A calcified baby
In 2008, a 92 year old woman from Southern China, Huang Yijun, astounded the world when she delivered a "stone baby" she had conceived in 1948. The 60 year old stone baby was delivered by Cesarean operation. Of course, the pregnancy was no longer alive since it had calcified into what is commonly known as a "stone baby" or a lithopedion, but the fact that such an old woman had lived with this calcified object in her body all her active years was quite amazing.
Huang Yijun told the press she didn't have the money to have her fetus removed after doctors told her it had died inside her in 1948.
So she simply did nothing at all about it.
Lithopedion is a very rare medical phenomenon, which occurs when a pregnancy fails and the fetus actually calcifies while still in the mother's body.
Medically speaking, what often happens is the implanted fetus gets to an advanced stage before it dies. Too large to be absorbed by the body, the remains of the child or its surrounding amniotic sac slowly calcify, turning to stone as a way to protect the woman's body from infection from the decomposing tissue.
If no complications occur, believe it or not, the mother can basically just go on with her life.
How Stone Babies come about
According to American fertility experts writing in the Royal Journal of medicine, stone babies or lithopedions, develop when the fertilized egg fails to make its way to the womb for implantation and develops outside the uterus in the abdominal cavities of the woman in such areas as the bowels, the ovaries, or even large blood vessels like the aorta. Those that develop in the aorta are often very dangerous to the lives of the affected mothers. Once discovered, Doctors often recommend immediate termination of the pregnancies to save the lives of the affected mothers.
In some cases, the pregnancy is not detected and the fetus dies in the body due lack of blood while still a few weeks old and the tissues dissolve and disappear altogether. In very rare instances however, the implanted fetus grows to an advance stage before dying off. In this case, they are too large to be absorbed by the body and the remains of the baby or its amniotic sac calcifies, turning into stone as a natural way to protect the mother from infections from the decomposing fetus. The mother usually gets about with her normal life, although with a swollen hard lower abdomen and occasional discomfort that soon becomes accepted by her.
Why some women live with stone babies for a long time
Doctors say that stone babies come with normal symptoms of a pregnancy which later goes away, leaving the unsuspecting women to think they have lost the pregnancy mysteriously and to avoid many questions, including sensational public scrutiny, they stop caring about it and move on with their lives.
In the case of Huang Yijun, the lack of resources was the main reason she had such long stone baby pregnancy. She had been told by Doctors in 1948 that her baby had died but she did not have the money to have it removed. Above all, since it was not giving her any problems, she just ignored it.
For those who are living in countries where gynecological services are available and free, they get about with stone baby pregnancies until the calcified mass begin to cause serious health problems such as intestinal obstruction, pelvic abscess, problems with delivery and many others. Otherwise, if there are no complications like was the with Huang Yijun, then woman can get about with their lives doing business as usual with stone babies calcified in their abdominal cavities.