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Jewish Journal

Northridge quake baby

by Leila Miller

January 15, 2014 | 2:50 pm

Michelle Gurman with newborn son Mark Joseph Gurman at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in 1994.

Michelle Gurman with newborn son Mark Joseph Gurman at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in 1994.

As soon as the tremors that rocked her hospital bed stopped, 12 doctors rushed into Michelle Gurman’s delivery room at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Lying on a rolling cot and hooked to machines, Gurman at first thought the shaking was a side effect of her medication.

“I was in labor and I was all hooked up, so I started to think the stuff they put me on would make me think the place was shaking,” said Gurman, now 50 and a real estate agent and investor from the Beverly Grove area. “Then my husband said this was for real, it’s not any medication.”

Gurman had already been in labor at the hospital for 17 hours, but the earthquake began just as she was taken to the delivery room.

“The place had many fires and water gushing in different places,” she recalled. “They were losing test results, people were not communicating well — they did not have enough staff.

But at the time, Gurman did not focus on the chaos.

“I wasn’t scared because I knew that I had to have this baby and protect him once he’s out and nothing could frighten me,” she said. “There was too much I had to deal with to be afraid. I just had to have the faith that we would be all right.”

Indeed, half of those doctors were still in the room with her when she gave birth.

“They were extremely supportive … they were all worried about me — I had one of the celebrity suites, and they thought I was a celebrity,” Gurman said, chuckling.

She was given Pitocin to speed up the labor since the doctors were afraid of the aftershocks of the earthquake.

“She [the nurse] said, ‘We’re having the baby and we’re having it now, because we don’t know what’s happening next,’ ” Gurman recalled.

Mark Joseph Gurman, weighing 6 pounds,1 ounce, and 20 inches long, was born a few minutes later, at 8:44 a.m.

 “He came out amazing with reddish-brown hair, all groomed, and blue eyes,” she said. “He was only missing a tuxedo. He was this perfect baby.”

Mark, who turns 20 this week, is a sophomore at the University of Michigan and a senior editor of 9to5Mac. He also was named one of TIME magazine’s top 25 bloggers of 2013 for his work covering Apple. 

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