Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Day 1225: Making babies is tough work!

I am currently taking a course called Human Development. As the title states, we follow le bebe from fertilization (when it is a singular cell with genetic information from mom and dad (science word for this: zygote) all the way through birth. Let me tell you something. Human development is some crazy ass sh!t. (Pardon my French.) Seriously. I am currently watching a lecture on how the GI tract (esophagus, the tube that brings food down to your stomach; stomach; small intestine, where a majority of digestion occurs; large intestine, where most of your water reabsorption occurs; and your rectum, where you poop) forms and it is tricky business! There is a lot of rotation of the embryo and lots of folding that has to happen to make sure your intestines are twisty and that they stay in your abdominal cavity. Versus not (see image below).

Gastroschisis - Image from the CDC

Doesn't this baby look crazy? Luckily, this birth defect can be fixed surgically and this is why prenatal care is so important. But that's besides the point. I'm not an obstetrician.

What I am is a med student who is freaking out about a) learning all this absurd crap. It is INSANE what happens in nine months. A heart! Lungs! A skeleton! Toes! Fingers! Eyes! It never ends! b) I am freaked out about baby-making. I mean I won't be making babies any time soon. They grow into real people. Who are mean. And rude. And toddlers are messy. And selfish. And did I mention babies turn into real people? What I mean is, my cousin is having a baby. Soon. And an ex-colleague of mine from the Stanford lab is due to pop (or has popped!) any day now. And my best friend's sister just had baby number two. ...


All I heard about at the end of genetics and through every phase of human development is all the things that go wrong in baby-making. There are the "obvious" ones like Down Syndrome and things like gastroschisis (which is pretty hard to miss when your baby is born with it's intestines outside), but there are things like heart defects (some which can be heard while baby is still in mom (science word for this: in utero) but some you have to discover after the baby is born) and closures where there should be openings (science word for this: atresia) and other possible birth defects.

Don't you worry Mom and Dad. There is no need to worry about your precious medical student daughter getting pregnant any time soon. Genetics and human development have officially scared me away from any baby-making for a long, long time. The endless possibilities of things going wrong is just too much to bear.

You know how people say knowledge is power? They obviously knew very little about human development because now that I know roughly three-ish weeks worth of information, I often wish I had stayed blissfully ignorant.