Not all births—especially premature births—are created equal. But in early December, a baby boy who was born 26 weeks premature amazed everyone.
The doctors at Maxine Dunitz Children's Health Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles delivered Silas Johnson via C-section, and—much to their surprise—he was still fully encased in his mother's amniotic sac. This is called an en caul birth and only happens once in every 80,000 births. This type of birth is so rare because, even in C-sections, "doctors frequently pierce through the sac as they make their incision to remove the baby," reports Time.
In some cases, an amniotic sac may be intentionally left intact to protect a premature baby during delivery, but the doctors at Cedars-Sinai had not planned for this outcome.
"It was a moment that really did, even though it's a cliché: we caught our breath. It really felt like a moment of awe," said William Binder, M.D., who delivered the baby. "This was really a moment that will stick in my memory for some time." He even took a moment to snap a photo of Johnson perfectly curled up in the fetal position.
A baby born en caul will continue to receive oxygen through the placenta, but only for a short amount of time, so doctors (or a midwife) need to puncture the sac soon after birth.
Johnson is doing well and is set to head home in less than a month.
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She's a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter:@CAITYstjohn
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Image: Screenshot of baby Silas courtesy of a CNN video