Fourteen months ago, Ryan Mose missed the birth of his twin daughters by minutes.
On Thursday, when his wife, Robbie, delivered the couple’s third daughter, Ryan was thousands of miles away in Afghanistan.
But unlike the first deliveries, Ryan was by his wife’s side as the couple welcomed baby Stella into the world — all thanks to a webcam.
“It was awesome,” Ryan said Saturday via webcam from Afghanistan. “I was glad I was able to be there.”
Prior to the scheduled caesarean section, Robbie asked her physician if he would allow Ryan in the operating room via laptop. Her husband is a staff sergeant in the Army and halfway through his second deployment overseas, she explained.
“I just wanted him to be there as much as possible even though he’s so far away,” Robbie said.
Her doctor checked with staff at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center and, to Robbie’s surprise, agreed.
On Thursday, Robbie checked into the hospital at 8 a.m. As the delivery time approached, hospital staff brought Robbie’s sister — laptop in hand — into the operating room. Within minutes, Ryan was sitting by his wife’s side, telling jokes as he tried to soothe her.
Ryan sat at his computer and watched as his 5-pound, 14-ounce baby girl took her first breath at 10:31 a.m.
“It was good. It was really good,” he said. “I could tell that she has my nose.”
Having Ryan in the operating room meant the world to Robbie.
“It meant everything,” she said. “That’s my husband, the father of my baby, of course I wanted him there.”
Seeing her husband as she prepared for the delivery brought Robbie to tears.
And she’s not the only one — the doctors and nurses in the room were overwhelmed with emotion.
“It made it very close and personal,” said Harriet Cole, a registered nurse in obstetrics. “I loved it.”
The doctors and nurses talked to Ryan and snapped photos of the beaming dad with his wife and new daughter.
“It was like he was here,” Cole said. “It was definitely a memorable moment.”
But the memorable moment wasn’t without a glitch.
About 30 seconds before Stella was born, the webcam froze. Ryan lost his connection to the operating room.
“I was freaking out,” Robbie said. “I was just saying, ‘Get him back! Hurry!’”
Ryan called back and was reconnected with 10 seconds to spare — narrowly avoiding missing the birth of his daughter.
Fourteen months ago, Robbie delivered their daughters Camille and Lillian while Ryan frantically tried to get into the operating room.
Robbie went into preterm labor in the middle of the night after four days in the hospital. Earlier in the evening, Ryan made the 20-minute drive home to get some sleep. When he got the call that Robbie was in labor, he raced to the hospital. He missed the births by five minutes.
Two months passed before Robbie and Ryan were able to hold their premature daughters for the first time.
This time around, the wait won’t be so long for Ryan. He’s scheduled to return to Vancouver for a two-week visit in January.
He’ll hold Stella for the first time and see his twins walk and play. When he left six months ago, Lillian and Camille were still immobile and cooing.
After the brief visit, he’ll return to Afghanistan for the final six months of his deployment.
“It’s going to be hard having him home for the two weeks. Right when we get used to having him here, he’ll be leaving,” Robbie said. “But we’ll just enjoy the time we have with him and wait for him to return for good.”
In the meantime, Ryan is just a webcam call away.