Almost exactly a year ago, Kimberly Feierstein, in her job as a property manager, was preparing a house for a client who would be arriving in a few days. She’d been busy, more so than any spring she could remember, with second homeowners coming to the Island early to escape crowded conditions elsewhere as COVID-19 was surging.
Walking near a bed of plants, the ground dipped down and she missed her footing and fell. Her ankle throbbing with a sprain, she went to the emergency room of the hospital. That was bad enough. Worse, she was nine months pregnant with her third child and was due to give birth any day.
A few days later she was back at Southampton Hospital, where on May 11, 2020, a day after Mother’s Day, a big, healthy boy, Boden Sage Feierstein, 9 pounds, 3 ounces and 21 inches long, was born.
Giving birth is stressful at best, traumatic at worst, Ms. Feierstein said, and in the depths of a pandemic it was uncharted emotional territory for her and her family. “But Boden is my third,” she said, the baby joining his brothers Parker, now 8, and Nathan, 10.
“I can’t imagine what first-time mothers were going through at that time,” Ms. Feierstein said.
Still, even with advantages of experience, it was a rollercoaster of a time, she remembered. Preparing to give birth, there were worries that she’d have to be alone if hospital protocols called for strict separation from family members. And things like what to pack was baffling.
“We ended up with a ton of Clorox wipes. And I was so worried, that, God forbid, something happened, and I’d be there alone,” she said, adding that she was having a C-section so would be in the hospital for several days after the birth. But her husband, Scott, was permitted to stay with her and get home late at night for a few hours before returning early in the morning.
After testing, she and her husband were allowed to be with each other in the hospital room without masks, but everyone else who entered wore personal protective gear and equipment.
“We were the safest people on Long Island,” she said with a laugh. “Southampton Hospital did an amazing job making it all seem normal.”
Safe and home and with the boys getting to know their little brother, there was also heartbreak that many families experienced for the past 16 months. Mr. Feierstein’s parents, Adrian and Stanley, who live in Florida, couldn’t see in person or hold their new grandchild because the pandemic had canceled all flights.
But through webcams and iPhones, family and friends have had the joy of meeting baby Boden, Mr. Feierstein said, although he added, “FaceTiming will never replace holding a newborn baby, smelling that delicious sweet baby scent, watching his eyes opening or seeing him smile.”
The family was lucky, however, because Ms. Feierstein’s parents were on the Island, and her mother, Camille Anglin, after quarantining, moved in to help. Her father, Michael Anglin, was isolated and sleeping at Jack’s Marine on Bridge Street to keep the family business afloat.
As Scott Feierstein said, “Through all of this uncertainty and sadness, came this magical surprise. Boden is a gift our family will cherish forever.”
They have weathered the storm of the pandemic well so far, Ms. Feierstein said, even if, with three children — one an infant — “it’s exhausting.” When the kids come home from school they still say, ‘Do I have to shower?’ The answer is ‘Yes.’ And every snack requires at least four antiseptic wipes after. I know it’s overkill,” she said.
Being a mother always means “struggling with the cultural moment,” Ms. Feierstein said. She remembered growing up in the 1980s and loving the film “Dirty Dancing” to the point of obsession. “I watched it all the time. Dad didn’t approve, and once said, ‘I’m tired of you watching that movie.’”
These days she added that multi-media, including the blitz of social media and video games coming at children today with such speed and power, “is mild compared to what the kids used to contend with,
She and her husband monitor what Parker and Nathan are seeing, and exercise parental controls. “But they have a lot of freedom,” she added. Also, when the boys ask questions, it’s a sign, she said “that they’re going to be open to answers.”
Also a rule the Feiersteins employ is: “If the kids ask only about ‘A’ and ‘B,’ there’s no reason to give them answers to ‘C’ ‘D’ and ‘F.’”
Waiting is another good rule to employ. The boys wanted to play a particular game three years ago, but had to wait, and now can enjoy it with a bit more maturity.
This Mother’s Day should be a joyous one in the Feierstein household. Adrian and Stanley Feierstein will be up from Florida to greet their 1-year-old grandson Boden for the first time, and the Anglins will gather round. A brunch and dinner is planned.
The newest member of the clan celebrates his birthday five days later.