The Vista woman who was sent to jail just days before she was expected to give birth is at home with her new daughter--and is now bracing herself for Jan. 2, when she'll have to go back to the Las Colinas detention center to finish her sentence.
Laura Heyman, 31, gave birth Oct. 25 to Melissa, her first daughter, at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido.
Heyman was ordered to jail Oct. 8 to serve a one-year sentence for causing an injury while driving drunk a year earlier in Oceanside.
Heyman and her attorney protested the order that she go into custody immediately after she was sentenced, but Vista Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Prager insisted that she be taken into custody, the ninth-month pregnancy notwithstanding.
But after her own doctor added his voice to the protest later that week, Prager relented and ordered Heyman released so she could give birth as she had planned, before doing her time in jail.
Prager ordered Heyman to surrender herself to the women's jail Jan. 2.
"I'm trying not to think about that," Heyman said Tuesday, where she was home with her newborn and her two sons, Zachery, 8, and Eddie, 4. "I'm focusing on being happy every day I'm home with my kids."
She said Melissa was born after a 14-hour labor that was complicated because the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck.
"I almost lost her," she said. "I'm so fortunate I had a good doctor and a good hospital, not that Las Colinas wouldn't have done its best."
She said she is still considering options for the baby's care before she surrenders herself at Las Colinas on Jan. 2. Neighbors have watched her two older boys when they were not in school, she said, but other arrangements are needed for Melissa.
"It'll be real hard" leaving the baby behind when she turns herself in to the jail to finish her sentence, Heyman said. "The judge was probably right. He said it'll be very difficult.
"But," she said, "I'm glad that I'm home now."