Camila Villafañe

By Camila Villafañe

LifeBuzz Staff

Teen Walks Into Hospital With Shoebox. When Nurse Opens It She Can't Believe Her Eyes.

For over two decades, Jeannie Joseph had worked as a neonatal nurse. Over the years, she's seen and heard stories of unusual circumstances in which babies were brought into this world. But 14 years ago, she played a major role in a story of her own that has now become huge, and it all started with a shoebox.

SwedishAmerican Hospital

Jeannie was working at the Swedish American Hospital in Rockford, Illinois, on April 24, 2004. She was in the special care nursery when she was called from the emergency department and told they were someone to see her. Then, down the hall, she noticed a teary-eyed teen boy wearing a hoodie, and he was holding a shoebox. Jeannie was shocked when she looked inside the box.

Tucked In A Shoebox

Tucked In A Shoebox

Jeannie Joseph

Wrapped in a dish towel and a doll's onesie, was a 3-pound baby inside the shoebox. The hospital staff put the baby in isolation immediately, while the teen just stood there. Three hours later, the staff managed to stabilize the baby, but Jeannie saw that the teen had waited and cried the entire time. So, she walked up to him in order to learn more.

Teen Dad

Teen Dad

Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune

The teen told Jeannie he was the dad and that he and the child's mother, who was 15, wanted to give the baby up. Jeannie agreed but told him that once he relinquished his parental rights, she wouldn't be able to give him updates on the baby's condition. So, she offered him two parental bracelets, and suggested he think about the options before making a decision.

Comforting Words

Comforting Words

Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune

The teen and his girlfriend, Cherish Coates, came to see their child at the hospital. The girl was clearly upset and had her head down. Jeannie placed a hand on Cherish's shoulder and said, “You know that you saved his life, right? I don't want you to hang your head. You gave him the best chance you could.” That´s when a bond formed between the girl and the nurse.

Lend Me Your Ear

Lend Me Your Ear

Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune

Cherish confided in Jeannie, who comforted her without any judgment. She admitted that she hid her pregnancy from her folks because they wanted her to graduate and then go off to college. Her own mom had given birth when she was 15, and Cherish was raised by her grandparents, whom she didn't want to let down. She also explained the grueling way she gave birth on her own.

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