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Marie Nitke/FOCUS Shelby and Andrew Goodman, with their new baby, Atley, at home in October. An Army Sergeant, Andrew was able to watch the birth from his post in Kuwait, nearly 7,000 miles away, thanks to Skype.

'Modern miracle' meets miracle of birth in Perham, Minn.

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In a delivery room at Perham Health on the afternoon of Oct. 10, after six and a half hours of labor, an exhausted and ecstatic Shelby Rossow Goodman gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

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It was a perfect example of the miracle of birth.

It was also a perfect example of the miracle of modern technology.

Because, thanks to a live Internet video call via Skype, proud dad Andrew Goodman didn't have to miss a thing.

Despite being on the other side of the world, pacing around a dusty Army base in Kuwait, the Army Sergeant was able to comfort his wife, ask the doctor questions, and, when the big moment came, hear his baby son's first cries.

When the doctor announced, "It's a boy," Andrew and Shelby got to hear the news together. It was a momentous occasion for the first-time parents, who had kept the baby's gender a surprise.

"It was really comforting for me to know that he was there," said Shelby. "That I could talk to him."

This was the first time Skype had been used in a delivery room at Perham Health. Shelby said she suggested it the morning she went into labor, and the hospital tech crew scrambled to meet her request.

"They were fast and excited about it," Shelby said of the crew. "They were more than accommodating."

"I was thrilled when I heard we were able to help with this," commented Sue Von Ruden, community relations director for Perham Health. "I can't begin to comprehend what it meant to have Dad be part of the delivery."

Andrew was home for a one-week leave during the last week of October. He had originally planned to be here for the birth, but little Atley Goodman came early - at a healthy seven pounds, 10 ounces, and with what Mom lovingly calls a "mullet" of hair on the back of his head.

"I think it worked out best this way," Andrew said of the timing. "Now I get a full week with her and the baby."

That's the most time the couple has spent together since being married. They wed earlier this year, just five days before Andrew left for Kuwait. He's been stationed there ever since, at Camp Virginia.

Meanwhile, Shelby is living with her parents in Perham and working as a registered nurse in Detroit Lakes. The pair are able to talk on the phone and chat online a couple of times a week, and - thanks to Skype again - see each other via Internet video every other week or so.

"It's very hard," said Shelby of their long-distance relationship. "It takes a lot of work. But it's definitely worth it."

Andrew will have spent eight years in the service this January; after that, he said, he does not plan to reenlist. Instead, he wants to come back home to his family, and may go to college. He said he's excited to one day take his son fishing, and "get out into the woods with him."

Until January comes, though, he said, it will be hard to be so far away.

"I feel bad she's got to do this alone after I go back," he said of Shelby. "But, she's got her parents. And Grandma and Grandpa are spoiling (Atley) already."

Not that Mom and Dad aren't spoiling him, too. Shelby and Andrew both said they're enjoying their new roles as parents.

"I love it," said Shelby with a big smile. "I never imagined loving something so much."

"I have to agree with her," added Andrew, looking down at the little bundle in his arms. "He's pretty much awesome."

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