Marla Sokoloff’s Blog: Sharing Olive’s (Early!) Birth Story

04/14/2015 at 01:00 PM ET

Celebrity blogger Marla Sokoloff is a new mama again!

Since audiences first got to know her at age 12 as Gia on Full House, Sokoloff has had many memorable TV roles — Jody on Party of Five, Lucy on The Practice, Claire on Desperate Housewives — as well as turns on the big screen in Whatever It TakesDude, Where’s My Car? and Sugar & Spice.

Sokoloff, 34, most recently played Dani on ABC Family’s The Fosters and also starred in a two-episode arc on Grey’s Anatomy.

She wed her husband, music composer Alec Puro, in November 2009 and the couple — plus pup Coco Puro — make their home in Los Angeles.

On March 13, they welcomed their second child, Olive Mae, a sibling for 3-year-old daughter Elliotte Anne.

You can find Sokoloff on Twitter and Instagram.

Marla Sokoloff blog daughter Olive birth story
Finally leaving the hospital! – Courtesy Puro Family

It was 4:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 12th. I woke with a start. I was having a great deal of trouble breathing so I switched my pregnant belly to the opposite side hoping that would make me feel better.

It didn’t.

In fact I felt much worse.

I now started to feel as if my throat was closing up, which caused me to sit up in a panic. The room was spinning and I instantly broke out into a cold sweat. I shook my husband awake to let him know I felt like I was going to pass out. As the words came out of my mouth, that’s exactly what I did.

When I finally came to, my very freaked-out husband wanted to call an ambulance. All I could think about when he said that is how the EMTs would wake up Elliotte, who was so peacefully sleeping in the next room, having no clue what was going on. I told him to give me a second to breathe and figure out what we needed to do next.

Obviously, my body was trying to tell me that something was happening. Believe it or not, labor wasn’t my first thought. I figured I was possibly coming down with the flu or was severely dehydrated. I was only 34 weeks along so baby still seemed far enough away to rule that one out. Looking back, it’s pretty clear that I was in major denial.

Very soon after I fainted, the contractions started. No ambulance was called, but we did ring a trustworthy friend to come stay with Elliotte while we went to the hospital. We didn’t want her to panic when she woke up and noticed we were gone, so my husband woke her up to let her know that Mommy had a tummy ache and needed to go to the doctor. Fast asleep, our sweet girl nodded her head and continued to dream as we rushed to the hospital in the darkness of the early morning.

Marla Sokoloff blog daughter Olive birth story
Sisters – Courtesy Puro Family

Upon arrival, I was instantly hooked up to the monitors in labor and delivery. My contractions were two minutes apart and I was three centimeters dilated.

As we waited for my doctor to arrive, my husband and I were very sure that she would advise the nurses to try to stop my labor and we would be discharged by day’s end. After all, I had told Elliotte we would go see Cinderella that afternoon and I wasn’t breaking my promise.

Again, there was major denial between the two of us!

When the doctor arrived, she simply looked at me and said with excitement in her voice, “You’re going to have a baby today!” Once again I panicked.

I asked all of those questions that run through your head when you find out you’re about to have a premature baby. Will she be okay? What about her lungs? Will she have to be in the NICU? Why is she coming six weeks early?!

Many of those questions couldn’t be answered until she could be examined outside of the womb. My doctor assured me that at 34 weeks, she will have the best chance of survival and that the NICU team will be in my delivery waiting to take the very best care of her.

It was happening. Baby girl was coming early.

I kept looking at my husband with tears in my eyes, saying “She’s not ready, it’s too soon.” I was panicking and needed my ever-present support system to assure me she would be okay. Very deep breaths and a surprise visit from my mom later (we all need our moms under these conditions), I started to calm down.

Dare I say, it even became fun? I mean, it was painful fun, but the adrenaline was flowing.

I started to laugh at the hilarity of plans. We had lots of them and very little had gotten done. Still no nursery and we were days away from celebrating my husband’s 40th birthday with a meticulously planned party. Meticulous because my husband actually turns 40 on what was to be my due date in mid-April. We thought we were being smart but Miss Olive had other plans.

Marla Sokoloff blog daughter Olive birth story
Olive sleeping – Cydney Puro Photography

In between strong contractions, we ironed out her name. Olive (just because we love it) and Mae (for Marla, Alec and Elliotte) Puro.

We discussed a game plan for Elliotte (slumber party with Grandma that included unlimited cuddles and ice cream) with a very strong promise that Mommy will take her to see Cinderella as soon as possible.

