My latest story for MSNBC.com’s Body Odd blog came out this week. It’s on lithopedions, otherwise known as “stone babies,” a topic that seems to have creeped out thousands of readers (so I guess my job is done).
Very rare, lithopedions start off as ectopic pregnancies, a condition where the fertilized egg implants and develops outside the uterus. While an ectopic fetus will usually die early on, in certain cases it gets to an advanced stage, dies, and then slowly starts to calcify. Some mothers, particularly in countries where there’s not much in the way of health care, will unknowingly carry stone babies around for years, even decades. A few months back, a 92-year-old woman in China “delivered” her stone baby, which she’d been carrying for 60 years.
The story pulled in nearly 100,000 views and more than 200 comments. While some people thought Stone Baby would be a great name for a band and others were chomping at the bit to see pictures, I had to agree with the reader who summed it up as follows: “That is totally creepy and really sad.”