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Friday, July 11, 2008

HEROES: Marine sees birth, thanks to 6,000-mile Web hookup

How sweet!

He was 6,000 miles from Brooklyn, but Marine Lance Cpl. Michael Cintron got a glimpse of his newborn son before his wife did.

"Hi, I'm your daddy," Cintron announced to his minutes-old son. "Look, your nose is squishy."

In a remarkable four-hour Web cast from a maternity ward at Maimonides Medical Center, mom Jeannine Cintron's delivery of son Michael James Cintron was beamed clear across ocean and land to his 26-year-old father in Iraq.

The baby weighed in at 7 pounds, 3 ounces and the new dad weighed in with a fatherly shriek: "Look! He's looking at me!"

In Maimonides' first-ever video conference of a baby delivery, Cintron first heard the baby's heartbeat.

"What's that knocking sound I hear," laughed the Staten Island native.

Then the camera followed as Jeannine was wheeled into an operating room to undergo a C-section on Tuesday. That's when the Marine got to see the baby emerging from his wife's womb.

"He got to see our son first from 6,000 miles away," Jeannine marveled. "He actually saw the baby before I did. They put the Webcam up to the side with the baby."

The video conference was initiated by a nonprofit organization called Freedom Calls, which arranged with Maimonides for covering little Michael's birth.

The proud parents were still in a state of disbelief Wednesday, not only about the birth of their first child, but the electronic wizardry that gave dad a real-time maternity-room experience.

"This is surreal," Jeannine said. "I didn't expect this. I feel so blessed. There are so many women in my situation that don't have this.

"I didn't know what I was in for," she added. "It's only my first baby.

"Pretty much throughout my entire pregnancy, I was most sad about doing it [birth] by myself," she went on. "Delivering by myself was horrifying. No, he couldn't hold my hand, but he was there for hours."

Jeannine, 25, who works in sales for Clear Channel and hails from Sheepshead Bay, and Michael, 26, a sanitation worker from Staten Island assigned to First Supply Battalion S6, were married last year.

The couple found out Michael was going to Iraq only a few weeks after they learned Jeannine was pregnant.

"I think I'll keep him [the baby]," the ecstatic mom said.

(Daily News)