How This Premature Birth Took an Even More Unusual Turn
A woman going into labor and delivering a baby in a car is always an adventure, but it isn’t particularly rare. Thanks to modern medicine, premature births are more “normal” and a little less worrisome than they used to be.
But when the two events come together AND include an incredibly unusual birthing anomaly? Well, that’s not only newsworthy, it’s downright scary.
That’s what happened to expectant mother Raelin Scurry of Pittsburgh, whose story and picture of the birth of her second child, little Ean Jamal (E.J.) Vanstory Jr., has been spreading like wildfire across the Internet from east coast to west, U.S. to England.
Everything started when Raelin awoke in the morning to contractions. Since she was only 29 weeks along, she thought at first she was experiencing Braxton Hicks (i.e. false labor). After about 45 minutes, however, she realized that she was in fact experiencing true labor and her son was on his way— 11 weeks early.
Remarkably, Raelin and her boyfriend, Ean Vanstory, stayed calm, being sure to drop off their daughter, Amaya, with her godmother first. On the way to Magee-Womens Hospital, however, things escalated quickly.
Raelin tells the story in her now-viral Instagram post:
Well the contractions continued to get closer together and more intense and before I knew it I knew it was time to push. I called 911 because I was so scared. They couldn’t understand me between the screams with contractions. So I handed the phone to my fiance. I pulled my pants off and reached down, sure enough his head was right there. I pushed one time and my miracle baby was here. When I looked down I realized he was still completely wrapped in the amniotic sac. The dispatcher told us to pull over. But I knew we would make it to the hospital before they would make it to us. So I told Ean to keep driving. I was so scared. My Fiance was so calm driving and on the phone with 911. At first the baby was still and all I could do was pray he would be okay.
Yes, you read that correctly. Little E.J. was born still completely inside his amniotic sac.
An Unusual Birth
As you can probably imagine, it’s incredibly rare for a baby to born while still entirely inside the amniotic sac. Also known as an “en-caul” birth, when they do happen, they’re usually during a premature birth like E.J.’s, although typically during a C-section. So the fact that E.J. came into the world like this naturally makes his birth even more rare.
The sac is the baby’s home during gestation, filling with fluid to cushion him during pregnancy. Just before birth, it normally ruptures — the so-called ‘water breaking’ that signals an expectant mom that labor is underway. (In cases where the water doesn’t break, doctors can puncture the sac to release the fluid.) [. . .] In vaginal births, the sac remains in the mother as part of the placenta, and isn’t released until the placenta is removed in the afterbirth. But in some births, parts of the sac follow the baby through the birth canal.
While seemingly unusual, births ‘en caul,’ in which the infant remains entirely inside the sac during the journey through the birth canal, can be intentional, particularly when the baby is premature.
This info is echoed by Pregnancy Corner:
En caul births are a somewhat different phenomenon from caul births; an en caul birth is one in which the baby is born entirely inside the fluid-filled amniotic sac.
Most en caul births are premature, and some doctors have observed that this type of birth can protect a newborn from the mechanical pressure of overly strong uterine contractions. It has been suggested that en caul C-section deliveries might be advisable for extremely fragile premature babies.
So what does that mean for little E.J., still in his sac but delivered naturally in a car? Watch the below video from KDKA CBS 2 Pittsburgh [CBS Local] to find out.
Thank goodness this story has a happy ending! Do you think you could have stayed as calm as Raelin and Ean did? Have you ever seen an “en-caul” birth before? What about the often-mythologized, regular “caul” birth?