The New Stuff


MOST BIZARE:92-Year-Old Woman Gives birth To 60-Year-Old Baby

SOUTHERN CHINA ---- In what has to be the most bizarre story to come across the wire, a 92-year-old woman from Southern China delivered a child that she had been carrying for well over half a century.

The story Huang Yijun's long term pregnancy became an internet sensation last year after she delivered her 60-year-old still born infant to the amazement of doctors and Yijun herself.
Yijun went to the hospital after complaining of stomach pains. Doctors were shocked when they realized Yijun was pregnant in what's called a lithopedion or stone pregnancy.

This rare phenomenon occurs when the pregnancy fails and the fetus calcifies while still in the mother's body. To date, there have been less than 300 cases noted in 400 years of medical literature. The earliest lithopedion was found during an archaeological excavation, which dated to 1100 BC.

According to Dr. Natalie Burger, endocrinologist and fertility specialist at Texas Fertility Center, lithopedions starts off as ectopic pregnancies, a condition where the fertilized egg gets stuck on its way to the womb, implants and develops outside the uterus.
"Usually an ectopic pregnancy will mean a [fallopian] tubal pregnancy, but in a small percentage of cases, the pregnancy can actually occur in the abdominal cavity - in places like the bowel, the ovary, or even on the aorta," she says. "These are very rare locations and they can be very dangerous."

In most cases, Burger says, doctors will recommend the pregnancy be terminated due to the extreme risk to the mother. Or the fetus will simply die on its own due to a lack of blood supply.
"The vast majority never get anywhere close to multiple months of pregnancy," she says. "They die, the tissue breaks down and they're gone."

So how could a woman walk around with a stone baby for half a century and not realize it?

"In some cases, there would be symptoms of an early pregnancy and then they would go away," says Burger. "The women would just think they just lost a pregnancy and wouldn't think any more of it."
In other cases, a lack of money or medical resources comes into play. Huang Yijun told reporters 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 and ignored it."

In 1582, the autopsy findings of Madame Chatri "complete with illustrations depicting the woman and her stone child" became an instant medical bestseller and the calcified fetus was quickly sold to a wealthy French merchant (sort of the P.T. Barnum of his day) who put it on display at his museum of curiosities in Paris. The fossilized fetus reportedly changed hands after that, finally ending up in the King of Denmark's royal museum in 1653. Two hundred years later, the museum was dissolved and the stone fetus was transferred to the Danish Museum of Natural History. Several years after that, the stone baby was lost.

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