Baby born twice: Removed for operation then returned for her birth

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. Photo / Margaret Boemer Facebook
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. Photo / Margaret Boemer Facebook

When she grows up, Lynlee Boemer should demand to celebrate two birthdays a year.

For she is the baby who was born twice. Her proper entry into the world came 12 weeks after she was temporarily taken out of her mother's womb for a life-saving operation.

Doctors discovered a tumour in the tailbone of Margaret Boemer's unborn baby when the mother-to-be went for a routine ultrasound just 16 weeks into her pregnancy, reports Daily Mail.

Lynlee was actually born twice after doctors were forced to remove her from the womb when she was just 16 weeks gestation. Photo / Margaret Boemer Facebook
Lynlee was actually born twice after doctors were forced to remove her from the womb when she was just 16 weeks gestation. Photo / Margaret Boemer Facebook

Her only hope was a medical procedure that required surgeons to open up the womb and take the 500g foetus out for 20 minutes for a do-or-die operation - and then put her back and sew up the uterus.

Mum Margaret was kept on bedrest and the replaced baby made it through another 12 weeks to nearly 36 weeks - full term - before the little girl, named Lynlee Hope, was born for the second time via C-section.

Lynlee weighed 2.5kg and, after being whisked away for a check-up, she was moved into the nursery with the other babies.

Doctors discovered a tumour in the tailbone of Margaret Boemer's unborn baby when the mother-to-be went for a routine ultrasound just 16 weeks into her pregnancy. Photo / Go Fund Me
Doctors discovered a tumour in the tailbone of Margaret Boemer's unborn baby when the mother-to-be went for a routine ultrasound just 16 weeks into her pregnancy. Photo / Go Fund Me

Boemer, from Plano, Texas, had feared the worst after getting the shock ultrasound results.

"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 told CNN. "And it was very shocking and scary, because we didn't know what that long word meant or what diagnosis that would bring."

The teratoma is "the most common tumour we see in a newborn," said Dr Darrell Cass, co-director of Texas Children's Fetal Centre and associate professor of surgery, pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College Medicine. "Even though it's the most common we see, it's still pretty rare."

The cause is unknown, although the tumour occurs in girls four times more often than in boys. The growth is seen in only one out of 30,000-70,000 live births.

Margaret was kept on bedrest and the replaced baby made it through another 12 weeks to nearly 36 weeks before Lynlee Hope was born via C-section. Photo / Margaret Boemer Facebook
Margaret was kept on bedrest and the replaced baby made it through another 12 weeks to nearly 36 weeks before Lynlee Hope was born via C-section. Photo / Margaret Boemer Facebook

Sometimes doctors can delay surgery until after the birth, but in LynLee's case the tumour was competing with the foetus for the body's blood flow "so it becomes a competition", said 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.

As the tumour grew bigger, the baby's health deteriorated until doctors had no choice but to act.

One option was to terminate the pregnancy, a decision made all the more difficult by the fact that Boemer had originally been expecting twins but lost one of her babies before the second trimester.

Boemer 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.

"It was an easy decision for us: we wanted to give her life."

One optionwas to terminate the pregnancy, a decision made all the more difficult by the fact she had originally been expecting twins but lost one of her babies. Photo / Margaret Boemer Facebook
One optionwas to terminate the pregnancy, a decision made all the more difficult by the fact she had originally been expecting twins but lost one of her babies. Photo / Margaret Boemer Facebook

By the time surgeons were given the green light, Lynlee was nearly 24 weeks and the tumour was almost the same size as she was.

The operation took five hours, but Cass said: "The part on the foetus we do very, very quickly. It's only 20 minutes or so on the actual foetus."

Most of the time was taken up cutting into the uterus. Once the surgeons reached the baby she was lifted so she was "hanging out in the air".

"Essentially, the foetus is outside, like completely out, all the amniotic fluid falls out, it's actually fairly dramatic," explained Cass.

During the surgery, Lynlee's heart slowed to a standstill but she was kept alive by a specialist while the doctors removed the bulk of the growth.

When they had done as much as they could, the surgeons placed Lynlee back inside the womb and sewed her mother's uterus "as sealed and as water tight as possible".

"It's kind of a miracle you're able to open the uterus like that and seal it all back and the whole thing works," said Cass.

At 8 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 were growing again.

Several weeks later, after making a full recovery, Boemer 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.

- Daily Mail

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