"A funny thing happened on the way to the hospital."
Alicia Weintraub knew the five-mile drive from her new home in Calabasas, California, to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in Los Angeles (where she was scheduled to give birth to her second child) might be a super-slow ride. After all, it was L.A. at rush hour. But as she and her husband, Adam, got into the car at 5 p.m., her contractions were still six minutes apart. "We thought my delivery was hours away," says Alicia, a public-policy project manager.
Alicia and Adam were wrong -- about the traffic (there was none) and the timing. As they reached U.S. 101, her contractions narrowed to every three minutes. Adam opted to take a back way through Beverly Glen, their old neighborhood. "I drove as fast as I could on Mulholland Drive without getting into an accident," he says.
But Alicia, in excruciating pain, told him she wasn't going to make it. She remembered that a fire station was coming up. Adam spotted it, pulled into the parking lot, and ran for help. Firemen and paramedics rushed out with a stretcher and helped Alicia onto it, but they didn't have time to move her inside. With their assistance, she delivered her daughter, Lauren, in the driveway. "There was almost no coaching," she says. "It happened that fast."
Right after the birth, the paramedics rushed Alicia and Lauren to nearby UCLA Medical Center. Although Lauren was four weeks premature and weighed only 4 pounds, 14 ounces, she was given a clean bill of health and left the hospital five days later (Alicia went home after two nights). About a week later the Weintraubs visited Station 99 to thank the battalion. It was only then that they learned this fact: The men on duty that evening had never delivered a baby before. "I'm glad I didn't know that at the time," says Alicia, "but they did an amazing job of keeping everybody calm, including me."