Chilean doctors have discovered a calcified fetus in the uterus of an elderly woman who never knew she was pregnant.
Estela Meléndez, 91-year-old woman from La Boca in Navidad, Chile, says she has had a lump on her belly for several years, however had no idea that she was carrying a fetus. When she suffered a fall, doctors took X-rays and found the lump, which they initially believed to be malignant.
“I have the lump here,” Meléndez says, touching her belly. “The doctor said I had a tumor and that they needed to operate on me,” Meléndez told CNN. However when a second X-ray was ordered to confirm, doctors couldn’t believe their eyes. The mass they were looking at turned out not to be a tumor, but a fetus.
Doctors say it has been in her uterus for over six decades. The fetus is calcified and poses no health risk to the woman.
For the elderly woman and her family, the finding has been quite a shock. Meléndez’s husband of 74 years, Manuel González, died in January at age 91. González made a living as a fisherman and a boater in the coastal town. One of her few regrets, Meléndez says, is that she and her husband were unable to have children.
“We suffered tremendously because of this reason,” Meléndez said.
“Can you imagine? More than 60 years!” said Luis Meléndez, the woman’s nephew. “I wonder how she never felt bad once the fetus died inside of her.”
Doctors considered operating on the 91-year-old to remove the fetus but ultimately decided against it due to her age.
Meléndez says it hurts sometimes, but more often than not it’s just an uncomfortable lump.
On a deeper level, she says, the lump on her belly reminds her of her husband and their unfulfilled dream of having a child all those years ago.