Her parents were waiting in lawn chairs when Taylor Starek walked out onto her back porch and opened her sweater.
Shelley Rogers let out a squeal when she saw her daughter’s growing baby bump for the first time in two months.
“Oh, you look so cute,” Shelley shouted from 6 feet away.
Shelley and her husband, Bob, had just made the two-hour drive from Canton, Ohio, to see their pregnant daughter and her husband, Steven.
But there were no hugs or touches on Taylor’s belly to feel the baby move or kick.
The parents kept their distance in the backyard, wanting to protect their daughter, their unborn grandchild and themselves from the threat of COVID-19.
“It was emotional,” said Taylor, 33. “There’s an element of mourning to not be able to give them a hug and feel them hug me and not touch my stomach.”
Taylor is almost 7 months pregnant with their first child, due July 3 – a possible Independence Day baby. The Stareks haven’t found out the gender of their baby, and they had to cancel their baby shower because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“There’s some disappointment and some anxiety around grieving the loss of what I thought my third trimester would be like and what it was going to be like,” Taylor said. “It’s just much different than I anticipated.”
Her parents also have been robbed of fully experiencing their daughter’s pregnancy as they prepare for the birth of their grandchild. They hadn’t seen Taylor since February and Shelley remembers saying to her husband, “I just feel like I have to see her.”
So on April 11, they packed diapers and lawns chairs into their car and drove to Columbus.
“It was surreal to see (their daughter’s baby bump),” said Shelley, 66. “I was excited to see how the baby is growing.”
The four were able to visit for an hour through social distancing in the backyard. They shared some laughs and discussed the television shows and movies they had been watching during their quarantine.
“Seeing each other’s faces, that’s been given a whole new meaning,” Taylor said.
Shelley, a self-described “softie,” tried her best to hide her emotions during the visit but let them out on the drive home.
“It was very meaningful to see a face and hard not to touch and hug her,” Shelly said. “But I certainly understood it and it did give us both some comfort to see their faces.”