6 Horrifying Things That Happen Before You Leave the Womb
As soon as your parents finish furiously humping you into existence, you embark on a magical journey that in nine months will take you from embryo to baby to unwilling Facebook spam. That's the PG version anyway, but what most after school specials tend to overlook is that along the way a developing human will go through so many creepy physical changes, you'd swear childbirth was something David Cronenberg invented while high on paint thinner.
WARNING: This article has some disturbing images that will ruin your life forever.
You Start Out as a Disembodied Asshole
Have you ever wondered which body part first emerges from a fertilized egg? That's a really heavy question with some serious philosophical implications. Is it the brain? The heart? Oh man, wouldn't it be hilarious if it were the penis? Wouldn't it be an existential nightmare if it were a solitary anus seemingly stapled to a cluster of cells? Yeah, funny thing about that ...
No! Turn back! We'll say the brain and heart are first. And then courage.
Human beings belong to a group in the animal kingdom called deuterostomes, which also includes sea cucumbers, urchins, vertebrates, and everything else that literally comes to life anus first. In humans, after the sperm breaks through the egg's outer membrane like a blind, drunk bull, the embryo splits into many different cells, eventually becoming a blastula. The blastula cells rip open from the inside out, forming an opening called the blastopore, which as you may have guessed will one day develop into a glorious butthole (although why we stop calling it the far more awesome sounding "blastopore" is anybody's guess). But in the beginning, you are just an embryonic, unconnected anus floating around in your mom's uterus, which is both the literal truth and a pretty sick burn, if you care to use it.
"Imma whip your coelom-filled, mesoderm-lined ass, bitch!"
The blastopore anus eventually widens like some primitive goatse before tunneling through the blastula until it reaches the other side, where finally the mouth is formed. So essentially, Nature makes humans by constructing two opposing holes and then kind of filling in the blanks. "Deuterostome" is actually a Greek term that means "mouth second," because it's the second part of the body that humans develop, and naming the process any differently would have ended up with us calling ourselves "ass first."
Your Eyes Develop Before Your Eyelids
Sleep is such a primal part of our nature. In light of that, you have to wonder why the hell human babies aren't born completely crazed out of their minds, considering that, between the third and fifth months of development, they have to live with functioning eyes, but no eyelids.
never sleeping never resting only waiting feeding growing
Your eyes start developing around Week 8, and they're almost completely developed by Week 12. However, your eyelids don't even begin to form until the fifth month. What you have instead until then is a thin, transparent membrane covering your peepers, almost as if Mother Nature wanted to make you watch as your own flesh twists and transforms in a body-horror display straight out of a John Carpenter film.
Until you're used to the sight, you will broadcast feelings of nausea. This is morning sickness.
That's not us embellishing, by the way ...
Your Intestines Grow Outside of Your Body
Anyone who's ever had a hernia or mistaken Taco Bell for food can tell you that when your intestines try to escape your body, it's pretty unpleasant. Which is probably why we've blocked out the memory of that very thing happening to us when we were just 2 months old.
Right around Week 6, a growing human will start to form its intestinal tracts inside the umbilical cord, the gut-tether connecting you to the placenta. That's because an infant's gastrointestinal tract is divided into three main sections: the foregut, which contains everything from your mouth to your stomach; the midgut, which goes from your intestines to the pancreas; and the hindgut, which is everything else right up to your poop chute. Unfortunately, that's a lot of guts to fit into one tiny human body, which at 2 months old decides to save some space by herniating your midgut out through your bellybutton and into a floppy pink sock. Your gut will continue to bore deeper into the umbilical cord and develop there, completely outside of your body, so that you can watch it all with your lidless eyes and scream with your asshole-mouth.
We could give you a closer look at this. Instead, here's a tasteful assortment of butcher's meats.
You're Covered in Cheese Wax
See that white stuff? No, somebody's not trying to keep a baby from sticking to the table by rolling it in flour. That's called vernix caseosa, and it's found on all babies during the last trimester of the pregnancy. Its name comes from the Latin words vernix (varnish) and caseosa (cheesy), which just goes to show you that you should never go naming gross medical curiosities on an empty stomach.
Try not to empty your stomach until after you've named it.
