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  • On June 6th, 2016, Margaret Boemer and her  husband were over the moon as they welcomed  

  • the birth of their third child. The 5 poundounce baby girl arrived kicking and screaming,  

  • much to her parent's delight and reliefHer birth was particularly special because  

  • it was actually the second time  that baby Lynlee had been born.  

  • You can say she's seen the world twice,”  said her doctor. Birth is supposed to be  

  • a once-in-a-lifetime experienceso how are some babies born twice?

  • The Boemers were already the proud parents of  2 little girls when they found out they were  

  • once again pregnant with their third child. After  having suffered a miscarriage a few months before,  

  • the expectant parents were delighted to  learn that Margaret was carrying twins,  

  • but once again, tragedy struck when  they lost one of the babies at 6 weeks.  

  • The Boemers were crushed, but tried their best  to stay positive and focus on the baby that  

  • had survived, but their optimism was about to  be tested yet again, in a truly shocking way.

  • When Margaret was 14 weeks pregnant, and  ultrasound revealed the Boemers were expecting yet  

  • another girl, and they even picked out a name  for her - they decided to call her Lynlee,  

  • after both of her grandmothers. But, just  2 weeks later at her 16 week ultrasound,  

  • Margaret knew something was wrong. She  first became suspicious when the ultrasound  

  • technician was unusually quiet during the  exam. Margaret was prepared for the worst,  

  • but the news that she would soon get from the  doctors would turn the Boemers' world upside down.

  • Margarets doctors diagnosed baby  Lynlee with sacrococcygeal teratoma,  

  • and explained that a large tumor was growing  at the base of their baby's tailbone.  

  • The incredibly rare condition affects just 1 in  40,000 pregnancies, and it can be life-threatening  

  • if left unchecked. As the tumor grows, it steals  blood supply from the fetus and puts pressure  

  • on the growing baby's heart, and eventually  can cause heart failure in the unborn baby.  

  • The Boemers were devastated. After everything  that they had been through already, it seemed  

  • unimaginable that their longed-for baby was facing  a life or death crisis before she was even born.

  • The tumor was already so large that their  prenatal doctor was worried that little Lynlee  

  • wouldn't make it to full term, so the Boemerswho lived in the small town of Lewisville,  

  • Texas about 25 miles from Dallas, were immediately  sent to Houston to consult with specialists.  

  • The first hospital they went to told them  there was nothing that could be done.  

  • They said that Lynlee would die before making  it to term, and they strongly recommended that  

  • the Boemers terminate the pregnancyUnable to accept that grim diagnosis,  

  • the Boemers next turned to Texas Children's  Hospital, where they were relieved to find  

  • that the doctors there were cautiously optimistic  that something could be done to save baby Lynlee.  

  • It wouldn't be an easy road by any meansand there were certainly no guarantees,  

  • but 2 doctors at Texas Children's Hospital had  successfully operated on a baby in utero 7 years  

  • prior, and they were willing to try the extremely  risky surgery again to try and save Lynlee.

  • Now 20 weeks along, the tumor was already almost  as big as Lynlee herself and was growing every  

  • day - in the ultrasound, it looked like the  baby was sitting on top of a large balloon.  

  • Although the tumor was already nearly 4 times  larger than the usual threshold at which doctors  

  • would operate and was putting an incredible  strain on little Lynlee's heart, Drs. Darrel  

  • Cass and Oluyinka Olutoye hoped to hold off on the  surgery until Margaret was 24 weeks along. This  

  • would give Lynlee a better chance of surviving if  she needed to be delivered early, so the Boemers  

  • were sent home to Dallas to wait and hope. Unlike  with her first 2 pregnancies, Margaret couldn't  

  • feel Lynnlee kicking or moving, and she knew that  her baby was running out of space - and time.

  • By 23 weeks along, the tumor had gotten so big  that Margaret's doctors in Dallas sent her back  

  • to Texas Children's Hospital. The Boemers expected  to be there for a week of testing, but to their  

  • dismay the doctors there told them that Lynlee  wouldn't survive another 2 days without surgery.  

