Originally published August 22, 2014.
Every once in a while one of those astonishingly incredulous I-didn’t-know-I-was-pregnant-till-I-gave-birth stories hits the headlines. You know the kind of story I’m talking about. The kind, for example, in which some woman suffers with agonizing abdominal pain and everyone around her is convinced her appendix is on the verge of exploding so she rushes to the emergency room only to be discharged 48 hours later with a fully in-tact, healthy appendix and a two-day old infant. Call me a skeptic, but I find it humanly impossible for a person to be pregnant for three whole trimesters and not know it.
Anyway, today one of those stories hit the headlines and it is more bizarre than any other I’ve heard. Ever. It’s more bizarre than the one about the lady who gives birth on her front lawn while waiting for the school bus to drop her other two kids off (yes this means she’d been pregnant twice before and did not recognize the signs for nine months on the third go around). It’s even more bizarre than the one about the chick who only connected the dots when she discovered her full-term newborn as he slid down the leg of her sweat pants (apparently she did not notice him slide out her vagina). Anyway there’s no disputing the bizarreness of these sorts of stories, but what I read today is so bizarre it’s…well… I don’t even know how to describe it so I’ll just let you wallow in the hard facts.
A woman experiencing constant abdominal pain for two months sought medical help. Doctors found a mass on the lower right side of her abdomen and feared it was cancer. They were perplexed when a CT scan revealed the mass was made of hard, calcified matter – not the stuff of which tumors are made. It wasn’t cancer, but what was it? An MRI performed on the woman led doctors to discover the cause of her abdominal pain was… I hope you’re sitting down… the skeleton of a baby that had been inside her body for 38 years.
Decades earlier the woman experienced abdominal pain so severe she required hospitalization. She was told by doctors she had an ectopic pregnancy. She knew the baby had died, but she was afraid to have surgery so she fled the hospital. That was 38 years ago. I can’t even imagine the physical pain and emotional duress this women suffered.
This time around, however, she let the doctors perform the surgery and it is believed to be the longest ectopic pregnancy recorded in the history of the world. The next longest involved a woman who had the the stillborn baby’s remains removed after 18 years. Ectopic pregnancies are excruciatingly painful. I can’t even imagine… these ladies must be made of steel.