Mom Delivers Own Baby in Car on Balboa Peninsula

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One of the first local babies born in new year came into 2020 in an unusual way.

Amy and Michael Di Sano were headed to Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian during the early morning hours of Jan. 12, but didn’t quite make it all the way up the Balboa Peninsula.

Amy and Michael Di Sano with their newborn son, Gino Franco, in the car where he was born on Jan. 12 on the Balboa Peninsula.
— Photo courtesy Amy Di Sano ©

The couple had to pull over near Balboa Boulevard and 15th Street, just past Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in the 30-minute green-curb parking in front of Paddle Board Newport Beach.

They were just a over a mile from their home and less than two miles from Hoag, but at 5:18 a.m. Gino Franco Di Sano was born in the front passenger seat of their white Buick encore. He was healthy at 6-pounds, 9.5-ounces and 18.9-inches.

It was almost unreal, like “the story you hear about from a friend of a fried,” Amy Di Sano wrote in an email this week.

“It still feels like a dream,” she said. “I woke up in the middle of the night and while the rest of world slept I delivered our son.”

Both parents and their daughter, Rae, were all born at Hoag.

“We intended to have our son born there too, but he had other plans,” Amy Di Sano wrote in an email.

On Jan. 12, Amy Di Sano was nine days out from her due date when she woke up at 1:30 a.m. having contractions, although nothing too intense, she recalled in an email.

The couple’s first child, daughter Rae, was born on her due date, so they thought they had at least another week.

“Boy (no pun intended), were we wrong,” she wrote. “I started to time them and realized that they are consistent and I’m in labor.”

She woke up her husband at 3:45 a. m. and told him to pack a bag and put get the car seat ready.

The plan was to deliver the baby at Hoag.

Amy Di Sano with her newborn son, Gino Franco, in the hospital after he was born in the car on Jan. 12 on the Balboa Peninsula.
— Photo courtesy Amy Di Sano ©

“As we were leaving the house, I felt like I should start pushing soon, so I knew the baby’s arrival was close,” she explained. “Considering Hoag was 2.5 miles from our house, neither one of us ever imagined we wouldn’t make it.”

It’s less than a 10-minute drive, so they thought there would be time to make it to the hospital. But once they got in the car, she told Michael the baby was coming. He told her to breathe, but not to start pushing yet.

Michael Di Sano is the “calm force” in the couple’s relationship, she said, which was helpful after waking up in the middle of the night and realizing the baby was quickly on its way.

“Even though Michael was driving the speed limit, inside the car things went from 0-60 really fast,” she wrote.

Even when she felt the baby’s head and hair, they still thought they could make it, Amy Di Sano noted. But when the sides of the baby’s head started coming out, there was no holding off any longer.

“He quickly pulled over and barely got the car in park,” she recalled. “Next thing I knew, the baby’s head was out. Another breath later, I delivered the baby into my arms. Michael ran around the car to see a baby in my arms.”

“Once the baby cried, we let out a huge sigh of relief and couldn’t help from smiling and laughing,” she noted.

That sound filled the parents with happiness and relief, “and probably a bit of delirium.”

They didn’t know the baby’s gender, but were convinced it was another girl, so it was a second surprise when they realized he was a boy.

The Di Sanos revisits the intersection at Balboa Boulevard and 15th Street, where their newest family member was born on Jan. 12.
— Photo courtesy Amy Di Sano ©

After Michael Di Sano called 911, the couple called her parents to tell them she had their grandson. They thought it was a joke until Amy and Michael Di Sano had to get off the because the ambulance was pulling up.

“They also didn’t believe us because they said we sounded to calm on the phone,” Amy Di Sano added.

A few minutes later the police, fire department and paramedics showed up to welcome their baby boy and get the family to Hoag.

A week after the roadside birth, the couple stopped by the fire station to thank the team that answered that 5 a.m. call and to provide a proper introduction Gino.

Gino Franco (both family names) joins the Di Sano family, which includes Amy and Michael, Rae (1.5 years old), and their dog.

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