Interesting Facts

Baby Lynlee 'born twice' after life-saving tumour surgery

Baby Lynlee was "born twice." First, surgeons brought her out of the womb to remove a spinal tumor. After the successful surgery, she was placed back and born again as a healthy baby girl.

Lynlee Hope, Margaret Hawkins Boemer’s daughter, had a tumor on her spine, which she discovered at 16 weeks pregnant.

The mass, referred to as a sacrococcygeal teratoma, increased the risk of fatal heart failure by diverting blood away from the developing foetus.

When Lynlee’s mother gave birth, her weight was only 1 pound, 3 ounces (0.53 kg).

Mrs. Boemer lost one of her babies before the second trimester despite initially expecting twins. Doctors at Texas Children’s Fetal Center first recommended she end her pregnancy completely before recommending the risky surgery.

By the time of the operation, the size of the tumor and the fetus were nearly the same. Lynlee’s odds of surviving were 50%.

Baby Lynlee 1
Mr and Mrs Boemer are now parents to three daughters. Photo credit: PAUL V. KUNTZ/TEXAS CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

“It was a choice of allowing the tumour to take over her body or giving her a chance at life,” Mrs. Boemer told CNN. “At 23 weeks, the tumour was shutting down her heart and causing her to go into cardiac failure.”

“It was an easy decision for us: We wanted to give her life.”

‘Her heart stopped’

Darrell Cass, MD, of Texas Children’s Fetal Centre was a member of the surgical team. The baby was left “hanging out in the air” because the tumor was so big that a “huge” incision was needed to reach it.

Baby Lynlee 2
A photo of Lynleee in the hospital. Photo credit: PAUL V. KUNTZ/TEXAS CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

He said that although Lynlee’s heart almost stopped during the procedure, a cardiac specialist managed to keep her alive while the majority of the tumor was removed. After that, the team stitched her uterus shut and put her back in her mother’s womb.

Lynlee was born for the second time on June 6th, after Mrs. Boemer was placed on bed rest for the following twelve weeks. Almost full term, weighing five pounds and five ounces, she was born via Caesarean section and given the names of her two grandmothers.

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The remaining tumor in Lynlee’s tailbone was surgically removed when she was eight days old.

The baby girl was doing well at home, according to Dr. Cass. “Baby Boemer is still an infant but is doing beautiful,” he said.

One rare type of tumor, known as sacrococcygeal teratoma, affects one in

every 30,000–70,000 live births. Though its exact cause is unknown,

baby girls are four times more likely than boys to be affected.

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