In what the delivery doctors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles described as "a moment of awe," a baby born at 26 weeks via cesarean section entered into the world while still completely wrapped in the amniotic sac. Warning: (fairly tame) medical images to follow.
Immediately after the emergency c-section, the baby, Silas Philips, could be seen curled up in the fetal position, his head and body visible through the sac's translucent bag. Incredibly, Silas was still able to receive oxygen via the umbilical cord delivered by the placenta until the sac was broken. The doctor, William Binder, had a short window of time to get the baby out of the sac, and had to manually puncture it with his fingers. It was the first time he had ever handled a perfectly intact sac.
And indeed, this type of birth — referred to in the literature as "being born en caul" is quite rare — about one in 80,000 births.
The amniotic sac, which typically breaks during labor, i.e. the "water breaking" moment, is a thin membrane filled with amniotic fluid. It's where the baby develops and grows. During a c-section, the sac is pierced to deliver the baby.
Silas is now nearly three months old and is at home doing great.
In medieval times, being born en caul was considered good luck, and an omen that the child was destined for greatness. In some cultures, the caul is referred to as the "veil." Famous people (reportedly) to have been born en caul include David Copperfield, Liberace, Sigmund Freud, and Napoleon.
Images: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center/CBS.