The Legacy of My Stone Baby

          In 2008 I learned an unimaginable truth: I unknowingly carried a lithopedion—a fetus in my uterus that had calcified—turned to stone. This shocking revelation explained many health mysteries I’d experienced for close to two decades:

  • A lithopedion, or stone baby, is a rare result of an undiagnosed and untreated abdominal or ectopic pregnancy that causes a fertilized egg to implant outside the uterus.
  • The fetus becomes calcified to protect the mother’s body from infection.
  • Since the fetus is basically mummified, most women are unaware of what is inside their body.

           It’s taken me time to find my way to share my personal story beyond smaller circles. Events this past December 2013 triggered a stronger sense of urgency to fully come out. The scar from a rogue mole removed on my left thigh loudly reminded me of the precious gift of time. It stares back at me as if to say- the time is now. A nurse/alternative healer shared with me that based on her nursing experience she knows of two women in their forties who also had stone babies. Supposedly, there are fewer than three hundred reported cases in the past four hundred years. I can’t help but wonder how many unreported—and undiscovered—cases are there? Lastly, certain comments in a recent report of an older Columbian woman discovering she had a lithopedion for forty years got me riled up.

          The doctor quoted in the article implies that most women with this rare condition don’t exhibit symptoms. Given my own experience, I wonder if that’s true.  Perhaps more likely is that many women have unexplained symptoms for decades but even their doctors don’t consider the possibility of a lithopedion.

          I experienced symptoms from my head to my toes. Yet, no one knew to connect my mysterious and ever-changing symptoms with the cause. During the latter half of my twenties I spent chunks of time on disability in bed, sat for long hours in different doctor waiting rooms and took various tests. My frustration escalated to the point where I’d cry when a test result for a serious condition would come back normal. I felt many dark moments where I didn’t think I’d survive.

        A cardiologist eventually diagnosed me with chronic fatigue syndrome/Epstein Barr, but circumstantial evidence convinced me that a rare parasite from a trip to Cancun Mexico at twenty six was the root cause of my illness. Little did I know that my body was, in fact, fighting off a foreign intruder- my own calcified baby. Over time, with the help of an Ayurvedic healer, my health returned enough for me to resume my “normal” life. I kicked off my thirties accepting my new norm—feeling subpar at seventy five percent—telling everyone I felt fine.

           For the next ten years I tried hard to manage my normal life working in the financial industry in product development and searching for Mr. Right, but I consistently felt an unexplained grind in my body. This grind affected my brain, heart, digestive and menstrual process, and overall energy. It contributed to endometriosis with significant adhesions around my uterus. In 2008, a few days after discovering my stone baby, my gynecologist told me I would need to have my uterus removed due to the threat of cancer.

          Although devastating, this unimaginable truth shattered my old perceptions yet put everything within the realm of possibility. With deep awe I realized the incredible effort my body went through to keep me around. I couldn’t give birth to my baby, but I still had a chance to give birth to my life filled with dreams, creativity and health rather than pain. Not willing to give up my uterus, I put Operation Save Uterus into action, and during the course of a year I worked with ten alternative healers who helped me to align my mind-body and spirit. I nurtured myself as if I was nurturing my child by committing to the basics of diet, sleep play and inspiration.  I swaddled my hope in love, gratitude and faith in a force bigger than me—God.

          My healing journey not only helped me connect to my body and spirit, but it allowed me to heal and let go buried emotions that I swallowed for many years—emotions that grew hard inside me. I don’t blame any doctors for not properly diagnosing this rare condition. Many of my choices played a role-some with serious consequences. For example, although I had my first serious boyfriend at seventeen, I didn’t go to the gynecologist until I was twenty five. Rather than dwell on right vs. wrong, I softened to find compassion for myself and others.

          Learning about the baby I never gave birth to not only helped to save my uterus but it saved my life, gave rise to better health and dramatically transformed my life for the better. I shifted from a woman who put many restrictions on the flow of life to seeing the creative possibility in every day and focusing on helping other women connect to their healing ability.

