Lithopedion and Coffin Birth

         I don’t know how many of you are fans of the unbelievable facts Facebook page, but I’ve seen the “woman who was pregnant for 46 years” wayyyy too many times to not investigate further. Upon further inspection I learned that the woman’s baby died and calcified itself within her womb as to protect the mother from the rotting flesh and disease. When a fetus is past 12 weeks old, the body can’t absorb it. With modern medicine women of today can now just go in and have the body removed. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of women in third world countries, without access to modern medicine that are still at risk of having a Lithopedion, or stone baby.

         Though some women are still susceptible, it’s actually very rare, or so I learned. So I didn’t have too much to investigate, but Wikipedia(God bless the creator, though *in snooty teacher voice* “it’s not a credible source”) gave me a vast knowledge on the subject. Well, at least vast in the sense that I’m now educated enough to write a blog in which you are reading. Thank you wikipedia. Any who, the whole subject still seems bizarre to me. How can you go through life knowing damn well that your dead baby is still inside of you? I’ve looked at pictures and I realized that often it doesn’t even look like a baby after calcification, but it’s still in fact your unborn child.

        Some women went on to bare more children, while others were left infertile. Regardless of whether you pop out more munchkins, how can a women look down at her stomach, often feel pain, and not go mad? In some cultures there is a myth that a child can take years to be born and it would be special- like a saint. So some mothers hope that it’s the saint case. Other mothers however, know that their fetus is dead, and yet they flea from hospitals or seek no help at all. I completely understand a third world country with no option of removal. You learn to live. But for a woman who does have the option, who chooses to carry a grave in her womb? I can’t fathom it and I can’t even imagine living with a lump in my womb and not committing suicide if there was no other choice. 

        So as you can see, this subject has been rattling my mind. So I googled more and more. Then I got interested in the idea of mummified pregnant women, I didn’t find much, but I did find very neat skeletal pictures of women and their babies. This led to an even more morbid discovery, but I’ll get to that in a minute. I was looking at the skeletons not as a sadistic twat but as an intrigued pretend archaeologist. I so badly want to know the stories of the women who are now gone. How did they die? Did their families mourn the loss of mother and child? It’s so sad to think of women who were possibly about to deliver their first child, only to die, because modern medicine wasn’t around. It’s even more disturbing to learn what happens to some women who die before giving birth.

        Coffin Birth is when a fetus is pushed out of the womb postmortem. Often it is the result of natural gases within the body building up and needing an escape, pushing the child out. The time varies and it can happen either hours or days later. Can you imagine finding a woman you love dead, and her baby hanging outside of her? Death can truly be horrific and unkind. I couldn’t even have made up something that awful, and yet I find myself reading about it. I know it’s morbid, but something about a pregnant woman’s death and the death of an unborn child fascinates me. It’s just incredible to me, how cruel the universe can be. It’s also beautifully poetic in way that mother and child be laid to rest together, and in the case of lithopedion that the child’s final resting place be the same place it was created. Ashes to ashes, womb to womb. Life is amazing and very disturbing and traumatic. 

        And now I wonder. I wonder what went through the minds of women who carried their dead children for years. I wonder if they hoped for a kick, continued calling the dead baby their picked out name, and if the women cried at night. I also wonder what the mother who was dying felt. Did she fear for her child? It’s agonizing to envision every death that has occurred to a pregnant woman, a sacred vessel. I wonder how traumatic it must have been to ever witnessed a case of coffin birth and how someone could sleep afterward. Lastly, I thank God I am in the country I am at this time in history. May I never experience any of these sad occurrences (though I guarantee you I won’t be keeping a dead baby in my womb, shoot me first). 

Lithopedion: 

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Coffin Birth:

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Pregnant Skeleton:

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One comment on “Lithopedion and Coffin Birth

  1. velocity3d says:

    Creepy, fascinating, and yes, morbid. That black and white one just makes me think of My Lai massacre, which makes it worse.

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