No mountain was high enough, no river was wide enough, and no valley was low enough to keep one Montana man from watching the birth of his baby twins on Sept. 25 at North Valley Hospital in Whitefish, Mont.
Jon Zimbelman, 31, Skyped with his wife, Erin, all the way from Basrah, Iraq, where he works as a contractor in the private sector, to watch the delivery of his now-2-week-old twins, Braylon and Brielle.
Erin Zimbelman, 32, of Kalispell, Mont., was worried the hospital might not allow the Skype session to occur, but got the final approval just in time for the babies to arrive. “I just told him, go get to hard line, go to your office, be ready,” Zimbelman told ABC News.
Because Zimbelman was giving birth to twins, the delivery had to take place in the operating room, where Internet connections are not normally allowed. The anesthesiologist had the final say, and he eventually agreed to allow the iPad in the room.
Zimbelman said she’s gotten nothing but positive feedback about the experience. “I hope other people will be able to do it, or that hospitals won’t say ‘no’ right away. That was my main concern. No one gave me an answer until the day of, a couple hours before we were doing it all, so it was really nerve wracking,” Zimbelman said.
But the pregnancy also had its complications. Zimbelman’s mother unexpectedly passed away on July 6, so he used the one trip allowed to him to return home for her funeral.
“My husband’s mom died and so he had to come home for that instead of coming home for the birth,” Zimbelman said. “He had visa entry issues. It was only a one-entry visa.”
So she had to come up with a plan B for him to still be there for the babies. “I haven’t heard of anybody doing it,” Zimbelman said. “I don’t know if I’m the first or whatnot. But I had to come up with plan B.”
The hospital, knowing she’d need extra help pulling off the Skyping idea, allowed Zimbelman’s friend in the delivery room.
“He got to the see the babies before me, so he was excited,” said Zimbelman. “My girlfriend held up the iPad so he could watch everything that was going on. He said it was life-changing for him. A couple years ago, this would be impossible.”
Zimbelman was worried about the Internet connection working properly because, “Usually Iraq has pretty bad Internet connection, but it was flawless the whole way through.”
The babies are now happy and healthy, but still awaiting their first meeting in person with their father. Hopefully, he can make it home for the holidays.
“They’re doing great,” Zimbelman said. “They are the best babies. They’re sleeping good and are just precious.”