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article imageAmerican soldier witnesses birth of baby on Skype

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By Kim I. Hartman     Aug 1, 2011 in Lifestyle
Charleston - Capt Paul Santana and his wife Lindsey didn't let 6000 miles deter them from sharing in the birth of their child. With the help of the staff at a WV hospital and Skype Paul was able to watch the birth while stationed in Iraq with the Army National Guard.
The couple were residing in Boston, Massachusetts when Paul found out his unit was being deployed to Iraq, according to a report in the Charleston Daily Mail.
Lindsey, 29, who was eight weeks pregnant moved to Charleston, West Virginia, to stay with family during her pregnancy. She knew her husband would not be home in time for the birth of their first child and although she was disappointed she didn't let this stop her from figuring out a way to share the event with the soon to be first-time father.
Lindsey said they had communicated through Skype during her husband's overseas service to his country and they thought, "If he couldn't be here, we wanted to definitely try and find a way for him to be involved in her delivery."
Lindsey went to Charleston Area Medical Center's (CAMC) Women and Children's Hospital and spoke with employees to see if they could make the Internet video chat situation work.
Doug Young, a network specialist at CAMC told the Charleston Daily Mail "I had done a couple of very similar sorts of things in the past," and he was willing to help. Young said it was third time the hospital had live-streamed a birth for an absent father.
"In the old days, Skype wasn't around so it was a little more complicated," he said. "That simplified the whole thing. All I needed to do was try to get it set up so they could use their own personal equipment."
With the help of Suddenlink a test call was made to the awaiting father. Capt. Santana had found an Internet connection at a Starbucks in Kuwait where he anxiously waited for daughter to be born.
Santana set at the Starbucks for almost 12 hours as his wife went through a normal labor. Finally the moment arrived and through the 'magic of the Internet' Paul was able to be by his wife's side when the baby was born.
Lindsey told the newspaper, "everybody treated him like he was there. All the doctors and nurses spoke to him like he was sitting in the room. It gave me a nice distraction because I was worried about him and how he was going to react from seeing things so far away that I wasn't worried about the pain."
The Santana's named the baby Natalie Ruth, she weighed 6 pounds, 15 ounces and was 19.5 inches long.
Lindsey said the her husband was "really grateful that so many people did so much for him to make it possible."
The Santana's continue to talk each day on Skype where Paul is able to see his growing daughter. Lindsey said she 'feels less alone' being able to see and talk to Paul in this way and she feels blessed to have been able to share the moment of their daughter's birth with her husband.
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