Baby on the Brain

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, September 18, 2014 2 comments

by Steve Risner

A human being's beginning is a marvelous thing. Your mother, since she was in the womb herself, had a large stockpile of eggs in her ovaries that contain half of her genetic information. The egg is a fairly large cell, even though it only has half the information most other cells of the body have. Your father came along and contributed the other half of the genetic information that makes you “you” via a sperm cell. A sperm cell is similar to an egg in that in has half the genetic material that is necessary for a human being to be “built,” but it's very different in appearance. It's much smaller than the egg and has a long tail that allows it to propel itself to its destination. These two gametes come together and make a human life—a fertilized egg—at conception. What happens next is enough to boggle the mind. That single cell (created by two half cells) will become, according to some research papers, as many as 4 quadrillion cells (or as little as 100 trillion depending on the source) in about 280 days! That's unimaginable!

My wife is currently pregnant, although hopefully by the time this blog is posted she will have delivered our 5th child. She often uses the excuse of “I'm eating for two,” or “The baby wants ice cream.” It's true that she's got another person inside her, which is just weird for me, a man, to think about. But the other person is, for much of the time, smaller than a baseball. However, when I consider the amount of growth that baby goes through from the moment of conception to the moment of birth, I begin to understand that all that energy she wants to consume is necessary.

During the first 12 hours after conception, the fertilized egg remains a single cell. After approximately 30 hours, it divides from one cell into two, and 15 hours later, the two cells divide into four. Eventually, it will be a morula—which literally means mulberry. Ever see a mulberry? It looks like a blackberry only it's on a tree. The human being that's growing at this stage looks just like a mulberry. This is within days of being conceived.

Everything about your genetics is determined the moment that specific egg cell is fertilized by that specific sperm cell. Your gender, hair color, eye color, and so many other things are set at that moment. And it's an amazingly busy bit of human. From the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children:

“The embryo is not simply a set of instructions for making a new human being, like a blueprint for building a house. A blueprint is inert and cannot carry out instructions, but the embryo is active and begins work at once. A house needs builders, carpenters, electricians and plumbers to complete it; but the embryo has the ability to grow spontaneously, moving on to other phases of development and constructing the skeleton, flesh, nerve connections and a waste disposal system of the human body. After a house is built, a blueprint remains separate; but the embryo–already an essential human by virtue of the genes–is blueprint, builder and ‘house’ together.”

It's amazing how this little single cell knows exactly what to do. It turns from two half cells to one whole, to two, to four, etc until we have a roughly 7-lb person consisting of countless cells that are categorized into approximately 200 different types! All this from a single cell! How does it know to differentiate like that? How does it know when to do any of this along the way? In 280 days, a human being will begin as a single cell and become 200 different types of cells arranged in four major categories of tissue organized into over 60 different organs working together in 12 distinct systems. How could one assume this is the result of a series of mistakes that just happened to generate an amazing machine that we call the human body?

Within 25 days, we see this single cell has become a head and trunk with early arms and legs. Its brain and spinal cord are not only developing but have been protected to insure proper development with disturbance. The brain has had measurable brain waves within 40 days of conception! The heart has not only begun to form but has begun to beat! Nearly every organ of the body is present although much must be done before the baby is able to survive outside the womb. Sir William Liley described the baby after a month this way:

“By 30 days, just two weeks past mother's first missed period, the baby–one quarter of an inch long–has a brain of unmistakable human proportions, eyes, ears, mouth, kidneys, liver, an umbilical cord and a heart pumping blood he has made himself.”

After a month, the baby will be approximately 5 mm in length. In just 4 more weeks, this human being will be about 8 times that size–40 mm in length.

Within 6 weeks, we'll see fingers on the hands and toes on the feet. The eyes began to develop within the first month, and after 6 weeks they'll have lenses and eyelids. As sensory nerves begin to grow in the nervous system, the baby begins to move and has been seen to respond to touch as early as 5 weeks.

After 8 weeks the body is nearly a completed project! Maturation is necessary, but all the parts are there and many are functioning. At this point, the baby is now referred to in the literature as a fetus, which means “offspring.” No one can argue at this point that this child is a human being. I, personally, don't feel you could argue we're not talking about a human being from the very second the sperm cell fertilizes the egg, but that's another blog. But the fact is that some studies suggest a human baby will begin to be self-aware or sentient as early as 6 weeks! That's astounding and heart breaking at the same time.

We're coming up on an election. Without telling you who to vote for or not to vote for, please consider this: first and foremost a politician must take a moral stance. There is no question, in my opinion, that terminating an innocent human being's life is immoral. I believe a politician who does not understand this fundamental issue is not capable of leadership and should not receive your vote. It makes no difference if they have plans that will prosper you or this great nation. If they are willing to kill unborn children, they cannot lead us, period. Vote with your conscience, not your wallet.

God knew us before we were in the womb. He knitted us together and, from before time began, He had awesome plans for each one of us.

Editor's Note: Steve's wife gave birth to their 5th child on Tuesday, a baby girl.


suzanne snyder said...

this was awesome to read today on my birthday. thanks for it. and hope you have had your 5th child and all is well. God bless.

Steve said...

She was born on the 16th! She is amazing! Thank you. Hope your birthday was a blessing.