For our chubby friends, it comes as no surprise when we playfully hit them with pregnancy jokes such as “kailan due date niyan” or “ilang taon na ‘yan.” However, for Moroccan Zahra Aboutalib, carrying a “stone baby” in her womb way past its due date wasn’t a joke — it was her harsh reality.
Back in 1955, Zahra was hurriedly taken to the hospital after going into labor for two days. At the hospital, she witnessed another woman lose her life after giving birth. Thinking that she might also go down the same unfortunate path, Zahra escaped.
Her womb kept contracting from labor for days. Eventually, the baby ceased its struggles and the excruciating pain ended.
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Zahra believed in the Moroccan myth called the “Sleeping Baby,” so she did nothing. “Sleeping baby” is a belief that “black or white magic” may put an unborn baby to sleep in the womb and it can eventually wake up after the due date. Because of this belief, Zahra opted to adopt instead of give birth.
Decades later, in 2004, her labor pains came back. Zahra, who was now a grandmother, then underwent a series of tests that showed a mass in her reproductive regions. The doctors first thought that it was an ovarian tumor but later they discovered something remarkable. The mass was actually the calcified remains of Zahra’s unborn baby from decades past. This phenomenon is known as a Lithopedion or a “stone baby.”
The stone baby attached itself to Zahra’s abdominal organs through the years, making it a critical need to be removed. After four long hours of operation, they successfully extracted the stone baby. It weighed 7 lbs. and measured 42 cm. long.
Ironically, after running away from a caesarian operation almost 50 years ago, Zahra still had to go under the knife to save her life.
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