Full disclosure: I cried the most over Elliotte that day. There were more tears than I could have ever imagined. I felt terrible leaving her in the middle of the night. I was sad that I didn’t get to kiss her face multiple times before leaving for the hospital.

In my head, I pictured a grandiose final weekend as a family of three. I wanted to do something memorable and special before she became a big sister. My hormones suggested Disneyland, but at 8½ months pregnant that probably wouldn’t have been wise!

The night before I went into labor, Elliotte and I went to the mall and ended the day sharing some pizza from the food court. Not exactly Disneyland, but in retrospect it was absolutely perfect. My husband was working late, so it was just the two of us. Eating pizza and See’s Candies post-Disney Store. It was the perfect night and I will never forget it.

Olive finally made her appearance on Friday the 13th at 12:53 a.m. I’m still not sure how I feel about that birthday! Maybe she’s the good luck charm we need to turn that superstitious day around.

I was able to hold her for only a few seconds before she was whisked off to the NICU where she would remain for the next 16 days. Her lungs were perfect — she just needed to gain weight and learn how to eat without a feeding tube.

Hands down, the hardest 16 days of my life.

Marla Sokoloff blog daughter Olive birth story
Regression is real! – Courtesy Puro Family

I will never forget the incredible care she received while she was there — her nurses were absolutely amazing and I felt comfort in knowing they were taking the best care of her when I couldn’t be there.

For those few weeks, I spent half of the day with Elliotte and the second half at the hospital. There wasn’t one day that I didn’t leave in tears. Leaving your newborn baby behind was so incredibly hard and something no mother could ever get used to.

I worried if we were bonding or if she knew who I was. I couldn’t sleep at night because my entire being just ached to have her home.

I also couldn’t help but think about how this was our second child to spend time in a hospital. It’s just not natural to sit at your child’s hospital bed while they are hooked up to tubes and machines that prevent you from cuddling them — my heart was broken at the thought that my body may be the cause of it all.

We are four weeks into Olive’s life and I look at both of the girls now and think about how they are truly little miracles. I also think about how scary having babies can be and maybe two is just enough for our family.

I’m not completely closing the door (my husband apparently has that door padlocked and triple bolted!), but I thank my lucky stars every day for my little blessings and can’t wait to see these two sisters grow up together.

Marla Sokoloff blog daughter Olive birth story
Elliotte never leaves her sister’s side – Courtesy Puro Family


— Marla Sokoloff

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Showing 34 comments


What beautiful picutes. I am so sorry to hear that you had such a hard delivery but very happy to hear things seem to be going better now. You make such beautiful little girls.

Cat on

Thank you for sharing your story. The NICU is the hardest place to be when you have a little one and all you want is to take them home. I was a NICU Mama with my first and only for five days but that was hard. I had to leave her only one night and go home. Never had to do anything so hard in my life.

My heart goes out to you for what you went through and I send my love to your and your beautiful girls and their Daddy from me, my girls and their daddy ❤

minnie on

Marla is very cute! I love how “Gia” (Marla) played the naughty girl on Full House and “Stephanie” (Jodie Sweetin) played the innocent girl. Oh my, that is certainly not the case in real life.

Tina on

Sweet pictures. Beautiful children. It is very scary thinking about all the things that could go wrong with a pregnancy. I once had a scare with low-lying placenta; heavy bleeding at around 5/6 months. But the baby stayed in there. Thank God. Now, that baby is 24 years old. Her older sister is 30.

I’m glad everything turned out well for Marla and her family.

Leah on

Your birth story sounds so familiar to mine, except it was my first pregnancy. I was diagnosed with preeclampsia and was induced at 33 weeks. My daughter was 4.1lbs, in NICU for the first few days of her life, total days spent in the hospital – 18 days – to gain weight, maintain temperature outside the incubator and to feed without the support of a feeding tube. She’s now 40lbs, 4 years old, perfectly healthy and pretty as princess!

I wish you all the best with your 2 beautiful girls!

LesliePDX on

Thanks for sharing. Aren’t NICU nurses the best. In my next life, I think that’s what I’ll be. That’s nearly the same story I had with my son (minus the fainting– for me my water broke walking down the stairs!) when he came at 34/6 weeks. We spend 14 days in NICU before he learned to suck, but he’s now 3 years old and perfect in every way. He was also a great sleeper which I credit to his time in the NICU– he can sleep through anything!

Best wishes to your wonderful family.

Mindy on

Thanks for sharing! I will never forget the night we had to leave the hospital without our baby. It is absolutely heart wrenching. Thankfully it was only for one night. My sister had to leave her baby for 17 days. I don’t know how she or you did it. It takes serious strength to get through those nights.

Congratulations on the new baby!

