When little Itzamara was born, she had another baby inside her.
Yup, you read that correctly.
Back in February 2019, then-seven-months-pregnant Monica Vega went to get an ultrasound, where doctors discovered that the fetus growing in her womb had another tiny fetus growing inside of it. Whoa!
This baby was born twice—yep, you read that correctlyThis nesting doll pregnancy was caused by a condition called fetus-in-fetu, which is thought to happen in one out of every 500,000 births. So the tiny fetus was Itzamara’s twin, who at one point had been absorbed into Itzamara’s body. While there have been other reported cases of fetus-in-fetu, this case was special because Dr. Miguel Parra-Saavedra, a high-risk pregnancy specialist in Baranquilla, Colombia, was able to identify the anomaly via ultrasound while Vega was still pregnant.
According to The New York Times, Dr. Parra-Saavedra was investigating a lump on the fetus’s abdomen, which Vega’s obstetrician originally thought was a liver cyst. However, using colour Doppler and 3D/4D ultrasound imaging, Dr. Parra-Saavedra was able to see that there was a tinier parasitic fetus in the lump that was connected to Itzamara’s intestines by its own umbilical cord.
Because of this smaller twin, they made the decision to deliver Itzamara early at 37 weeks so the fetus growing inside of her didn’t cause damage to her internal organs. Vega delivered Itzamara via C-section, and the next day, the seven-pound newborn had her own “C-section” to get the tiny twin out of there. According to Dr. Parra-Saavedra, the twin was about two inches long when it was removed and had a rudimentary head and limbs but no brain or heart, so it sadly couldn’t survive on its own.
We’re happy to report though that both Vega and Itzamara are doing well after their surgeries. Itzamara is now just a normal healthy baby with nothing but a small scar on her tummy and a really cool, if a bit sad, birth story.