Estella stood frozen in her tracks as the horror overcame her. This had to be a joke or something. How could this even happen? A tear slid down her cheek as the doctor broke the news to her. He had 25 years of medical experience behind him and had never seen anything like this.
The 91-year-old woman felt sick to her stomach. Was this a nightmare that she could wake up from? No, it wasn't. She glanced down at her stomach as a chill ran down her spine. There was no turning back now.
A Strong Love
Estela Melendez, 90 years old, and her husband Manuel González didn't need designer clothing or a huge mansion to be happy. They were content to stay in their small but comfortable bungalow in Chile.
They had been together ever since they were teenagers, and when they said, "I'll love you forever," they genuinely meant it. But their 74-year marriage was about to shatter to pieces, and their lives would forever change.
You see, Manuel sadly passed away in his sleep in 2015 at the age of 91, leaving his wife distraught and grieving. How would Estela cope with daily chores now that her husband had passed away? She was just one year younger than her late husband.
She struggled tremendously - even cooking for one person felt like a marathon. Estela believed things couldn't get any worse, but she would soon be proven entirely wrong.
How Could She Do This By Herself?
Estela felt as though her heart had been torn from her chest when Manuel passed away, given that she had spent most of her life by her soulmate's side.
Despite her best efforts, she struggled to preserve her peace and optimistic attitude. She cherished the bittersweet memories of their time together and reflected on them often. But Estela would carry one regret with her to the grave.
Early in their relationship, the two discovered that Estela could not conceive and become pregnant, which prohibited them from having children.
The news was heartbreaking, especially since the couple had always dreamed about starting a family. But the reason Estela couldn't have a baby remained a mystery for decades. And when she discovered the truth, she felt sick to her stomach.
Feeling Like A Failure
After Estela learned she couldn't get pregnant, she spent the rest of her life feeling like a failure. All of Estela's sisters and friends had children, and her heart broke every time she saw their picture-perfect happy family. She should be one of them. She should be a mother.
A few years later, a tumor was found in Estela's stomach. Although it wasn't fatal, it still felt like another shot to the heart. But she had no idea that a tumor would be the least of her concerns.
Lots Of Problems
Estela, who is now 91, was hit with countless bills and unending medical problems a year after he husband's passing. She was developing arthritis and starting to experience hearing loss.
Not to mention she was rapidly gaining weight, as if she was eating two slices of cake every night even though she wasn't. Little did this 91-year-old lady realize that things would only get worse.
Estel had been trying her best to lose weight for some time now. She has tried every diet imaginable, including vegan, Atkins, cabbage soup, and more. She was aware that the older you got, the more difficult it became, but she wasn't going to give up.
But the weight wouldn't budge. On the contrary, it seemed as if she was gaining even more! She visited the doctors a few miles away to try and figure out what was happening. But she had no clue what was about to ensue.
Going To The Doctor
When she got to the doctor's office, she waited to be called in. She has lived in hospitals and medical offices for the last ten years. She was used to the doctor's office's sterile environment and foul odor.
Waiting for her name to be called, she suddenly had a severe stomach ache. She knew something was wrong. And she was entirely right to think so.
The X-Rays Reveal The Truth
The doctor gave Estela an X-ray to make sure everything was alright. They also wanted to ensure nothing was wrong with the tumor she had.
However, what the X-ray discovered would shake Estela's world. Nobody expected anything like this to happen.
A Shocking Discovery
The doctor carefully examined the result and concluded that Estella never actually had a tumor!
So what had been the problem then? The doctor's eyes grew wider as they scanned over the X-ray, and his mouth dropped open. Estela was carrying something much more concerning than a tumor inside her. The doctor had never seen something like this in his career before.
It Couldn't Be Real
Surely, this was a joke. This is impossible. How could this happen? Estela's mind was flooded with numerous questions as the doctor revealed the truth.
She felt as if she was going to be sick. She hoped this was just a dream and she would wake up any moment. But it was her reality. A chill ran up her spine as she looked down at her stomach.
It turns out that the 91-year-old was actually pregnant! The instant the doctor told Estela, she was flooded with emotion. How could this even happen? What was going on exactly?
The doctor explained it wasn't an actual baby but rather the remnants of a fetus. But after the doctor told her how long she had been carrying the child, Estella was speechless.
A Mother All Along
The doctors examined the fetus some more and determined that Estela had been carrying it for about 60 years!
Estela felt her heart shatter after hearing the news. She had always dreamed about having a child of her own to raise and love. But she had no idea that an unborn baby had been inside her for more than half a century! The doctors had much more to say, though.
What The Doctors Found
The doctors explained to Estela that her condition was called lithopedion and only affects a small proportion of women globally.
The fetuses, also known as stone babies or lithopedions, result from a fetus that begins to grow outside the pregnant woman's womb. The discovery had made Estella miss her husband more, but she knew if he were here, he would have held her hand and supported her through everything.