Health

Meet the Miracle Baby Born with a Tumour Double Her Size

When Queensland mum Rachel was 20 weeks pregnant, she was told her baby girl had a tumour. She only had a 25-40 per cent chance of survival and Rachel, along with her husband, Kieran, left the appointment with this devastating news.

The fast-growing teratoma was attached to the baby’s tailbone and occurs in around 1 in every 40,000 live births.

Rachel and Kieran didn’t lose hope for their little girl and, just eight weeks later, they welcomed Saylor into the world. She was three months premature and weighed just 1025 grams. At the time of birth, the tumour weighed over 2kg, that’s double the weight of Saylor.

Saylor was born at Mater Mothers’ Hospital and, thanks to the incredible team, defied the odds. Rachel and Kieran shared their inspiring story as a way to gain awareness for World Prematurity Day (17 November) and highlight the amazing care Saylor received during her stay in the NICU.

‘The biggest teratoma I have seen removed’ 

Saylor was born at Mater Mothers’ in August. Within minutes of her birth, a team of 25 doctors and medical professionals set to work to remove her tumour.

tumour double she size
Source: Mater Mothers’ Facebook

The operation took an incredible six hours, where they removed the sacrococcygeal teratoma from Saylor’s tailbone.

Professor Saliesh Kumar from the Mater maternal foetal medicine unit, who helped deliver Saylor, said it was the largest tumour ever removed from a baby of her size at Mater Mothers’.

The risk comes from the fact that they divert blood from the baby, raising the risk of heart failure.

“We don’t know why the tumour grows, but it arises from embryonic germ cells and is four times more likely to occur in female infants,” Prof Kumar said.

“Saylor’s tumour was extremely large and very complex. It extended into her pelvis and abdomen.”

mum central
Source: Mater Mothers’ Facebook

Mater Neonatologist Dr Richard Mausling said that without the expertise and skill of Mater’s nursing staff and allied health teams Saylor would not be alive today.

“Without a doubt, this was the biggest teratoma I have seen removed from any newborn baby, regardless of gestation.”

Saylor received five blood transfusions throughout the surgery and doctors removed part of her tailbone to prevent the tumour from growing back again.

“Many of these babies do not survive the pregnancy. Essentially these tumours function like a large vascular shunt causing a lot of blood to return to the heart. In some babies, the heart can’t cope with this extra volume and heart failure occurs.”

Rachel and Kieran were prepared for the worst as their little girl headed into the operating room, but Saylor has proved to the world that she is a little fighter.

Just ten days after Saylor’s surgery, Rachel was able to hold her daughter for the first time. Since her operation, Saylor continues to get stronger and stronger every day and now weighs in at 3kg.

“Being born prematurely, even at 28 weeks, carries its own potential risks. [But] she has made a fantastic recovery.” 

World Prematurity Day

Babies like Saylor are proof that miracles exist and that premature infants are the strongest fighters in the world. Small, but so mighty. To show your support for World Prematurity Day, check out:

Share your own story

If you have your own premature birth story you’d like to share, we’d love to feature it. All stories and videos are welcome.

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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