Not a false alarm after all: Baby enters life in the slow lane of I-295

By Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 10, 2010; 1:19 AM

Tamia Washington was 39 weeks pregnant and having contractions at Washington Hospital Center for several hours Monday when the staff sent her home, saying she wasn't ready to give birth yet.

She got to her apartment in Southeast Washington, and just a short time later, she and her boyfriend realized they needed to rush back to the hospital. Five minutes into the car trip, as they were pulling onto Interstate 295, she reached into her sweat pants and felt her baby's head in her hands.

"The palm of my hand was where her head was, and I was like, 'No! No! No! No! No!' " said Washington, 25. "I'm trying to hold it and do the breathing thing."

All of a sudden, her baby girl's slick body was in her grasp.

Washington screamed. The baby screamed. The baby's father screamed.

Then the dad slammed on his brakes and turned on the hazard lights.

Washington pulled her daughter onto her stomach, umbilical cord still attached.

"I wrapped her shoulders in my sweat pants," Washington said. "I was mostly feeling fear, because she was wet and it was freezing cold outside. I didn't want her to be cold."

Her boyfriend, Xavier Clemons, 21, jumped out of the car and flagged down a police officer driving nearby. The officer put on his lights to block other cars and told the couple to call 911.

Several minutes later, an ambulance pulled up. Emergency responders rushed Washington and her baby to United Medical Center.

"When I was going to the hospital, she was just looking at me and lying there on my chest," Washington said of her baby. "I was like, 'We did it!' "

At the hospital, Taveah Althea Washington was examined by doctors and found to be in good health. She was weighed and measured: 7 pounds 3.9 ounces and 19 3/4 inches.

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