The human body is a wondrous, amazing and altogether confusing mechanism. We walk, we talk, we breathe and spit and shit and shout. And then sometimes, every now and then, the human body will surprise us, and what you thought was a prolonged tummy ache was a calcified “stone baby” living in your guts for nearly half a century. The human body is weird like that.
I’ve had to empty the catch bucket next to my desk nine times over the past six hours trying to write this story. and I’m almost certain that I am going to wake up screaming “STONE BABY!” at 4am every morning for the rest of my life. So, you know, fair warning for those who choose to read further: An 84-year-old Brazilian woman has had a dead, calcified fetus living inside her for the last 44 years. Huurgh… No, I’m good. It’s fine… Let’s do this.
The unnamed woman visited a healer almost 4 ½ decades ago suffering pain during her pregnancy. After her apparently successful visit, “her stomach didn’t grow anymore” and “the baby stopped moving”. So, with that being seemingly enough of a resolution to her tummy ache, she then went on to live the rest of her life somehow never noticing or caring that no baby (or remnants thereof) ever appeared to exit her body. I can only guess that her assumption was that it had somehow been dissolved and re-absorbed into her body and was not worth further investigation. Well as it turns out ALMOST THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF THAT HAPPENED!
What DID happen is something called “lithopedion”. It’s a rare phenomenon in which a fetus will grow for a period outside of the uterus before eventually dying. The body then, unable to expel this lump of used-ta-baby, will instead calcify it as a means of protection to the rest of the body, resulting in what is known in horror movie pitch meetings as a “stone baby”.
This rock-solid pre-infant was discovered in this Brazilian woman when, upon a more recent visit to the hospital to investigate “intense stomach pains”, subsequent exploratory X-rays revealed “the face, the bones of the arms, of the legs, the ribs, and the spine” of an elderly, freeloading fetus which had died somewhere between 20 to 28 weeks into gestation, more than 40 years ago.
And now, introduced to something that I never even knew existed and now can’t unknow, we’re left with perhaps the most stomach churning detail of the whole ordeal. The woman is opting not to have her granite un-child removed. Instead choosing to leave her haunted abdomen, chock full of baby corpse…
Oh god, gotta empty my bucket!