(ABC4) – Samantha Custer and her husband Dave were faced with one of life’s greatest obstacles and then one of life’s greatest gifts just weeks apart. In an article published by the Cleveland Clinic’s Newsroom, Mrs. Custer explains she was 25 weeks pregnant, nearly two months away from her due date, when doctors informed her she would have to undergo surgery to save her unborn baby’s life.
The Custers were frantic as everything up until that point had gone smoothly with the pregnancy.
In speaking to Newsroom, Dr. Darrell Cass, Director of the clinic’s Fetal Surgery and Fetal Care Center explained: “What we saw was a very large tumor, and this tumor was sitting exactly in the wrong area, where it was squishing the left side of the heart.”
According to Cass, the Custers needed to move quickly to save their son.
“We felt probably the best treatment – if we were going to do anything – would be to try open fetal resection of this tumor,” Cass told Newsroom. Days later, he found himself prepping Mrs. Custer for surgery with the help of his team.
One of the surgeons who aided in Mrs. Custer’s surgery, Dr. Hani Najm, Chair of Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery at the clinic, said, “I was able to examine and get into a very nice plane of dissection, as we call it in surgical terms, and I was able to literally enucleate the entire tumor and remove it.”
“Once the tumor was off, it was amazing. Basically, the left atrium in the heart opened up and you could see blood flow change,” added Dr. Cass.
Soon enough, baby Rylan was placed back in the uterus, only to be born via c-section 10 weeks later.
The Custer family is reportedly doing well and feels extremely grateful for the doctors who made the birth of their son possible.
“It was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life,” Mrs. Custer said, while her husband – overjoyed by Rylan’s arrival – simply stated, “He’s a little miracle.”