  • If the surgery failed and Lynlee needed to  be delivered, she would be considered an  

  • extremely preterm baby”, and she would be  on the very edge of survival for a premie.

  • Before the surgery could start, the Boemers had  to meet with dozens of doctors in a hospital  

  • boardroom to make sure that they understood  the risks of the surgery and were clear about  

  • all of their options. The anxious parents were  asked to make decisions about what doctors would  

  • do under certain circumstances, like whether  baby Lynlee should be resuscitated if her  

  • heart stopped during surgery, and they had to  sign mountains of paperwork acknowledging the  

  • risks of the surgery. “These are babies that  are essentially dying,” Dr. Olutoye said.  

  • You have a child who's already sick, and  the operation itself can make her sicker.”

  • Margaret had managed to hold it together so far  throughout this strange and terrifying ordeal,  

  • but at this point she finally broke  down. “To think we had come so far,  

  • to try to save her,” she said. “I  was very nervous and scared. ... but  

  • my husband and I were focused on whatever  we needed to do to try to save our baby.”

  • Finally, after weeks of anxiously waiting  and hours of heartbreaking meetings,  

  • Margaret and Lynlee went into surgery that very  same night, at 23 weeks and 5 days along. Drs.  

  • Cass and Olutoye were assisted by a team  of about 20 other medical professionals for  

  • the complicated and extremely risky surgery. To  begin, the surgeons delicately made a meticulous  

  • incision through Margaret's abdomen and into her  uterus. Then, they carefully pulled the lower  

  • half of Lynlee's body out of the womb to get  access to the tumor at the base of her spine.  

  • This would be the first - but hopefully not  the last - time that Lynnlee would beborn”.

  • As the doctor's worked carefully to remove  Lynlee's tumor, suddenly the room was filled  

  • with the sounds of beeping alarms - Lynlee's  heart had stopped beating mid-procedure. Doctors  

  • and nurses rushed to resuscitate the tiny baby  and thankfully, her heart started beating again.  

  • After a blood transfusion to replace the  blood she had lost as the tumor was removed,  

  • the doctors were able to resume the operationand after 5 hours of gruelling work,  

  • they had removed 90% of the tumor and returned  tiny Lynlee to the safety of her mother's womb.

  • Closing the incision was actually  one of the trickiest parts of the  

  • whole operation - the doctors had to seal the  membrane of Margaret's uterus in such a way  

  • that it would be both watertight and be able to  continue to stretch as the pregnancy progressed  

  • and Lynlee grew over the coming weeks. Now  the real work would begin - ensuring that  

  • Margaret could carry Lynlee to term without  complications. Because of the incision the  

  • doctors had made in her uterus, Margaret  was at an increased risk of uterine rupture,  

  • so she was ordered to remain in Houston on strict  bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy.  

  • To the Boemers' and their doctors' surprise and  relief, Lynlee continued to grow and her heart  

  • grew stronger now that it didn't have to work  so hard to pump blood through the huge tumor.

  • Finally, on June 6th, 2016, having  reached full term at 36 weeks along,  

  • doctors delivered Lynlee - for the second  time - by c-section. To everyone's delight,  

  • Lynlee came out kicking and screamingweighing a respectable 5 pounds 5 ounces.  

  • Dr. Olutoye remarked that she looked nothing  like thesmall, little gelatinous baby”  

  • that he had operated on just a few weeks earlierDuring the surgery Lynlee's whole leg was the size  

  • of the doctor's finger, and it was incredible to  see how much she had grown in such a short time.

  • After her miraculous 2nd birth, Lynlee  was given her highly appropriate middle  

  • name - Hope. At 8 days old she underwent  another surgery to remove the rest of her tumor,  

  • and although she may require more surgeries in the  future to reconstruct some of her pelvic muscles,  

  • her recovery has been remarkably smooth. Bymonths old, little Lynlee Hope was hitting all  

  • of her milestones and had become a smiley, giggly  baby who loved spending time with her big sisters.  

