By Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow
February 10, 2015

I think any baby's birth is incredible -- our bodies can nurture and deliver another human being, for heaven's sake! -- but two recent birth stories involving twins are truly remarkable.

First up is a baby girl born in Hong Kong with a mass between her liver and left kidney, and doctors there believe it may contain remnants of her two siblings, according to a case study published in the Hong Kong Medical Journal. The condition, called fetus-in-fetu, is when a still-developing fetus is absorbed into a normally developing fetus in utero. It's extremely rare, occurring in roughly 1 in 500,000 births, ABC News reports

In this case, doctors spotted two sets of intestines, bones with marrow, brain matter, a rib cage, a spine, and an umbilical cord, suggesting that the mom was unknowingly pregnant with triplets. They guesstimate that the absorbed fetuses may have been as old as 10 weeks at the time they merged with their sibling, but it's possible that it happened earlier in the pregnancy. Fortunately, the baby was able to undergo a surgery to remove the growth. No word on how she's doing, but here's hoping her recovery is a short, speedy one.

Meanwhile, another amazing birth was happening halfway across the world, in England. Callie Martin, 26, had been trying feverishly to get pregnant without much success. After three miscarriages, she was about ready to give up -- and then she got pregnant. Martin's happiness, however, would be short-lived: Eight weeks after conceiving, she suffered an ectopic pregnancy, and the fetus had to be surgically removed from her Fallopian tubes.

But all was not lost. Four weeks later, complaining of stomach pains, Martin was taken to the hospital for an ultrasound and discovered she was still pregnant. Unbeknownst to her or her doctors, she had conceived normally and ectopically. (The chances of multiple pregnancies happening are rare -- about 1 in 50,000.) And despite the invasive procedure to remove her twin, the second fetus was alive and well. Six months later, after an otherwise unremarkable pregnancy, Martin delivered baby Emmie by C-section. "My consultant said the surgery usually would have killed the other embryo and induced a miscarriage" she told the Daily Mail. "So it is truly miraculous that Emmie is alive."

Congratulations to the new parents and their incredible babies!

Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up.Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+

Image of sleeping newborn courtesy of


Comments (1)

December 3, 2018
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