The birth of a child is one of life’s most precious moments – but not all dads can be there to see his son or daughter enter the world.
One American soldier was trying to travel home on Saturday to Brandon, Mississippi after his wife went into labour, but a delayed flight thwarted his journey.
Stuck in the airport, Brooks Lindsey instead watched his daughter Millie’s first moments on a video call to his wife Haley Lindsey.
A fellow traveller photographed the expectant dad anxiously watching his phone.
“He was crying and our hearts were breaking. We all gave him space. When we heard the baby cry, we all rejoiced for him. I wanted to share this because I never want us to forget about our soldiers who serve us everyday and the sacrifices they make,” posted Tracy Dover on her Facebook page as she shared a photo of Brooks Lindsey.
After the story was shared more than 120,000 times on Facebook and Twitter, other army families have been posting their memories and stories about dads missing the birth of a child because of their job commitments.
Many highlighted the sacrifices made by army personnel who frequently miss out on key family moments.
“My ex-husband made it home a week after my son was born. The Red Cross process is incredibly slow. He rejoined his battalion, and his dad died two months later – he didn’t make it back that time until his dad had been dead for two days. He would have killed for some kind of video conference,” commented Susan DeCato, whose husband was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq.
One mum said her husband found out about his new baby in a letter that took five weeks to arrive.
Some praised the availability of technology that means even if a father can’t be there in person, he can at least watch the birth and support his partner.
“My hubby was deployed when our second was born. We got to video teleconference the next day and he was the first to see her open her eyes. He didn’t get home ’til she was almost five months old,” wrote Jen Bell.
“My SIL (son-in-law) was on his way home from his station in Germany, to see his daughter born. He saw her for the first time by FaceTime on a layover in Detroit!” wrote Aelena Wade Collinson on Facebook.
Children of army dads also shared their experiences.
Clare Wakeham wrote: “My dad was under the sea in a sub when I was born – if I had been a day late he would have been there. When they got in he was told – he then drove all night to come see me.”
But not all children had met their dads so soon. Melissa Griffin wrote on Twitter that she didn’t meet her dad for a year because he was stationed in Korea when she was born.
Fortunately for baby Millie, her father was able to catch a later flight, heading straight to the hospital where he finally met his new girl.