One year ago, Lynee Boemer barely survived a life-saving surgery that consisted of doctors removing a tumor that weighed almost as much as her 1 lb., 3 oz. body.
When Lynee — who celebrated her first birthday on June 6— was just 23 weeks old, she was taken from her mother Margaret Boemer’s womb for the five-hour surgery and then placed back inside.
After a routine ultrasound at 16 weeks pregnant, the mother of two discovered that her unborn baby had sacrococcygeal teratoma, a type of tumor that develops at the base of the tailbone and occurs in one out of every 40,000 pregnancies. Numerous doctors told her and her husband Jeff that they should terminate the pregnancy.
“Just to think back if we had followed that line of thinking and not given her that chance,” says Margaret, who lives in Lewisville, Texas. “If we had not found Texas Children’s and doctors who were willing to give us hope and to do the surgery we wouldn’t have her here today. She is such a blessing.”
Doctors at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston told the couple that open fetal surgery was an option and that it could repair birth defects in the womb. After the surgery, Margaret was able to carry Lynee for another 12 weeks.
Today, Margaret says her daughter is thriving and reaching every milestone.
“It has gone by extremely fast,” she says of the past year. “We’re amazed at how well she is doing. We know that God has great plans for her in the future to do something big.”
At first, Lynlee struggled to sit up because the tumor had stretched out her bottom area. She was also dragging her left leg when she crawled, but she’s now able to move around, can sleep through the night and is even in the 90th percentile for her height and weight. Every three months she’s taken back for check-ups to make sure the tumor hasn’t come back.
Margaret feels like she has to speak out about Lynlee and her journey to let other moms in her position know that they’re not alone.
“I’ve personally been contacted by several different women who went to the doctor expecting a normal ultrasound and have been given the devastating news of an SCT diagnosis for their baby,” she says. “They then went home, did research and found Lynee’s story online and that gave them hope.”
She added: “We want other moms that are given the grim diagnosis to not look at it as a death sentence for their baby but to look at it is as yes, it’s a challenge, but there are doctors and hospitals out there who can help. There are treatments to help the baby along and give it a chance at life.”