A version of this story was originally published February 19, 2019. It has been updated.
Seeing your baby for the first time is an amazing experience for any parent. For most parents, the months preceding this meeting were probably spent imagining what the baby was experiencing inside the womb, trying to paint a realistic picture on top of that two-dimensional black and white ultrasound photo.
But thanks to Brazilian birth photographer Janaina Oliveira and a baby boy named Noah, parents around the world are now better able to imagine what their baby’s world looked like between the ultrasound picture and their first breath.
While most babies are born without their amniotic sac intact, Noah entered the world (via C-section), still cocooned inside his. This is known as an en caul birth, and while it wasn’t the first Oliveira has captured through her lens, it is likely now the most famous of her photographs.
After she posted Noah’s birth photos to Instagram, Oliveira’s photos went viral, making headlines around the world.
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This slideshow is amazing.
In a Facebook post, Noah’s mom Monyck Valasco explains that she had a tough pregnancy with Noah, and is so grateful that he did not arrive too early.
Noah is now something of a celebrity in his hometown of Vila Velha, Brazil, but local media reports he was actually one of three en caul babies born at the Praia da Costa Hospital in just one month. Birth photographer, Janaina Oliveira actually captured all three en caul births on camera. Little Matais arrived before Noah, and baby Laura came afterward, both en caul.
These photographs are as breathtaking as the babies featured in them and remind mothers around the world that our bodies were once someone’s whole world. And now they are ours.