We’ve shared some pretty bizarre unexpected pregnancy stories, but none of them have been quite like this one. After spending months trying to treat what she thought was a cancerous growth on her stomach alone, an African woman (called Aisha by Allafrica.com) finally visited the Gwarzo General Hospital in Kano. Within hours, she learned that the growth was actually a seemingly healthy baby that she’d been carrying outside of her uterus!
“She noticed progressive swelling of the area, which she said was Daji (cancer),” the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Charles Onyia, told Daily Trust. “She might have decided to come to the hospital after trying local medication without success.”
Dr. Suleman Abdul, the physician who had examined Aisha, knew the growth couldn’t be cancer. In fact, he was certain he could feel a baby outside of the uterus, so he sent her down for an ultrasound. The results confirmed it: Aisha was carrying a live, kicking baby “on top of her stomach and intestine, not in the womb.”
Even with the results staring them right in the face, it seemed impossible to believe that a baby had survived being carried outside the uterus for a full nine months. Add that to the fact that Aisha had never received prenatal care because she had mistaken the baby for a cancerous growth, and it seemed to doctors that Aisha’s baby was nothing short of a miracle.
“When I was a medical student 20 years ago, Professor Orhue of University of Benin Teaching Hospital said this cannot happen,” Dr. Onyia said. “In the professor’s words: ‘It is impossible to have abdominal pregnancies to last to term (that is nine months) [and] even if they do, the baby will not be alive.”
But Aisha’s baby was very much alive, both before and after the cesarean delivery, which was done the very same day that Aisha had arrived, thinking that she had cancer. Thankfully, all seemed to be as it should be inside of Aisha’s abdomen…well, unless you count the fact that everything was located in a place it shouldn’t have been.
“Surprisingly, we found out that [the] membrane was well circumscribed or defined outside the womb, and secondly, the placenta was found on the intestine and stomach,” Dr. Onyia stated.
And there wasn’t any cancer. In fact, the mother who had complained of abdominal pain for months told Daily Trust that the “pains have completely stopped.” Of course, there’s more than the absence of cancer to be excited about. Aisha and the rest of her family have a new baby to be excited about, which, if her husband’s frequent visits to the hospital are any indication, everyone is looking forward to welcoming the new arrival home.
Unfortunately, the homecoming will have to wait a while. Though the hospital reported that both mother and baby are doing well, they plan keep both a little longer than they do most of their patients.
“Usually, we discharge our CS patients seven days after operation, but this is a striking case,” Dr. Onyia said. “We want to observe her condition 10 days before we discharge her.”
But, if recent events are any indicator, mom and baby will both be returning home soon. Baby is already suckling, and Aisha was seen cracking jokes with some of the hospital staff inside of the maternity ward by Daily Trust.
Oh, and if you were wondering about the baby’s name…You’ll have to wait, just like the rest of us. Mom hasn’t decided on a name, but if the hospital’s management team has anything to do with it, the naming ceremony (along with possibly the rest of the baby’s life) will be quite memorable.
“The management of the hospital wishes to call on the state government to assist the family’ to give the baby a befitting naming ceremony and to also assist them to take care of the child, because it is a miracle baby,” Dr. Onyia said.
While Dr. Onyia and his staff are well justified in their calling Aisha’s baby a miracle, this isn’t the first baby to survive outside of the womb. Consultant gynecologist at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital in Kano, Dr. Hauwa Musa Abdullahi, confirmed this by saying that abdominal pregnancies are rare, but not impossible.
“It is not as if it does not happen; it happens but very rarely,” she told Daily “Even last week, we had a patient with abdominal pregnancy at AKTH, but the baby did not come out alive.”
She does recall, however, that there was another woman who delivered a live baby after an abdominal pregnancy, which Dr. Hauwa says is caused by a number of factors, including infection.
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