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Computing

Internet baby born Tuesday

Baby
Sean's birth as televised on America's Health Network  
June 16, 1998
Web posted at: 11:02 a.m. EDT (1502 GMT)

ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) -- Baby Sean entered the world with the loving attention of his mom, dad, three siblings and a global Internet audience. The birth, to a woman named Elizabeth, was featured on the Web site of America's Health Network.

Unfortunately, technical problems thwarted many users' attempts to see the Webcast, which got under way around 6 a.m. EDT Tuesday.

At least 30,000 people, almost all from the eastern United States tried to log on within the first hour of the broadcast, but the system would accept only 3,000 from the East at a time according to J. Tod Fetherling, president of America's Health Network-Interactive.

The birth was also broadcast on America's Health Network's cable channel.


A L S O :

Details of the birth
(From America's Health Network)

Even America's Health Network's own technicians had trouble getting the Webcast in the hospital's media room. When they were able to log on, the picture was fuzzy. At one point, still pictures came over instead of motion video.

"We may be the first, but I certainly don't think the last," said Elizabeth. The 40-year-old woman and her husband declined to reveal their last name for security reasons.

Lights, camera, baby: CNN's Susan Candiotti reports
icon 2 min. 04 sec VXtreme video

But they had no hesitation about allowing a live camera from America's Health Network to view what is generally considered a private event.

Screen shot
Elizabeth as seen on the Internet  

"It's part of nature," Elizabeth said. "It's part of life. It's something people have been doing for a million years."

The Orlando couple were approached only last week by America's Health Network and Arnold Palmer Hospital. Because her previous deliveries were fast, Elizabeth's doctors saw her as the perfect candidate to try something new: showing prospective mothers the ropes.

"I think it's socially sound. I think it's responsible. I think it's the time and I think it's an opportunity," said Dr. Stephen Carlan, a perinatologist at Arnold Palmer Hospital.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth and her husband  

But another new mother heading home from the hospital said giving birth live on the Internet would not be her choice.

"I feel it's just for my husband and I to experience, you know, together," said Mimi Rodriguez.

For Tuesday's birth, a commentator is in the delivery room along with the couple's three children, ages 10, 11 and 14. The camera is pointing over Elizabeth's shoulder and not directly at her.

"I'm not going to be spread-eagle for the world," she said, laughing.

A doctor at America's Health Network says Elizabeth wants to debunk some myths about giving birth.

"She wants to show other women that ... what's often presented on TV on labor and delivery is wrong," said Dr. Walt Larimore.

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