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'Gorgeous' Abandoned Baby Thrives

November 23, 1987|NANCY WRIDE | Times Staff Writer

The first minutes of her life are a tragic mystery. Before she was two hours old, the dark-haired baby girl--covered in blood, her umbilical cord still partially attached--was found Saturday morning by a janitor beside an Anaheim supermarket's trash dumpster.

She was swathed in a blanket and abandoned in a plastic milk crate.

But Day 2 for the "absolutely gorgeous" newborn, temporarily named Baby Jane Doe, was filled with plenty of hugs and attention, a warm place to snooze and plenty of formula, officials for an Anaheim hospital said Sunday.

Her interim mother was a doting nurse in the neonatal intensive care nursery at Anaheim's Martin Luther Hospital, and there was no shortage of candidates for her job. Dozens of hospital workers buzzed about the infant's progress Sunday. And word of Baby Jane Doe's condition was passed along from floor to floor, a hospital spokeswoman said.

'Doing Quite Well'

"She's taking nourishment and acting like every newborn does, sleeping and all," said Bernice Bacon, administrative supervisor of the hospital. "She's doing quite well. She's being carefully monitored there."

In the intensive care nursery, where Baby Jane's vital signs were being checked continuously, there is one nurse for every baby, and "they take their jobs very seriously," Bacon said.

"Let me put it this way: The whole hospital is concerned with this baby. They are asking about how she is. It's a definite concern. But we don't let a flood of people in the unit. So one person sees the baby and passes the word on. Today, that's usually been me.

"There are a lot of people who would love to have her," she said, adding, "And they'll have to get in line."

Anaheim police said they had no new leads on the whereabouts of the mother believed to have left her infant tucked in a small yellow blanket inside the crate within two hours of giving birth to her Saturday morning. The baby, believed to be of Latin descent, was found about 8 a.m. by a janitor behind the Alpha Beta store at 915 S. Brookhurst St.

Don Moreno, 28, a market employee, said he was loading produce into a bin behind the store when night janitor Lauro Arellano came running from the loading dock to report his discovery of the baby. The 7-pound, 9-ounce girl's head, face and hands were uncovered and were cold, and she was still covered with blood, Moreno said.

While Moreno called Anaheim police, another worker knelt beside the cart and cupped the newborn's hands in her own to keep her warm. Other workers huddled around the crate close to tears.

On Sunday, store manager Roger Thompson said, the employees had settled down. But Thompson said he had overheard a few employees talking about visiting the baby at the hospital as soon as that is possible.

"She is doing quite well," Dr. Leonard Fox, director of the hospital's neonatal intensive care nursery, said Sunday. "We are doing some screening tests on her today because we don't know anything about the mother's background, but she appears to be very healthy. I imagine we'll have her here another two or three days."

Once she is thoroughly checked and found to be in good condition, Fox said, Baby Jane will be taken to Orangewood, Orange County's emergency shelter for abused and abandoned children.

She will remain there while police search for her mother. But if, after a reasonable amount of time, mother has not come forward, the baby will be placed in a foster home, Orangewood officials said.

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