With face masks, testing, and not being able to have family come visit, giving birth during a pandemic is a whole different ball game. In fact, as an exclusive clip from UPtv's Bringing Up Bates shows, 24-year-old Tori (Bates) Smith had to get a little creative to share this special moment with her loved ones.
In the exclusive clip with Romper, Tori talks about how she managed to include her large family in the birth of her son Kolter Gray, when they could't physically be in the hospital room with her. "I'm pretty sure the first thing that I did when I got into the room was start a group message with everyone in the family and hit the FaceTime button because I was like, 'Nobody can be here, let's just have a party with it,'" says Tori, who's one of Gil and Kelly Jo Bates' 19 children.
Thanks to FaceTime, Kelly Jo revealed that she and all of her daughters were able to be with Tori. "We kinda got a game plan that we would all get on a FaceTime call together, all the sisters, everybody at once during Tori's labor," Kelly Jo says in the clip. "We could at least see her face and expressions and talk to her like we're in the room, which would hopefully comfort her and help us feel like we're not missing out."
After FaceTiming with her close-knit family, Tori and her husband Bobby Smith welcomed their son Kolter on March 25. Giving birth during a pandemic, without her mother and sisters by her side, was undoubtedly a much different experience for Tori, who gave birth to her first child, Kade, in 2018, but it looks like they were still able to celebrate as a family.
Tori isn't the only member of the Bates family to give birth recently, although her sister Carlin (Bates) Stewart — who welcomed her first child, a daughter named Layla, in January — had a much different experience. "I literally just had my baby two months ago, and now everything has completely changed," Carlin says in the exclusive clip.
"I thought I had it bad with like, three people in my room, now it's limited to one, COVID-19 patients everywhere, they're all headed to the hospitals," Carlin goes on to say. "So literally my heart goes out so much for Tori just having to experience all of this and go through all of this during such a scary time."
While the pandemic slightly impacted Carlin's delivery, she and her husband, Evan Stewart, were personally affected by the virus. Earlier this month, the reality star shared that they tested positive for COVID-19. "We are on the tail end of recovery and are both doing better," Carlin shared in an Instagram post. "We feel for you that are struggling with COVID right now and we are keeping you in our prayers."
Catch Tori's birth with Kolter and new episodes of Bringing Up Bates on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on UPtv.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.