How Mother's Intuition Saved the “Ghost Baby”
Jennifer Juarez, a Southern California woman pregnant for the first time, saved her unborn daughter’s life when she rushed to her midwife upon noticing a significant decrease in the baby’s movement nearly 3 weeks before her due date. Shortly after, Juarez delivered her little girl via emergency c-section and, to the astonishment of the medical staff, the baby was “ghostly” white.
There was no way for Juarez to know her baby was suffering a fetal-maternal hemorrhage, a condition in which a baby’s blood drains out of its body, but her instinct told the new mother that something was terribly wrong. Her daughter, Hope, was eventually born with as little as 20 percent of her blood and could have easily died that day. Jennifer Juarez listened to her gut – her mother’s intuition – and according to Dr Marielle Nguyen, a neonatologist at Kaiser Permanente, Irvine Medical Center, “her outcome was beautiful because it was the classic textbook case they tell you about. The mom knew right away that she had a clue something was wrong. She couldn’t feel the baby move. And she came in right away and we delivered the baby. If we had waited any longer, the outcome would have been different.”
In addition to Hope Juarez, the other most recent “ghost baby” with fetal-maternal hemorrhage to have survived is Olivia Norton in the UK. Olivia was born five weeks early after monitors showed her heart rate dipping dangerously low. Olivia’s mother, Louise Norton, also a first time mom, leaned on her mother’s intuition to save her baby’s life by seeking medical attention after not feeling her baby kick for three days.
Both girls would be dead if not for the courage of their mothers. In both “ghost baby” cases, the first time moms reported a decrease in fetal movement, went to the hospitals and had emergency c-sections. A turn of events that saved their baby’s lives, to be sure. For a first time mom, those decisions are not always easy. First time moms might question their instincts because of lack of experience, but these moms are exemplary champions of mother’s intuition and should be proud of the steps they took.
Following our instinct as moms is often likened to nothing more than coincidence. We have gut feelings, a sixth sense or simply know something without knowing how we know. Sometimes mother’s intuition is made into a joke, a reason to classify moms as worriers. Hard science and factual data prove king in our society, but supporting pregnant moms to trust their mother’s intuition should occur too.
For these two “ghost babies”, the greatest gift they have received – in addition to life-saving blood transfusions – are moms that had the courage to listen to their mother’s intuition.
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