Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Circle of Life


She was soaked to the skin with the anguish and pain of a loneliness she could not fully comprehend. The days were filled with work and conversations. The underlying emptiness growled within throughout the smiles and the conversations. The nights were sheer torture. The feeling would come over her like a blanket, covering everything. She had moments of suffocating feelings that made her sit upright in her bed at night clammy with the sensation of the rivulets of sweat running down her spine. She would feel the comforting hand of her husband on her arm for he knew the turmoil and chaos within in her. Things he could not quell with words or embrace. Things that needed to work their way out on their own. A purging of sorts had to occur.

This was the seventh year of their marriage. This was the seventh month since the last attempt at having a baby- another unsuccessful trial. “It will happen one day.” People would say with knowing looks and genuine warmth. They would tell their side of the story of many miscarriages and then success. The stories were the same all meant to make her torment tolerable. But to her they remained void of meaning.

She had several short-lived pregnancies, never carrying to term or much less past the first trimester. The psychological trauma of this deficiency chided her soul. She was determined to have a baby and she and her husband had agreed to this pact. She would have their baby and not contemplate adoption as others had proposed. Her determination was strong even though nature kept thwarting her attempts. No way was she capitulating to this alternate mentality

The prejudice that guides conception hides in little molecules of the germ cells. The fitness grade of each cell must pass muster before any progeny is allowed to hold the reins of life. Life is a self-propagating phenomenon. The very code that resides within the cell conspires to conjugate with the most eligible of counter-part. If either side has a weakness then propagation will be thwarted. These weaknesses can occur as potential damage to the genetic code of the germ cell itself occurring during replication or after. The damage can be at a very basic level which when mixed with the DNA of the counter-part (a spouse) the resulting fetus may have cellular un-differentiation, a protean defect or protein malformation that would lead to a miscarriage. The body evaluates the product of conception and only if “Inspector 12,” grants the certification then the pregnancy is allowed to full term. This “Inspector 12,” is in the form of multiple genetic triggers that assess the appropriate cellular function and form. Finding any defect in the basic mechanistic mode, the suicide genes are activated that abort the fetus. It is a fail-safe operation, purely for the propagation of the fittest species. 

“I don’t know what to do.” She cries softly rocking her self gently in her bed. It is midnight and all the fireflies of human inventions have been extinguished.

“Honey. We will go to the Fertility doctors tomorrow.” He assures her.

“But we tried that already.”

Yes, but there is a new technique that they have.”

“We don’t have the money.”

“I’ll take a loan. Don’t worry. This is the most important thing in our lives.”

“You sure?” She asks as tears stream down her face.

“Never more.”

It is the fifth month of the eighth year, after a speedy labor, the couple beam with delight as they behold their first-born, a healthy boy. Funny the tears of joy taste different then the ones she had been crying before. The world is a happier place. The lights are brighter and every nuance brings laughter. 

The mating of the germ cells is a small miracle. Two dissimilar cells merge to combine their genetic material. From this union and after all the reviews and checks are completed within and the go-ahead signal is received for the fused cell to go-forth-and-multiply life begins. The initial process is done. This cell divides at a geometrical pace. The rapid growth and the constant genetic surveillance of the product for any errant phenomenon proceeds quickly and quietly as the mother’s belly slowly stretches to behold the greatest triumph of human endeavor. The preparation of the “soil,” called the placenta where the growing fetus derives its food supply and the sac that holds the “water,” the amniotic fluid is all encompassing of the many “triggers” that need to be in the right position at the right time. And yet a birth happens every half a second somewhere on this planet. It is the remarkable machinery - the human body- that carries the mantle of such an impressive feat. Not only that the merger of the two disparate genetic material that carry the histories of two dissimilar family trees are brought together in this rendering. It is a Michael Angelo’s “Creation of Adam,” on the Sistine Chapel. It is the greatest gift.

Another chapter gets written at each birth unbeknownst to us. That is the slow subsurface evolutionary writing on the genetic code. The merger of disparate genetic material also allows for gain of access to stronger sets of genes that may help thwart a disease manifest in the population as Sickle cell for Malaria with just one amino acid variation in the genetic code. It can also harbor as “junk DNA,” in the genome some material grafted in the man or the women via exposure to viruses. These can strengthen or weaken some codes that can help immunity. The previous exposures to viruses can also help alert the immune system of the baby against any unwanted attacks from the external world. There is a matter of cooperation or deception that continuously goes on inside of us. Sometimes the viral world wins with its deceptive ways and other times it cooperates with the body to serve it’s own purpose of survival thus helping humanity. Oh there is a whole carnival of activity going on inside of us. The genome continues to better itself with each generation. Most time it succeeds. It is a quest for perfection.

She holds the baby close to her. Both sets of eyes locked on each other. One overflowing with love and the other helpless but comforted and secure. The baby coos and melts his mother’s heart. A single tear of joy runs down the mother’s cheek and onto the baby’s face. Permanence is established. The husband gently caresses both his loves. The world is complete. Humanity is once again saved from extinction.

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