Mother, Daughter, Granddaughter

Angela Sojobi has delivered thousands of babies, but one special birth will forever remain etched in her memory.

Angela and Tolu then

Angela Sojobi’s daughter Tolu knew that her mother was a good midwife. She’d been hearing people sing her mom’s praises ever since she was a child, accompanying her to hospitals for her work. Years later, that praise echoed in the room as her mother stood at the foot of Tolu’s own hospital bed, coaching her through her first labor.   

Angela’s parents sent her to nursing and midwifery school in her native Nigeria when she was little more than a child herself. A precocious girl who skipped several grades, Angela graduated high school at 14 years old, and was just 17 when she began assisting women with labor. The work suited her—she was known to love taking care of people and animals—but it was only after giving birth to her own two daughters and son that the gravity of her profession really clicked. “I realized, ‘This is special, this is incredible, I’m doing something really serious,’” she says.  

Angela was already an experienced midwife when she heard that the new MLK Community Hospital was opening in South LA. She knew that she wanted to be part of this community and take care of women of color. For decades, health outcomes have been dramatically worse for Black mothers and infants in the US than all other groups, defying even education and socio-economic differences. Angela was familiar with the statistics. She knew MLKCH’s investment in an innovative model—a nurse midwife/obstetrician collaboration—could make a difference. Eight years later, Angela remains a calm and nurturing presence for new moms in South LA.  

In February, Angela was at work on MLKCH’s Labor and Delivery floor when she received a text from her older daughter, Keji. Tolu lives in North Hollywood, where she had a birth plan in place with her local hospital, but was visiting her older sister in Long Beach and began to feel contractions. The text from Keji read, “We’re on our way to see you.”  

angela and child

The daughters, along with Tolu’s husband Evan, arrived at MLKCH for their mother to examine Tolu. Angela discovered that her daughter’s water had already broken and contractions were in full swing. It was late afternoon, and LA’s thick, rush-hour traffic would make it impossible to get to the North Hollywood hospital safely. Tolu was admitted to MLKCH and her mother took over as her midwife.  

One thing that makes Angela so good at her job—when she’s working with laboring mothers, she imagines, “What if this was my daughter? How would I want her to be treated?” Now the patient in the delivery room really was her daughter, and she was receiving the best care possible.  

For hours, mother and daughter labored together. In the hardest moments, Angela reminded Tolu of how strong she was—remember when you thought you weren’t going to pass the bar exam? Remember how you’ve pushed through every challenge and come out stronger?  

Finally, after 12 hours, in the hushed calm of MLKCH’s delivery room, Angela handed her granddaughter to her daughter. “It was a magical, full-circle moment,” says Tolu, “as my mom, who brought me into this world, guided my daughter into my arms.”  

“I’ve handed so many babies to mom after birth, but handing my own grandbaby to her mom, my daughter…it’s indescribable.” 

Angela Sojobi

While Angela remains hard at work delivering babies at MLKCH, she now takes time to enjoy life as a new grandmother. “Delivering my own granddaughter was the most important job I’ve done in my entire life. It was an honor, a pleasure—and it was everything in between,” she says with a laugh. Every day is a change— Ifedapo sprouts new hair, grows longer, coos when she sees her grandmother’s face above her.  

Through Tolu and Ifedapo, Angela remembers all of the mothers and babies she has brought into the world in South LA.  Her experience has solidified Angela’s conviction about how to approach each birth at MLKCH—like every new mom could be her own daughter.  

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