Tasha on

What a great story. Thank for sharing! I had my daughter at 34 weeks back in November after my third hospitalization from bleeding. The NICU is the hardest. Leaving that hospital without your newborn in tow is heart wrenching. I think I cried more in the 11 days she was in the NICU than I have my entire life. The NICU staff was amazing though.

Congratulations to you and your beautiful family.

Julie on

Beautiful children and glad all is well.

mic on

it sounds like marla had a very rough time. im happy for her that her little baby girl is ok. having a baby is no picnic as it is.

i was born in 1952, dad said he didnt think i would make it but here i am. i was 3 months early, back then no high tech machines. everyone is different but i hope if i have helped anyone in this situation im glad to do so. as marla is too,to share her story. life is a gift

Pixy14 on

My son was born at 32.5 weeks. 5 weeks in the NICU….long long long 5 weeks. He is a huge happy 3 year old now 🙂 Glad it all worked out for her!

Jennifer on

Congrats on your newest blessing! Tears are streaming, as I have 2 littles girls myself, two and four years old. No one tells you the crushing heartache and guilt you will feel in those last few days before delivery of the second. It’s torture. But then number two comes along and steals your heart in a new way, writing her own love story between the two of you. It’s magical! And watching those 2 precious girls, best friends from the moment they meet…it’s amazing.

Congrats again! You’re a strong woman having been through what you have.

Amber on

Great story, thanks for sharing. When I learned at 32 weeks I would be having my baby at 34 weeks at the latest, I cried and cried. I had no idea how she would do. We ended up staying in the nicu for 40 days. Now she’s doing great at 2 years old

Nicole on

I enjoy reading Marla’s blogs. She is so down to earth and sweet. I also love the pictures that she puts on the blogs. Her girls are absolutely adorable. I’m glad that in the end Olive is doing well. She is going to have so much fun with all the adventures she is going to have with her big sister 🙂

Sara K on

So glad Olive is here safely and healthfully! What beautiful girls you have. Life is indeed what happens while we are making other plans. Your birth story gave me chills, made me chuckle and tear up all in the span of a few minutes!

I can especially relate to the feelings of guilt over Elliotte. As a mom of two girls myself, 5 years apart, I STILL feel guilty over the night I left in the middle of it, and came home with a sister for my little girl and her life (along with mine) changed forever. Nothing has been the same since, but it has been wonderful.

Many blessings to you and your family. Enjoy those beautiful girls! You are a wonderful mom and the pictures are all super sweet and perfect! Xx

aly on

Wow! You are so strong Marla! I have two little boys about your girls ages and we had scares with BOTH of them too! My oldest is a carrier for MCAD- another scary acronym and my doctor told me at 20 weeks my second had a calcium deposit in his heart which was a marker for Down Syndrome. I felt the exact same way through my pregnancies and found a really good therapist to talk to, because I was having bad anxieties.

I hope you and your little family are doing well- I know you are so happy to have everyone home! XO-Aly

Ndjpbp on

What sweet little girls! Beautiful pictures. I cried more for my 18 month old on the day of my second baby’s birth, too!


I am glad everything turned out okay! Beautiful family you have! And indeed, sitting bedside with your sick child on machines is so heart wrenching and terrifying. My 13 year old son was hospitalized for a month due to a burst appendix and the poison getting into his blood. It was touch and go for weeks and more machines than I could count. I stayed at the hospital and wasn’t able to go be with our 6 year old daughter for the first week. It was horrible. I felt so torn. But everyone is ok now, and healthy. We are a stronger family because of it.

jlduke55 on

So happy everything turned out ok for you guys! Congrats, love the name Olive and I teared up at the meaning behind Mae, so sweet:)

April on

Thank you Marla, for sharing your birth story. My daughter is also a Friday the 13th baby, 7/13/12 and I think she is the luckiest of lucky charms. Enjoy your sweet girls. So glad they are both happy and healthy. Xo

PM on

Cute pictures. Congratulations on the new addition!

Olla on

Glad Olive is healthy and things turned out fine, so happy for them.

lora96litdiva on

Thank you for sharing this story. Your family is beautiful.

I had pre-eclampsia and had to be induced early, then due to delivery complications, my daughter had to spend a week in NICU and I am unable to have more children. Every single day I watch her sleeping before it is time to wake her and think how very grateful I am to have her and what a miracle she is. We as mothers do not lose that hint of terror, that devil sitting on our shoulder that whispers everything that might have gone wrong to take her from you, but we learn to appreciate the joy of each moment as well. I would not go so far as to say that sort of profound fear is instructive but it is certainly useful for perspective. I know I have caught myself laughing at her antics with the pure happiness of just HAVING her instead of becoming angry at the antics. Wishing you the best.

