Husband who can’t be with pregnant wife inside hospital sets up ‘date nights’ outside

Being admitted to the hospital alone without any family is difficult, especially for a woman like Shona Moeller, who’s experiencing a delicate pregnancy. At 28 weeks pregnant, she’s been on bed rest in an Illinois institution for the past six weeks awaiting the birth of her first child.

Her husband, Robert “Bob” Conlin, couldn’t be with her at this time because of visitor restrictions due to the coronavirus. So Bob, in his own sweet way, thought of a plan to cheer her up and make her feel loved. Once a week, four floors down, he sets up a “date night” outside the window of Shona’s hospital room. With his lawn chair and a table decorated with flowers and candles, he eats dinner with his wife from afar.

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Bob, 45, orders takeout from their favorite restaurant and has Shona’s food brought to her hospital room. He enjoys his own entrée at the sidewalk table as the two of them FaceTime each other while having their dinner. He told Good Morning America that he thinks the gesture is “a little glimpse of some normalcy.”

“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?” he said. “She thought we were just going to do it over FaceTime so when I showed up, she was really surprised.”

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Shona, 41, said she “lost her breath” the first time she saw Bob’s romantic set-up.

“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.”

When Shona was admitted to Hinsdale’s AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center on April 13 at 23 weeks pregnant, Bob was heartbroken, knowing that he couldn’t be by her side throughout her stay in the hospital.

“We were both just sobbing and I was thinking, how could Shona possibly be going through this without me by her side?” he recalled. “It was really sad and scary but we just focused on the baby and tried to make the best of the situation.”

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Shona, a high school teacher and part-time life coach, had a normal pregnancy until her 20th week when her water suddenly broke. She spent three weeks on bed rest at home, trying to avoid going into early labor. Then, she was admitted to the hospital when she reached 23 weeks.

During Shona and Bob’s dinner dates, Bob, who works as a relationship coach, would be holding up signs that say “I Love You,” “You Are Beautiful,” “Proud Papa,” and one with illustrations of trees reading, “Protect Our Forest” – the name they plan to give their unborn son.”

“He’s just been a beacon of support,” Shona said of her husband. “He has such a big heart.”

Aside from enjoying this sweet surprise from her husband, Shona’s nurses threw her a woodland-themed baby shower in the hospital after learning that her initial one was canceled because of the pandemic. During the event, she FaceTimed Bob, who said that he “lost it” and thought the medical staff’s surprise was “so sweet.”

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When she’s not on date nights with her spouse, Shona spends her time resting and preparing for their little Forest to arrive. She also makes sure to keep Bob in the loop on her progress. The baby gets monitored a few times a day, and Shona calls him every time it happens so he could hear his heartbeat. She also sends Bob pictures regularly.

Their doula, Hillary Hittner, set up a GoFundMe page for the couple to help cover the medical bills for Shona’s lengthy stay in the hospital and Forest’s expected stay in the NICU once he’s born.

Meanwhile, Shona and Bob will continue to stay by each other’s side until the day comes when there are three of them in the family.