At conception, sperm joined ovum to form a
single cell which, miraculously, contained the genetic
blueprint for every detail of your development sex,
and eye color, height, skin tone and more. Over the next
week you traveled through your mothers fallopian tube to
her uterus, implanting in the nutrient-rich lining. Within
22 days your heart was beating, and your spinal column,
nervous system, kidneys, liver and digestive tract took
shape. Within a few short weeks you were about 1/4 inch
long; already ten thousand times larger than when you
Your brain tissue grew rapidly, and by 40 days brain waves
could have been recorded. Your facial features were taking
shape: ears, nose, lips, tongue and even tiny teeth. Near
months end your skeleton changed from cartilage to bone,
and you graduated to fetus, Latin for offspring or young
one. Tiny though you were, forty muscle sets began
their first exercises. By eight weeks all your body
systems were present, and from then on the changes you
experienced were mainly in size and refinement of body
parts you already had .
In month three, you were two inches in length and weighed
a grand total of one ounce. Your fingerprints the
ones you see now became evident. You slept, woke and
exercised energetically turning your head, curling
toes and opening and closing your mouth. Your fingernails
and toenails formed and if your parents wanted help
deciding what color to paint the nursery, they could have
now identified you as a son or daughter. You breathed
amniotic fluid to help strengthen your respiratory system,
and your vocal cords were complete. At times, it might
have appeared you were crying.
You hit a growth spurt in month four, reaching eight to
ten inches and a half pound or more. Mom began to show and
feel you move, and your heart was pumping up to 25 quarts
of blood each day. Believe it or not, facial expressions
similar to your parents were identifiable at this time.
You also learned what may later have become a
hard-to-break habit: sucking your thumb.
During month five you were very active. With all your
moving and stretching, Mom may have wondered if you were
training for the Olympics, particularly when she rested.
By the end of this month, you would grown to 12 inches and
weighed a whole pound, and had you been born at this time
you may have survived.
At six months, you were up to 14 inches long and a pound
and a half in weight. You were covered by a white filmy
layer called vernix (Latin for varnish) which protected
your delicate skin from the surrounding amniotic fluid.
Because your lungs were fairly well-developed you would
have stood a good chance of survival if born at this time.
You had a dim look at your cozy surroundings when your
eyelids opened during month seven. You could taste and
touch, and you recognized your mother's voice.
Strengthening muscles meant stronger and more frequent
pokes at Mom's stomach. Throughout this last trimester you
received antibodies from your mother via the placenta to
help provide you immunity to diseases.
During your eighth month, your skin thickened with a layer
of fat stored beneath for insulation and nourishment. You
gained at least two pounds to double your weight, and Mom
was probably uncomfortable awaiting your birthday.
By nine months, you could only turn from side to side
because of very cramped quarters. You probably settled
into a head-down position to prepare yourself for
delivery, and changes in Mom's hormones signaled the onset
of labor and birth.
During your first nine months, one cell grew to two
hundred million cells, weighing six billion times more
than at fertilization yet containing in a bit
detail the same unique person who came into being at
that first moment: a new and unrepeatable you!