Margaret Boemer learned that her baby was suffering from a fatal tumor when she went for a routine checkup 16 weeks into her pregnancy.
The fetus showed signs of a sacrococcygeal teratoma, which develops before birth and grows from the fetus' tailbone, the coccyx.
"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," remembers Boemer. "And it was very shocking and scary, because we didn't know what that long word meant or what diagnosis that would bring."
The news came after an already horrible loss for Boemer. She was expecting twins, but one fetus wasn't viable past the second trimester. And now the surviving fetus, a girl, had a potentially fatal tumor.
"This is the most common tumor we see in a newborn," said Dr. Darrell Cass, co-director of Texas Children's Fetal Center. "Even though it's the most common we see, it's still pretty rare."
"Some of these tumors can be very well-tolerated, so the fetus has it and can get born with it and we can take it out after the baby's born but about half of the time, they cause problems for the fetus and it's usually causing problems because of a blood flow problem," Cass explained.
Boemer’s fetus was in more danger day by day because of the large supply of blood ending up in the tumor, which was shutting down her heart. The doctors decided to remove the tumor at 25 weeks. By the time the surgery was performed, the tumor was larger than her fetus.
Once the large tumor was removed, the doctors placed the girl back in the womb, sewing Boemer’s uterus shut.
"It's kind of a miracle you're able to open the uterus like that and seal it all back and the whole thing works," said Cass.
The little fighter weighed 5 pounds, 5 ounces at the time of her C-section birth on June 6 and was named Lynlee Hope.