The Marvel That Is Human Life


Written on 12:31 AM by Jack B.

A 10 week old fetus as it appears in the womb.

A couple of weeks ago I watched an incredible special on the National Geographic Channel on cable called: In The Womb. It showed the development of a child from conception to birth (it turned out to be a girl!) using the latest technology and cameras inside the mother's body. It was pretty amazing. As someone who being a male will (naturally) not give birth to a child it was a wonder to see the process of development from single cell, to zygote to fetus to live baby. Within days the cell/egg starts dividing and stem cells develop which will be the building blocks of all organs. By a month or two, neurons will have developed that will within the coming weeks produce the first sign of a heart beat, the development of eyes (which are not open yet still there), the brain stem and other organs. By 7 months (28 weeks) the child physiology is basically complete and from there on in its just a matter of growing with its organs and nervous system becoming stable. And in last 3 months the child becomes more and more aware, it starts to think( for lack of a better term), it sleeps, it even dreams (maybe), its still dark within its mother's womb but it can get used to music if its played over and over again and it starts to stretch and test itself, moving around, leading to the kicks mothers often feel. I was also in awe of how much just one little baby can take out of the mother. The child feeds off the mother and her blood supply. If she is weak, it is weak. I can't imagine what its like for mothers pregnant with multiple children at once.
I was really in thrall of how this one little cell could turn out to be such a beautiful little girl in the span of mere months. How complicated the human body is. How wonderful. More than anything it cemented my feelings of sickness at the casual experimentation and bio-engineering on human embryos in the name of "progress" and the destruction of fetuses especially in the later months in the name of that most benign of euphemisms, "choice". Of course I had these feelings before but they were more academic and idealistic than real. Biology was never my strong suit and I shied away from seeing anything to do with pictures of people's insides. But I do know enough to realize that human life is a marvel and the way it all comes together to form a person, like each one of us, is in its way a miracle - even if it's a miracle we can't see it with our own eyes.
I don't when the program will be on again but for those who get the National Geographic Channel (or if its shown on another channel) it's more than worth catching. In just two hours you'll see a lifetime.

A 28 week old fetus. Over the next four weeks, its nervous system will become as advanced as a newborn's.

I also recommend the children's book: Angel in the Waters by Regina Doman, the complete book is on-line and it's not that long. Its told from the point-of-view of a baby in the womb. I think its beautifully written and perfect to be shared with children when trying to explain to them what pregnancy and "having a baby" really is.

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