Wash. baby's bloated belly was a three-pound tumor
SEATTLE -- Keenan Sanders says her first baby Logan was such a breeze all the moms would get annoyed with her for how easy he was. Sanders recently gave birth to a little girl, and her daughter Leighton's first few weeks have been filled with heartbreak.
"Then it got worse and it got worse. Now we're dealing with I'm gonna have a child that's fed through tubes, has drains coming out of her body, who won't eat, and will be in the hospital for a very long time," said Sanders.
The Kirkland couple thought their baby's bloated belly was gas but discovered it was a fast-growing tumor that grew from the size of an orange to a cantaloupe in a matter of days.
"It had attached itself to almost every organ in her entire body," Sanders said.
Seven-week old Leighton has undergone six surgeries this past week and is expected to have two more by week's end. Doctors at Seattle Children's Hospital have removed the newborn's tumor, intestines, bowels, gall bladder, part of her pancreas, colon, and stomach. It's too much for her mom to take in all at once.
"When I start to take everything in at once, I can't handle it. I can't listen to it. It becomes too much when I hear every single obstacle that she faces and will face. It's overwhelming," Sanders said.
She said her daughter weighed 8 1/2 pounds before the tumor was removed and 5 1/2 pounds after the surgery.
The Sanders family is holding vigil by their baby's side in ICU, knowing she needs to get healthier before they can discuss transplants and reconstruction.
"You never want to see anything like that with your daughter, your baby girl. There's a long battle to go, it's tough, it's tough," said Leighton's dad, Dave Sanders.
Some of their fears have been softened by community support. Leighton's mom was at the hospital scrolling through her Facebook feed when she noticed, "Hey, that's a picture of me." Without asking for help, her friend had launched a GoFundMe page for the family's household expenses. It's reached more than $13,000.
"The outpouring of support for our daughter has been unimaginable," Sanders said.
The family expects to receive test results this week to let them know if Leighton has cancer.