A baby who was operated on for a life-threatening tumor before birth, and then returned to her mother’s womb, is now thriving and meeting every growth milestone.
FoxNews.com is reporting on the case of four month-old Lynlee Hope who was diagnosed with Sacrococcygeal Teratoma (SCT) at 16 weeks gestation. This rare birth defect causes a tumor to grow from the tailbone area which threatens the baby’s blood supply and puts significant strain on the fetal heart.
Because her mother, Margaret Boemer, had already lost Lynlee’s twin sibling to miscarriage, she was desperate to save the life of her baby even though doctors advised her to terminate the pregnancy. Boemer, who is the mother of two daughters age nine and two, and a has a 19 year-old stepson, wouldn’t hear of it.
“One hospital strongly recommended termination and talked to me about if I were to continue [with the pregnancy] that most likely she wouldn't make it, and that I was putting my health at risk, so it would probably be better to terminate and start over, which we immediately knew we didn't want to do," Boemer, 38, told Fox.
She began to do her own research and discovered that doctors at Texas Children’s Hospital had successfully cared for a baby with the same condition. She made an appointment and met with Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye and Dr. Darrell Cass who developed the Texas Children’s Fetal Center. They recommended open fetal surgery due to the fact that the tumor was growing rapidly and already causing signs of heart failure in Lynnlee.
But the surgery was risky. Boemer was informed by multiple physicians that the procedure could cause her uterus to rupture. It could also cause blood clots or life-threatening bleeding. They also had to decide beforehand how much medical intervention they wanted should the procedure cause Boemer to go into labor and result in Lynlee being born that night.
“The surgery is extremely difficult,” Olutoye told Fox. “What makes it difficult is you can’t guarantee what the outcome will be. We’re going to give Lynlee the best chance, but we also know we’re going in at a time when the heart is already sick."
The medical miracle that was about to take place involved fastening the amniotic sac to the uterus so it could be mended later and the baby placed back into the mother where she could continue to develop.
Another issue was preserving Lynlee’s already developed reproductive organs from the tumor which had extended into her pelvic area.
The surgery took five hours to complete but surgeons were able to remove 90 percent of the tumor with minimal leakage from the amniotic sac.
Boemer was then placed on bed rest and given fluids for the next 13 weeks until Lynlee was born for a second time.
After her birth, doctors removed the remaining 10 percent of the tumor.
“The fact that they were able to put her successfully back in and sew me back up, and the fact that I didn’t go into labor within the first couple of weeks was a miracle,” Boemer said. “Those first few days and weeks were very risky, and they were concerned that I might spontaneously go into labor.”
Lynlee has other health issues due to the fact that she was born with only one kidney, but doctors expect her to do fine with the kidney she has. It’s also not yet possible to determine the amount of her bowel control and muscle development which could require surgery later on if these muscles don’t strengthen on their own.
Boemer is only too happy to tell her story and let others know that in spite of a harrowing medical prognosis, modern medicine can work life-saving miracles.
“I want everyone to know that if they go and have an ultrasound and a scan, and they’re given bad news about their baby, don’t lose hope,” Boemer said. “There are medical advancements out there than can help in certain situations.”
Even though the family “trusted in God to get us through each day,” their bills are astronomical and they have spent every penny of their savings. They have set up a GoFundMe page and are humbly asking for donations to help them bear this heavy financial burden.
Prayers are also welcome, the family says, and they are grateful to all “for supporting our love for Lynlee's life!”
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