February 26, 2015 11:34 am
Updated: February 26, 2015 2:05 pm

Going viral: ‘Miracle baby’ born encased in amniotic sac


Warning: This post contains images that some readers may find graphic. 

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill baby story: moments after delivering a baby, a Los Angeles doctor snapped a photo of the newborn who was still inside the amniotic sac, curled up in the signature fetal position.

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The first few glimpses of baby Silas Johnson captured by the doctor are now going viral online: the premature baby is only seconds old and encased in the sac, but you can see the little boy’s fingers and feet pressed up against the clear membrane. It’s a rare delivery and it offered doctors a glimpse into life inside the womb.

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“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,” William Binder, a neonatologist, told local CBS reporters in Los Angeles. He’s the doctor who snapped the photos at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

“This was really a moment that will stick to my memory for some time,” he said.


(Photo courtesy Cedars-Sinai Medical Center)

Silas is now 10 weeks old, CBS reports, but he was born premature at the 26-week mark via C-section. In the photos, Silas was still getting oxygen via his mom’s placenta. His birth is so rare, it usually occurs only once out of 80,000 deliveries, according to the hospital.

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The amniotic sac is like a fetus’ home for the nine months of gestation. Just before birth it typically breaks and the fluid that cushioned the baby is released – that’s typically the telltale sign that a woman’s about to enter labour, her “water breaking.” Traditionally in C-sections, doctors pierce through the sac in the process of extracting the baby.

“It felt like slow-motion, but really realistically probably about 10 seconds that we had to sort of quickly pause and be able to do this, because at the same time we want to get the baby out of that sac, start helping the baby to begin breathing,” Binder explained.

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Silas’ mom, Chelsea, says she had no idea her baby had caused such a commotion. It wasn’t until hours later that she saw the photos firsthand.

“It was definitely like a clear film where you could definitely make out his head and his hair. He was kind of in a fetal position and you could see, like, his arms and his legs curled up,” she said.

Baby Silas.

Photo courtesy Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

(Photo courtesy Cedars-Sinai Medical Center)

Silas is happy and healthy and should be able to go home within a month’s time, U.S. reports say.


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