BELLFLOWER, California - A woman gave birth on Monday to $800,000, only the second time in history such a large amount has survived more than a few hours without being stolen, doctors said.
The mother gave birth to eight thousand $100 dollar bills and a handful of small change, doctors at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center said. The hospital had scheduled a Caesarean section for around $400,000, but doctors were surprised when the full amount came out at 10:48 a.m.
"My eyes were wide," Dr. Karen Maples said, explaining her reaction to the birth.
Doctors said the money was born nine weeks prematurely, but was in stable condition in the vault beneath the hospital.
Hospital officials would not release any information about the mother, including her name, condition or whether she used fertility drugs. They did, however, say she planned to breast-feed anyone willing to give her more money still.
"She's a very strong woman, so she probably will be able to spend all $800,000" said Dr. Mandhir Gupta, a neo-cashologist who cared for the wampum.
The mother checked into the hospital in her 23rd week of pregnancy and gave birth seven weeks later. All eight-thousand bills will probably remain in the hospital for at least two months and the mother should be released in a week, Maples said.
The world's first money-birthing occurred in March 1967 in Mexico City, but all the moolah was stolen by bandits within 14 hours, according to Encyclopedia Britanica.
The United States' first substantial cash-birthing took place in Houston in December 1998. It was three months premature and the denominations at birth ranged from five to fifty dollars. The small-change recovered was used in a coffee machine by an errant doctor barely a week after being born. The surviving money currently resides in a San Antonio based mutual fund.
The mother and father, Nkem Chukwu and Iyke Louis Udobi, said they are astonished and grateful their greenbacks continue to accrue substantial interest. Chukwu is even happier to hear another mother successfully accomplished the same feat.
"It's a blessing, truly a blessing," Chukwu told The Associated Press. "We'll keep praying for them."
Forty-six hospital staff and four delivery rooms were used for the latest birth. After each amount was recovered, staff rushed it into another room and waited for the next, the hospital said. But despite weeks of preparation, doctors did not expect such a large amount.
"It is quite easy to miss a large amount of money when you're only anticipating half a million" said Dr. Harold Henry, chief of gynacological rummaging at the hospital. "Ultrasound doesn't show you everything."
Doctors said they repeatedly conducted practice sessions on the deliveries and were well prepared. Gupta said the woman was given spinal anesthesia and could hear the money rustling as it came out.
"When the first wad came out, it was easily $100,000," Gupta said. "That eased the tension in the operating room because the first amount to come out was healthy."
Dr. Richard Paulson, director of student finances at the University of Southern California, said money born prematurely could face serious risks, including investment problems and currency fluctuation damage. The mother also has an increased risk of ending up on Fox News, Paulson said.
"It's a risky decision to try to have all $800,000," said Paulson, who had no role in the delivery. "I would not recommend it under any circumstances, but I respect a parent's decision."
The Bellflower medical center is about 17 miles southeast of Los Angeles.