  • She would continue to go back to Texas Children's  Hospital for checkups with her surgeons.  

  • We're going to get very close,” Dr. Olutoye  says, considering he usually knows his patients  

  • frombefore they are born ... all the way up  into adulthood.” Still, Lynlee is a special  

  • case for him. “You can say she's seen the world  twice,” says the doctor of his miracle patient.

  • Lynlee's rare birth - er, birthsgarnered a lot of media attention,  

  • and her family found themselves on the  cover of newspapers and appearing on TV  

  • stations all over the world. While her parents  were a bit overwhelmed by all the attention,  

  • they also say that they are actually thankful  that their story is getting out there.  

  • “I can tell you when we were told this very  long name, we were scared and didn't know  

  • what that was and had never heard of  it,” said Margaret. “So I'm glad that  

  • it's getting attention so that others who are  diagnosed can know that they're not alone.”

  • While Lynlee's story may seem incredibly  unique, Margaret is right when she says that  

  • they are not alone. Believe it or not, there are  actually other cases of babies being born twice.  

  • These types of in-utero surgeries have only  been done a few hundred times worldwide,  

  • so it's still incredibly rare, and  only about 1 in 5 babies referred  

  • to doctors for pre-birth surgery are  actually eligible for the procedure.

  • Jackson Reinkemeyer is another one of these  miracle babies who was born twice. In 2017,  

  • Joni Reinkemeyer went in for her 19 week  ultrasound hoping to find out her baby's  

  • gender. She was told that she was expecting a sonbut she also got some terrible news - her son,  

  • Jackson was diagnosed with spina bifida, a  condition where the spine doesn't develop  

  • properly, leading to gaps in the spinal  column. The best hope for Jackson to have  

  • a somewhat easier life was for doctors  to operate on him before he was born,  

  • so at the end of her 2nd trimester, a team of 32  doctors and medical professionals completed the  

  • hospital's first in utero surgery, and Jackson was  born for the first time. 10 weeks later, he was  

  • born again via c-section. Jackson's mom, Joniis grateful that her son survived his surgery,  

  • and she marks the occasion in a pretty  special way - with 2 birthday celebrations.  

  • Seeing that he was born twice,” she says,  “I think we can allow him two cakes.”

  • Spina bifida is one of the most common  reasons that doctors may need to operate  

  • on a baby before it's born. In 2018, Bethan  Simpson became only the 4th mother in the  

  • U.K. to have in-utero surgery at 20 weeks  along to correct her son's spina bifida,  

  • and she found comfort in Joni and Jackson's  story as she prepared for her baby's procedure.

  • Though still exceedingly rare, in utero  surgeries are becoming more common.  

  • There is even a TV series about it on PBS called  Twice Born. The series focuses on The Children's  

  • Hospital of Philadelphia's, which has a dedicated  Special Delivery Unit that exclusively does rare  

  • surgeries on babies still in the womb. Episodes  gave viewers a rare look into the unique unit,  

  • and showcased some incredibly rare and  extremely dangerous in-utero surgeries  

  • that aimed to correct everything from  a tumor in the mouth of a baby girl,  

  • to a potentially fatal urinary tract obstructionto even a rare case of twin-twin transfusion  

  • syndrome, where two babies share unequal  amounts of the placenta's blood supply,  

  • causing one baby to grow at  a faster rate than the other.

  • In-utero surgery is still incredibly rare, but  as surgical techniques continue to improve,  

  • we just might see more babies like  little Lynlee who are born twice!

  • If you thought learning about  babies who are born twice was cool,  

  • you'll definitely want to check out  our other videos, like this one called  

  • What Happens When You Are Born”. Or, you  might find this other video interesting.

  • As always, thanks for watching, and don't  forget to like, share and subscribe!

  • See you next time!

On June 6th, 2016, Margaret Boemer and her  husband were over the moon as they welcomed  

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How Are some Babies Born Twice?

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/02/04
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