Meet the baby who was born "twice"

Photos Courtesy: Paul V. Kuntz/Texas Children’s Hospital
Photos Courtesy: Paul V. Kuntz/Texas Children’s Hospital

Margaret was pregnant with twins--- her third and fourth children. Her pregnancy was off to a difficult start when she lost one of the babies. Then, during her second trimester, more surprises. At 16 weeks pregnant, a routine ultrasound showed that her unborn daughter has a large tumour growing out of her tailbone.

According to Texas Children's Hospital spokesperson, Veronika Javor Romeis, A rare birth defect, called a Sacrococcygeal Teratoma (SCT), occurring in only 1/40,000 pregnancies, was making her baby sicker each day. The large vascular mass was robbing her unborn baby’s blood supply and would eventually cause heart failure.

Read: When tumours contain hair, teeth and other body organs 

Margaret immediately started to research her options and came to Houston for consultations. That’s when she met with the surgeons at Texas Children’s Foetal Center. At 20 weeks pregnant, Texas Children’s told Margaret that foetal surgery was an option to try to save her unborn baby’s life--- but it would have to happen quickly so that the rapidly-growing tumour could be removed. 

(Photos Courtesy of: Paul V. Kuntz/Texas Children's hospital)

The family, after being told by other specialists to terminate the pregnancy, decided that they needed to give their daughter a chance at life and had faith that Texas Children’s surgeons could save their 23 weeks, 5 days pregnant, Margaret underwent emergency foetal surgery as her baby began to experience signs of heart failure.

(Photos Courtesy of: Paul V. Kuntz/Texas Children's hospital)

Her daughter had a 50/50 chance of survival. Dr. Darrell Cass and Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye worked for approximately five hours to remove the tumour growing from the baby’s tailbone, which was almost larger than the baby herself.

During the surgery, her daughter’s heart stopped and had to be re-started and she was also given a blood transfusion. The surgery involved making an incision in Margaret’s uterus and pulling out her baby from her legs to her torso so that they could remove the tumour.

Once her incision was closed, she was placed back inside of her mother and Margaret’s uterus was sewn shut and she was on bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy.

Read: Brain and spinal cord tumours

Surgeons were able to remove about 90 percent of the tumour and as her pregnancy progressed, the tumour began to grow again.

Margaret made it to nearly 36 weeks in her pregnancy when her daughter, Lynlee Hope, was born for the second time via C-section on June 6th, weighing 2.4kgs. Lynlee was taken to the level 3 NICU for an evaluation but was doing so well that she was transferred to the level 2 nursery after her initial evaluation. 

(Photos Courtesy of: Paul V. Kuntz/Texas Children's hospital)

At 8 days old, Lynlee underwent a second surgery to remove the rest of the tumour from her tailbone, including some that had grown inside of her body.

Dr. Olutoye removed the remaining SCT tissue and Lynlee recovered wonderfully in the NICU and was able to go home just weeks after her surgery. The family, from Lewisville, Texas, is now enjoying life at home as a family of five and they come to Texas Children’s for check-ups as Lynlee grows.

Meet the baby who was born twice, 5 months after doctors performed in-utero surgery to remove a spinal tumour 

Do you have a baby that was born with Sacrococcygeal Teratoma? Share your story by emailing and we may publish your story!

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