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 laugh."
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 arrangements.
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 easygoing."
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."
Dad to the Rescue
Last August, firefighter Tom Gould was on call at the station when his wife, Sarah, phoned to say that she was in labor, with contractions coming strong at seven minutes apart.
He rushed home that night and found his wife in bed, writhing in pain. "I called the doctor and told him we were on the way to the hospital," says Tom, 35. Then he phoned the babysitter down the street — she had promised to watch their 3yearold son, Daniel, who was fast asleep.
Tom was having trouble getting his wife down the stairs alone because she was having such intense contractions. "I really felt like I couldn't move," says Sarah, 32. So Tom, who is also a paramedic, called for backup. Within six minutes, his coworkers at the fire department had arrived in an ambulance. "My wife kept telling me she was ready to push, and I kept saying, 'Don't push! Don't push! Breathe!'" says Tom. "I knew we still had a 25minute ride to the hospital ahead of us."
As they sped through the streets, Tom kept praying for more time. But when they hit the highway ramp 10 minutes later, Tom looked down and saw his daughter's head emerging. I can't believe this is happening, he thought as he grabbed the obstetrics delivery kit. Although he and his colleagues were trained to deliver children, none of them had actually done it before. As one paramedic drove, another coached Sarah, and a third assisted Tom, who was directing his own baby's head from the birth canal, in what had become a mobile delivery room going 70 miles an hour.
Moving quickly, he suctioned his daughter's nose. Next, a tiny arm emerged, and Tom grabbed a teardropsize finger. "I told Sarah, 'Go ahead and deliver her,' and in one big push, Lillian came out." In total, it had taken less than a minute.
After Lillian was cleaned and wrapped in a baby blanket, Tom did what countless doctors, but not many dads, do every day: hand the mother her newborn.
Both Tom and Sarah were in shock. "I kept telling my wife, 'You're so strong. You did such an amazing job,'" says Tom. "She gave birth with no drugs, no nothing." Adds Sarah, "I was so happy and so exhausted. Even though I had given birth before, it felt like an outofbody experience this time. Tom was my saving grace."
When the couple reached the hospital, they were greeted with cheers at the emergency room door. The local press in Cape Cod, MA, was so enamored of the story, there was no need for the Goulds to send out birth announcements.
"I am extremely close to my son," Tom says, "and now my daughter and I also have a real connection. She sleeps on my chest and smiles whenever I see her. It's amazing because I was there the very second she was born. Right away, I was there to take care of her."
On the Double
Bradyn and Korey Janke have a hard time convincing people they're twins. They don't look alike (Bradyn is 100 pounds slimmer), and they don't act alike ("Bradyn always has to do something, and I'm more chill," says Korey). And until last year, the brothers never had any of those eerie "twin" moments.
That all changed when the 25yearold fraternal twins from the Salt Lake City area found out that their wives were pregnant within weeks of each other.
Bradyn's wife, Dina, was due three weeks after Korey's wife, Andrea. "I wanted to deliver right on time, so I could be there for Dina when she gave birth," says Andrea, 25.
But the timing didn't work out that way. When Dina, 20, was 30 weeks pregnant and on vacation with Bradyn in San Diego, she started having contractions. On doctor's orders, the couple drove home immediately. It was a long, 13hour ride: "I kept thinking, We just have to make it a few more hours," says Bradyn, a banker.
Back home, Dina saw the doctor right away. Although she wasn't ready to deliver, she was two centimeters dilated, so the physician put her on bed rest. For the next month, she didn't leave her house except for weekly doctor visits. On June 29, 2006, at 35 weeks and five centimeters dilated, Dina was finally ready. Hospital checkin time: 10 a.m.
That same day, Andrea and Korey saw her obstetrician for a routine checkup. It was three weeks prior to Andrea's due date, so she expected to be in and out of the office quickly. But her fluid was so dangerously low, the doctor wanted to induce labor — soon. "It was scary, but also exciting," says Korey, who's going to school to be a software developer.
A hospital bed wasn't available, so the couple drove home to pick up slippers, pillows, and baby gear. After dinner, they checked into the hospital. Time: 10 p.m.
Korey was still at the hospital the next morning when he got a call from Bradyn, who was watching his son's head begin to crown. Korey peppered his brother with questions: "What's it like? Is it weird? Is it spectacular? What, what, what?" Bradyn's response: "It's amazing. I don't know how else to explain it." His son, Riley, was born at 4:48 a.m.
Later that day, nurses suddenly swarmed around Andrea. The baby's heartbeat had become severely irregular, and an emergency Csection would be needed. "I tried to be strong, but I started to cry," says Korey. "They told me I couldn't go in, so it was even worse. But the next thing I knew, they were walking out with a little bundle and there was my son. I started crying again." Tavren was born at 4:49 p.m.
"We were flabbergasted about the timing," Korey says. "We just couldn't believe how everything had panned out." Adds Bradyn: "We thought one of us would have twins. But this is our 'twins.'"
Bradyn gets alone time with Riley when his wife is at beauty school. "That's when I play 'mister mom.' My son and I just hang out together." Korey is having just as much fun being a father: "When I walk in the door, my son flaps his arms and squeals. I think it's because he knows it's time to get tickled."
The cousins, now a year old, see each other often. "Tavren is more cautious and Riley is always wriggling," says Korey, "and that's pretty much the way my brother and I are."
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