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Born on social media

A newborn baby being shown to somebody over

A newborn baby being shown to somebody over the internet through skype. (Credit: iStock)

This little birthing tale will probably seem archaic in another year or so, when I envision that infants will be born with cameras on their foreheads, recording their own descent from womb to world.

But the labor and delivery this week of our grandson, now known as Benjamin, was accompanied by a frenzy of social media that reached from California to Florida, to Delaware, Georgia, New York, and back to a small mountain hospital in Western Massachusetts where the nine-day-late event was unfolding.

From putting on a hospital gown to cutting the cord, news from my daughter-in-law’s labor was tweeted, re-tweeted, texted, Instagrammed, Snapchatted, Facebooked, e-mailed, copied, pasted, sent and otherwise peered upon with iPhones and iPads.

A dozen of us jumped right in, connected for a full dozen hours, embracing the technology as we would soon embrace the child.

“It’s going really slow,” came the first bulletin from our son.
“You can do it, Jennie,”  was one reply.
“Jennie started with pitocin around 6:30 a.m.” he reported.
Lots of hearts and XXXOOO’s. One smiley face.
“Slow progress so far, but the nurses seem to think she’ll deliver by noon,” went out the next electronic bulletin.
Oblivious, Jennie concentrated on contracting.
“Go Jennie, go!” cheered on a poster.
“Not even close,” came a disappointing announcement at 10:02.

Bing, bing. Bing, bing, bing. The whole day, my iPhone alerted me to some momentous development.

“Is she getting an epidural?” someone wanted to know.
“Remember that this is all a wondrous miracle,” read a text message.

As the day proceeded, friends checked in. “Baby yet?” was the most frequently asked question.

Noon, nothing. 2 p.m., nothing. 4 p.m., nothing. “She’s 6 cm dilated,” came word in the late afternoon.

And finally, at 7, on 7-14-14, weighing in at 7.7 pounds, came the breaking news spread coast to coast in a nanosecond: “Ben has arrived.”

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