The only thing I worried about throughout the entire duration of both my pregnancies was the health of my babies. I was ecstatic and super thankful every time I was told everything looked fine and that my children were growing happily and healthy in my womb. Imagine, then, being told that your unborn baby has a tumor the size of a peach in her mouth during a routine ultrasound. That's what happened to Miami mom Tammy Gonzalez when she was 17 weeks pregnant with her second child, Leyna. 

Her gynecologist gave her three options: terminate the pregnancy, wait full term and risk a miscarriage or... try an in utero surgery that had never been done before. 

Read more in ¿Qué más?: Do you really want to know EVERYTHING about your child before it's born?

The Gonzalez family opted for the third option and allowed doctors Ruben Quintero and Eftichia Kontopoulos of Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami to remove the baby's benign tumor. Quintero, who specializes in fetal surgery and is well-known for the breakthrough work he does in this area, made sure the parents were aware of the risk, including the possibility that he would not be able to remove the tumor or an infection caused by a puncture.   

Amazingly, Tammy was awake during the entire procedure since the doctors only used local anesthesia and she was able to watch the monitor as the growth was detached via laser from her baby's mouth. Even though the surgery was a first and Quintero had to design some of his own surgical instruments, it was a complete success. Five months later, Leyna was born totally healthy and her parents couldn't believe it.

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Leyna is now almost 2-years-old and she barely has a small scar on her mouth. Incredible what technology and a lot of hope will do, right?

Would you have chosen the same option as the Gonzalez family did? Share your thoughts by leaving us a comment. 

Image via American Journal of Obstetrics

About the author

Roxana A. Soto is Features Editor for MamásLatinas. She's a bilingual and bicultural journalist born in Peru and raised in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Miami. She's also mom to a girl in 3rd grade and a boy in Kinder. She loves books, languages, traveling and good food – especially when cooked by someone else.

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