The white gunk is actually a biofilm, and you can think of it as a sealant for a newborn's skin. Vernix caseosa serves a ton of important functions, like effectively waterproofing us while in the uterus so that we don't come out all wrinkly and looking like Benjamin Button. The varnish also has mutant-like antibiotic properties and helps with heat regulation.
The liquid cellophane usually fades off once your lungs develop and you lose most of your duck-like properties. That's why preterm babies are apparently drenched with the stuff, but full-term babies only have patches of it left. There is one other good side to vernix caseosa, but it's not your boon. Considering that vernix is greasier than the floor at McDonald's, many doctors believe that the slippery coating makes childbirth a little easier for the mom. See, that's why you're naturally covered in cheese varnish -- to lube you out of the vagina with minimal tearing. Childbirth truly is a wonderful thing.
We'd warn against using cream cheese as lube, but you're already headed for the kitchen.
You Break Out in Blisters and Acne
Pustular melanosis is a skin disorder that often hits children in utero and manifests itself as a bunch of blisters that pop to reveal dark "freckles" inside them, like some sort of Cenobite Kinder Surprise. If you're wondering why you don't see more newborns cosplaying as Batman villains, it's because the disorder is completely benign, with the blisters and freckles fading altogether within three to 12 weeks. Knowing that probably doesn't do much to lessen the shock of going through the pain of childbirth only to be handed a tiny little Killer Croc for your effort.
He looks just like daddy!
Then again, having to deal with a freshly spawned lizard child might be a welcome alternative to giving birth to a kid apparently already in the midst of puberty. Sebaceous gland hyperplasia and milia cover a newborn's face with yellow/white acne as if it spent the last nine months gorging on double-fried cheeseburgers and listening to Marilyn Manson.
We typically think of acne as something we don't have to worry about until puberty, but because of the leftover hormones from mommy dearest, it's pretty common in 40 to 50 percent of all infants. However, sebaceous gland hyperplasia differs from the acne you get as a teenager in that it will almost certainly fade before the night of the big dance.
If only you could trust him to not eat the poinsettia.
You're Swimming in Your Own Shit and Piss
You've probably heard the phrase "her water broke" and know that it's a sign that someone is having a baby. However, chances are you don't know exactly what that is, and thus are not sufficiently grossed out by it yet. We're here to change that.
If you see someone in labor, don't help. Flee.
"Water breaking" refers to the amniotic sac inside the uterus rupturing and spilling the fluid inside. But what is amniotic fluid actually made of? Why, the kid's old piss, of course!
At the beginning, amniotic fluid is composed of water and cells from the baby, but that changes as soon as Jesus brings the growing offspring its own functional urinary system. Around the fourth month, a baby will have sufficiently developed organs to pee into the amniotic fluid like a drunken freshman at his first kegger. To make matters more unsettling, a fetus will then ingest the amniotic urine cocktail, filter it through its brand new kidneys, and then expel it in a vicious cycle that eventually turns the womb into a German porno set.
Is this NSW? We don't even know anymore.
By the time a typical human baby slips out into the world, it has usually drunk up to 15 ounces of amniotic fluid/urine a day, or roughly 3.5 gallons a month. Now, it is worth mentioning that this entire process is perfectly harmless to the fetus -- just like the occasional ingestion of poop that floats around their amniotic environment like a toilet malfunction at the International Space Station. Meconium is the medical name given to a baby's first bowel movement, which is, of course, also pooped directly into the amniotic sac.
Meconium is typically released at times of high stress. We might have stretched the truth earlier when we said that drinking your own poop is perfectly harmless, as it can lead to meconium aspiration syndrome, which happens when a baby's poop becomes trapped in its airways and obstructs breathing. So if you've been proudly bragging to your alumni newsletter that you've "never choked on your own shit," well, we might have some bad news for you ...
Matt firmly denies ever being born. He has a Twitter account here. That doesn't mean he uses it, but it exists if you want to remind him how wrong he is.
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Related Reading: You can become a drug addict while still in the womb too. We're not even kidding. And were you aware that newborn babies can come out with a coat of wolfman-like body hair? They totally can. Yes, babies are terrifying monsters. But they're also amazing.
BMX Cat: Less creepy than a baby, and looks much better on a t-shirt.