found a tumour on little Lynlee Boemer’s tailbone during a routine
ultrasound just 16 weeks into her mum Margaret’s pregnancy.
only hope of survival was a medical procedure that involved surgeons
taking her out of the womb for 20 minutes when she weighed just 538g.
was then put back inside her mum’s uterus where she remained for
another 12 weeks — almost making it to full term — before Lynlee once
again came into the world.
The miracle baby weighed 2.4kg when she
was born again and following a brief check up she was taken to the
nursery to be with the other babies.
Margaret had feared the worst when she received the news after the
ultrasound telling CNN at Texas Children’s Hospital: “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
“And it was very shocking and scary, because we didn’t know what that long word meant or what diagnosis that would bring.”
A sacrococcygeal teratoma is a tumour that develops before birth growing from a foetus’ tailbone.
to Darrell Cass, the co-director of the Texas Children’s Foetal Centre,
it is the “most common tumour we see in a newborn,” but “even though
it’s the most common we see, it’s still pretty rare.”
The complication, which is more common in girls than boys, affects one in 35,000 births.
Cass continued saying: “Some of these tumours can be very
well-tolerated, so the foetus has it and can get born with it and we can
take it out after the baby’s born.
“But about half of the time,
they cause problems for the foetus and it’s usually causing problems
because of a blood flow problem.
“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.”
option was terminating the pregnancy but Margaret was reluctant having
already lost Lynlee’s twin before the second trimester.
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.”
The surgery in total took five hours but the part on the foetus only lasted 20 minutes.
Dr Cass said: “We don’t want the mum’s health to be jeopardised.
“Essentially, the foetus is outside, like completely out, all the amniotic fluid falls out, it’s actually fairly dramatic.”
the surgery Lynlee’s heart slowed to a virtual stop but she was kept
alive by a specialist as doctors removed the bulk of the growth.
When they had done as much as possible she was put back in the womb.
Several weeks later, after making a full recovery, Margaret was allowed to take baby Lynlee home.
She said: “It was her second birth, basically. I was willing to endure all those risks to give her a chance at life.”