A mother in Colombia gave birth to a “pregnant” baby girl. When Monica Vega was seven months pregnant, an ultrasound located two umbilical cords but only one baby. The second umbilical cord was attached to the baby’s stomach. A large mass protruded from the fetus’ belly. The baby had absorbed her twin, and the twin was living inside of her abdomen.
The wild story first appeared on Infobae. During a routine ultrasound, Doctors found two umbilical cords inside Monica Vega’s uterus. Quickly, doctors realized that the fetus had absorbed their twin. The rare condition is called fetus in fetu.
In the condition fetus in fetu, the embryo fails to divide correctly. During a twin pregnancy, the embryo splits in the first week of gestation. A siamese twin occurs when the embryo divides in the second week. When the embryo divides during the third week, fetus in fetu happens.
When fetus in fetu happens, the living twin carries a “parasitic” twin. The condition is so rare that it occurs only once in a million pregnancies. Typically, mothers learn about the parasitic twin after giving birth. However, doctors found the twin early and were able to develop a plan.
In this case, doctors feared that the placement of the twin inside the abdomen could cause damage to the healthy fetus’ internal organs. With this knowledge, doctors decided that the fetus would need to be delivered before 40 weeks gestation.
At 37 weeks, doctors performed a scheduled c-section and removed the viable twin. When the baby was only a day old, surgeons performed a c-section on the baby. Thankfully, the surgery went well and the twin survived the high-risk operation.
After the doctors removed the parasitic twin, the fetus died. The fetus lacked a brain and heart. According to doctors, the only reason the twin survived was by living off the nutrients supplied by the host twin.
While fetus in fetu is a rare condition, other cases of the condition have been reported in India. An article in the Journal of Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons discussed two separate incidents. In both instances, the fetuses were removed from the host twin without complications. The parasitic twins had arms, legs, trunks, and heads.Rarely does fetus in fetu pose any life-threatening complications to the host twin. However, in Monica’s case, the twin’s location in the abdomen made the removal of the twin critical for the survival of her baby.
Today Monica has a healthy baby girl. Monica named her daughter Itzmara, and she has fully recovered from her c-section.
Perhaps the wildest part of this story is that a day old baby delivered her own baby via c-section. When she becomes an adult, she can tell doctors that she has already given birth.
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.
Watch her daily lives on YouTube
Buy Katie Joy a cup of Coffee.
Individuals wishing to help Katie with her expenses can become patrons. Patrons gain exclusive access to stories, new projects, and future books.