Samuel Alexander Armas (born December 2, 1999) is the child shown in a famous photograph above by Michael Clancy, dubbed the “Hand of Hope,” of his hand extending from an opening in his mother’s uterus and touching his surgeon’s finger during open fetal surgery for spina bifida. (source)
The photograph was taken during a procedure to repair the spina bifida lesion of a 21-week-old baby in the womb performed by a surgical team at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Joseph Bruner and Dr. Noel Tulipan developed a technique for correcting certain fetal problems in mid-pregnancy.
Their procedure involves temporarily opening the uterus, draining the amniotic fluid, partially extracting and performing surgery on the tiny fetus, and then restoring the fetus to the uterus back inside the mother. (source)
This just underscores the amazing beauty and wonder of life before birth! Let’s look deeper.
Marvelous, Hidden Play In the Womb
Doppler may pick up that lovely lub-dub of your baby’s heartbeat at 8-12 weeks, but the flutterings of life once called the “quickening” won’t be felt by most Mamas until somewhere into the fourth month. Any earlier, buried deep within the protective cushioning of your womb, your tiny one could do acrobatics and you’d never know.
Via ultrasound, we can witness babies thumb-sucking, smiling, yawning, sneezing, hiccuping, opening their eyes, and exploring, not to mention stretching and kicking. Scientist who study life in the uterus have demonstrated that babies also dream.
Babies even clap (as if to music) very early in their development.
It might seem odd at first that developing babes would play in the womb, but if you think about it, it isn’t so odd at all.
Naturally in the uterus, play is rather limited, but movement through play is essential for healthy mental and physical development of the child. We all have an inborn need to play and explore our world. We now know play in the womb starts very, very early. Play strengthens muscles and reflexes are tested out; just as adults need to move to remain strong, so the developing baby needs to move to progress and not atrophy.
In this fabulous 30 second sonogram video at 13 weeks, these fortunate parents witnessed their little baby play in the womb – jumping and rebounding off the uterine wall earlier and more vigorously than anyone ever thought happened.
Babies playing in the womb is good for the mother, too. It helps the mother to bond and enhances anticipation of her newborn child. Feeling a baby move in you makes a woman want to protect and care for her baby even before she sees or holds it. The movement also stimulates hormonal changes in a woman’s body to prepare for birth and nursing.
25+ Astounding & Fascinating Facts
You can get an amazing FREE pregnancy app HERE.
With today’s modern technology and medical information, we have a real-time window into the womb. What happens to babies before birth – all the ways they move, grow, and change – is nothing short of amazing.
- On the first day following fertilization, the human embryo is identifiable as a specific individual human being on a molecular level.
- A mom-to-be grows a new organ. Just 3 weeks after conception, a grouping of cells cluster together on the uterine wall and grow into the placenta.
- As a high tech fertility patient, via a simple 1991-vintage ultrasound, I saw our twin babies’ hearts beating on day 16!
- At 2 to 3 weeks, a baby’s brain is the “first organ to appear.”
- A baby’s brain waves can be measured at 6 weeks old. See the brainwaves for yourself here.
- The development of the digestive system is underway just 4 weeks after fertilization.
- Upper and lower limb buds also appear by four weeks.
- Fingerprints begin developing early and end up being a completely unique pattern by birth.
- In female babies the uterus is identifiable by 9 weeks and, within her ovaries, immature germ cells called oogonia, are replicating via mitosis. Outside the body, the genitalia begin to differentiate as either male or female.
- By week 32, every part of a fetus has gained a sense of touch that’s sensitive enough to feel a single hair brushing across the body.
- In the womb, your baby experiences what you experience, from the food you eat to your emotions. When it comes to food, you can help develop your baby’s palette by what you eat. Strong smells and tastes pass through the amniotic fluid.
- When it comes to emotions, the research published in The Effects of Maternal Stress and Anxiety During Pregnancy shows that high levels of constant stress or anxiety during pregnancy can create immediate to long-term issues for the developing baby.
- Here is Princeton.edu’s compilation of medical statements supporting that life begins at fertilization.
The Making of an Earth Suit by the Endowment of Human Development is the BEST interactive site I have ever seen! You can see actual videos from month 1 to month 9!
Try to imagine yourself back in your mother’s womb.
Ultrasound and The Abortion Debate
As technology devises ever more sophisticated ways for us to study the child in the womb, it’s getting more difficult for the abortion movement to argue in favor of snuffing out a child’s life. And who would want to argue in favor of deliberately causing the child pain on top of that?
What we’re speaking of here is no less than the humanity of the fetus, and these discoveries are making the subject harder and harder to avoid.
Scientific studies are in effect defending what our faith had already told us: that the life in the womb is indeed a human life, with the same qualities that make us consider our own lives sacred—a beating heart, brain function, childish play, and sensitivity to pain being just a few of them. And so we believe that a child’s life is a gift from God and worthy of protection and care.
“Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die.” ~Proverbs 31.8
Historians often debate the greatest technological advancements of the past century, but I’ve got to wonder if ultrasounds shouldn’t be near the top.
Simply put, I now understand why pro-abortion leaders opposed the technology at every turn, for we can see for ourselves the wondrous beauty of LIFE….where each one of us has been as we were knit together.
These little ones can’t yet cry out, but they are speaking loudly … and winning.
Let your school-age children see these miracles for themselves! Wonders of God’s Creations: Human Life by Moody Bible Institute will give them a reverence and awe for life and babies, a part of God’s highest creation – unforgettable evidence of the Creator’s handiwork.
We’ve used this video and others like it as part of our homeschool.
Have you had any startling, funny, or interesting experiences with ultrasound that you are willing to share?