I was sick to my stomach when my baby was born with giant cyst – fearing it would kill her
A BABY has been dubbed “a miracle” – after surviving a gruelling operation to remove a football-sized cyst attached to her face.
Tabitha Pilarski, 24, feared the worst when doctors diagnosed her unborn tot Bella-Rose Burress with cystic hygroma – a collection of fluid-filled sacs – at her 20-week scan.
Bella-Rose Burress was born with a football-sized cyst attached to her face[/caption]
At the time the growth measured 6cm but it more than doubled to 13cm by the time she was delivered on August 27.
And as soon as Bella was born, a team of 40 doctors were forced to act quickly and surgically remove the growth from her neck that was twice the size of her own head.
Medics were left stunned and have dubbed Bella a “miracle” after she made a full recovery from the life-saving surgery.
Tabitha said: “She’s our miracle baby, she’s such a fighter and has defied all of the odds, we had to stay positive for her throughout the entire pregnancy.
“I was under a general anaesthetic for the birth so I didn’t see just how big the growth was until the doctors showed me pictures, it was probably the scariest moment of my life.
The growth on Bella’s face was 13cm by the time she was born on August 27[/caption]
A team of 40 doctors were needed to surgically remove the growth from Bella’s neck[/caption]
“The doctors knew how big it was going to be, but we didn’t, they said they had a plan and as long as the plan worked Bella would be fine.”
And Daniel, Bella’s dad, added: “During the delivery they had 40 doctors watching who were in separate teams working on their own part of the birth, it was terrifying.
“I was not allowed in the operating room, I must have paced three or four miles around the hospital whilst the birth was happening.
“As soon as I saw Bella come out of the room I was crying like a child, it was very emotional.
I was sick to my stomach when I first saw the growth because I was in so much shock, I expected a tennis ball sized growth, but it was twice the size of her head
“I was sick to my stomach when I first saw the growth because I was in so much shock, I expected a tennis ball sized growth, but it was twice the size of her head.
“I didn’t know what to say or do, I just froze and cried – I could not believe what was happening.
“The thing is that nobody talks about this condition so nobody knows what to expect when they are dealing with it and I’m just so proud of Tabitha for being so strong, I can’t believe how lucky we are to now be able to plan for Bella’s future.”
Tabitha and her partner Daniel, a construction worker, did not expect their new-born to be born with a cystic hygroma growth that was the size of a football.
Bella’s dad said he felt ‘sick to his stomach’ when he first saw the growth[/caption]
Bella’s parents were pressurised by family and friends to abort her because of the growth[/caption]
Doctors diagnosed Bella with cystic hygroma at her 20-week scan[/caption]
The couple were forced to go through seven months’ worth of hospital appointments where they saw the growth get bigger with every scan, until it grew to 13cm.
And throughout Tabitha’s pregnancy, she admitted friends and family pressurised her to abort Bella before she had chance to be born.
Tabitha said: “The growth just kept growing, it was on her neck so we were told she might not be able to breath and could even be deaf.
“We just kept telling each other it was all going to be fine whilst knowing that it may not be, we did whatever it took to reassure each other.”
What is a cystic hygroma?
A cystic hygroma is a collection fluid-filled sacs known as cysts that result from a malformation in the lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system is a network of vessels within the body which form part of the immune system.
Lymph nodes are located in the neck, armpits and groin areas and filter the lymph fluid.
Cystic hygromas can develop anywhere in the body, but are commonly found in the neck and armpits. It appears as a painless soft lump, which may be translucent.
For babies, where the cystic hygroma is causing functional problems, the treatment options include surgical removal or injection sclerotherapy (injecting medicine into the cysts).
A cystic hygroma forms when the lymph vessels fail to form correctly during the first few weeks of pregnancy.
It can’t be prevented as it occurs so early in pregnancy, usually before the pregnancy is confirmed.
While they are usually picked up via pregnancy ultrascans, cystic hygromas can become visible at birth – with almost all being diagnosde by the time a child is two-years-old.
Bella’s parents were forced to go through seven months’ worth of hospital appointments where they saw the growth get bigger with every scan[/caption]
Medics were left stunned and have dubbed Bella a “miracle” after she made a full recovery from the surgery[/caption]
Daniel added: “You would think that your close friends and family should just support you from day one but we have had to cope with them pressuring us to abort Bella, it has really shown us who is truly there for us.
“Even though we were being told that we wouldn’t be able to deal with and Bella would not have a happy life, we knew she would and we were never going to abort this beautiful girl no matter how she was when she was born.
We can’t wait to watch her grow up and have a normal life, she’ll have quite the story to tell her friends
“We can’t sit here and say that it didn’t put a strain on our relationship, but through the strain we realised how much we love each other, it has made us stronger than ever.”
The couple, who have five other children from past relationships, have already started planning for Bella’s future.
And she is expected to be home happy and healthy in October 2019.
Tabitha said: “We can’t wait to watch her grow up and have a normal life, she’ll have quite the story to tell her friends.”
Bella is expected to be home from hospital in October 2019[/caption]
Bella’s parents want to use their experience to show other parents that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for anyone who is also suffering with a difficult pregnancy like they did[/caption]
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The couple now want to use their experience to show other parents that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for anyone who is also suffering with a difficult pregnancy like they did.
Daniel said: “We’re hoping that people will look at what happened to us and regain their hope, you would never expect Bella to look how she does now after how she looked when she was first born, but she is getting better and better.
“If it can end this well for us, then it can for you too.”
Bella’s dad said: ‘If it can end this well for us, then it can for you too’[/caption]
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