August 28, 2013 02:00 PM

Courtesy Jahangiri Family

She once said there would be plenty of time for “freaking out” later in her pregnancy — and Kate Levering was right.

The Drop Dead Diva star, 34, and her husband Reza Jahangiri welcomed a son — one month early! — on Thursday, July 18, her rep confirms exclusively to PEOPLE.

Born at 9:35 p.m. in Newport Beach, Calif., Holden Robert Jahangiri weighed 5 lbs., 4 oz and measured 18 inches.

Since announcing she was expecting her first child, Levering had been enjoying an easy pregnancy — up until her water unexpectedly broke at 3 a.m., forcing the parents-to-be to scramble.

“We were in no way prepared for an early delivery. I had only been home from shooting Drop Dead Diva for nine days,” Levering tells PEOPLE, adding the couple had yet to buy a car seat or pack hospital bags.

While the mom-to-be had originally hoped to labor at home with a midwife before heading to the hospital for an all-natural birth, baby boy’s early arrival sent Levering straight to the maternity ward.

“Funny how things never turn out the way you think they will. Our midwife said that since he was preterm, we needed to head to the hospital so we could be monitored,” she explains.

Fortunately, while it was Levering’s first delivery, with a room filled with family and friends — including her husband, mother, sister, best friends, mother-in-law and midwife — the actress felt right at home. “I think we shocked the hospital staff with my tribe of support!” she jokes.

“I watch the videos we took and laugh because it was oddly like being on a television set: a crew of people scurrying about, focusing lights and prepping props. Nurses instructing me and poking around at me, much like the wardrobe, makeup and sound departments.”

Levering continues, “I took the directing role and bossed my family and friends around, instructing them where to stand and what angle to take photos from. All pretty hilarious.”

Once Holden Robert — whose middle name is for his late maternal grandfather — arrived, he was immediately taken to the NICU for monitoring before the proud new parents could spend time with their son. “I found myself yelling to my husband, ‘Follow the baby!'” Levering recalls.

“Five days later we were released [and] are happily dealing with sleep deprivation, a very hearty set of lungs, poop, barf and pee ’round the clock [while being] blissed out on baby!”

 Courtesy Jahangiri Family

— Anya Leon

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