It was until 46 years later that she experienced terrible pain in her abdominal area, and what the doctors saw shocked them.
Yes, there are in fact women, who are not aware they are pregnant. Sometimes, pregnancy symptoms vary and there are some who do not have any of the symptoms. Some are surprised to suddenly have labor pains, while there are some who believe the pain they are experiencing is not related to pregnancy.
However, this woman’s case was different. Back in 1955, then 26-year-old Zahra Aboutalib knew she was pregnant, and was rushed to the hospital after 48 hours of labor. Doctors, after doing a routine check-up informed her that she would need a C-section. But she later saw another pregnant woman die while giving birth.
What she saw at the hospital prompted her to leave and never return again. The woman from Casablanca, Morocco, experienced pain for a few days, but as soon as the pain faded away—she had forgotten about her unborn child as well.
Seeing how scary and hard it is to give birth, she adopted three children instead. But when she reached her old age of seventy-five, her pain returned to haunt her. Her son became concerned and took her to see a specialist. Professor Taibi Ouazzani suspected the reason for the protruding belly was an ovarian tumour, so he told them to do an ultrasound scan. This revealed a large mass that no one could identify.
Apparently, she was still pregnant, and what was inside her was her unborn child 46 years ago—and it had turned into a ‘stone baby’.
A lithopedion or stone baby, is a rare phenomenon which occurs most commonly when a fetus dies during an abdominal pregnancy, is too large to be reabsorbed by the body, and calcifies on the outside as part of a maternal foreign body reaction, shielding the mother’s body from the dead tissue of the fetus and preventing infection.
Zahra Aboutalib had an ectopic pregnancy where the egg had implanted in the fallopian tube. The foetus that developed, burst out of the fallopian tube and continued to develop in the abdominal cavity causing her the pains. The foetus weighed 7 pounds and measured 42 cm in length.
Fortunately, the operation was a success, leaving Zahra and her family relieved that she was safe.