A “miracle” baby who developed a massive tumour in her neck was saved by medics who performed surgery WHILE she was being born.
Little Kayleigh Deaville was born with a rare type of tumour in her neck which ballooned to the size of a football by the time she was born.
Doctors first spotted the large teratoma, which is found in one in every 40,000 babies in the UK, during mum Deborah Kavanagh’s routine 20-week scan.
But the lump in the baby’s neck continued to grow and risked suffocating the tot at birth.
The mum went into labour at full term on April 18 at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester, just a day after specialist doctors underwent training for the complex surgery.
The EXIT procedure, or ex utero intrapartum treatment procedure, involves opening the uterus with a stapling device.
The baby would then be partially delivered through the incision while surgeons work to establish an airway to save the child’s life.
Despite losing blood and going into cardiac arrest, the determined tot pulled through.
Deborah, 41, said waking up after the operation and holding her “perfect” baby was “one of the best days” of her life.
Deborah, from Stoke-on-Trent, Staff., said: “The weeks leading to her birth all happened so quickly – I just wanted my girl to be healthy.
“It was horrendous, all the tests, the MRIs, the amino drains were so agonising.
“But I wanted to fight with her.
“When I woke up from the surgery I didn’t understand a thing. I was so dazed but I immediately asked for my girl and they said she was fine.
“She wasn’t just fine, she was perfect.
“It was one of the happiest moments of my life – especially after the journey we’d gone through.”
She added: “Holding her for the first time I knew it was all worth it.”
Dad William Deaville, 40, said the couple discovered the abnormality on Jan 31 but initially weren’t worried.
But a week later doctors explained how the tot had developed a large teratoma and after looking it up online they were left feeling “horrified”.
The dad-of-two said: “When they first told us about the lump they were being very vague and we didn’t know much of anything – so we weren’t worried.
“But then a few weeks later we got the shock of our lives because they told us this tumour was growing dangerously – it was horrible.
“We made the mistake of reading up about it and that was just horrifying.
“We felt helpless because there was nothing we could do but wait to get closer to the day of her birth but we kept thinking if we were responsible somehow.
“We thought we could lose our baby girl.”
They were offered the opportunity to stop the pregnancy due to the high risks, but decided to “keep fighting” as long as their girl was.
The postman said: “We were told we could stop the pregnancy and it’s something we had to think about as impossible as it was.
“But the hospital staff were so positive and it gave us real hope to carry on.
“In the end we left it up to our baby – if she was fighting we were going to fight with her.
“She’s our little miracle baby and we’re so grateful to have her with us now.
“I’m so proud of my two fighters. What my wife and daughter have gone through is incredible.”
Little Kayleigh stayed in hospital under observation for 10 weeks before she was finally able to go home on June 25.
The dad added: “It’s been an incredibly frightening experience but we’ve come away with a beautiful girl.
“She’s lying on the bed with us at night and I can’t help but feel like the luckiest man in the world.”
But some doubt still lingered for the mum-of-two, who wondered if she’d made the right decision after seeing her newborn struggle after the successful surgery.
Deborah said: “After the operation she looked in a bad shape and I wondered if I’ve made her suffer by keeping her through this.
“But she’s a fighter, and she bounced back within days and has been getting better every single day.
“A few days later our eyes locked and I just knew I made the right decision.
“She’s my angel, she’s marvellous and brilliant.
“Now that she’s home, I’ll watch her sleep and I can’t believe she’s here.”