Hope Juarez is the second case of a “ghost white baby” who survived although she was born without most of her blood. Had her mother waited a few more hours, the baby girl would have probably died . Hours before Hope was born, her mother Jennifer Juarez didn’t feel her daughter’s kicks anymore and knew something was wrong. After rushing to the hospital and going through a C-section, a white baby was born whose blood had simply drained out of her body, an occurrence defined by doctors as fetal-maternal hemorrhage.
Doctors can’t tell why Hope lost 80% of her blood and the manner in which this condition can be prevented also remains unknown.
While a normal level of hemoglobin, the essential protein that carries oxygen in red blood cells is 18, Hope was born with a level of three, which cannot be even defined as blood. The baby girl is the second case of “ghost white baby” that survives even though she was born without most of her blood after Olivia Norton. Doctors believe that the lives of both girls were saved by the immediate blood transfusion, which restored the “ghost white babies'” natural pink color. The promptitude of the mothers who did not feel their children kicking allowed Hope and Olivia to become the only “ghost white babies” who survived.
Three weeks before Jennifer Juarez was due to give birth to her first child, she realized that the regular kicking which happened more than six times in 30 minutes had stopped. She called her midwife to ask for advice, but the soon-to-be mother knew that something was wrong and rushes to the hospital. After undergoing a C-section, a white, pale baby was born who did not bleed no matter how many times the doctors pricked at her feet to get some blood.
The doctors concluded that the baby girl had lost most of her blood and although minor loss of fetal blood happens in 98 percent of pregnancies, a “ghost white baby” is born with an insignificant quantity of blood. Usually such cases of “ghost white babies” occur if the mother had suffered a trauma, a motor vehicle accident or if the placenta comes off the uterine wall, but since the Fountain Valley couple did not report any of these happenings, doctors cannot tell why Hope was born a “ghost white baby.”
Hope is now six weeks old thanks to the emergency intervention which built up the newborn’s blood count and her mother’s prompt reaction. This case, as well as Olivia’s, the girl from the United Kingdom born in 2012 with the same condition are considered medical miracles and the six-month-old British girl is now featured in medical text books as a clear example of “ghost white baby” who survived although she was born without most of her blood and doctors gave her less than two hours to live.
Hope Juarez’s mother urges expectant mothers to go to the hospital if they feel that something is wrong with their children because every second counts for their babies. Although there are only two cases of babies born without most of their blood who survived, both Jennifer Juarez and Louise Bearman consider themselves lucky for the fact that the survival chances of their newborns were not affected by the condition known as “ghost white baby.”
By Gabriela Motroc