Oh come on......It's a baby, not a hobbit!

Today is the first day of the year. And, one of the symbols people typically use to represent the new year is a baby. So, today, I have a post about babies.

Have you ever thought about the reproduction cycle? Not just in humans, but in everything? Unless you have mastered asexual reproduction, it takes two to make one. The man and the woman each supply what is known as a zygote. A zygote is like, half a cell. That's why the sperm try so hard to get to the egg. It desperately want's to become whole.

And, once the egg and the sperm are joined, you have the beginnings of.....something. We could debate when life begins forever, and chances are, no one will agree with anyone else. And so, I'm not even going there. And, please, keep that debate out of the comments.

If everything goes just right, after nine months, a healthy baby is born. And it's one of the most horrifying things to witness, ever. It's worse than any slasher movie you've ever seen, because it's happening to someone you love, and it's your fault.

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But, sometimes, not everything goes right. There are thousands of things that can go wrong in the development of a baby. Consider how a baby is formed. A single cell splits into two. The two split into four, the four into eight, eight into sixteen, and....you get the idea.

These cellular divisions keep happening during the developmental stages. And, sometimes, when a cell splits, it results in a mutation. We call beneficial mutations 'evolution'. The bad mutations are called 'cancer'.

Now, that just covers accidental mutations. Sometimes, the mutations are written into our genes. Well, the potential for mutations, at least. And, if your partner just so happens to contribute the other half of the corrupt gene, then something goes wrong. Sometimes.

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Just because you carry a mutated gene, it doesn't mean you'll pass it on. (screw it....study genetics on your own time....read about Gregor Mendel and his peas)

Anyway, you're probably wondering where the hell I'm going with this.

Well, the picture above is a baby, because it's New Years Day. But, why did I use a statue? Because a statue is made of stone. And, stone babies is what I'm talking about today.

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There is a rare, very rare, condition called Lithopedion. Lithopedion doesn't actually kill the baby. Nor is it something the parents pass on in their genes. Instead, it's something that happens after the fetus dies.

Fetus death is something that happens. If the fetus is small enough, the mothers body will reabsorb it. If it's too big for that, the woman has a miscarriage, and the body takes care of it that way.

But rarely, and I do mean rarely, the woman doesn't miscarry, and the fetus is too large to be reabsorbed. This is a bad thing for the woman. Because the dead fetus can cause all sorts of infections.

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To prevent that, the woman's body begins Lithopedion. That is, the cells of the fetus begin to calcify. This is to prevent the putrefying fetus from harming the woman. And, given enough time, the entire fetus will calcify. It turns to stone.

Now, before you ladies start to freak out, when I say it's rare, I mean it. This only happens in the case of an abdominal pregnancy. And, most of the time, when it does happen, it occurs before the woman even realizes she's pregnant. And, once the fetus dies, the body goes back to it's normal menstrual cycle, so most of the time, women are blissfully unaware that anything was amiss, other than they missed a period, or it was late. Lithopdeion is usually discovered during some other medical procedure where a full xray is done.

The last recorded case I could find in the US was of a woman who became pregnant in 1962 and thought she miscarried. It wasn't until 1999, when she began having abdominal pain. She had no idea anything was amiss, and she even had a child after she lost the first one. (She refused extraction.)

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SO, now that I've grossed you all out, I can consider my job done for today. I don't want anyone to freak out over this. There are only 300 or so recorded cases of this happening. So, it is incredibly rare.

**Authors Note**

Because I like you guys, I used a picture of a statue of a baby. I didn't have too, you know. I could have used an actual picture of a stone baby. But, quite frankly, they are not really that pleasant to look at. You can google them yourself if you want to, but I advise against it. Remember, I google this shit so you don't have to.