A Pennsylvania mom felt something between her legs while driving in the car recently. After dropping her 6-year-old daughter off at her godmother’s house, the 23-year-old Pittsburgh woman was shocked by what “slid out” of her. Now, after photos of the incident emerged online, viewers are left nearly as shocked as the woman was at the time.
When she was 29 weeks pregnant with her second child, a Pennsylvania mother named Raelin began to experience some pain, which she thought to be Braxton Hicks contractions. Sometimes referred to as “practice contractions,” Braxton Hicks are often experienced after 20 weeks of pregnancy. They are usually a painless, tightening sensation as the uterus prepares for labor, but for some women, particularly if this pregnancy is not their first, Braxton Hicks contractions can be strong and even painful.
Raelin soon realized that the pain she was experiencing wasn’t Braxton Hicks when her contractions “started to get closer together and more intense,” so she decided to go to the hospital. “I decided to go in,” she told Kidspot. “I live about 15 minutes from the hospital. But I had to drop my daughter off to her godmother which added about five minutes.”
Raelin didn’t think that this slight diversion would be a problem, but she would soon find out that she really had no time to lose. “My fiancé Ean was driving and the contractions were getting worse so I called 911. The dispatcher couldn’t understand me so I handed the phone to Ean,” said Raelin. “He drove the wrong way in the bus lane because there was traffic. There were no buses coming so he got in the bus lane to make it to the hospital faster.”
However, even with Ean’s swift driving, the couple would not make it to the hospital in time to have their baby. “I felt the baby in the birth canal and knew it was time. So I pulled my pants off and reached down and felt his head. I pushed one time and he slid out,” recounted Raelin. However, the surprises this little one had in store for his parents were far from over.
“That’s when I realized he was still in this sac,” she recalled of the moment she noticed that her infant had been born en caul. “I knew with him being so early he probably wouldn’t be able to breathe on his own and that he was safe in there so I didn’t disturb it,” she said.
The “en-caul” birth, not to be confused with the “caul” birth, occurs when the infant is born inside of the entire amniotic sac. The sac balloons out at birth, with the child remaining inside of the unbroken, or partially broken membrane.
Being born with a caul is rare, occurring in fewer than 1 in 80,000 births. This statistic includes “en-caul” births, which occur more frequently than authentic caul births; therefore authentic caul births are rarer than the statistic indicates. Most “en-caul” births occur in premature births. [Source: BabyMed]
Raelin, Ean, and their baby made it to the hospital just seven minutes later. They left their house at 11:14 am and dropped their daughter off at 11:22 am and Ean Jr, known as EJ, was born at 11:28 am. Needless to say, it was quite the eventful morning for the family!
“I stayed in the car and my Ean went in for help,” Raelin said of the moment they arrived at the hospital. “No one was coming until the security guard walked past and saw me with the baby – then he called a code. That’s when Ean snapped this amazing photo,” she added.
“I looked up a second later and the car was swarmed with doctors. The first one I saw was a doctor that I worked with and he grabbed the baby and broke his sac right outside in front of the hospital. He cried immediately. Then they took him to the NICU,” said Raelin.
Little EJ is healthy but will need to stay in the NICU until closer to his due date of October 18. While his parents were sad to learn that they would not be leaving the hospital with their new bundle of joy, they were grateful that he survived his unconventional entry into the world.
“I was sad at first when I realized I was leaving and my baby wasn’t going home with me, but it gets better,” said Raelin. “But I was also thankful because I knew had he not been born in the sac he probably wouldn’t have lived.”
There truly is nothing like the miracle of childbirth. EJ is one special little guy — he’s one in fewer than 80,000, after all. We wish his parents all the luck and blessings in the world as they prepare to take him home in the coming weeks.