LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — It was a rewarding Christmas shift for two Los Angeles police officers.

Patrolling the streets around Skid Row, LAPD officers see a lot. But nothing could have prepared them for what they saw near the end of their shift Monday.

A 911 call led them to an apartment where a pregnant woman was in distress.

“She was basically screaming. You could see she was nine months pregnant, her water had broke already” LAPD Officer Clinton Popham said.

Standing in the hallway of a downtown loft, 20-year-old Angel Johnson was alone on Christmas, about to give birth. The officers helped her back inside her apartment and calmed her down. Veteran officer Clinton Popham, a father of four, knew exactly what to do.

“She started contractions again, the baby’s head started to turn, [I] said ‘you gotta push you gotta push now,” Popham said.

Popham’s partner, Francisco Muro, just graduated the police academy six months ago and had never seen anything like it.

“It’s a great day to be an LAPD officer,” the rookie cop said. “It was a neat experience, definitely shocking. I comforted her, made sure she was lying down, held her left leg, I calmed her down, grabbed her hand, I advised her to push…counted 1-2-3 push and she did.”

Said Popham: “The baby wasn’t crying when she initially came out, but I gave her a little tap on the butt. She started crying.”

Neighbors say Johnson was out of work and had a difficult pregnancy. They say the Christmas baby came a week early.

“I heard her screaming, then I cam downstairs to say hey, is someone OK? you got someone yelling in the hallway up there,” neighbor Patrick Keune said. “Next thing you know they said: ‘Angel’s giving birth,’ she actually gave birth.”

“It’s one of the most gratifying calls you can get,” Muro said.

The mother and healthy baby girl are now at County USC Medical Center. Both are expected to be fine.

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