Raelin Scurry, a mother from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, gave birth to her second child in a car on the way to the hospital - with the baby still inside its amniotic sac, a membrane that contains and protects the baby, placenta, and amniotic fluids during pregnancy. Scurry posted a remarkable Instagram photo of her newborn, who was born in the car on August 5 weighing 3 pounds and 1 ounce at 29 weeks and 4 days gestation.
When the baby didn't move at first, Scurry, who works in medical research and knew the baby would be safe in the sac, poked at his face and was relieved when he raised his hands and feet toward his head. She kept the baby in his sac for about seven minutes as the boy's father, Ean Vanstory, drove them to the hospital.
It's extremely rare for babies to be born within the sac - a.k.a. "en caul," according to Dr. Anna Euser, MD, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at UCHealth who remembers seeing just five en caul delivers over her eight years of practice. Typically, she says, the sac is ruptured before or during labor with pushing from pressure from contractions, or broken by a doctor or midwife to further encourage labor, then delivered with the placenta after the baby. (The flow of fluids that results is known as a woman's "water breaking.")
Dr. Euser says intact amniotic sacs are typically broken right away after delivery since babies can't breathe once the placenta (which provides oxygen to the baby during pregnancy) is separated from the mother's uterus, as is the case in en caul deliveries.
Although Dr. Euser worries whether the infant was breathing during its brief drive to the hospital, and Scurry didn't respond to requests for comment, the newborn, called Ean Jamal Vanstory Jr. or "E.J.", is reportedly doing well. And he's cute as a button!