New Delhi: Margaret Boemer, a resident of Texas, was 16-week pregnant when she got to know that there was something seriously wrong with her foetus.
She had gone for a regular ultrasound where doctors told her that there was a tumour in the tailbone of her unborn third child Lynlee.
“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,” the Plano, Texas, mom said in an interview shared by Texas Children’s Hospital. “And it was very shocking and scary, because we didn’t know what that long word meant or what diagnosis that would bring.”
Sacrococcygeal teratoma is a type of tumor that develops before birth and grows from a baby’s coccyx, the tailbone.
“This is the most common tumor we see in a newborn,” said Dr. Darrell Cass, co-director of Texas Children’s Fetal Center 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.”
Cass explained that the tumor tries to grow by sucking blood flow from the baby, yet the baby also tries to grow, too “so it becomes a competition.”
“And in some instances, the tumor wins and the heart just can’t keep up and it goes into failure and the baby dies,” said Cass.
The doctors said that the only option they were left with was the open fetal surgery. So they kept Boemer under observation to track the developments of the tumour.
At 23 weeks, the baby was taken out of the mother’s womb for about 20 minutes to perform the surgery and then the surgeons placed the baby back inside the womb and sewed the uterus.
“I knew we were doing this to try and save her life, that’s all I could focus on. It was a complete shock to us, it was a little bit of panic and nervousness, but I knew it was what had to be done to give her life,” Margaret tells People.
After the complicated surgery, Margaret carried the baby Lynlee for another 12 weeks and on June 6, Lynlee Boemar was born. She weighed 5lbs at birth.