Having a newborn baby is a major life transition in itself.

Throw a global pandemic into the mix, and the situation becomes even more nerve-wracking!

Several members of our INB team welcomed a new baby into their family over the past few months and share what it’s been like during such a chaotic time…

Read other stories about our employees and their families as we work through the pandemic together:

A Change for the Better

Going into quarantine, Austin Graham’s wife was six months pregnant. He says, “It was a strange time to be gettingAustin Graham and family ready for a baby, and many of the things that usually go along with pregnancy (like baby showers) had to be postponed. But while we were in quarantine, some of our good friends put together a surprise for my wife and I and decorated our porch and put together a “digital shower” with friends and family being able to send us Amazon, Target, and other gift cards so that we could still make sure all was ready for when our baby made the debut!”

He continues: “Though it was already a really interesting time to be having a baby, it was made all the more interesting by some of the restrictions in place when it was time to go to the hospital.”  Only Austin and his wife were  allowed in the room; no one could visit.  He adds they were able to make the most of it thanks to his wife being a  “trooper” and some great nurses.

“One of the best surprises of quarantine was at the birth of our baby on June 5,” Austin says. “We had made the decision to not find out the baby’s gender (a really hard decision!) and after looking at sonograms, I, and all of our family and friends, for the most part, were convinced that we were going to be having a boy. I had even began using the boy’s name for some passwords… much to our surprise and delight, we welcomed Sutton Joy Graham into the world.”

Juggling Responsibilities as a New ParentBirdsell family

For Erin Birdsell, Relationship Banker in Pleasant Plains, having a three-month-old baby at the start of quarantine was hectic.

Erin was just returning to work from her maternity leave when the shelter-in-place began. 

It was hard trying to figure out how to continue working and watch a baby since she no longer had a daycare provider. Erin’s husband was still working, so she was at home with her son, Ross James, most days. 

Thankfully, INB took some of the stress away. “I feel, and felt, very fortunate to work for such an amazing company that allowed me to keep myself, my son, and family safe during the early stages of the virus outbreak by limiting staff and hours at our branch,” she shares.

Although Erin is happy to get back to work and a more “normal” daily life, she’s grateful for the extra time spent with Ross and for a company that made this uncertain time easier.

A Story to Tell Future Generations

Director of Marketing Marilyn Titone Schaefer’s family welcomed a new Ollie Coultasgrandchild, Ollie, during the quarantine.  

Not wanting to bring any illness to the newborn, Marilyn didn’t get to hold Ollie for over a month. The closest interactions she had with her grandson were Facetime calls and sidewalk visits.

Marilyn’s other grandchild, Harper, was born two years ago. Harper’s birth was a completely different experience from Ollie’s. “Two years ago, we were lucky enough to get to hold her at the hospital the same day she was born,” she recalls. 

Marilyn knows that both of these experiences, though vastly different, will be memorable and a great story to tell in years to come.

“Ollie will just have to get more snuggles from us down the road so we can make up for the ones we lost!” she says.

Extra Precautions = More Baby Time

Amy Barnes, AVP, INB Wealth, was able to meet her granddaughter Ellie Jane the weekend the state of Illinois shut down. Amy’s stepson and his fiancée brought the baby to see Amy and her husband, knowing it would likely be the last time they’d be able to get together for a long time. 

It was challenging for Amy to not see her new granddaughter, but she was thankful she didn’t miss any major baby milestones during the time of quarantine. 

Ellie Jane recently turned five months old, and the family has begun to see each other again in person while Amy takes extra precautions due to her work. 

“It’s been challenging to be extremely vigilant, but in return, that means we get to spend time with Ellie and my family members with vulnerable immune systems,” she shares.