"Sacrococcygeal teratoma" are not the words you want to hear during a pregnancy ultrasound, but that's what Margaret Boemer was confronted with when she went for her 16-week checkup. In an interview shared by Texas Children's Hospital with CNN, the Texas mom, who already had three kids at home, was told during that doctor's visit that her fetus had a rare condition in which a tumor grows out of the base of the tailbone. Although the fetus can sometimes withstand the tumor until after birth, it can compete for blood to the point of killing the fetus, says Dr. Darrell Cass of Texas Children's Fetal Center. Boemer had already had complications, and she didn't want to terminate the pregnancy, as some doctors suggested—so her baby was "born" twice instead.
Translation: Boemer opted for risky fetal surgery in which the fetus, by then almost 24 weeks, was taken out of her uterus in a five-hour procedure. The fetus was "hanging out in the air," Cass explains, while doctors removed most of the tumor; People notes the fetus was outside of the womb for about 20 minutes. Doctors then returned the fetus back to its corporeal home and stitched everything back up. Per NBC Chicago, blood started flowing normally, and little Lynlee was born healthy via C-section at 36 weeks in June. Doctors removed the tumor remnants when Lynlee was eight days old, and now, at 4 months, she's recuperating at home after a few weeks in the NICU. (Fetal surgery to treat birth defects was the subject of a landmark study.)