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

By 6:30, the baby had arrived in their Nissan Maxima.

Janis Orlowski, chief medical officer and senior vice president at Washington Hospital Center, said Washington received "careful medical care."

She said that Washington's condition hadn't changed when she was discharged and that she was not showing signs that the baby was coming soon. She agreed to discuss the case with The Washington Post only after Washington signed a release form.

She said that the hospital, which delivers about 4,500 babies a year - about 40 percent of the babies in the District - sends home about half of all women who walk into the labor and delivery ward. Some are told to come back in a few days, others in hours, she said. About once a year, a situation like Washington's happens, she said.

"There's no crystal ball when that baby is going to come," Orlowski said.

In fact, several women every day are in labor distress and call for emergency help. The D.C. fire department gets about seven calls a day, or more than 200 a month, from pregnant women who need to go to a hospital. But their technicians don't deliver many babies because they can usually get women to a doctor quickly enough, said Pete Piringer, D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman.

Clemens, who is a first-time father, said the experience was an amazing but scary way to meet his daughter.

"Next thing I know, she was out," he said.


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