Soldier Stationed in Afghanistan Witnesses the Birth of His Son Via Skype


Technology and social media are often accused of providing people with a false sense of connection. You can comment on a friend’s Facebook wall or send a quick text message in place of picking up the phone to say hello. And, while an email will be read by its recipient quicker than a letter via traditional mail, a handwritten note is certainly more personal and increasingly less frequent.

Due to the widespread use of smartphones and the internet, we are more accessible than ever, but in many ways, we are also more isolated. That’s why stories like that of Specialist Brock Howland are so refreshing — stories of real people using the power of technology to share moments that without it would be forever lost. 

Howland, a soldier currently stationed in Afghanistan, was unable to be by his wife Mary’s side during the birth of their son in a birthing center in Michigan, at least physically. However, Howland was able to share the moment in real time with her. He Skyped into the birth through a computer positioned next to his wife’s bedside and was able to see her face throughout the experience.

“It chokes me up. It really did. Especially when he first came out and I saw him on Mary’s stomach, I lost it. I absolutely was in tears,” Howland told news station WWMT.

The Huffington Post reports, soldiers attending the births of their children through the use of web cams and tools like Skype is becoming more common. Hospitals have allowed parents-to-be to set up computers in the operating room during a delivery via cesarean section as well as in the ICU after the birth of a baby.

In one instance, a Kentucky hospital even went so far as to ask its IT department to bring in their own equipment when a patient’s laptop failed during an attempt to Skype with a National Guard member serving in Iraq during the delivery of their child.

It’s an experience that is separated by leaps and bounds from that of our grandparents who, during war times, penned notes to their wives that then took weeks to arrive, but it is by far one of the most heartwarming examples of technology utilized to improve the life of the user.

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