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Published on May 10, 2020

“You just need each other.” Mom and Dad of Early Newborn Bond as a “Family of Three” During COVID-19 Safety Precautions

Julie Koontz

Julie Koontz knew Mother’s Day 2020 would be different for her. Her first child was expected to arrive on May 10, in fact.

“He was going to be my Mother’s Day gift no matter what,” says Julie Koontz of Lexington, N.C.

Tate, Born April 21

Tate - Born April 21, 2020

Her son had other plans. After Julie labored for 40 hours, little Tate arrived April 21 – three weeks early and amid COVID-19 hospital visitor restrictions. 

“It was a little bittersweet,” says Julie about not having extended family visit their bundle of joy in the hospital. “But we did get to focus on being a family of three,” she adds as a positive of her hospitalization.

She further explains that the three were able to bond and “have such a more intimate relationship with our nurses and doctors. They gave us such individual attention.”

When Baby Tate experienced jaundice and was prescribed a blue light therapy, Julie says, “We pressed that call button a hundred times a night!” She says the staff were so understanding of all of the Koontzes’ circumstances (from her long labor to assisting with breastfeeding and helping with Tate’s improvement from his yellowing skin condition). “They were amazing.”


“You don’t need a lot of people and you don’t need a lot of gifts. You just need each other.” - Julie Koontz

At times during her pregnancy, Julie admits having “new moms’ anxieties” about visitors and germs and “passing the baby around.” So the stay-at-home order during the coronavirus has helped Julie, her husband Landon and Tate be very intentional about how they spend their time and where they go. Their baby shower was cancelled because of coronavirus so gifts have been mailed; she adds: “It’s been like a progressive baby shower!” The limited outings of the pandemic have helped them realize one very important aspect of their new family: “You don’t need a lot of people and you don’t need a lot of gifts. You just need each other.”

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