As tears welled in her eyes, Azita Milanian gazed down at the peaceful baby boy she pulled out of a mound of dirt and leaves, his weak fingers clutching her wrist.
Dubbed "Baby Christian" by doting nurses, the newborn lay sleeping on his belly Monday in an incubator at Huntington Memorial Hospital."He is a mountain angel, my angel," Milanian said, seeing the baby for the first time since handing him over to paramedics Saturday night.
The 7-pound, 11-ounce boy had a body temperature of only 80 degrees when Milanian and her three black Labradors stumbled across him during a jog through the San Gabriel Mountains.
Just 6 hours old, the baby's tiny legs stuck out from the mound of leaves. His umbilical cord was still attached, and his heart rate was slow.
But the baby's fingers curled around Milanian's wrist as she cleared away the dirt.
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies were still trying to discover the identity of the child's mother, Detective Kevin Elliott said. Deputies using bloodhounds have narrowed the search to a residential area.
Doctors didn't find any drugs in the boy's system, suggesting that a frightened teenager - not a drug-crazed criminal - buried the newborn in leaves and grass, his face covered with a dirty blue blanket.
Baby Christian was upgraded from critical to serious condition on Monday and was likely to remain in the hospital for at least a week, said Dr. Ricardo Liberman, medical director of neonatology at Huntington.
Dozens of people have offered to adopt the boy. Hospital spokeswoman Toni Miller said 20 people have called to offer money for his care, while others have donated baby clothes and blankets.
During her visit, Milanian walked over to Liberman, shook his hand firmly and thanked him for saving the newborn's life.
"They're calling me a hero, but you're the hero to bring these children to life again," she said. "What I went through that minute you go through every day."
Replied Liberman: "The baby's the hero."