Away in Iraq, Lake Stevens dad still watches birth of daughter

Army National Guard Sgt. Josh Jurovcik had a fantastic day in Iraq.

It was Wednesday there, Tuesday here, a day the Jurovcik family will celebrate in all their years to come. Aubree Jean Jurovcik was born at 11:02 p.m. Tuesday at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett’s Pavilion for Women and Children.

“Wow, it was indescribable,” Jurovcik said from Balad, Iraq, the day after witnessing the birth of his first child. Aubree’s mother, Mary Kay Jurovcik, was sitting in her hospital bed, cradling her newborn in her arms, when her husband called Wednesday.

The new mom handed me her cell phone so I could hear the 28-year-old soldier describe what he felt when he saw — yes, saw — his baby girl, who weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces at birth. “My number one emotion was joy and relief,” he said.

With laptops, webcams and an Internet connection, the Lake Stevens couple came as close as possible to experiencing Aubree’s birth together. In Iraq, Josh Jurovcik spent the long hours his wife was in labor in the privacy of a room set up for expectant dads.

He wasn’t able to hold his wife’s hand, but he could see her. He also chatted, via instant messages, with her parents, Barbara and Patrick Davis of Kenmore, and communicated with medical staff. Aubree was delivered by Dr. Philip Henderson. “The doctor would talk to Josh — ‘Do you have any questions?’ Everyone knew what was going on,” Mary Kay Jurovcik said.

“He was very supportive,” Barbara Davis said of her son-in-law. “He’d tell her things like ‘I love you’ and ‘I’ll be with you soon.’ “

Mary Kay Jurovcik said she and her husband talk and send e-mail “all the time.” Still, it took several weeks of working with the hospital to build a digital bridge across the miles, bringing her husband into the birthing room.

Aubree’s arrival Tuesday night was the first time the Everett hospital allowed an online link for a father to view a baby’s birth, said Suzanne Armand, a nurse and supervisor in the hospital’s Family Maternity Center. “We had not done it before. At first the response was less than enthusiastic,” Armand said.

Providence Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Cheri Russum said the hospital must be cautious with Internet access because of the sensitive nature of medical data and other security concerns. “Certain portals are blocked,” Armand said.

In 2006, a newborn girl at Monroe’s Valley General Hospital was seen, via webcam, shortly after her birth by her dad, who was in the Army in Iraq.

The Lake Stevens couple had help from the American Red Cross in setting up their link at the Everett hospital.

“If a service person is able to view the birth by webcam, we can send a Red Cross message to the command,” said Bev Walker, director of services to the armed forces for the American Red Cross Snohomish County Chapter.

The military will often cooperate if the expectant mom can arrange online viewing with the hospital, Walker said. “It’s really wonderful for families at a special time,” Walker said. More often, she said, the Red Cross sends notification after a baby is born.

Josh Jurovcik is on his second tour in Iraq. An infantryman, he serves with the Washington Army National Guard’s 81st Brigade. When home, his drills are at the Kent Armory. His duties involve convoy support. In civilian life, he works for the state Department of Corrections at the Monroe Correctional Complex.

Within days — he wasn’t sure Wednesday just how many — he’ll be home for a two-week leave to meet Aubree in person, and to help his 29-year-old wife. Married five years, the couple expect Josh’s tour to be over by the end of summer. “I get to be a single parent for five months,” Mary Kay said.

Armand and Susan Freeman, who’s on the information systems staff at the Everett hospital, worked together to provide the link to Iraq. “We really want to thank the hospital for giving us this gift,” Mary Kay Jurovcik said.

“That’s the start of a family,” Armand said. “Those are moments you’ll never get back.”

The Jurovciks have a great story to tell their daughter every year on her birthday. Patrick Davis expects that someday his granddaughter will be laughing about old technology.

“Webcam, what’s that?” Davis said. “It’ll be like an old record player.”

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460,

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