He began photographing Carlin in profile, in the same spot and position, throughout her pregnancy, roughly once every two or three days, to give them a record of what the pregnancy did to Carlin. A shot of Carlin holding baby Ella is the final one in the sequence.
Ella was born Dec. 2 to the Seattle couple.
Carlin and Matt plan to show the video to her as soon as she's old enough to understand what she's looking at.
The time-lapse compilation of the pregnancy has become a hot item online, viewable through Google, YouTube and the couple's own Web site, among other places. On their site, they refer to the pregnancy and video as "The Gestation Project"!
Matt estimates that the video has drawn close to a million hits.
"I wanted to be able to be a part of the pregnancy, and I knew that I (wouldn't have to) watch what I have to drink or watch what I eat," he told The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler Tuesday, "and I thought documenting this so Ella could see years down the road what was going on with Carlin's body would be pretty cool. So, I made this for my family and for Ella, and I was convinced by friends to put it up on the Internet where, obviously, everybody got to see it."
Carlin told Syler, "It's been amazing how much response we've gotten and, you know, how popular it's become."
Added Matt: "We've actually had Carlin's old college roommate e-mail us and let us know, 'Hey, I saw your video!' So, that's pretty cool to get that kind of response back and know people we've connected with over the years are seeing and it and think it's cool to have a way of getting in contact with us."
Carlin said she thought the video was "a really cool idea, especially as a way for him to get excited about the pregnancy and start to feel a little more like it's real, because, you know, it's hard, I think, for the dads to have it sort of sink in and feel like it's really happening."
And Matt described Carlin as very cooperative, saying: "It's hard to get, you know, a pregnant woman sometimes to do that kind of stuff, because they're tired. But, you know, she was a real trouper and she definitely participated and I think that she knew that we were going to come up with something really cool to be able to show Ella when Ella is old enough to appreciate it. And, obviously, other people think it's cool now."
Were they concerned taking the photos would in any way jinx the pregnancy?
"I think it probably crossed both of our minds," Carlin admitted, "but once you pass a couple of those early milestones in the early pregnancy, the odds of anything happening are really pretty low, so we just kind of focused on the positive and tried to just enjoy it.
"I was really lucky. I felt great almost the whole time, except the typical getting a little tired and all that."
Matt revealed that the videotaping didn't stop with the time-lapse video, by any means.
"I have all of this great stuff to show," he said. "Not only are you recording me, but I've got my own video camera going right now so I can document a behind-the-scenes look at the national attention that she got. I've (also) got newspapers. … I can show her this video we thought was going to be so small, (which is) is very cool!"