Schuylkill soldier watches daughter's birth via Skype
A veteran serving overseas in Afghanistan was present during the birth of his daughter thanks to the gift of modern technology.
Justin Solomon, 23, a sergeant in the Army was in the delivery room via Skype, an internet-based video chat program, as much as possible due to the constraints of his job.
"It was emotional," Alicia Solomon, 21, of Ringtown, said of her husband sharing the milestone moment.
A computer was next to the delivery table so he could see his wife's face.
Her husband, she said, was thrilled to participate in the birth of his daughter.
"He was really excited. He smiled the entire time," she said.
Justin left in March for Afghanistan and should return next month. Alicia was happy that her husband could share in the birth of their first born child, Anna Grace.
Anna Grace was born at 1:47 p.m. Friday after 14 hours of labor. She weighs 7 pounds 11 ounces and is 19 1/2 inches long. Saturday she was peacefully sleeping while cradled in her mother's arms.
The couple chose the name because each liked part of it, Alicia liked the name Anna. Justin was fond of the name Grace.
The fact the birth happened so close to Veterans Day makes the birth also special, she said.
Veterans Day is today.
"I guess it's cool that it happened that way," Solomon said from her hospital room.
Anna was not due until Nov. 18. "I was early. I was surprised," Alicia said.
Alicia said she cried when she first held her daughter. Alicia's mother was with her daughter Saturday but did not want to give her name because she wanted her daughter's moment to be acknowledged.
The couple went to Shenandoah Valley Junior/Senior High School.
"We've been together since I was 15," she said.
She graduated in 2009, he in 2007.
Carol Beckett, staff nurse at Schuylkill Medical Center-South Jackson Street, said this is not the first birth a father has watched via Skype. "We had a request several years back because of someone being overseas, and so the IT department here at the hospital set up labor room six so that we have the capabilities to do that," she said.
Alicia is looking forward to her husband coming home next month, possibly in time for Christmas.
"It's his favorite holiday, so he's pretty excited," for some family time, she said.