said: ‘He was more upset than I was to be honest because Jake is our first child together and he was sad that he could not be there to see his son born.
‘When we heard the news that Marty couldn’t be in the room with me we were both really sad and it was hard to take. ‘But I was still happy I was able to go to hospital as normal and when it sunk in, all we cared about was making sure the baby would be ok and cared for properly.
‘When I was in labor I just thought of the camera as Marty, rather than a camera. It didn’t really change anything for me and it was comforting to know he was there.
‘I was happy for Marty because he was still able to share that moment with me. But it was hard for him to see me in pain. ‘He was very nervous and it must have been difficult having to stay at home.’
Marty added: ‘By the time it happened it had sunk in that I had to stay at home but I was very, very upset at first.
‘When I saw how many doctors were there on Zoom I knew she was safe, which helped.
‘But not being there to hug and kiss Jake right away was tough, of course. ‘When I saw that mum and baby were both ok I was over the moon and to be honest, being able to watch did make it feel like I was in the room with them.’
Steph successfully fell pregnant in July 2019 after three years trying for a baby. The pregnancy was confirmed following Steph’s fourth round of IVF treatment.
Tragically, she suffered three previous miscarriages within the first week of gestation. She explained how both she and Marty suffer from fertility issues which made conceiving a child naturally highly unlikely.
‘We were both very happy when the pregnancy went as planned and was without any real problems’, Steph said.
‘We both have a bit of a fertility issue but it’s mainly me, I have a fewer egg count. When I fell pregnant for the fourth time I was very scared that I’d miscarriage again.
‘But the pregnancy went great, at least until the coronavirus stuff kicked off two weeks before I was due to deliver the baby.’
Steph’s labor was scheduled by midwives for March 27, a week before her initial due date of April 3.
But four days earlier, on March 23, Mount Sinai Hospital banned all spouses from accompanying expectant moms in the delivery room to help stunt the spread of Covid-19, in line with social distancing rules.
Steph said: ‘When the hospital told us about it they said in the same email that we could have a virtual delivery for our partners. ‘As soon as that option was presented to us we knew that’s what we wanted to do.’
Marty said: ‘It was a shame I couldn’t be there to hold Steph’s hand but under the circumstances it worked out perfectly well.’ Jake was born weighing 7lb 5oz and was allowed home with mom, Steph, the day after being delivered.
Proud new dad, Marty, picked mom and baby up from hospital and has said it felt ‘amazing’ to meet Jake for the first time.
He said: ‘When I finally met Jake it was such a great feeling.
‘I gave him and kiss and a cuddle and then drove home to isolate away from everything.
It’s just the three of us at home and we haven’t had any visitors yet because of coronavirus.
‘It’s hard for the grandparents but we’ve been doing lots of video calls and have sent everyone photos.’ Steph added: ‘It wasn’t the perfect labor but we made it work.
‘It feels perfect now to be home as a little family.’ New Jersey is the second-worst coronavirus hit state in the us with 88,806 confirmed cases and 4,377 deaths.