Medical Miracle: “Ghost Baby” Born Without 80 Percent of Her Blood

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 4, 2014   |   2:34PM   |   Irvine, CA

Jennifer Juarez felt her baby stop kicking just three weeks before her baby was due. Her gut told her she should get to a hospital right away and she’s now very glad she followed her intuition.

That action saved baby Hope Juarez’s life and now the little child is a healthy 6-week-old infant. But her life outside the womb didn’t start off so well, as KABC reports (and video below):

hopejuarezAt the birth of their first child, new parents may not always know what to expect. But one Fountain Valley couple was not prepared for what happened when their daughter was born. She came into the world with a feature some might call “ghostly.”

The day 6-week-old Hope Juarez entered the world, she was as white as a ghost. When doctors brought her to draw blood, they could barely get a drop.

“She was crying and they brought her over to us and she was really pale,” said the baby’s father, Josh Juarez. “I knew that something was really wrong when they started pricking at her feet trying to get blood to come out and there was no blood coming out.”

Hours before Hope was born, her blood had drained out of her body.

“She probably lost about 80 percent or more. She was pale. She was really white,” said Dr. Marielle Nguyen, a neonatologist at Kaiser Permanente, Irvine Medical Center.

Doctors performed an emergency C-section. Her only hope for survival was a blood transfusion.

So why did little baby Hope have these problems in the first place?

Hope suffered from a fetal-maternal hemorrhage. The only other known recent case of a so-called “ghost white baby” surviving at birth occurred in the U.K. in 2012. There were similar circumstances. The mom in that case also noticed her daughter had stopped kicking.



Slight loss of fetal blood occurs in 98 percent of pregnancies, but hardly ever to this degree and rarely do babies survive.

“We don’t know what causes it. A lot of it is just it happens spontaneously. Sometimes the cause could be a motor vehicle accident, trauma, or where we have placental rupture, where the placenta suddenly just comes off the uterine wall,” said Nguyen.