Baby born 'transparent' defies odds and now has said first word

A baby who was ‘transparent’ and only weighed 1lb 3oz at birth has defied the odds and said his first word.

Eli James, now a year old, was so premature when he was born in March 2022, that his parents, Paloma Aguilar, 34, and Eliesar, a business owner, 45, were prepared for the worst.

But ‘miraculously’, Las Vegas born Eli is thriving. ‘He’s starting to walk right now, and he’s saying his first words. “Dadda” was the first,’ said stay-at-home mum Paloma. 

‘Everyone has been surprised with his progress. While he’s a little smaller than most one-year-olds, he is catching up quite fast.’

Paloma, who has three older children, said the only sign of Eli’s difficult start in life are small scars on his body, but apart from that, he is a completely healthy baby. 

His doctors warned, however, that if he survived, he could have disabilities.

Recalling baby Eli’s tricky start, she said: ‘We had an ultrasound one Friday when I was 22 weeks and one day pregnant, and everything appeared normal.

‘Then my water broke that Friday evening, at midnight, and early Saturday morning, I went to the hospital.

‘When I arrived, they told me that I was 3 centimetres dilated and that the baby was not viable.’

The best advice medics could give the concerned mum, who refused to give up on her son, was to attempt to delay the pregnancy, but she already had an infection that was putting both their lives in danger.

She explained: ‘I developed Chorioamnionitis [an infection of the placenta].

‘They brought in a team of specialists, and it was ultimately agreed upon that I should stay in the hospital as long as possible on bedrest.

‘But they made it very clear, because I already had an infection, that if that infection progressed, they would stop monitoring the baby. At that point, they would just be about saving me.’

Despite this, Eli was determined to make his entrance into the world sooner rather than later and did so that Sunday at 11:30pm, less than two days after her water broke.

Paloma’s infection had progressed, as feared, into bacteremia (when bacteria gets into a person’s bloodstream), resulting in a fever. Eli was connected to monitors to help him breathe.

‘They said that even if they were to give me steroids for Eli’s lungs, it wouldn’t really do much,’ she said. ‘So at that point, they did disconnect Eli from the monitors.

‘But thankfully… he was trying to breathe on his own.’ 

The plan was to give Paloma a C-section so that Eli was put under as little stress as possible, but his eventual birth was so fast that this did not happen.

‘They showed him to me briefly before taking him away,’ she added.

What followed was an incredibly difficult time for Paloma and Eliesar as Eli began the fight for his life.

He was so small that his arm was the size of Paloma’s finger, and she could see right through his body, which was so tiny that medics attempted to use the smallest needle in the country to treat him.

She explained: ‘When I saw him, it was scary. But I always have faith. I had faith that if he made it this far, that he was strong.’

Paloma said that Eli’s incredible fight for his life lasted several months.

One of the keys to Eli’s survival was breast milk – so much so that Paloma’s husband had to sign a consent form to use someone else’s had she failed to produce her own supply.

Thankfully, Paloma was able to give Eli the nutrition she needed herself, but she had the added bonus of being given Prolacta – a human milk based fortifier that comes from donors.

‘To us, it was just a huge blessing to have received that, and I wholeheartedly feel it made the difference in Eli’s journey.’

Paloma said she advises any other parents who find themselves in a similar situation to take it one day at a time and ‘be proactive with the doctors and nurses’. 

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