A father assisting with the birth of his child is a common practice, and it's one that Army Pfc. Gerald Kissentaner, 20, was determined to experience when his daughter, Cassidee, entered the world.
Outliers: Meet your daughter, Pfc. Kissentaner
Recently deployed to Iraq, Kissentaner was disappointed that he wouldn't be able to witness his daughter's birth and coach her mother, Raven Davis, 19, through the experience. So when an Army buddy suggested he use the free Internet camera-phone service Skype to be “present” for the big day, Kissentaner went to work setting up the arrangements. He told Davis about his idea and then contacted officials at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest Fort Worth to see if using Skype during the delivery was doable. Officials already had some practice, after using Skype for another military family birth at Texas Health Arlington Memorial.
“We just had to make sure there was a computer technician available in case we lost the connection,” Texas Health spokeswoman Megan Brooks says.
On the day of Cassidee's birth—just three days shy of Mother's Day—Kissentaner and Davis used Skype from the time the mom-to-be was admitted to the hospital about 9 p.m. on May 5 until their bundle of joy was delivered at 6:38 a.m. on May 6. “He was laughing, trying to cheer me up while I was in pain,” Davis says of her and Kissentaner's interaction during the labor. She adds that he was “excited and shocked” to witness his daughter's actual birth.
While using Skype helped the family be together during the important moment, mom and baby are hoping they'll get to see dad in the flesh sometime this August.
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