When Margaret Boemer was 16 weeks pregnant, she received some devastating news: Her baby had a sacrococcygeal teratoma, a rare and fatal tumor that grows from the tailbone.
Although Beomer’s obstetricians advised her to terminate the pregnancy, Dr. Darrell Cass, co-director of Texas Children’s Fetal Center, offered an alternative option: They would remove the child from the womb in order to operate on her tumor.
“We knew that if we didn’t choose the option of emergency surgery that night, that within a day or so she would pass,” the Lewisville, Texas–based mother told 13 WTHR. She was correct.
“Lynlee didn’t have much of a chance,” Boemer told CNN. “At 23 weeks, the tumor was shutting her heart down and causing her to go into cardiac failure, so it was a choice of allowing the tumor to take over her body or giving her a chance at life.”
During the five-hour emergency fetal surgery, which Cass and his partner surgeon Oluyinka Olutoye performed when Beomer was 23 weeks and five days pregnant, they removed most of the tumor, which was nearly larger than the fetus. “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,” Cass told CNN.
After the dangerous procedure, Boemer was placed on bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy. And at 36 weeks, Lynlee Hope was born once again on June 6. She weighed in at 5 pounds and 5 ounces. When she was 8 days old, Cass and his team removed the rest of the tumor.
Now the mother of a healthy 4-month-old baby, Boemer told CNN, “It was very difficult … [But] it was worth every pain.”
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