Warning: This article includes graphic images that some readers may find disturbing
In a rare 1-in-80,000 event, a twin baby girl was born inside an intact amniotic sac in Spain. The doctor who oversaw the delivery has shared photos and videos of the special moment, and they’re breathtaking.
Dr. Ana Teijelo, a gynecologist and obstetrician at GVA Salut Vinaròs hospital in Spain’s eastern province of Castellón, Valencia, delivered twin baby girls on March 23 by cesarean section.
Teijelo took to Twitter after the second baby emerged still in her sac, a type of birth known as a “mermaid,” “veiled,” or “en caul” birth.
“Beautiful photos, don’t you think?” Teijelo posted. “The first veiled Caesarean section I’ve seen, and I loved it … it happens about once every 80,000 deliveries; today our students have had a brilliant day.”
The twins were born healthy and well, she added in a separate post. Staff, including midwives, gynecologists, pediatricians, anesthesiologists, nurses, students, and “of course, the mother,” enjoyed the unforgettable delivery.
To all future doctors, Teijelo advised: “Remember: in all hospitals you can learn a lot, the most important thing is to never lose enthusiasm. A day like today compensates for many others, I never tire of looking at the photos.”
She also clarifies that the pictures and footage were shared on social media after obtaining permission from the twins’ mother.
Normally, the fluid-filled amniotic sac will burst—hence “water breaking”—when an expectant mother goes into labor. If the water doesn’t break, the baby is born en caul, seemingly “gift-wrapped” inside the inner layer of membrane. Historically, en caul births were associated with fame, fortune, and spiritual abilities in European folklore.
A wriggling newborn may rupture its own sac, making it easy to remove, according to Beach Cities Midwifery. If not, it can be carefully removed by a midwife or doctor.
As a keepsake for the mother of the Valencian twins, Teijelo and hospital staffers made a painting by printing the babies’ placentas in blue and purple. Teijelo shared the painting on Twitter.
“It has been beautiful, really,” wrote the doctor. “Being good professionals is not at odds with being empathetic,” she reflected, adding, “don’t be scared when you hear the word placenta, really!”