The miracle of ... Facebook Live? Dad streams child's birth from delivery room
'I was OK, I was just focused on pushing ... it is a beautiful thing, nothing to be ashamed of,' mom says
That graphic PBS birth video you watched in high school science class got a reboot for the 21st century Monday morning, as a Sacramento, Calif., dad live streamed the birth of his baby boy on Facebook for the world to see.
Kali Kanongata'a, the baby's father, filmed for 45 minutes inside the delivery room at the Mercy San Juan Medical Center — narrating his partner Sarah Dome's contractions and pushes with his own colour commentary.
"Come on, pop out son! What are you doing in there?" says Kanongata'a at one point during the video. When more hospital staffers start helping out as the actual birth nears, he says, "Uh-oh! Getting real."
Nurses and doctors can also be heard throughout the video, telling Dome to relax, push and take deep breaths. "We see him now," a staffer says.
Dome knew that Kanongata'a was filming the birth, but she didn't know that he was streaming it live; she told CBC News that she was quite surprised to find that out later in the day. Speaking from the hospital Monday evening, she said it is "pretty cool" and doesn't want it to be taken down.
"I was OK, I was just focused on pushing ... it is a beautiful thing, nothing to be ashamed of. And it didn't show too much so I'm OK," she said.
"I'm really shocked that so many people seen the video … my baby's a star." As of Monday night, the video has been viewed more than 25,000 times.
Streaming for the baby
Kanongata'a said he had been planning on streaming the birth for a while. "I wanted our baby to remember it … it's something for him to remember when he grows up." He had live streamed many different aspects of the waiting process since the couple were admitted to the hospital.
Kanongata'a said he had wanted to have a natural birth and help his partner deliver the baby, and that part of the reason he recorded the delivery was to show her they could have done it at home.
"There is nothing to hide about having a kid, it's a blessing and just to share it with people, I think it's just an amazing thing."
The video itself peaks around 37 minutes when their baby boy is born. The couple gave him a Tongan name — Ngangatulelei HeKelesi. Kanongata'a said that roughly translates to "sweet aroma by grace."
The baby wailed for the first few minutes of his life until Dome calmed him down. Staff from the hospital can be seen placing a yellow toque on the baby's head.
The stream comes to an end after the couple discuss where the baby got its hair. He was born with a full head of hair and even a bit of hair on his back.
Birth in the age of social media
CBC News reached out to the medical centre, where a spokeswoman said she wasn't aware of the video. The centre could not be reached again for further comment.
It's not the first time a birth has played out in real time on social media.
Many have live tweeted every step of their labour process, including a Twitter staffer. Last year, Samsung live streamed a birth using virtual reality for an Australian father who was out of town while his son was being born.
A spokeswoman for Facebook could not confirm whether the childbirth was a first for Facebook Live.
Many had a lot to say as the private moment turned incredibly public played out online.
A woman gave birth on Facebook Live today so this is probably a good time for us to all save ourselves and quit the internet.—@laurenalexis
This guy didn't just cross the line, he dove over it head first. <a href="https://t.co/crrIIia7GF">https://t.co/crrIIia7GF</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/nope?src=hash">#nope</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/overshare?src=hash">#overshare</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/esquire">@esquire</a>—@MissWingman
A woman just gave birth live on Facebook. We’ve officially reached peak internet.—@LaurenceHebberd