The “Stuck at Home With” series profiles players, caddies and staff in the women’s game who are making the most of an unprecedented break in tour life due to the coronavirus pandemic. New stories will be posted every Tuesday and Thursday.
Blair O’Neal delivered a baby boy during the height of a global pandemic.
Behind all those gorgeous and idyllic Instagram posts was a mom in full on stress mode, and who could blame her?
“Being so pregnant, you’re already pretty emotional because your hormones are going crazy,” said O’Neal of Golf Channel’s “School of Golf.”
“But with everything going on in the world and so many unknowns with COVID-19, it was pretty scary. Was I going to be able to have my husband in the delivery room with me?”
Surely she wouldn’t have to do this alone. Husband Jeff Keiser wasn’t even allowed in the room for the final ultrasound.
Mercifully, New York hospitals started allowing one guest into hospital rooms, paving the way for Arizona. The rule changed one week before Chrome Andy Keiser made his grand entrance on April 7 at 5:47 a.m., weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounce.
“It’s such a roller coaster,” O’Neal said of motherhood. “One hour things are going good, and the next you don’t know what happened.”
O’Neal, who turns 39 on May 14, had her baby shower one week before the U.S. started going into lockdown. With diapers and wipes on backorder, even getting the essentials has been worrisome.
“I think I’ve ordered over 300 newborn diapers over Amazon,” she said.
O’Neal put herself on strict quarantine before she gave birth and hasn’t been anywhere but the pediatrician’s office since. For a while, she said, Chrome must have the thought the world consisted entirely of two people, their house and the backyard.
Over the weekend, grandmas came over to meet Chrome for the first time, wearing masks. Everyone else has had to stick to FaceTime and Zoom. For great-grandparents, O’Neal prints out pictures and sends them in the mail.
“I know it’s not touching and smelling and feeling,” she said of the restrictions, but doctors and nurses had constantly stressed the need to isolate.
Being first-time parents with no help hasn’t been the easiest either.
“It’s been a wild ride to say the least,” she said.
O’Neal, a former Arizona State and Symetra Tour player who began a modeling career after college, already has an Instagram account for Chrome, though she has yet to post any photos to it. The couple brainstormed the baby’s unique name while on a road trip for New Year’s. They started shouting out different names – colors and metals – when Jeff looked down at the handle of the car and threw out Chrome.
O’Neal said less than 1 percent of babies in the world have the name, and that appealed to her. Chrome’s middle name, Andy, comes from Jeff’s late grandfather. O’Neal thought the combination of names was both strong and sweet.
Over the weekend, O’Neal enjoyed her longest stretch of sleep to date: five hours. They’ve been averaging between one to three hours. Since it’s not possible to bank sleep, O’Neal recommends that expecting moms take as many long showers as possible. Even five-minute showers are now a luxury, she said.
With Golf Channel re-airing “Big Break” episodes, O’Neal watched her victory from 10 years ago in the Dominican Republic. On Monday, Golf Channel re-aired the Prince Edward Island series marathon. She’d forgotten much of the drama.
In a way, the whole world has pressed pause right along with O’Neal’s maternity leave. She had a photographer come by to take a family portrait on the front porch from a safe distance.
“I feel like I want to baby-spam my whole page,” said O’Neal of her Instagram account, which has 545,000 followers.
“I try to keep it under control somewhat. No one loves your baby as much as you do.”
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