But fortunately for Zavier Pestana, the newborn had two very determined firefighter/paramedics at his side.
They helped save his life. And now he shares their names.
On Monday, Zavier’s parents took him to Fire Station No. 2 for a reunion with most of the crew who handed him off to medical staff at Tri-City Medical Center on Dec. 18.
Zavier’s father, 50-year-old Paul Pestana, called 911 that morning when it became clear his wife was going into labor seven weeks early.
The fire crew loaded up Melissa Wells-Pestana, 37, in the ambulance, but her first-born child would not wait.
The baby was born in front of his parents’ South Tremont Street home. He weighed 4 pounds, 7 ounces.
Fire Capt. Glen Morgan cupped the baby in his hand on the gurney and gave him CPR — two fingers, rapid compressions — as the ambulance raced about 4½ miles to the hospital.
Firefighter-paramedic Steven Choi placed a tiny mask over the baby’s face and started pumping air into him.
He was blue when he arrived at the hospital.
As he was pulled him out of the ambulance, firefighter Tony Valentine said he heard the baby make a little squeak and knew he was fighting for his life.
Dr. Hamid Movahhedian, a neo-natal specialist, and his team were waiting in the emergency room, thanks to a hospital protocol known as “Code Caleb,” which handles resuscitations when newborns are in a dire situation.
The baby was “blue and having difficulty breathing,” Movahhedian said.
Morgan credits the hospital’s response. “If that team wasn’t in place, this wouldn’t have had a good outcome,” he said.
Later that day, after the still-unnamed baby was doing better, his maternal aunt headed to the Ditmar Street fire station to find out the names of his rescuers.
The parents honored the fire crew by naming their baby Zavier Stephan Morgan Pestana, with the middles names coming from the two paramedics.
“They are a part of him now,” Zavier’s mother said.
She said Zavier spent about three weeks in the hospital before getting to go home. He’s doing well now, and weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces at his doctor’s visit last week, the mother said.
Zavier slept through most of his visit Monday with Morgan and the others. Choi has taken a job with a fire department in Orange County and was not able to attend.