Days of excruciating pain followed, then the pains suddenly stopped. Zahra put the pregnancy out of her mind, believing the baby would be born at a later date.
This never happened, and many decades passed – 46 years! - during which time Zahra adopted three children and became a grandmother. Aged 75, the agonising pains returned, but several doctors couldn’t explain them. Then Dr Taibi Quazzani, who felt that Zahra’s swollen stomach indicated an ovarian tumour, sent her for scans.
The result was shocking: the mass inside Zahra’s stomach was a calcified baby. Unable to be born, the baby – which had developed outside the womb and fused with Zahra’s internal organs – had died.
To protect itself from infection from this ‘foreign body’, the body developed a layer of hard calcified material around the dead baby. This hardened over the years. The operation to remove the calcified foetus was a tricky one, as over the decades it had fused with both Zahra’s abdominal wall and the internal organs."
"The patient is a 37-year-old Zairian female who lives in a village of Malongo at the headwaters of the Congo River. She presented with a relatively asymptomatic large abdominal mass. Examination revealed a distended abdomen with a very irregularly contoured mass present consistent with a large fibroid uterus 28-32 weeks size. The patient was having fairly regular periods. She has had eight previous pregnancies with five living children. Recommendation made for exploratory laparotomy through a midline incision with a working diagnosis of uterine leiomyomata.
Exploration through the midline incision revealed no free fluid present in the abdomen. The uterus and ovaries felt fairly normal to palpation. A large calcified spherical mass was delivered through the incision, enveloped with omental adhesions. At this point diagnosis was thought be possibly some type of splenic or mesenteric tumor. The diagnosis was finally made when a shoulder was delivered along with this mass. Finally, after the adhesions were removed, a four pound calcified fetus was removed. This appeared to be approximately a 32-week intra-abdominal pregnancy which had died and calcified.
In further questioning the patient, she stated that she had been pregnant about three years ago and everything seemed to be going fine, but "the baby never came out."