As a child, our family photo albums weren’t your average collection of pictures. Rather, one might find herself flipping pages of pictures of children playing, vacation sights and family portraits and then – BAM! – photos of a baby being born. My mom was an OB nurse, as were many of her friends, and they literally took turns witnessing and documenting one another’s deliveries.  So, as a child I saw photos of babies being born, many photos. But as an adult I’ve never witnessed the miracle of birth (unless you count the mirror in the delivery room as my first son was born) – until last night.

Through the awesomeness that is the internet, I got to “be there” to see my sister become a mother. And it was the most amazing thing ever.

facetime during birthThe past few weeks, as my sister neared her due date, I found myself overcome with sadness. I didn’t get to see my sister in person while she was pregnant. I never got to touch her belly or feel the baby move under her skin. She’s my only sister and this is her first baby. It’s monumental, and I felt lonely and isolated, missing it all.

Somehow in the last couple days as it became obvious that the birth would occur soon, I asked if I listen or watch the delivery using FaceTime. My sister, generously, agreed. So, last night, as she prepared to push and deliver her baby, my mom texted to wake me from my restless sleep. I was anxious and nervous and so, so excited for my sister.

I sat by myself in my living room in Germany, holding my iPhone a few inches from my face to try to get as close to action as possible. My mom and a nurse took turns holding an iPad in Texas. I got to see my sister’s face as she strained, pushing with all her might. And, yes, I saw everything as the baby entered the world. Well, saw what I could through my tears. I was a bawling mess, so overcome with the miracle I was witnessing.

After what was the longest labor in the history of babies, it took only minutes of pushing for my sister to deliver her baby. A girl. My niece. And I was a very small part of it. I’ll never forget it.

facetime delivery

Of course, just when I thought things couldn’t get any better I heard the baby’s name…

Welcome to the world, Leah Kate. You are so, so loved. And I am so, so lucky to be your aunt.




Kate started The Shopping Mama™ in January 2009 when, after graduating law school, she traded in online legal research and writing for locating the best products for children. She shops for three kids ages 8, 6 and 3 from their home in Japan. Her military family is making the most of back-to-back overseas assignments by traveling every chance they get.

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  1. 1.

    Ok I was misty eyed through the whole post and then I saw the name and burst out crying. Y’all must be so close… even when so far away physically. Hugs! And, congrats to your sister on her first!

    • .

      I am so honored she shares my name. Truly. I start crying every time I think about it!

  2. 2.
    Janet W.

    She’s absolutely precious! Congrats to your family!

  3. 3.

    What a wonderful experience! I started to tear up just reading your recount. Congratulations to all who know and love Leah Kate already!

  4. 4.

    What a lovely account. Made me tear up. Congratulations to the whole family!

  5. 5.

    Oh, technology is amazing! I was able to be in the room, and photograph when my friend gave birth. It was the most amazing experience!

  6. 6.

    I’m so happy for you and your family Kate! That is awesome you were able to experience it the way you did. It might not have been in person but it sounds like you got to take away a beautiful experience anyway. I understand completely as I was present for the birth of two of my sister’s kids. It really is different to be on the other side and is a special thing to share with a sister. I think you are an amazing woman Kate and it is no surprise to me that your sister would want to name a daughter after you. 🙂

  7. 7.

    I’m so happy that you were able to Facetime in for the delivery! What a fabulous memory and way to stay connected even overseas. Congrats on your little namesake niece!! 🙂

  8. 8.

    Don’t you love technology? Congratulations!

  9. 9.
    teresa herrera-honores

    such a lovely story! my daughter was there to see her first sister be born too! this is awesome!

  10. 10.
    joanna garcia

    isn’t technology great! what a terrific experience!

  11. 11.
    Elizabeth P.

    Sweet, sweet story! I understand too it’s hard to be away from family, I’m a military wife as well. But it’s AWESOME you were able to ‘be there’ and be a part of such a special time for your sister. Congrats to her on the birth of her baby, and to you as well as an Aunt!

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