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[Lara and Taliyah show off their newborns with proud fathers Richard and Roberto.]
It’s not often you witness history, but when you do you recognize it immediately. On Wednesday, March 21, the nurses in the Palomar Medical Center Poway Labor and Delivery Unit participated in something they’d never seen before, sisters giving birth on the same day. What’s even more historic is that both babies were delivered by the same doctor. Nurse Manager Vaneese Cook says she has never seen anything like it in her almost 20 years working in the unit.
Lara Ray and her husband Richard announced to their family they were expecting their third child some eight months ago. About the same time, Lara’s sister Taliyah Davila and her husband Roberto, discovered they were expecting as well. Not telling anyone for a few months (they weren’t sure the pregnancy would be viable), Taliyah began secretly visiting with Lara’s obstetrician, Dr. Damon Cobb of Poway.
Both sisters and their middle sister graduated from Poway High School; Taliyah in 2001 and Lara in 2004. After years in the Navy, where she met Richard, the Rays moved back to Poway to be near Lara’s parents. Lara and Taliyah chose Palomar Medical Center Poway to deliver their babies because as self-described best friends they wanted to deliver together and they knew they’d get great care, they said.
Originally, their chances of delivering on the same day were remote because their due dates were three weeks apart, but as the time got closer, Dr. Cobb moved their due dates only a week apart. As fate would have it, the families watched Father of the Bride 2 on March 19 and Lara said, “How cool would that be to have babies born the same day?” as in the movie, where Steve Martin was running between his wife and daughter’s delivery rooms. Sometimes life imitates art and Lara and Taliyah’s mom and sister were running between delivery rooms the very next day.
Lara was the first to arrive in the labor and delivery room followed by Taliyah two hours later. At one point, Lara said she walked (slowly) into Taliyah’s room to wish her good luck but other than that both sisters communicated throughout their labor process via text. This being Lara’s third child, she expected it to go quick, but also had motivation to slow down. Lara and Richard said they didn’t want to have a Pisces (an inside family joke that all the Pisces women in the family are “difficult”), which would be the case if Helen were born March 20.
“We were texting each other ‘I hope this baby holds out until tomorrow,’” Lara said.
Taliyah on the other hand said she was in competition to have Isla first and would send her middle sister down the hall for progress updates.
“I’d be at seven centimeters (measure of the cervix during pregnancy) and she’d be at 6.5,” Taliyah said. “Then she’d be at an eight and I’d be at a 7.5.”
Not only were Lara and Taliyah’s mom and sister running back and forth between the rooms, but Dr. Cobb as well.
Ultimately Lara, Richard, and Roberto got their wish; the babies were born on March 21, the first day of the Aries sign.
Lara delivered Helen at 12 minutes past midnight. Taliyah did not win the first to birth competition, delivering Isla at 9:50 a.m., making the cousins almost like twins (in fact their parents think they look like twins).
“We’re going to save a lot of money on birthday parties,” Roberto and Richard joked as they plan to split the cost of joint celebrations.
“In the end it was great they were born on the same day,” Taliyah said.
“They’re going to be best friends,” Lara said.
As for their experience at Palomar Medical Center Poway, Richard said, “Everything has been amazing.” Richard said it was great having all the tests, labor, delivery and recovery in the same room. “We never had to move.”
“The level of care has been phenomenal. We’ve been talking about it the whole time,” Roberto said citing the care of the nurses, anesthesiologist and obstetrician.
After leaving the hospital, Lara and Taliyah said they plan to spend a lot of time together as they both have three months of maternity leave from their jobs.