Baby Receives Life-Saving Surgery While Still Attached to His Mom’s Placenta

Maverick Mashburn was still attached to his mother’s placenta when he endured his first life-saving surgery. According to People, Maverick had a mass in his right lung that was squishing his esophagus and pushing on the right side of his heart.

As a result of the mass, the baby boy couldn’t process the amniotic fluid properly, which also made Maverick’s mom, 29-year-old Adrianna look like she was pregnant with triplets at just 28-weeks. Eventually, the mass in Maverick’s right lung was diagnosed as a Congenital Pulmonary Airway Malformation (CPAM).

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Baby Maverick
People/Adrianna and Mich Mashburn

According to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, “a congenital pulmonary airway malformation is a mass of abnormal fetal lung tissue that forms during pregnancy. This mass, or lesion, is usually located in one lung and it does not function as normal lung tissue.”

Adrianna and her husband Micah were told that their son only had a 10-percent chance of survival. “They were telling us they didn’t think he was going to make it,” Adrianna explained to People. “They told us to prepare ourselves for the worst. We were devastated – not knowing why this was happening or what our options were.”

Baby Receives Life-Saving Surgery While Still Attached to Mom’s Placenta

Nonetheless they remained optimistic about their son’s odds. As Adrianna admitted, she was constantly feeling Maverick moving around every day. “I really feel like he’s a fighter.” And a fighter he was!

As People reports, Dr. Darrell Cass, the director of Fetal Surgery and Director of the Fetal Care Center of the Cleveland Clinic, performed the surgery. He first met Adrianna, Micah, and Maverick when Adrianna was just 33 weeks and 5 days pregnant.

Baby Maverick
People/Adrianna and Mich Mashburn

According to Dr. Cass, CPAM is not caused by genetics, “it’s just bad luck,” he candidly admits. He was the first doctor the family met with who suggested fetal surgery rather than waiting until Adrianna gave birth.

Dr. Cass explained that by performing fetal surgery rather than just wait until he was born, it “would allow the baby to receive oxygen and nutrients from the placenta while limiting potential complications that could arise if the baby was born and breathed on its own,” People reports.

Prior to performing the surgery on Maverick, he had been successful 19 times before. “I said, ‘I’ve seen this before. Many times. And yes, it’s concerning, but I believe we can get you and your baby through this with a good outcome.'”

Micah was in favor of the doctor’s “proactive” approach. So at 36 weeks and 2 days pregnant, while Maverick weighed just 5-pounds, 9 ounces, Dr. Cass began the procedure.

Baby Maverick
People/Adrianna and Mich Mashburn

A C-section was performed and Cass quickly brought the baby’s head and chest out while the baby remained attached to the placenta. Cass opened up the baby’s chest and removed the 8 cm mass, about the size of a grapefruit, he says.


Adrianna ultimately described the surgery as “so smooth.” Now Maverick is three months old, weighs 10-pounds, loves to smile, and only had to spend six weeks in the NICU before going home July 28.

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“He recovered perfectly,” Dr. Cass told People. “Maverick suffered no brain damage and no complications. He will be a healthy, normal kid.” And for that reason, Adrianna and Micah couldn’t be more thankful for Cass and his incredible team, who saved their son’s life.

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