'Ghost white baby' born without most of her blood

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Published February 04, 2014

| Newser

Hope Juarez's first name is an appropriate one: The 6-week-old is only the second known "ghost white baby" born in recent years to actually survive. She's so described because she was born with almost no blood, giving her a very white appearance.

ABC 7 reports on the medical miracle, which began three weeks before 27-year-old Jennifer Juarez's due date, when she realized the regular kicking she'd been feeling had ceased.

She went to her midwife, who asked the Fountain Valley, Calif., woman what her gut feeling was. "Something's not right," Juarez replied. And it wasn't. While some fetal blood loss happens in all but 2 percent of pregnancies, Hope had suffered a fetal-maternal hemorrhage, and doctors estimate she lost around 80 percent of her blood.

An emergency C-section allowed Hope to get a life-saving blood transfusion. Why fetal-maternal hemorrhages occur remains largely a mystery; "a lot of it just happens spontaneously," says a neonatologist at Kaiser Permanente, Irvine Medical Center, where Hope was born.

What is clear is that Juarez's quick reaction saved her daughter's life; doctors say Hope could have died had she spent just a few more hours in the womb.

The Telegraph reported in 2012 on a 6-month-old who was the other baby to recently survive a similar complication. Olivia Bearman's mother also noticed the baby had stopped kicking.

After birth it was discovered the child had "lost blood directly into her mum's blood circulation," explains a neonatal nurse. (Click to read about another miraculous birth.)

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