When it comes to our newborn babies, the slightest thing wrong can send us parents into a tizzy. Think about how you feel if your infant has a cold. Or a fever. Now imagine your baby was born without about 80 percent of their blood and referred to as a "ghost baby." You would be feeling scared and heartbroken and god knows what else, right?
When Hope Juarez, who's now 6 weeks old, was born, she was as white as a ghost. Literally. When doctors brought her to draw blood, they could barely get a drop out of her, because hours before her birth, she lost "about 80 percent or more" of her blood.
And if it weren't for the maternal instinct Jennifer Juarez had while still pregnant, Hope might not be here today.
Throughout the majority her pregnancy, everything was fine for 27-year-old Jennifer. But around three weeks before her due date, Jennifer noticed that the baby's kicking drastically had decreased to basically nothing. "She would kick around 10 times within half an hour, which is a lot," said Jennifer. When she brought her concern up to her midwife, she was asked what her "gut feeling was." And her gut feeling was that something was wrong.
Doctors performed an emergency C-section on Jennifer, and Hope's only chance for survival was a blood transfusion. The baby had suffered from an extremely rare condition called fetal-maternal hemorrhage. The only other known recent case of a "ghost white baby" surviving at birth occurred in England in 2012. And in that instance, the circumstances were similar to Jennifer's -- the mother noticed that the baby had stopped kicking. And the scary thing? There's not much that can be done to prevent it. "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," a neonatologist at Jennifer's hospital said. (Jennifer had none of these things.)
Thankfully, the ending to this story is a happy one. Sweet baby Hope is alive today, thanks to Jennifer's instinct to immediately seek medical attention. So, please, please let this be a message to all you mamas-to-be out there: If your gut tells you something is off with your pregnancy, it probably is, so talk to your doctor or midwife immediately. Nobody's better living proof than Jennifer and Hope Juarez.
Did you ever feel like something was wrong with your pregnancy?