Three weeks before Jennifer Juarez’s baby was due, she felt the tiny girl stop kicking. Following her intuition, she sought help, and if Juarez had waited just two more hours to go to the hospital, her baby might not be alive today.
Hope, now a healthy 6-week-old, was a “ghost baby” born without the majority of her blood.
“She asked me, ‘Well what’s your gut feeling?’” Juarez recalled her midwife saying, according to KABC-TV. “And I said, ‘I don’t know. I just feel like something’s off. Something’s not right.’”
The California mother-to-be was scheduled for an emergency C-section. When Hope entered the world she was crying, but she was white — ghost white. Doctors trying to draw blood could barely get anything. It was later discovered that about 80 percent of Hope’s blood had drained from her, Dr. Marielle Nguyen at Irvine Medical Center told KABC.
“She was pale. She was really white,” Nguyen told the news station.
Hope is one of only two known recent cases of a baby being born without blood. Such an incident can occur when there is a fetal-maternal hemorrhage. The National Institutes of Health reports that major incidents are rare but are also likely under recognized and under reported.
In 2012, a baby was born in the United Kingdom without blood. She was given only two hours to live by doctors but at the time international media was covering her story, she was a healthy 6-month-old.
“We don’t know what causes it. A lot of it is just it happens spontaneously. Sometimes the cause could be a motor vehicle accident, trauma, or where we have placental rupture, where the placenta suddenly just comes off the uterine wall,” Nguyen told KABC.
Hope was given a blood transfusion and is doing well, but other reports of this happening to babies shows that it more often than not results in death. Doctors told KABC if Juarez had waited just a couple hours longer before going in for a C-section, the outcome for Hope could have been different.
Watch KABC-TV’s report:
Juarez’s advice to other mothers thinking something might be wrong:
“Go into the doctor. Get checked. Your baby’s life may depend on it,” she said.