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January 10, 2013

SKYPE News - A New Army Birth via Skype Incites Wave of Skype Births

By Jody Bennett, TMCnet Contributing Writer

The 2003 New Year brought beautiful baby girl, Alice Chavez, into this world at the Banner Estrella Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona to Paige Chavez and Spc. Christopher Chavez.

But this wasn’t just any birth. According to a news story posted on the official US Army webpage on January 7, 2013, “Spc. Christopher Chavez, a 20-year-old intelligence analyst from A Company, 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Calvary Division, witnessed the birth of his first child via Skype (News - Alert), from Forward Operating Base Gamberi, Afghanistan.”

Chavez joined the ranks of uniformed personnel given the ability to witness the miracle of childbirth through modern videophone software.

Wartime communication that was once elegantly penned sheaves of text with months of latency has evolved into a few clicks and slides to reveal loved ones’ faces in real time. Skype enjoys a position of dominance in the realm of video chat, although Apple’s proprietary FaceTime and Google (News - Alert) Chat offer alternatives for both iOS and PC devices.

Theron Scott, also deployed in Afghanistan at the time of his wife’s birth, coached her through the delivery from a desolate wasteland on the other side of the world. Jon Zimbelman enjoyed the same privilege in October of last year from Iraq where he was employed as a contractor, witnessing the birth of his twins through the power of Skype.  

Ted Freese employed the same method to help his wife through childbirth by Skype while deployed in the Middle East.

Hospital staff is warming to the idea of using the Internet to accommodate estranged couples, bringing the husband’s visage into the delivery room and brightening both parents lives on their fateful days of their children’s birth.

Previously, Internet connections were forbidden in the operating room, but concessions have been made given the parents circumstances and policies are a changing, as well as the technology itself. With the proliferation of pocket-sized cameras, it has become much easier to stream video at one’s discretion. Military hospitals have begun featuring Skype births to help their soldiers stay connected to their families back in the States, such as Elmendorf AFB Hospital in Alaska.

There, Captain Joe Palermo used Skype to witness the birth of his own child through a specific Skype birth program – a practice that is spreading throughout hospitals nationwide.

Video chat brought these soldiers into the operating room when they most needed it, strengthening the family bonds that fuel them in their work far from home.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Braden Becker

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