Thursday, October 17, 2013

At-Home Baby Baptism

We wanted to have our preemie, Emily, baptized -- but we were very concerned about taking her to a public church service where she could be exposed to germs outside of our control. So, earlier this week, Emily, was baptized in an intimate service that took place at our home.

The at-home baptism was necessary to reduce her exposure to Respiratory Syncytial Virus (more commonly referred to as "RSV"), the flu, and other ailments that are circulating around this time of year and could perhaps be more prevalent in a public setting.

The lungs of premature babies are still very fragile until they are two-years old. Our goal is to make it through this and the next RSV season without Emily contracting the virus or any other illness. So, we are home-bound for the most part. 

If you have a preemie or an immune-compromised baby, an at-home baptism may be something to consider. 
Key Tips for an At-Home Baptism

Limit the Number of Attendees

Although we would have liked to have had our entire family attend Emily's baptism service, we limited the ceremony to parents and grandparents. This limitation was not meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone's feelings.  It was an effort to protect Emily from germs given that her health status is still incredibly fragile.
Request Proper Hygiene

We asked each family member and the pastor who performed the baptism to do the following:

(1)  When you arrive and throughout your visit, please wash your hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizer, especially before touching Emily. Hand sanitizer is available in each room of our house.
(2)  Please, please, please -- if it is possible, get a flu shot and a Tdap vaccine if you have not already done so.
(3)  Please refrain from coming to the baptism if you are sick and have not been symptom free for at least five days, if you live with someone who is sick, or if you have been in close contact with someone who is sick.
(4)  If you smoke, we ask that you change your clothing and refrain from smoking prior to visiting our home as Emily's lungs are very sensitive to smoke.  In addition, most RSV resources recommend against passive smoke exposure.

Video Tape the Baptism & Take Several Pictures

We recognize that many friends and family members were disappointed that they were not invited to attend the at-home baptism service.  We video taped the baptism and took several pictures to share with them.  That way, they could view the ceremony at their convenience.
Provide Your Own Baptismal Bowl and Water

We provided a bowl and tap water for the baptism. We used a bowl that matches our set of dishes and tap water. If you are seriously concerned about the health of your baby, you could always use distilled water or another type of bottled water for the baptism.  However, it is not just the water, but the word of God with the water that makes a baptism complete.

Eat Cake to Celebrate

We had coffee and cake after the baptism. You could make your own cake or buy one. I kept things pretty simple and picked up a cake at our local grocery store. The bakery representative even customized the cake for the baptism.


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