Dads Who Delivered
By Jennifer Steinhauer
Four fathers, four amazing births
Live from Iraq
Captain Colin Jorgenson and his wife, Lori, were ecstatic when they learned
that Lori was pregnant with their third child. But there was also some anxiety:
Colin was scheduled to leave for Iraq three days after they got the news.
During his wife's first two pregnancies, Colin, 33, had been there every
step of the way. He would make special chocolate malts for Lori and plan date
nights. At home, he would help look after Thayne, 4, and Cedar, 2. In the
delivery room, he'd been the ultimate coach, yelling "Keep it up! Push!
Push!" militarystyle. Despite Colin's impending departure, the couple was
optimistic: "We thought, if it's meant to be — then it's meant to be,"
says Lori, 31.
Yet once Colin was gone, Lori constantly felt his absence. "The first
time the baby moves, you think of your husband," she explains, "and the
first time you go to the doctor by yourself. You become really aware of the
connection you share." Adds Colin, who is serving in Iraq with the
Minnesota National Guard: "I missed not being there for the aches and pains
of my wife's pregnancy. I couldn't be there to help cheer her up or make her
As it turned out, Colin also wouldn't be there for the actual birth. But
Lori was determined to have him take part in the experience. She found out that
her husband could watch the birth live if she set up a webcam (a camcorder
that's connected to the Internet) in the delivery room. Two months before the
baby was due, Lori called her hospital in St. Cloud, MN, to make the
Timing was everything, so the plan was to induce labor. On June 12 of last
year, Lori went into the delivery room just as her husband was finishing up his
shift at the Balad Air Base (a liaison officer, Colin is in charge of
communications for his unit). "The soldiers who operated the Internet café
roped off a computer for me," says Colin.
From 9:15 a.m. Minnesota time (6:15 p.m. in Iraq) until 3 p.m. (midnight in
Iraq), Colin watched the action from thousands of miles away. The webcam was
set up near Lori's head, so he could see and hear everything. Colin also sent
instant messages, which would pop up on the webcam: "Just before it was
time to push," says Lori, "Colin wrote, 'I love you. I am very proud of
you.' I started crying. That's when it really hit me that he wasn't there."
Adds Colin, "I missed not being able to hold her hand."
Skylyn, a healthy baby girl, was born at 3 p.m., weighing 7 pounds, 5
ounces. "She looks exactly like Colin, has the same personality, and even
similar facial expressions," says Lori. "She's sweet, happy, and
Colin finally met Skylyn in November of last year, when he had 15 days of
"R&R" time to spend at home before returning to Iraq. (He is
scheduled to come home for good this fall.) On his first night back, Colin fed
his 5monthold daughter a bottle and put her to sleep. "It was so wonderful
holding my youngest child and looking into her eyes," he says. "I can't
wait to spend more time with her."