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Parents Kat & Myrna tell of tumor in newborn Oakley

Kat (37) is exactly 41 weeks pregnant when doctors notice something strange in the baby's belly. It turns out to be a tumor measuring seven by seven centimeters. An emergency c-section follows and shortly thereafter surgery on the newborn Oakley. ‘Everyone knew us at the Princess Máxima Center. They don't see a newborn baby very often.'  

Myrna (48) and Kat (37) have three daughters: one of nine, one of seven and baby Oakley. All three by the same father - a close friend of the couple. Myrna carried the first two daughters, but Kat decided to experience the third pregnancy.  

‘It was a very nice pregnancy. I wasn't nauseous and wasn't really bothered by anything. Until I was exactly 41 weeks and we went to the UMC in Groningen for an ultrasound. The doctors saw something strange in Oakley's belly and diagnosed a high heart rate. They had a hard time seeing because they had to look through two bellies. Just to be safe, they decided to do an emergency c-section,' Kat explains. 'It felt very unreal,' adds Myrna. 'This was not the same world as yesterday. We were suddenly on a roller coaster.'  

Seven-by-seven-centimeter tumor 

Kat continues: 'It was a normal C-section. I knew that, because one of our other daughters was also born by C-section. Oakley was tested and checked. Everything else was fine. Then she was moved to the NICU, the unit for premature babies. There they were able to do an ultrasound of Oakley's belly. The ultrasound revealed that there was a seven-by-seven-centimeter tumor near her kidney. Very intense.  

The day after, Oakley's sisters were able to see her for a while before we were taken to Utrecht in two ambulances. One for me, to the maternity ward of the WKZ, and one for the incubator with Oakley, who had to be examined again with an ultrasound and MRI.  

A three-hour surgery followed one week later. At the end, we got a call from the surgeon; everything had gone well and her adrenal gland had been spared. Now we had to wait for her to start breathing on her own again. The tumor was probably benign, but had to be cultured just to be sure. After ten days, the doctors could say whether further treatment was needed. Fortunately, we received good news!’ 

Famous Maxi-Cosi 

‘Despite everything, it was very pleasant in the Princess Máxima Center. They think along with you, everything is explained very well, during treatment someone always accompanies you and the food is very good. The nurses and medical educators helped us so much. Everyone knew who we were, because they don't see a newborn baby like this very often. As soon as they saw the Maxi-Cosi, it was Oh! That's Oakley!  

Oakley is doing very well now. She is growing well, keeping her heat and breastfeeding is going well. She is starting to gain weight. At first she couldn't drink well because the tumor was stressing her stomach a little. Now she is becoming such a nice, chubby baby. By now we have also recovered a bit and can breathe again. For the next two years, we go to the Máxima every three months for check-ups. That gives a sense of security. And we just make a day out of that.' 

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