Woman Gives Birth Alone on Back Road, Is Stranded With Newborn for Three Days


Amber Pangborn gave birth to a little girl while stranded on a back road with no cell phone service and little food. (Photo: NBC)

A California woman who got lost in a national forest while trying to drive to her parents’ house reportedly wound up giving birth in the wilderness, where she was stranded with her newborn for three days.

The details of the incredible story are still fairly confusing, raising a number of questions about the delivery, the days of survival, and the rescue. Yahoo Parenting reached out to the family of the mother, the U.S. Department of Forestry worker who was first on the scene for the mother-daughter rescue, and the hospital where the pair received care immediately afterwards, but none have responded to requests for comments. Four days after the incredible birth, here’s what we know went down: 

When Amber Pangborn felt contractions start on Wednesday, she decided to drive to her parents’ house for help. In order to save time, she thought she would take a shortcut through the Sierra Nevada’s Plumas National Forest. “I was told about this back road and people had showed it to me a few times but I had never driven it by myself,” Pangborn told Action News Now.

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While traveling the back road, Pangborn ran out of gas and also lost cell phone service. She was stuck, and the contractions quickly turned into full-out labor. “I laid out a sleeping back in the backseat, lied down, gripped the handle above the back window and gave birth to my daughter,” she said. Pangborn gave birth to a little girl, Marissa, Thursday morning.

For three days, Pangborn survived with her daughter in the woods, living on only three apples, a soda and a little bit of water. She told Action News she didn’t cut the umbilical cord from her daughter until Friday night fearing Marissa would have nothing to eat. 

Pangborn also had to contend with mosquitoes and bees. “The meat bees came out and were trying to get the placenta,” she said. “I was trying to protect (my daughter) from getting stung and I got stung trying to keep them away from the baby but they kept going back to the placenta.”

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On Saturday, the 35-year-old new mom decided to start a signal fire to attract attention. The fire quickly got bigger than intended. “I think mommy just started a forest fire,” Pangborn said she told her baby.

Luckily, the fire was discovered by a U.S. Forest Service worker, and the mother-daughter pair were rescued. "I was just crying, I thought we were going to die,“ Pangborn said. "I was also just so glad that someone had seen us and we were going to be okay.”

On Saturday, Pangborn and her daughter were admitted to the hospital, where they are still reportedly under evaluation.

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