Lawton_A soldier stationed in Iraq was able to see his baby being born in Lawton from 7,000 miles away. It may seem impossible, but thanks to "Freedom Calls," the improbable is now easier than it may seem. The non-profit organization connects thousands of soldiers overseas with their families in the US.
It's an extra-special call when it means that a father can see his newborn baby for the first time. It's exactly what happened to the Riise family of Lawton. Jonah was born on Friday at Southwestern Medical Center in Lawton - and, his dad got to see it.
Captain Andy Riise coached his wife Katie through the birth of Jonah on Friday, from thousands of miles away, and was able to see his son again Tuesday. Andy has been stationed in Iraq since February, and since he wasn't able to come home for the birth of his baby, this was the next best thing. Although they were 7,000 miles away, they were still face to face, and thanks to "Freedom Calls," Andy could see his wife and son together.
After waving to Jonah, he told Katie how beautiful she looked. "[I'm] overjoyed to sum it up in one word," he said. "It was so sweet, he was crying, and of course I was crying," said Katie. "But, it was nice kinda, having this moment we've been looking forward to for nine months."
The couple has been married for five years, and Andy has deployed twice since that time. Andy was able to be home for the birth of their first son, Larson, two-and-a-half years ago. But, Katie says this time was unlucky. "We'd timed it to when we knew he wasn't going to be deployed, and then this time, the timing was a little off," said Katie.
So, Katie and Andy had to get creative. They had heard about "Freedom Calls" from Andy's mother who lives in California. Through a conference call, they were rejoined, able to laugh and joke - already creating memories that will last a lifetime. "I'm just really, really proud of her thankful that I was able feel like I was there through this amazing technology, and this incredible service provided." Katie says she saw the look on Andy's face when he saw Jonah for the first time, and says it was an unforgettable experience. "We didn't think that this was possible at all actually," she said.