Jenn on

My son was born at 34 weeks in Oct 2014. He was in the nicu for 25 days. Visiting your baby in the hospital and not being their primary caregiver is a very strange experience. I’m glad Olive is doing well:)

Christina on

I want that heart blanket!!!

Colleen on

I also had a preemie daughter at 34 weeks and was also totally oblivious and dumbstruck that my water had broken. I mean, I had 6 weeks to go, that couldn’t be changed, right?

Nothing prepares you for the NICU, our daughter spent 5 long, excruciatingly long weeks there (her lungs weren’t ready and she had to learn how to eat). She got the best care but you are right, every night you go home alone you feel like you cut out your heart & leave it at the hospital. She’s now a year old and doing amazing and I PROMISE those NICU days will be like a bad dream. And, you will bond more than you ever thought possible. Preemies are tough little babes and I have been told they grow into determined, strong people.

Congrats on your newest arrival and becoming a family of 4! It will only get better from here!

Brooke on

Thank you for sharing your story! I just found out I’m a mom-to-be (not at all planned, but we are still excited!), and now my head is full of things I’ve never had to think about before! Like all moms-to-be, I’m sure, I am so nervous about the pregnancy and labor going right. I’m trying not to worry of course, but it can’t always be helped. I really appreciate when mothers share their stories, even the scary ones, because it is encouraging when you hear how everything turned out ok in the end, and how most scary stories do turn out ok.

Thanks, and congratulations! Your daughters are beautiful!

Pisa771 on

The feeling of not being able to cover your first baby in kisses because you’re leaving in the middle of the night is SO SO hard. My water broke with my second just after midnight and we didn’t want to bother big brother. Congratulations on your new bundle!!

Susu on

So why did she pass out initially and couldn’t breath ??? That’s so scary , I never heard of that as a sign of labor

She didn’t explain that part , did she say she had pre eclampsia ??

Anyhow glad it had a happy ending , best wishes to her and her beautiful family

Melissa on

Such beautiful babies! I know the amazing feeling of finally being able to cuddle your baby after all of the tubes & machines are gone, and bring her home where she belongs. Congratulations! Also wanted to ask what the pink thing Olive is sleeping in is. Looks amazing!

Tracey on

It’s not a bad birthday. It is my birthday. I was born Friday the 13th in 1981 around 12:56 p.m. So really close to her birthtime. So cool, don’t like sharing my bday but when its that close its pretty cool. I only know of one other born on the same day, same day of the week and 17 years after my birth. I found this out just last year.

April on

I went threw the exact same thing, I was due to have my son Oliver may 9th,2015 but he had other plans as well. I had my baby shower March 21st,2015 and the next day I was doing laundry when I felt leaking in my underwear,called my mom and asked her about she said I’m taking you to the hospital I think your water broke, I’m like mom it can’t be its too early. I went and found out my water in fact broke, I had a c-section and gave birth to my son oliver Timothy Bolen at 5:52am on March 23rd 2015. He weighed in at 4lbs 1.3oz he was in the nicu for 14days it was hell for me but I knew he was in good hands, he came home April 6th 2015 and is doing amazing he is almost 7lbds now. I know how you feel I’ve been there but she is beautiful,healthy, and has the best parents and big sister ever congrats you guys!!!

Kestrel on

My 10.14 pounder was in the hospital 4 days after delivery so they could supervise him for GERD and give him meds.
Talk about feeling awful! All the babies around us in that tiny hospital were itty bitty and I had the giant kid who literally took his oxygen hood off and then yanked off the blow-by. It almost felt like I was mocking those mommies,nespecially one who had a baby so small she hardly looked human. Yes, she made it out of that place and went home at 4lbs weeks later but it was hard commiserating.
Good luck to all of you! There’s nothing better than a baby. Just be easier on yourself about Elliotte. Our American kids seem to be growing accustomed to being treated as royalty rather than family members. Love is knowing you’ll do anything for them – and that has to include dealing with other things and making them wait. Don’t feel guilty, it’s a good lesson for her to learn. I had a 5 year old at home and didn’t realize how spoiled he was from having the spotlight (SAHM mom and work from home dad!). No spoiled like a brat, just oblivious to not being the one to set the pace for everything.
Best wishes.

Gwen on

Fellow preemie Mom! First born at 32 1/2 weeks, 2nd born at 34 weeks. They are now 2 & 4 and the pictures of health, incredibly bright and the happiest boys. Marla, your little one is / will do just as great too! 💗