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Watching The Inauguration In Labor: The Ventura County Mom Welcoming Her 'Pandemic Baby'


Last week was notable for the official arrival of a new President, but one Ventura County family also welcomed a new arrival of their own.

Genessee Semler – whose pregnancy journey we have been following on KCLU – gave birth to her 'pandemic baby.'

While millions of us were watching Lady Gaga and the Inauguration of President Joe Biden last week, a Ventura County mom was going into labor.

We first met Genessee Semler when she was 37 weeks pregnant.

Baby Fin arrived at 30 minutes past midnight on Thursday 21 January - a perfect baby girl, born weighing 6lbs 7oz after her mom went into labor on the morning of Inauguration day. 

Credit Genessee Semler

"My waters broke so we called the hospital and they said, 'no rush,' but within an hour contractions were about five minutes apart. So we got our last meal as a couple - we went to Chilis and got burgers since they wouldn't let us eat at the hospital. 

"I sat in the triage room waiting to be admitted watching the Inauguration, before they let my husband come up."

It’s not only meals in the hospital that are affected by the pandemic - preparing for a birth during the COVID 19 crisis, provides new challenges. 

"Because of COVID, there were no pre-natal classes. I did watch some You Tube videos on breathing, how to slow down. My major fear was tearing and the post-partum recovery. So I looked up how to slow down pushing a baby out as well as how to speed it up. 

"Because of COVID, it was just my husband with me. Everyone wore masks. I was allowed to labor without a mask. They never told me to put on a mask." 

Breast feeding her newborn hasn’t been without challenges either for new mom. 

"I thought it was strange this idea of 'mom guilt' where you can't produce milk or your baby doesn't like your milk, but it's a real thing. I was dry-pumping in the hospital and I wanted to exclusively breast feed her," Genessee told KCLU. 

She says that because the baby had some jaundice, the hospital encouraged her to feed with formula and she was concerned she wouldn't want to latch once she was on a bottle. 

"I've been very aggressively pumping and trying to feed her and finally two days ago, some milk started coming in." 

We are going to continue to follow Genessee and baby Fin on their journey. 

Credit Genessee Semler

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022 and 2023.

Since joining the station she's won 7 Golden Mike Awards, 4 Los Angeles Press Club Awards and 2 National Arts & Entertainment Awards.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for ten years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.
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