Warning: This story contains images that some viewers may find distressing
A Brazilian birth photographer had a once-in-a-lifetime moment when she attended the cesarean section delivery of a baby boy who was born still inside his amniotic sac. In the brief moments before the sac was pulled away, she snapped a series of incredible photos for the family to cherish in years to come.
Former journalist Ludmila Braga Gusman Carvalho, 44, has been a birth photographer since she became a mother nine years ago. She currently lives with her husband and two daughters in the town of Muriaé in Minas Gerais state, Brazil.
The birth of baby Nicolas at Hospital São Paulo de Muriaé at 5:55 p.m. on Jan. 2 was Ludmila’s second birth record of 2023. When pediatrician Dr. Larissa Felizardo indicated that Nicolas was emerging in his amniotic sac, otherwise known as an en caul or “veiled” delivery, Ludmila rushed to the side of the operating table.
She told The Epoch Times: “It was an indescribable and wonderful feeling. Since I started photographing births, I dreamed of being present at a birth like this. I had already seen videos and photos of babies with veils, I had already learned a lot about it, but I didn’t expect it to be in this delivery because the baby was big.”
“The moment I took that picture, it was so quick and automatic that I remember just positioning myself and clicking several times,” Ludmila added.
Shortly after, obstetrician Dr. Luiz Cláudio Lacerda safely broke and removed the sac. According to Ludmila, everything required a lot of attention and had to be done quickly. Regardless, she described the moment as “fantastic.”
Weighing approx. 7.45 pounds (3.38 kg) and measuring approx. 20 inches (51 cm) long, baby Nicholas entered the world to meet his parents, mom Reniara and dad Ellom.
“When we saw the baby’s face, it was very euphoric,” Ludmila said. “All were enchanted by the scene. It was chilling!”
While Ludmila and the doctors had witnessed the en caul delivery, neither parent saw Nicolas in his sac for themselves. Reniara was laying on the operating table with a sheet blocking her vision of the procedure, and the father stayed close beside his wife since it was a cesarean delivery.
“When the baby was born we were so surprised that we didn’t call the father,” Ludmila said. “Although he heard us talking and saw our excitement, he didn’t get up.”
However, both parents saw the images on Ludmila’s camera while they were still in the delivery room.
En caul delivery is rare, occurring less than once in every 80,000 births. It is more common in Caesarean sections than normal delivery but it poses no risk to the baby or the mother according to Healthline. In fact, in some cultures, a baby born en caul is considered to be very lucky.
Ludmila believes that she got lucky too as she had the opportunity to start the year with such special images.
“It was a unique and very emotional moment for me,” Ludmila said according to Gazeta de Muriaé.
Ludmila later shared her photos of Nicolas’s en caul birth on Instagram, where they went viral.
The mom of two says becoming a mother gave her the courage to approach hospitals, gain the trust of doctors, and secure her role as a birth photographer. She never expected her photos of Nicolas to gain such widespread attention going beyond the local press. She plans to submit her amazing shots to photography contests.
“Without a doubt, I felt protected and blessed by God. I have so much faith,” she told The Epoch Times, “We live in a period of so much sad news that being presented with this image at the beginning of the year fills our hearts with hope. I felt chosen, blessed, as if God confirmed to me, ‘Go on! Don’t give up … this is your mission!’”
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