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12/16/2013

Cell Lineage: In Rememberance of What I've Lost


The thing Wikipedia so lovingly calls Microchimerism is a beautiful concept. It implies that a woman's loss is not solely a loss, as research has shown that fetal cells transfer to a mother during pregnancy and remain there for decades. And what's surprising is that even if a pregnancy doesn't come full term, those fetal cells remain in the mother's body. Women may have long lost a child, and still carry a memento of it within themselves, in my case, it's even more than one blueprint. What exactly these cells do, and how they affect the mother's body is largely unknown. Autoimmune reactions like Graft-versus-host as in bone marrow transplants are discussed as a consequence, in which the host's body cells are attacked; another, more positive theory is that feto-maternal cells act as rejuvenating stem agents, said to support healing processes. It's possible they do nothing but innocently stand by and mind their own business.

In any way, I have never thought about my past miscarriages as anything but painful events that cruelly display the finality of mother nature. Since statistically most of them happen for genetic reasons, I can't even get mad at mother nature for screwing with me and my hopes and dreams. Each time I hoped to pass the maternal inspection, and failed within the first trimester. Until now.

Luckily, this current one has passed that stage and is well on its way to be living proof of cell lineage in my body. And although I couldn't be happier, I'm thinking about those past losses quite regularly. Not that I miss those fetuses, as I wouldn't know how to miss the raw potential of lives I haven't gotten to know, but dealing with loss is never easy. I don't know if the comparison is particularly suitable, but when I lost my very first cell phone several years ago, I didn't know exactly why and where, or how it happened. I just saw that it was gone after the fact, and since large amounts of alcohol were involved that evening, retracing my steps seemed impossible. After the realization had sunk in, I didn't even know where to look for it. Not knowing haunted me. In nature as in pregnancy, the reasons for hit-and-miss may be conceivable to the initiators, (as to the thief who potentially took my cell, or mother nature, who potentially took the fetus) but they are never as clear to us humans, potential mothers - or cell phone users.

Hearing about Microchimerism propitiates me, as it sheds new light on the concept of existence, thus proving me wrong. In nature nothing is ever final. Existence is a definite state, like the number 1 opposed to 0, and it means that if there once is something, there will always be something else. Something can never have nothing as a consequence. Once we get used to the concept of transformation, remnants of life can be seen everywhere, for everything that exists once existed, even if the cause for it may have long disappeared to the naked human eye. Since everything always leads to something else, there is no such thing as true loss.

Those fetal cells, albeit detached and altered as compared to their initial configuration, are alive in my body, same as my old cell phone may exist on a pile of trash somewhere in Ghana; not alive, but present, somewhere. It may be a small consolation to anyone who has lost something, or someone close to their heart, but it is comforting to know, that although things and beings are in a state of flux, some part of them remains - in some form or another.


Can't wait to get to know the little guy - or girl!