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Baby Has 2-Pound Tumor Removed to Reveal Face

Baby Has 2-Pound Tumor Removed to Reveal Face

(Stock Photo)

Jose Pagliery / The Miami Herald

May 31, 2009

Eight days after Jordan Jamal Smith was born in March, his mother still couldn’t see his face.

The bulbous, 1.8-pound mound of liquid and tissue protruding from the newborn’s mouth covered his eyes and nose, his cheeks and forehead.

It had nearly killed him in the womb and threatened his life during his birth.

But two University of Miami doctors executed a carefully crafted plan, preventing the tumor from killing baby Jordan in the womb or during his birth.

And in the weeks that followed, Kimberly Robinson was able to hold — and eventually see — her son for the first time, an experience she later called her baby’s continuous ``rebirth.’’

‘’The first time I saw him, I was only able to see his chin,’’ she said Wednesday, carrying in her arms a healthy 2-month-old boy without a blemish on his radiant face.

It was late October, during a regularly scheduled doctor’s appointment, when Robinson and the ultrasound technician next to her noticed something odd on the screen. The 17-week-old fetus inside Robinson had an abnormal shape on its face.

‘’I thought he was sucking his thumb,’’ Robinson recalled.

Suffocation Risk

Doctors soon discovered it was a rapidly-growing tumor, which sprouted out of the baby’s mouth like a large, inflated balloon. It would soon prevent him from swallowing amniotic fluid, which could cause Robinson’s uterus to swell and give birth prematurely.

She was told the tumor, an epignathus teratoma, would likely suffocate the baby after birth. If the child was lucky enough to survive — and he would probably not — he would likely be mentally disabled. Abortion, doctors told her, would only expedite the inevitable.

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