A baby in Texas has two birthdays to celebrate.
That’s because doctors removed her briefly from her mother’s womb to perform life-saving surgery, then put her back in until she reached full term.
For Margaret and Jeff Boemer, watching their 4-month-old daughter Lynlee grow up didn't always seem possible.
“The doctor came in and told us that they saw something on the ultrasound,” Margaret Boemer said.
In the middle of her mother’s pregnancy, doctors discovered a massive tumor growing from Lynlee's tailbone.
“It was a big shock and we were scared and I had just suffered a miscarriage the prior year,” Boemer said. “It was hard thinking I might lose another baby.”
The rare tumor had robbed Lynlee of blood and would have caused her heart to give out before birth.
Lynlee would not have made it without this surgery.
Dr. Darrell Cass and his team at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston performed an emergency fetal operation on Lynlee.
At almost 24 weeks, doctors pulled almost half of Lynlee's body out of her mother's uterus and removed 90 percent of the tumor. Then came the challenge of putting Lynlee back in and closing the uterus.
“We have to get the tumor away but then we have to make sure the baby can stay safely inside for a number of weeks afterward to have any kind of survival,” Cass said.
Lynlee was essentially born a second time, 12 weeks later.
“She’s doing great now, we’re practicing rolling over,” Margaret Boemer said.
Doctors will continue to monitor Lynlee all the way into adulthood. So far she is reaching all her milestones.
Doctors removed the remaining 10 percent of Lynlee's tumor eight days after she was born.
They also had to remove her tailbone to make sure the tumor doesn't grow back.
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