‘Born twice’: Baby removed for surgery, returned to womb

Baby Lynlee Hope with her parentsImage: COURTESY

In Summary

•Margaret Boemer went for a routine ultrasound 16 weeks into her pregnancy with her third child.
• It was discovered her unborn child, Lynlee Hope, had a tumour.

A baby girl from Lewisville, Texas, who was ‘born’ twice after she was taken out of her mother’s womb for 20 minutes for life-saving surgery has now turned three.

In 2016, At 16 weeks pregnant, Margaret Hawkins Boemer discovered her daughter, Lynlee Hope, had a tumour on her spine.

The mass, known as a sacrococcygeal teratoma, was diverting blood from the foetus – raising the risk of fatal heart failure.

Baby Lynlee weighed just 0.53 kg when surgeons opened the womb.

Boemer had originally been expecting twins but lost one of her babies before the second trimester.

She was initially advised to terminate her pregnancy entirely before a Nigerian doctor at Texas Children’s Fetal Center suggested the risky surgery.

The tumour and the unborn baby were almost the same sizes by the time the operation was performed.
Lynlee was given a 50 per cent chance of survival.

Boemer told CNN, “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.”

Her heart stopped

The Nigerian doctor Oluyinka Olutoye and his partner surgeon Darrell Cass of Texas Children’s Fetal Centre carried out the surgery for five hours.

Olutoye told BBC the tumour had been so large that a “huge” incision was required to reach it, leaving the baby “hanging out in the air”.

Lynlee’s heart virtually stopped during the procedure but a heart specialist kept her alive while most of the tumour was removed, he added.

The team then placed her back in her mother’s womb and sewed her uterus up.

Premature babies’ mums want more leave
Boemer spent the next 12 weeks on bedrest, and Lynlee entered the world for the second time on May 9, 2016. She was born via Caesarean at almost full term, weighing 2.3 kg and named after both of her grandmothers.

When Lynlee was eight days old, a further operation helped remove the rest of the tumour from her tailbone.

Dr Cass told BBC the baby girl is now thriving well
“Baby Boemer is now 3 years but is doing beautiful,” he confirmed.

Sacrococcygeal teratoma is a rare form of tumour seen in one out of 30,000-70,000 live births. Its cause is unknown but baby girls are affected four times more often than boys.

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