Lynlee Boemer was literally born twice, courtesy of a team of 2 medical experts including a Nigerian doctor, Oluyinka Olutoye.
At 16 weeks, the fetus was diagnosed with a birth defect known as sacrococcygeal teratoma – a tumor that grows from a baby’s tailbone.
“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.”
She was advised to terminate the pregnancy but she insisted on “giving her life”.
The condition is rare but more common with female babies. To correct the defect, what is known as the fetal surgery is used.
Fetal surgery is a highly complex surgical intervention that demands that the fetus be cut out, operated upon and returned back to the womb.
In some cases the tumor is removed during child birth. But in baby Lynlee’s case, the tumor was detrimental to her survival in the womb. It had already started to cut short her blood supply and was putting her heart under immense strain.
The worst case scenario would be to have the tumor compete for survival with the fetus and finally causing the fetus to experience a heart failure.
“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.”
Dr. Darrell Cass and Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, his partner surgeon, set to work. They operated on Lynelee Boemwer (as a 23 week old fetus) for about five hours.
According to the experts, the tumor had grown to be almost larger than the fetus. After the surgery the fetus was put back in the womb to complete the 9-months formation term which was 12 more weeks away.
Cass was quoted as saying:
“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.”
Baby Lynlee Boemer was finally born through a Cesarean section. After another round of check up, more traces of the tumor had to be removed, the doctors performed another surgery to completely certify her healthy.