Everyone went into the ultrasound room, eager to see the image of the fetus displayed on the screen. “All of a sudden the ultrasound tech had a very concerned look on her face,” Chad said. “She rushed our kids out of the room and then informed us there was a large mass on our baby.”
The ultrasound image showed what looked like a balloon growing out of Macie’s tailbone — except that it was full of blood vessels and was as big as the fetus itself. The tumor was noncancerous ... but still deadly.
They went to Houston for the surgery, which Cass described, with a surgeon’s understatement, as “tricky.”
“It required that Mrs. McCartney went under a very, very deep anesthesia, about seven times deeper than the average operation,” he said. “That’s necessary in order to have the uterus very, very relaxed.”
He and two other surgeons opened Keri’s abdomen and brought her uterus entirely outside her body. “We had to find an area of the uterus that we could open safely so that we didn’t disturb the placenta,” he explained.
When they found such a place, they opened the relaxed womb and extracted about 80 percent of Macie Hope’s body — which weighed no more than a quarter of a pound — leaving just the head and upper body in the womb. Exposing the fetus to the air carried the danger that she would go into cardiac arrest, and the surgeons worked quickly to remove the tumor and return Macie to the safety of the womb.
On May 3, Macie Hope was born again, this time to stay. She and her mother have remained at Texas Medical Center since as they both fully recover from the miracle surgery. Macie still has a large scar on her backside, which surgeons say can be repaired when she gets older.