Marine Capt. Nathaniel Picard was there for his wife during labor, even though he was thousands of miles away at Al-Asad Airfield in western Iraq.

Picard watched, listened and offered words of encouragement thanks to a video satellite feed as his wife, Rebecca, gave birth Wednesday after a long labor at MaineGeneral Hospital in Augusta. He declared the arrival of his daughter Lucy to be as "thrilling as the previous 18 hours were taxing."

Picard was given the opportunity to participate through the nonprofit Freedom Calls Foundation, which makes the video hookups available for military personnel overseas.

He expects to return in about three weeks to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, where Rebecca plans to visit him. Picard says he expects to be home in Maine in October. The couple lives in Farmingdale.