Miracle baby – Lynlee was actually born twice after doctors were forced to remove her from the womb when she was just 16 weeks old
Taken from the womb for surgery then placed back in until birth, Lynlee Hope was born 12 weeks later after full term, weighing 5lb and 5oz
Diagnosed with a tumour at 16-week ultrasound, the 1lb and 3oz foetus required a life-saving operation
Mom Margaret Boemer, had two options, terminate the life growing in her or have a risky surgery on the foetus
Surgeons removed Lynlee from mother Margaret womb for 20 minutes, performed the life saving then put her back
Margaret and her girls, including the new addition, Lynlee Hope
“I knew we were doing this to try and save her life,”
Lynlee Boemer overcame incredible odds to be born including being was born twice, the second time, her real birth, 12 weeks after she was temporarily taken out of her mother’s womb for a life-saving operation.
Margaret, from Plano, Texas, could only hope for the best after getting a shock ultrasound result, 16 weeks into her pregnancy.
‘They saw something on the scan, and the doctor came in and told us that there was something seriously wrong with our baby and that she had a sacrococcygeal teratoma,’ she tsaid. ‘And it was very shocking and scary, because we didn’t know what that long word meant or what diagnosis that would bring.’
Going in for a routine ultrasound 16 weeks into her pregnancy, the expectant mothers was told the foetus had a tumour in the tailbone. Doctors said her only hope was a medical procedure that required surgeons to open up the womb and take the 1 lb, 3 oz foetus out for 20 minutes for a high-risk surgical procedure and then put her back and sew up the uterus.
24 weeks into the pregnancy, Margaret took the gutsy decision to go ahead with the surgery, at a point during the surgery, Lynlee’s heart slowed down to a standstill but she was kept alive by a specialist while the doctors removed the bulk of the growth
After sucsesssfully undergoing the surgery Margaret was kept on bedrest for another trimester. Lynlee Hope, was born made a formal entry into the world by C-section, 12 weeks later, a healthy near full-term baby weighing in at 5 lb and 5 ozs.
Margaret Boemer went through open foetal surgery and her baby made it through another trimester before the birth of Lynlee Hope
According to Dr. Darrell Cass, co-director of Texas Children’s Fetal Centre, the teratoma is ‘the most common tumour we see in a newborn’.
‘Even though it’s the most common we see, it’s still pretty rare.’ The cause of the tumour which occurs in girls four times more often than in boys is unknown. The growth is seen in only one out of 30,000-70,000 live births.
While sometimes surgery could be delayed until after birth, there are cases where the tumour starts competing with the foetus for the body’s blood flow ‘ said Dr. Cass.
‘And in some instances, the tumour wins and the heart just can’t keep up and the heart goes into failure and the baby dies,’ he added. The later was the case in Lynlee’s tumour.
At the critical point one option was to terminate the pregnancy, a decision made all the more difficult by the fact that Margaret had originally been expecting twins but lost one of her babies before the second trimester.
Margaret said: ‘LynLee didn’t have much of a chance. At 23 weeks, the tumour was shutting her heart down and causing her to go into cardiac failure, so it was a choice of allowing the tumour to take over her body or giving her a chance at life.
An option given but not taken up was for the Boemers to terminate the pregnancy, a decision made all the more difficult by the fact the mother had originally been expecting twins but lost one of her babies. However, by the the time surgeons were given the go-ahead for the surgery, Lynlee was nearly 24 weeks old and the tumour was almost the same size as she was.
The surgery lasted five hours, but Dr Cass said: ‘The part on the foetus we do very, very quickly. It’s only 20 minutes or so on the actual fetus.’
A happy, healthy, Lynlee Hope Boemer
The surgeons cut off as much of the tumour as they could, placed LynLee back inside the womb and sewed her mother’s uterus ‘as sealed and as water tight as possible.’
At eight days old, little LynLee had one more ordeal on the operating table when the surgeons went back in to remove small bits of the tumour they hadn’t been able to reach the first time and where growing again.
Several weeks later, after making a full recovery, Margaret was allowed to take baby LynLee home. ‘It was her second birth, basically. I was willing to endure all those risks to give her a chance at life,’ she said.
“She was able to grow and thrive and her heart had time to heal,” she says.
Today, little Lynlee is growing, according to her mum, “eating a ton” and meeting her developmental milestones. The loving family continues to watch her spine and won’t know until she’s potty-trained if she will have control over her bowels.