The Maybe Babies
By Rebecca Hofmann
Egg C looked around at the other eggs in the group. There were 18 all together.
Mommy had been excited that there were so many volunteers for the Maybe Baby Program, but Egg C was worried. This many eggs meant more competition, and Egg C really wanted to graduate from the Maybe Baby Program, in the hopes of becoming a full-grown baby.
Success would hinge on the partner. Scanning the class of sperm cadets that Daddy had sent, Egg C wondered which one would complete their team of two.
Addressing the group of eggs, The Embryologist explained the program, and Egg C began studiously taking notes. “You are the best and brightest from your mommy, but it takes more than that to become a Maybe Baby. This program is not for individuals, and you cannot become a Maybe Baby alone. This will require a team effort. If working on a team is not something you are interested in doing, then this program is not for you.”
She paused and scanned the room expectantly. Slowly some of the eggs began to shift nervously in their seats, and sure enough one by one, 9 eggs stood and made their way to the door.
Shaking her head, she turned her attention back to the 9 remaining eggs. “I guess they were just not mature enough for the program.”
“The rest of you will pair off with your assigned sperm. As I call your name, please join your partner. You will have one hour to work together as a team to create the perfect hug. Those of you that are successful will join together as a zygote and continue in the Maybe Baby Program.”
“Ok, game on!” thought Egg C, although the nervousness grew as The Embryologist went down the list.
“Egg A you’re with Sperm A.” The clumsy sperm tripped several times on the way to meet Egg A. “Egg B with Sperm B.” Egg B did not look impressed with the swagger and toothy grin of Sperm B.
Egg C you’re with Sperm C…Where is Sperm C? Sperm C…,” The Embryologist looked around the lab, and so did Egg C. Where was Sperm C? Would they be out of the running already?
Suddenly, a strong, quiet sperm stood up from the back and strolled to join Egg C at the front.
Egg C was relieved. They smiled at each other and stayed close as The Embryologist rattled off the rest of the teams.
It was time. Each team moved in close and hugged. A few got it right away. Others were not so lucky.
For Egg C and Sperm C is took a little while, but they were both determined and eventually they made the perfect hug. They were no longer 2 single cells, but one, 2-cell zygote. The beginnings of a great team.
The Embryologist gathered the four remaining zygote teams together. Zygote C, Zygote J, Zygote K, and Zygote M. She congratulated them all on making it this far, and told them that Mommy and Daddy had been informed of their progress.
Whispers of excitement spread through the room as each of the zygote teams imagined their possibilities.
“Alright teams, you will now have 2 days to grow from 2 cells to 8 cells. This will not be easy. You must identify and copy every last bit of information about yourself in order to divide from 2 cells into 4 cells, and then you must do it again to get to 8 cells. Good Luck!” After the pep talk, The Embryologist was gone, and the teams got to work.
Making the perfect hug had taken a lot of energy. Team J was tired and quickly went to sleep. Also drained, Team K followed shortly after. They would not be graduating from the Maybe Baby Program.
Team C got to work immediately, as did Team M. The teams worked tirelessly through the next two days identifying information and making copies, but there wasn’t enough time. They couldn’t make it to 8 cells, despite the hard work and effort they had put in.
When The Embryologist arrived, she smiled. “I’m so proud of you,” she said, “and so are Mommy and Daddy. You have shown, that no matter what, you are willing to work hard and keep trying for as long as you can.”
“Congratulations! You have both graduated the Program! I am honored to certify you both Maybe Babies.”
“You will both head home to Mommy’s belly, and attempt to become full-grown babies. Nothing is a guarantee, but no matter what happens, I am very proud of you. Good Luck on your journey home.”
As they left the lab, Team C and Team M, felt accomplished. Everything would be different now.
Once back in Mommy’s belly Team C continued to divide and grew quickly to over 100 cells, snuggling in to the comfy wall of mommy’s belly, but Team M was now exhausted. They struggled to keep dividing and growing.
“You can do it,” Team C called to Team M.
“We’re just too tired.” Team M was running low on energy. “We will not become a baby this time, but you will! We are honored to have been a Maybe Baby with you. Say hi to Mommy and Daddy for us, and grow, Grow, GROW!”
With that, Team C was alone, and GROW they did, into millions of cells. Weeks passed and the millions of cells began to organize themselves. An Almost Baby was taking shape.
Months passed, and suddenly Mommy and Daddy could be heard whispering encouragement from the outside. And other sounds too, strange sounds. The unknown world was calling.
Nearly 9 months to the day since Egg C volunteered for the Maybe Baby Program, Charlie left Mommy’s belly and joined his parents as a Full-Grown Baby.