Teen Gave Birth Alone, Walked To Hospital

In this photo released by St. Mary Medical Center, Xochitl Parra and her newborn son Alejandro Parra are wheeled from St. Mary Medical Center by, from left rear, her sister Margarita Cordoba, St. Mary Maternal Services Supervisor Loretta Morante, RN, and her mother Elsa Ramirez, Saturday afternoon, May 3, 2008. Parra, 17, gave birth at home early Friday, then walked four blocks to the hospital with the baby still attached by its umbilical cord. Mother and 8-pound, 3-ounce Alejandro, were doing fine.
AP Photo
A 17-year-old girl gave birth secretly at home, then walked four blocks to a hospital with the baby still attached by its umbilical cord.

"I was just a little nervous" when the labor began, Xochitl Parra said Friday from St. Mary Medical Center as she cradled her 8-pound, 3-ounce son, Alejandro.

The boy was normal and "eating like a champ," said Dr. Jose Perez, director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

The teenager said she was alone and taking a shower around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday to get ready for school. Then the contractions took over.

"I felt his head coming, so I sit down and pushed so he could come out," she said.

Parra did not call 911 because the home phone was disconnected, and she did not want to wake the neighbors because it was so early. Instead, she wrapped the baby, got dressed and went to the hospital on foot.

"I started walking and jogging to the hospital," she said.

The teen came into the hospital lobby and asked for help, Perez said.

"She still had the placenta and the baby was still attached, so of course everyone said, 'Don't move!"' he said.

Perez praised the girl for taking quick action.

"They could have bled to death; thank God that didn't happen," the doctor said. "She was very clever. She knew what to do. She wrapped the baby up and walked over here."

Parra, a sophomore at Long Beach Poly High, said she had kept her pregnancy a secret because she was afraid her mother would "kick me out of the house." Her mother has now accepted the situation and is going to help the teen care for the baby so she can continue attending school, Parra said.

Perez called the outcome "heartwarming."

"We hear so much negative with teenagers throwing their babies in the dumpsters," he said. "This baby is fine, and hopefully there will be a happy ending with the extended family."