An Illinois man who spent the last nine weeks of his wife's high-risk pregnancy keeping vigil outside her hospital room due to coronavirus restrictions got to celebrate his first Father's Day on Sunday.
Robert Conlin's son, Forest Gace Walter Conlin, was born on June 20, weighing in at 4 pounds, 3 ounces.
"He did everything he could to be my son and I need to do everything I can to be his father," Conlin told ABC News' "World News Tonight" of his son. "It's just the greatest gift. The greatest gift. A Father's Day to remember for sure."
Forest was born nearly 70 days after his mom, Conlin's wife, Shona Moeller, was placed on bed rest at a Chicago-area hospital.
Moeller, a high school teacher and part-time life coach, had a normal pregnancy up until 20 weeks, when her water broke prematurely. She spent three weeks on bed rest at home trying to not go into labor and then was admitted to AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center in Hinsdale, Illinois, when she reached 23 weeks of pregnancy.
Since April 13, Moeller had been on bed rest in a hospital room, trying to keep her pregnancy on hold for as long as possible in order to increase the odds that the couple's son would be born healthy.
While Moeller worked to keep herself and her son alive, Conlin did everything he could to try to make an abnormal time more normal.
Unable to visit Moeller in the hospital due to the coronavirus pandemic, Conlin turned the sidewalk that the window in Moeller's fourth-floor hospital room looked down onto into their refuge. He would sit in a lawn chair holding handmade signs to cheer Conlin on, and brought date nights to her more than three dozen times.
For date nights, Conlin would order takeout from the couple's favorite restaurant and have Moeller's entree brought to her hospital room. Conlin enjoyed his entree at the sidewalk table and the two would FaceTime with each other while they ate dinner.
"I think it’s a little glimpse of some normalcy," Conlin, 45, told "Good Morning America" last month. "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?'"
"She thought we were just going to do it over FaceTime so when I showed up, she was really surprised," he said.
Moeller, 41, said she "lost her breath" the first time she went to the window and saw that Conlin had set up a date night.
"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."
Conlin was able to be by Moeller's side on Saturday when she delivered their son.
Forest is in the NICU and is doing well but "still has a long road to make it home in a few weeks," according to Conlin, who called his son "a fighter."
"My heart beats outside of me," Conlin wrote in a Facebook post announcing Forest's birth. "WE DID IT!!!"