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Jennifer Kennedy
Marketing/Public Relations

St. Mary Mercy Hospital Broadcasts Baby's Birth Via Skype to Father Stationed in Middle East
Start Date
When Air Force Airman First Class (A1C) Christian (Chris) Lopez was deployed to the Middle East last April, his wife Amber, 18, was pregnant with their second child and due in September. On Saturday, September 10, Chris, 20, was able to witness the birth of his son, Declan James Lopez, born at 9:27 a.m. at St. Mary Mercy’s Hospital’s Birthing Center, via Skype. “I’m extremely thrilled and happy,” he said. “The experience made it feel like a little piece of home, actually being able to see everything as it happened.”

Prior to the birth, the South Lyon couple frequently kept in touch using Skype, a software application that allows users to make voice and video calls and chats over the Internet. Knowing other military couples had utilized this technology during labor and delivery, Amber approached her OB/Gyn, Tim Johnson, MD, of Westside Obstetrics & Gynecology and St. Mary Mercy staff physician. “Dr. Johnson was really excited about it when we first started talking about it,” explained Amber.

In a collaborative effort, St. Mary Mercy physicians, Birthing Center and information technology staff came together for St. Mary Mercy’s first Skype birth broadcast. Having a difficult delivery of their first child, one-year-old daughter Addison, “we were determined Amber was going to have a good experience this time,” said Deborah Ainsworth, RN, Birthing Center director. A webcam and laptop were set up bedside where Chris could view the action just as if he were in the room.

Arriving a few days early, on-call OB/Gyn Karol Otteman, DO, delivered the 7 lb., 12 oz., 21-inch baby boy, born on his great-grandmother’s birthday.

“As a military family, the distance can be hard but this experience was really nice,” said Amber. “This was so much better than just being on the phone because he could actually see him live. St. Mary Mercy took care of everything and made it perfect.”