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Lance Cpl. Jovan Rodriguez, a warehouse clerk with Task Force 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, Regimental Combat Team 5, points to a picture of his daughter Liliana Rodriguez at Camp Al Qa'im, Iraq Sept. 10. Rodriguez got to join his wife through video teleconferencing at Al Asad Air Base for the birth of their first child. He and his wife were able to see and speak with each other during the entire delivery.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Joshua Murray

Marine links up with his wife for childbirth

18 Sep 2008 | Lance Cpl. Joshua Murray

Service members engaged in deployments all over the world often miss important family events during their months away.

Numerous options, such as internet service and phones, are made available to Marines to ensure they have the opportunity to stay in touch with their families. However, personally experiencing a once in a lifetime event alongside their loved ones is not a frequent occurrence.

Lance Cpl. Jovan Rodriguez, 20, a warehouse clerk with the Warlords of Task Force 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, Regimental Combat Team 5, traveled to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, to be with his wife through video teleconferencing for the birth of their first child, Liliana Rodriguez.

Like any father expecting the birth of his first child, Rodriguez wished to be there when his daughter was born.  However, operational commitments made it impossible for him to be there, so he looked for an alternative solution.

“When we found out I couldn’t go home, we did some research and found out we could do it by webcam,” said Rodriguez, who is from Chicago.

After Rodriguez and his wife explained their situation and worked out the details with the hospital staff at Underwood Memorial Hospital, Franklinville, N.J.  The staff agreed to allow a video teleconference for them during the birth of their baby girl.

Rodriguez had to fly from Camp Al Qa’im to Al Asad for the event and spent several days and nights waiting for the baby to arrive.

“I consider myself one of the luckiest men in the world,” he said. “I know a lot of (service members) don’t get to see the birth of their child, and I was blessed to be able to.”

When the day finally came, Rodriguez spent hours at the Morale Welfare and Recreation Center aboard Al Asad, privately joining his wife through a two-way audio and video connection.

“If something went wrong, they would have cut off the video and I would have been scared because it’s my first time,” said Rodriguez. “I could see her and listen to her the whole time, and the labor went very smoothly.”

Other Marines with 2nd Bn., 2nd Marines have mentioned the possibility of making the trip to Al Asad for the births of their children. Working with hospitals and the MWR centers, Marines may be able to interact with their loved ones during significant events like childbirth through a simple internet connection.