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Soldier watches child's birth via video

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, the 25-year-old Mortenson watched his wife, Denae Mortenson, deliver the couple's first child at Integris Southwest Medical Center 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.

"She's doing great - 100 percent healthy," Denae Mortenson said.

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 from Iraq.

"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.

"I had a first birthday where the guy came up on the screen and sang happy birthday to his daughter over the computer," Harlow said. "After he sang the song, she ran across the room saying, 'dada,' and kissed the screen. It was very touching."

Sean Murphy, AP Writer © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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