Open fetal surgery is something that is as rare as it comes and little Lynlee Boemer was just 1 lb., 3 oz. when a tumour which weighed as much as she did was removed from her body surgically.
Her mother, Margaret Boemer, didn’t think twice about the high-risk surgery, willing to run the risk that would save her little girls life.
Lynlee was removed from her mother’s womb for 20 minutes so doctors could perform a five -hour surgery, before placing her back in the womb and sewing the uterus closed.
Margeret told People, “I knew we were doing this to try and save her life. That’s all I could focus on.”
Sixteen weeks into her pregnancy, Margaret from Lewisville, Texas, found out that her baby had sacrococcygeal teratoma, a type of tumour that develops at the base of the tailbone and occurs in one out of every 40,000 pregnancies during a routine ultrasound.
“It was a complete shock to us. And it was very concerning to the specialist. She had never seen one so huge.”
Following meetings with doctors at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, open fetal surgery was recommended. According to them, the surgical procedure repairs birth defects in the womb.
Margeret was monitored by the doctors for two weeks while Lynlee’s tumour grew so much that it started to affect her heart and she started to experience heart failure.
“It was a little bit of panic and nervousness,” she says, “but I knew it was what had to be done to give her life.”
According to the doctors, the possible risks included Magaret’s uterus rupturing,a blood clot could form and she could bleed out.
Paediatric surgeon and co-director of Texas Children’s Fetal Center, Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, and pediatric surgeon and co-director of Texas Children’s Fetal Center, Dr. Darrell Cass led the surgery.
“I was willing to endure all those risks to give her a chance at life,” Magaret said.
Magaret was able to carry her Lynlee in her womb b for another 12 weeks following the surgery and a very gruelling recovery.
Lynlee was born for the second time on June 6, at 36 weeks and five days, weighing 5lbs, 5oz.
“She was able to grow and thrive and her heart had time to heal.
“We’re very strong and my husband Jeff is wonderful. He would bring our girls down to visit me every weekend.
“We’re all together now and very happy.” she said.
At 8-days-old, another surgery was performed on Lynlee to remove the remaining part of the tumour and remained in the NICU for another 24 days.
Lynlee is miraculously growing and meeting all her developmental milestones as her faily continues to watch her spine. They will not know if she has control over her bowels until she’s been potty-trained.