In high school I met Missy. I have no idea where Missy is now and maybe she’ll read this post and respond, but I doubt it. Anyway, I fell in love with Missy, but that is neither here nor there as regards this post.
Missy told me a story about how she, with her previous boyfriend, had gotten pregnant. She told me in agonizing detail about this long and arduous pregnancy where she grew and grew and felt sick all of the time and had food cravings and all sorts of things, just like any pregnancy. Only she never had the baby. Month after month of this pregnancy and never did a baby come forth.
As I recall the baby sort of just “went away.” Missy told me all of this in a state of befuddlement and high anxiety at what had befallen her. At the time, I listened intrigued, having always been partial to strange things and odd stories.
It wasn’t until years later when I learned about phantom pregnancies that Missy’s story made sense to me.
A woman can go through all of the stages of pregnancy with morning sickness, swelling up, tender breasts and all only to have no baby. In fact, when she goes into “labor” she’ll be taken to the hospital and give birth to a gust of humid air.
There is a case in India where the family is pressing charges on the doctor because they believe he stole their baby, when he, in fact, asserts that the woman did not give birth to anything but hot air.
Apparently Mary I, Queen of England, had a couple of these, though that has not been substantiated.
A couple of months ago, or perhaps years now, an old woman in her seventies went into the hospital because she “didn’t feel well.” When she disrobed the doctors found a protruding abdomen. On the CT scan they found a mass.
Forty years prior the woman had gone into labor and went to the hospital, but no baby came out. They said they would have to perform a C section, but at the same time, a women in the next room over was screaming for her life. So, the pregnant women ran out of the hospital and went home. She remained in bed for days, feeling very unwell and after some time, her baby went very quiet. She had heard of the legends of the “sleeping baby” and knew that was what she had, a sleeping baby.
And the baby slept inside her for 40 years. Medically, the baby had been a Fallopian tube pregnancy, meaning the fetus had never made its way to the uterus. But grew in the Fallopian tube. It came to full term this way, bursting the narrow tube early on and attaching the placenta to other body organs in the mother for nourishment. It came to full term, but had died there when it didn’t come out and then “slept.”
When they finally removed it 40 years later it came out calcified, enclosed in bone-like sheathing made of calcium to prevent the decaying tissue from leaking into the mother’s body. This is called a Stone Baby.
Nowadays, we have better technology so people don’t really have to worry about the “stone baby.” Now we just talk about it because its odd and weird and interesting.
But–and I know this is still true–you have to watch falling head-over-heels for a girl who doesn’t feel the same way about you.
(Damn, it still stings a little!)