Marine visits newborn daughter via video conference

May 9, 2008 5:32:05 PM PDT
A suburban marine stationed in Iraq won't have to wait until he returns home to see his newborn daughter.

Thanks to technology, Sergeant Raymond Galarza was able to travel thousands of miles to visit with his family without leaving his base.

Marine Gunnery Sergeant Raymundo Galarza beamed as he saw his daughter, Luciana Rae, for the first time via satellite network from Iraq. His wife, Monica, showed off her baby girl, born Thursday at St. Alexis Medical Center in Hoffman Estates. The newborn weighed 8 lbs 12 ounces.

Monica has not seen her husband Raymundo since December but the couple spent one hour talking to each other after the birth.

"It was great. He could not be here so this is the next best thing," said Monica.

The 33 year-old first-time mom says she thought she would be having the baby alone and could not imagine that her husband could share the experience with her. Raymundo is serving his second tour of duty in Iraq, some 7,000 miles away.

"I found out last night, about an hour and a half after she was born, and now here, just less than twelve hours later I'm watching my baby girl," said the proud father.

"I can't even give it words. It's something special, it's something precious. He got to have that. He wasn't able to be here with me and hold her, but he got to see her from a distance," said the new mom.

According to Monica, the couple has been separated a good deal of their married life. But this Mother's Day is very special since great-grandmother and grandmother are on hand for the family reunion.

"I just feel terrific. It's just wonderful with technology that you're right there and you can see her," said Monica's mother.

The Marine wife says the baby looks just like her dad and will don a marine princess outfit when he returns home in August.

Monica will remain at the medical center and have a special Mother's Day dinner at the hospital with her family. Galarza says the only thing missing will be her husband and stepdaughter. The video conference, however, provided her with an additional boost of emotion natural and mental support.


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