A month ago, 11-day-old Jeslyn Lim was fighting for her life as doctors here attempted to remove a tumour extending from her tailbone that was larger than she was.
Yesterday, the Indonesian, now almost seven weeks old, was finally discharged from the KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) after being transferred to Singapore for the operation.
Her parents, storeman Junaidi Lim, 28, and housewife Novi Ratna Sari, 22, were all smiles as they said goodbye to hospital staff and headed home to Batam.
"I was so nervous when we were waiting for the outcome of the operation. But now I'm so happy that I can breastfeed Jeslyn, hold her and play with her," said Ms Novi, who arrived in Singapore on Dec 23 to join her husband, who has been staying here since Dec 1.
Jeslyn had a rare tumour known as sacrococcygeal teratoma (SCT), which occurs in one in 35,000 to 40,000 live births. When she was born on Nov 23, she weighed 7.3kg, twice the weight of an average newborn. "Other mothers are able to hold their children after they give birth, but I was only able to see her twice," recalled Ms Novi.
Doctors in Batam lacked the resources to remove the tumour, and she was moved to Singapore with the help of humanitarian organisation the Rotary E-Club of Singapore.
When she arrived at KKH on Dec 1, she had heart failure and her liver was also not functioning. Associate Professor Low Yee, who heads the department of paediatric surgery at KKH, said the 25cm-wide tumour was the largest SCT case she had seen in her 18-year career.
The seven-hour operation on Dec 4 was successful and the baby was kept under observation. "Her surgical wound has healed and no longer requires dressing change. Her condition is no longer life-threatening," said Prof Low.
Jeslyn's bladder function and bowel control have been normal so far but she needs to be monitored closely in case the tumour returns and she will have to return to KKH regularly for follow-ups.
Jeslyn's hospital and surgery bills cost more than $109,000 but have been paid with the help of donors. "Some Singaporeans came to the hospital and helped pay for Jeslyn's bills. We wanted to... thank them... but couldn't because they didn't leave their details," said Ms Novi.
Indonesian donors raised roughly $100,000. About $20,000 collected from Singapore donors has been sent to the Rotary E-Club of Singapore.
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A healthy baby Jeslyn leaves hospital with her parents http://str.sg/ZHi7