Steve Jobs, Zuck and my little Charlotte

Posted by Dan Barkin on April 17, 2014 

My experience at the birth of my first grandchild today was quite different in certain respects than when I became a father nearly 28 years ago, and not just because I wasn’t the Lamaze coach this time.

Shortly after noon today, my son-in-law Travis’ father and I were out in a lobby at Johnston Medical Center in Smithfield, shooting the breeze.

Travis’ mom and my wife were in the delivery room with Travis and my daughter Hilary.

Starting at 12:27, a series of texts ensued from my wife that gave clinical details describing a birth in progress.

At 12:37, I got a one-word text: “Born.”

I have seen a lot of dramatic wire service bulletins in my time as a newsie. I’ll put “Born” right up there.

I texted my big sister up in New York and she immediately went up on Facebook.

At 12:47, another text from my wife: “6 lb 11 oz. 21 in.”

Meanwhile, Bill had gotten a text from his wife of the Apgar score. Ten.

I asked, out of what? Out of 10, he replied. Good sign, I said. She tests well. Both her parents are high-achievers.

I posted “6 pounds, 11 ounces” on Facebook. Bill started getting photos texted to his phone, and he sent me one to get me started. I put that up on Facebook, a picture of little Charlotte Renee in the delivery room, being measured by a nurse.

It was about 20 minutes since she was born, and pretty much all Rabbit’s Friends-and-Relations knew the vitals and could see this little pink baby.

When I became a dad for the first time during Ronald Reagan’s second term, it took a while to get the word out to parents, siblings, colleagues. There was a hospital pay phone and lots of quarters involved.

In the last decade, Steve Jobs, may he rest in peace, and Mark Zuckerberg changed everything about how we communicate, and I really saw that exactly nine hours ago.

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