Soldier in Iraq witnesses birth of first child via live video conference

OKLAHOMA CITY - Far from home while stationed in Iraq, U.S. Marine Sgt. Chad Mortenson didn't have to miss the birth of his first child.

Through a live video conference link set up by a charity, Freedom Calls Foundation, 25-year-old Mortenson watched his wife, Denae, deliver the couple's first child at Integris Southwest Medical Center on Wednesday.

'It was wonderful. The whole time he was talking to me,' said Denae Mortenson, 20. 'He could see me and I could hear him. It was like he was there, but he was just on a screen.'

Jayden Faith Mortenson was born at 8:11 a.m., weighing 6 pounds, 13 ounces.

The New Jersey-based foundation was founded by attorney and venture capitalist John Harlow. He said he initially founded the charity to provide phone calls for soldiers after learning of a soldier who rang up a $7,000 cell phone bill talking to his family.

'I just didn't think it was right to have these families commercially exploited when they're making sacrifices on behalf of this country,' Harlow said.

The group conducts about 2,000 video conferences a month, allowing soldiers to visit with dying relatives, watch their children graduate from high school and even 'attend' funerals and memorial services.