A council member in Carlsbad in San Diego’s North County attended a virtual council meeting this week while multitasking to the max: she was at the hospital, getting ready to give birth to her first baby.
City of Carlsbad Council Member Dr. Priya Bhat-Patel (District 3) joined the city council’s video meeting Tuesday from her hospital room. She was about 40 seconds late to the roll call because, you know, she was preparing to go into labor.
A little over a minute into the meeting – just before the Pledge of Allegiance – Bhat-Patel unmuted herself.
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“Yes, I’m here,” she said. “I’m here.”
The council member was wearing a hospital gown and face mask. Her background – like her fellow council members – was a blue, digital backdrop emblazoned with the city of Carlsbad’s seal.
The council meeting ran for an hour and 19 minutes, through six items, including public comment. Bhat-Patel attended the entire meeting, showing up on video from time to time, calm – still in the hospital.
Kristina Ray, the communication and engagement director for the City of Carlsbad, said having a council member dial in from the hospital, getting ready to give birth, was a first for the city.
“That’s never happened before. She stayed the whole time. She was a few minutes late, but we will cut her some slack on that,” Ray said, joking. “She is very committed.”
Bhat-Patel spoke again just before the 8-minute mark, as the council was talking about a Proclamation of Black History Month in Carlsbad. The council was joined by two young leaders from the community.
“First of all, thanks to my colleagues for stepping in for me,” Bhat-Patel said. “I am actually at the hospital, about to have my baby – but I didn’t want to miss the meeting.”
The council member thanked the young leaders who spoke on behalf of the importance of the city’s Black History Month proclamation. She said the proclamation will help future generations, like her little one she was about to welcome into the world.
“I know that because of you all – and future leaders like yourself – my kid will also have a more equitable future,” she said. “So, thank you so much for doing what you all are doing.”
The full Carlsbad City Council meeting from Feb. 16 can be watched on the city’s website here. You will know Bhat-Patel when you see her – just look for the mask and hospital gown.
The council member’s Twitter feed shared a screengrab of the meeting, too.
NBC 7 reached out to Bhat-Patel Wednesday but, understandably, she was a tad busy and didn’t immediately return our call. Ray said she couldn’t confirm if Bhat-Patel had given birth yet or share the baby’s name.
Just before 6 p.m. Wednesday, Bhat-Patel got back to NBC 7.
The council member said her baby had been born just a few hours prior and confirmed that she and the baby were both doing well.
The council member has shared photos on her Twitter feed in the past about her pregnancy, including a photo of a onesie with the words “City of Carlsbad” on the front. So, a special new baby tweet may be forthcoming.
Bhat-Patel has served on the Carlsbad City Council since 2018 and served as Mayor Pro Tem in 2019. According to Bhat-Patel’s website, she is “the first Indian-American to be elected to the city council in the County of San Diego, and the youngest person ever to be elected to the Carlsbad City Council.” She is a candidate for the California State Senate District 36.