The 46 Year Pregnancy

In 1955, in a small village outside Casablanca, 26-year-old Zahra was pregnant with her first child. But after 48 hours of painful labor the baby was still not born. She was rushed to the local hospital, but in the ward she saw a woman in terrible pain dying in childbirth. Convinced she would suffer the same fate Zahra fled the hospital and returned home to her village.

In the days that followed Zahra suffered excruciating labor pains but still the baby would not come. After a few days the pain stopped and the baby stopped moving. She believed in a local superstition known as "sleeping baby" and that one day her baby would wake up. Soon villagers began to talk and came up with their own theories about what had happened to Zahra's baby.

To try and forget the sleeping baby inside her, Zahra adopted three children. Her children grew up and had children of their own. Forty six years later her excruciating pains returned. Her adopted son became worried about his mother's deteriorating health. Racked with pain she was barely able to make the grueling four-hour journey to the hospital in Rabat, the capital of Morocco.

Her stomach was swollen and she was crippled with pain. Doctors thought she had an ovarian tumor and took her immediately for an ultrasound scan. The doctors were baffled and to try and find out more they've sent the woman for further scans. Radiologist was shocked by what he saw. Inside the stomach of the 75-year-old woman there was a baby. But even more shocking was that this baby had been conceived 46 years before.

Ectopic means out of place, outside the womb. In a normal pregnancy the fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube, implants and grows in the uterus. In an ectopic pregnancy the egg implants in the fallopian tube. In extremely rare cases like Zahra's the fetus bursts out of the fallopian tube and then develops in the abdominal cavity. Most fetuses cannot survive past three months here, but Zahra's fetus had somehow survived to full term by attaching its placenta to vital organs inside her stomach and remained there for further forty-six years.

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