Surgery Successfully Removes My 6-Day-Old Daughter’s Tumor (Sacrococcygeal Teratoma)

Infant with Sacrococcygeal TeratomaOn March 24, 2011 my husband, Arturo, and I found out that we were finally going to become parents! I was in such shock — I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. At our first appointment with the OB/GYN everything checked out great, as did every appointment after that until we hit 21 weeks.

Up to that point my husband had been able to make every appointment with me; however, this time he wasn’t able to make it. I wasn’t very comfortable going by myself, but I put on a brave-face and told myself everything would be fine. As soon as the nurse was done with the ultrasound, the doctor came in to take a closer look at one area where the nurse had concerns. It was then that my doctor told me that it looked as if the baby had a large mass growing from her bottom. This condition is known as a Sacrococcygeal Teratoma (SCT). My doctor said she would have me meet with a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist in order to provide my husband and I all the information we would need to know.

My first Maternal Fetal Medicine appointment finally arrived. The specialist immediately referred us to Texas Children’s Hospital, and we quickly scheduled a consult with the Fetal Center. By the following Tuesday we had completed an MRI, a very extensive ultrasound, fetal echocardiogram, and a one-on-one consult with Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, a pediatric surgeon at the Fetal Center.

Fast forward to the night of October 10. I was woken up around midnight by braxton hicks contractions and immediately knew something was wrong. Arturo took me to the Emergency Center where I was told the contractions were real and I was going to have an emergency cesarean because I was having preeclampsia.

At 32 weeks, Sophia Grace Perez was born at 7:15 am on October 11, 2011. She weighed just a little over 2 pounds with her tumor weighing in at over 3 pounds. It was the happiest day of my life, but also the scariest. I was able to see her briefly before they took her off the NICU, and it was another 30 hours before I saw her again.

Sacrococcygeal Teratoma patient, Sophia PerezShe was 6 days old when she was wheeled off to the operating room for surgery. The night before her surgery took place her night nurse, who we came to care about very much, let us hold Sophia for the very first time. As soon as Sophia was placed in to my arms it was as if she knew exactly who was holding her. We will never forget this wonderful moment.

After anxiously waiting for over 5 hours, Dr. Darrell Cass gave us the good news that Sophia’s surgery went well. Seeing Sophia for the first time without her tumor was like seeing a brand new baby; she just looked so much healthier. After recovering from her surgery and spending several more weeks in the hospital gaining weight and learning how to nurse we were able to take her home just in time to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Words can’t describe how grateful we are for the Fetal Center; they are a team of amazing minds and hands. Without the Texas Children’s Fetal Center, NICU Staff, Milk Bank Staff, the support of our family and friends, and the grace and love of God, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Sophia just turned 9 months old and is growing more each day.

Sophia’s contagious smile is a constant reminder to never take life for granted, be grateful for what you have, and know that health is a precious gift.
Sophia Perez


About Nicole Perez, Mother of Patient

My daughter Sophia was born with Sacrococcygeal Teratoma (SCT), a large mass growing from her bottom.

Thanks to the experts at Texas Children's Fetal Center, she underwent successful surgery to correct her condition at just 6 days old. We are eternally grateful.

Posted in Fetal Center, Patient post, Pavilion for Women, Pregnancy, Surgery

9 Responses to Surgery Successfully Removes My 6-Day-Old Daughter’s Tumor (Sacrococcygeal Teratoma)

  1. Melanie Melancon says:

    This was my birth story almost exactly! I am 27 now and due any day with my little girl. The doctors at Texas Children’s saved my life. Without the great care and attention I received, I would not be here today! What a special story about Sophia! She’s truly a miracle…..Just like me! God bless you all!

    • samia ron says:

      I had the same conditions. Suffered from the same disease and still suffering till now . Tumour has been removed succesfully but i am continuosly having many plastic surgeries at my butt. None of them work. i feel as if no guy would ever love me for this. Please help.

      • E says:

        Hi Samia,
        I hope you’ll see my message. I’m also affected by this issue, and I’ve been searching for other people to relate to. I’ve been complexed by the scar since I was teen, and it feels lonely. If you’d like to talk, let me know.

  2. Stacy Stewart says:

    Your story, the emotional journey the 3 of you traveled, is only the beginning as your story will continue thru Sophia as you watch her grow !!
    As your Mom and Sophia’s Grandma, I am so thankful for all the blessings you each received.
    A very special Thank You to all the medical and sugerical team members at TCH , I will always be for ever grateful and you will all be forever in my heart for all you do ❤

  3. Adriana Lopez says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, and let us be part of your success!!!!

  4. Marjie Podzielinski says:

    I am Melanie’s mom. I had this same story in June 1985. I also had toximia and am fascinated that this story has all the same elements. We were so luck y to be at Texas Children’s and have Dr. James Harburg for our pediatric surgeon. He took pictures for an article but I never knew if it was published. Melanie’s tumor was inside and was attached to the tip of her tailbone. They removed the tip of her tailbone and she has never had any other problems. What was a scary beginning turned into a wonderful life. A huge thanks to the mom who published this story. I was truly blessed and so was she.

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  6. Erica Jensen says:

    March of this year, my fiancé and I found out we where going to be expecting a baby. At 20 weeks pregnant they told us we where blessed with a little girl. My doctor has paciants do a 30 week ultra sound to check up on baby’s development. I went in for my appointment where it was descovered that our baby girl has the same tumor. We where are still are terrified, but very thankfull they caught it when they did. My due date isn’t till December 4th but the doctors at OHSU in Portland Oregon are going to deliver her early via c-section. Then she will go into surgery from there to have the growth removed.
    I want to thank you for sharing your story and I hope that in a few weeks we will also be able to share our story with others. It’s nice to read about others success with this and gives my mind some ease. Thank you

  7. Kathryn Parnell says:

    I was born in 1980 at Park Plaza hospital in Houston with a very rare syndrome called Klippel Trenaunay Weber Syndrome. Immediately following my birth, I was transferred to the NICU at Texas Children’s. I was born with vascular and lymphatic malformations. Throughout childhood, I spent many years visiting a lot of doctors that practiced out of that hospital. Thanks to Dr. Harburg (mentioned in a prior comment) my cavernous hemangiomas were removed from my neck and chest. They are similar to tumors only filled with veins and vessels. Dr. Moise Levy was the head of pediatric dermatology and he, too, guided me through my medical journey as well as Dr. Malcolm Granberry Sr.. I will always be in debt to that hospital and staff for all of the great things they did for me!

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