UPDATE: Software lets soldier in Afghanistan view daughter's birth in Missouri

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 | 9:30 p.m. CDT; updated 9:44 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Laurie Cooper and her newborn daughter, Charlotte Rose, talk to Cooper's husband, U.S. Army Capt. David Cooper, via video conferencing. David Cooper is in Afghanistan for his second deployment in a war zone. Computer software allowed him to attend his daughter's birth on July 19 in Hannibal. Laurie Cooper returned to Hannibal from Germany a few weeks ago so she could stay with her parents.

HANNIBAL— Army Capt. David Cooper was in Afghanistan when his daughter was born in Missouri. But thanks to technology, he was able to not only witness the birth but help coach  his wife through labor.

Video conferencing software allowed Cooper to be laptop-to-face with his wife, Laurie, through the birth of Charlotte Rose Cooper on July 19 at Hannibal Regional Hospital.

"He counted out all the pushes and everything," Laurie told the Quincy (Ill.) Herald-Whig. "The only thing lacking was the ability to touch each other."

The Coopers are stationed in Germany, but Laurie came to Hannibal a few weeks ago to stay with her parents. David is in the midst of his second deployment in a war zone; the first was in Iraq.

To allow for David to be as close to the birth  as possible, the couple used Skype, a software application that allows for video conferencing.

Throughout much of the day on July 19, the couple had trouble connecting. Thankfully, the software worked perfectly for the final two hours before the girl was born.

During breaks between contractions, David walked around with his laptop and showed Laurie and the hospital staff the base where he is stationed.

At dusk in Hannibal, as the baby was arriving, "We watched the sun come up in Afghanistan while I was pushing," Laurie said. "Pretty much everyone in the room was crying when he was there for the birth."

David's ease around the computer software was no accident — he is a computer network administrator for the Army. "We have been able to talk with Skype four or five times since his deployment," she said.

David hopes to visit Hannibal around December, reunite with his wife and 18-month-old daughter Savannah Grace, and meet little Charlotte Rose in person for the first time. His deployment is for a year and the family is expected to be back together in Germany next June.

Time apart isn't ideal, but Laurie knows others have faced greater hardship.

"I always think about the vets in World War II that were away for years and come back and have 3-year-olds they've never met and I think we are very lucky," she said.


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