          I’ve reached a point where I’d blame myself if the fear of “What will people think?” kept me silent. Oddly enough, I wouldn’t change anything I went through but I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I experienced. I felt liberated telling my lithopedion story for the first time on a radio show recently but I am called to cast a larger net to get the word out.

I need your help!  Please share this story:

1)    To bring more awareness to this condition. Although it’s rare, women- young and old- should know that it is within the realm of possibility. Lithopedions don’t just happen to women in far away countries with no access to decent health care.

2)    To let any woman who has suffered in silence about her stone baby know she is not alone.

3)    To encourage any woman feeling confused about her health to seek knowledge about her reproductive system, answers about her symptoms and support to heal.

stone baby pic 2

 

  17 comments

  1. Linda   •  

    This is a beautifully written article. You are so brave to share this, and I admire your inner strength and peace.

    • lorraine   •     Author

      Thank you Linda for your kind words!

  2. Suzanne   •  

    Thank you for sharing your journey and your story – it’s an inspiration for us to all to be brave, be kind and to listen to our beautiful bodies.

    • lorraine   •     Author

      Our bodies are often sending us important messages to pay attention to! Here’s to our beautiful bodies! Thanks Suzanne!

  3. Joanna   •  

    Dear Lorraine, I admire your authentic and transparent sharing! Thank you for sending this to me. I am encouraged by the determination you had to save your uterus. I am also inspired by your hope for other women experiencing healing. You are brave and fantastic! Love, Joanna

    • lorraine   •     Author

      Thank you Joanna! I’ve heard many stories of women (and men) experiencing many tough health challenges for long periods of time. MY hope is that no matter what people are going through to trust that better days are ahead.

  4. Leslie   •  

    Brava Lorraine! I want to know so much more about your experience. It really leaves you wondering how often women have been misdiagnosed, blame themselves for what’s “wrong” with them, etc. Keep up the good work!

    • lorraine   •     Author

      Hi Leslie! Thank you! I’m in the process of writing a book to share all the details!

  5. Josette   •  

    Dear Lorraine,
    Your story is mythic, and told with so much beauty and honesty. I literally felt healed while reading it. It is very powerful. I will share in any venue that is appropriate.
    Thank you for your generous decision to share. You honor the goddess.
    Josette,

    • lorraine   •     Author

      Josette! I greatly appreciate you sharing my story! Although I’ve been extremely private for most of my life, other goddess stories have inspired me to share my own. We are all in the circle of life together.

  6. Carla   •  

    Thank you Lorraine. Your courage to share your intimate experience and commitment to support other women throughout the world who may be experiencing the same is priceless.
    Your healing is already supporting the healing of other women, I am one of them.
    Thank you for your generosity, for your loving and caring way of being.
    All my best, Carla

    • lorraine   •     Author

      Hi Carla! Thank you so much for your support! I believe we are here to help each other heal and thrive. I’m thankful that we crossed paths. It’s an honor to know you!

  7. teh tokin   •  

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  8. Diane   •  

    My dear friend, Lorraine…I had no idea. I knew you had uterus problems with the threat of cancer, but, was unaware of your unborn child. My heart aches for you and your loss. Thank you for sharing your story with grace, dignity and courage. I feel so blessed to have you in my life and that we’ve reconnected over the years. You’re a beautiful person inside and out. I love you and wish you all of the good health and happiness life has to offer!

    • lorraine   •     Author

      Thank you Diane for your kind words and support! Right back at you…I wish you all the good health and happiness life has to offer too!

  9. Robbin   •  

    How do I approach this with a dr? What are the symptoms? When I lie on my back, there is a bulge , in my abdomen, that is hard and I wonder what it could be….? I’ve had 3 miscarriages but don’t know if any didn’t expel the fetus….scared….on disability, no insurance…. Ugh….

    • Lorraine Giordano   •     Author

      Hi Robbin,
      Thanks for touching base. I’m going to send you an email with some suggestions.

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