Earlier this year, we found out we’d get to celebrate October General Conference in a whole new way—my wife was expecting, and she was due on October 1. We joked about whether our daughter’s birth would keep me away from the Priesthood Session.
Saturday, October 1, came, and we decided to watch general conference at home. The baby showed no signs of arriving yet. We don't have cable, so we used the BYU TV app for iPad to play conference on our TV. That evening, Nicole urged me to go ahead and watch the Priesthood Session at the local chapel, which I did.
I returned home after priesthood. We then made plans to watch Sunday’s conference sessions with Nicole’s parents, where we traditionally share a nice breakfast before watching Music and the Spoken Word and the Sunday sessions of conference via BYU TV.
Our quiet evening got hectic shortly after 1 am. Our daughter, Skylar Kristine Reed, was born at 3:13am.
After Nicole and Skylar were settled in the hospital, I crashed at my in-laws’ until it was late enough to spread the good news to the rest of our family. Salvaging some part of tradition, I watched the first hour of the morning session with them before heading back up to the hospital.
As I got in the car, I realized that I could keep listening to general conference. I brought up the Mormon Channel app on the iPhone and played it back through the car stereo. Sister Dalton had just started speaking, and the first thing I heard was, “hold his first baby daughter in his arms … with an expression that seemed to say, ‘How do I raise a girl?’” It was wonderful to hear Sister Dalton’s counsel on how to raise a baby daughter and the importance of loving her mother as I drove to visit my own newborn daughter.
Despite the flurry of activity at the hospital, there wasn’t much for me to do, so I followed along with the rest of the Sunday morning talks through Twitter. Each conference, the “Twitter Stake” compiles notes of the talks using the #ldsconf hashtag. I had added my tweets Saturday as I had the last several conferences, but now I was the one following along. Later, as friends started to hear the news of Skylar’s birth, I found one friend had figured the baby had arrived since I wasn’t tweeting conference.
Sunday afternoon, things calmed down a bit, so we started listening to general conference using the Mormon Channel app again. Then they announced that Matthew O. Richardson would be speaking. Brother Richardson had been Nicole’s teacher, and she’d wanted to see him speak ever since he was called into the Sunday School General Presidency. Nicole was so disappointed she wouldn’t get to see him speak—watching his recorded talk after we got home just wouldn’t be the same.
I ran through the options in my head and thought of a solution. I asked how to connect our iPad to the hospital’s WiFi, and Nicole and I gathered close, with our ten-and-a-half-hour-old daughter in her hospital bassinet beside us, to watch Brother Richardson’s counsel about being real parents, his confidence that we can “parent, lead, and teach after the manner of the workings of the Spirit.”
Having a baby is a wonderful, spiritual, emotional, and chaotic experience, especially for your firstborn. We’re thankful for the technologies that allowed us to participate in general conference even while welcoming our daughter into this world. And we’ll have the gift of being able to tell Skylar she’s been listening to living prophets and apostles since the day she was born.