Avera Medical Minute AMcK: Deployed military husband Skypes in for daughter's birth

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“My husband was deployed and was not able to come back for her birth,” said Brooke Lowe-Farmer.

Like so many military wives, Lowe-Farmer’s husband was not physically present during her pregnancy or their daughter Emmalynn’s birth.

“Dr. Picconi in ultra sound was a blessing and he was amazing. And he’s also prior service,” said Lowe-Farmer.

“My wife has gone through very similar experiences being away from my family,” said Dr. Jason Picconi, a perinatologist with Avera Medical Group Maternal Fetal Medicine.

“And he understood the need to include our whole family and my husband,” said Lowe-Farmer.

Lowe-Farmer’s doctors at Avera made sure Dad, Michael, was by her side – though thousands of miles away.

“So while my husband was deployed, Dr. Picconi actually let me take my iPad in to every visit, every ultra sound and talk to him like he was just right there in the room, ‘Hey dad, how’s it going? How’s the weather over there.’ He just let him be a part of every visit and it was an amazing experience from that first ultra sound all the way through,” said Lowe-Farmer.

“I missed out on many, many events in my kids’ lives because of either military obligations or training. It’s hard being away from family -- so anything to kind of bring home that you’re actually playing a role in your kids’ lives when you’re so far away, it helps make it a little more palatable in a bad situation,” said Dr. Picconi.

Adding to the anxiety of a deployed husband, Lowe-Farmer learned Emmalynn would be born with a cleft lip. Dr. Picconi eased her worries.

“One that he took the time to have enough compassion to understand how badly we were already scarred and hurt from having a son die at birth. He knew that we needed that extra time to be reassured that he could help us get this baby into the world. That was huge and to know that I was here alone as a military spouse, he understood it because he’s in the military. And so he knew that I needed that extra help maybe that another mother didn’t need but I needed that,” said Lowe-Farmer.

“You know, she was going through a lot. With her history of her previous child that was affected, with this child being affected, her husband being gone -- it was like this perfect storm of just stress and anxiety,” said Dr. Picconi.

“I kind of tried to be a little bit of a girlfriend slash doctor for her so that she didn’t feel all alone,” said Dr. Molly Uhing, OB/GYN.

Dr. Uhing delivered Emmalynn.

“That was just another crazy, amazing experience with Avera,” said Lowe-Farmer.

“We had him on Skype on a laptop. And so we had this table set up over her knee so he could kind of see her,” said Dr. Uhing.

“Dr. Uhing always made him feel included,” said Lowe-Farmer.

“She’s kind of pushing -- the baby’s head would come and I’d sneak around and be like ‘two inches’ and I’d go back and then I would stick my head around again and I’m like ‘do you want to see,’” said Dr. Uhing.

“He was right there,” said Lowe-Farmer.

“And so then we had our little resident doctor basically, like scrubbed out essentially, and was holding the laptop on my shoulder. As I was delivering the baby, the computer was around and all the angles and he got a great view. I think he even saw the baby before Brooke even did on Skype abroad,” said Dr. Uhing.

“That’s just a very amazing thing for a military spouse to know that I had his support all the way overseas and the doctors allowed that to happen by letting him Skype in to see our child be born. I think Avera -- every step of my pregnancy, every step of this journey -- they have gone above and beyond. They just made us feel special and made us feel welcome and knew that Michael was going to be included in her birth,” said Lowe-Farmer.

Lowe-Farmer lives in Texas and initially drove the more than 15 hours for her OB/GYN appointments because of how comfortable she felt at Avera. With her mother living in Iowa, she stayed with her the last couple of months of her pregnancy so she didn’t have to make the long trek back and forth to Sioux Falls.

For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.