Coffee with Uncle Reggie: A Baby is Born
与曾叔叔喝咖啡闲聊 : 新生儿
(孙珺、彭瑞锦 翻译)

I’m a neonatologist, a doctor who specializes in newborn infants. When I see a newborn baby, my instinctive reflex is always “this is a miracle”,even though I’ve seen thousands of newborn babies. This response is common for many delivery room workers. Everyone is so excited to see a new baby, to hear the first cry, and exclaim “is it a boy or a girl?!”

是一位新生儿科医生,专门硏究新生儿医学。虽然我见 过成千上万的新生儿,但每当我看到又一个新出生的小生命时, 我的第一反应仍会是:“真是一个奇迹!”当然,这也是产房工作人员的常见反应。每当大家听到小婴儿的第一声啼哭时, 所有人都会异常兴奋地问 : “是男孩还是女孩?”

The beautifully complex placenta

And then suddenly the lifeline (umbilical cord) is cut. For months and months, the umbilical lifeline, connected to the placenta and mother, has supplied all the nutrients that the baby needed from her mother, and transferred all the baby’s rubbish back into the mother. It is a remarkable system that has kept the baby alive for many months and in such great shape. I often joke to children that, when you think of your own birth, you need to hug your mother tightly and say: “Mom, I love you; even before I was born, not only did you give me all that I needed, you even took all my dirty diaper stuff without complaining.”

当小婴儿顺利出生后,脐带就会被切断。脐带这条生命线 数月来一直连接著胎盘和母体,负责从母亲那里输送宝宝需要的所有营养物质,又将宝宝的排泄物运回母体那里。很难想像, 就是这个奇妙的系统在孕育生命的几个月里,一直维持著宝宝的生命与健康。所以,我经常和孩子们开玩笑说 : “每当你想 到自己的出生,你就要紧紧抱著妈妈,对她说 : ’我爰你! 在我还没出生,妈妈你不仅提供我一切所需,甚至不曾抱怨, 还照单全收我的排泄物。’”

But now, at the moment of birth, the cord is cut, and amazingly, thousands upon thousands of hormones, enzymes and chemicals spring into action, and change remarkably; within minutes, there’s a total revolution in physiology. The heart, the lungs, the blood vessels, the kidneys, the intestines, the brain, nothing is the same anymore. But all of it is beautifully synchronized and perfect; it’s much better than a Swiss watch; everything is dynamically perfect.

令人惊讶的是,就在这脐带被剪断的瞬间,成千上万的激 素、酶和化学物质马上开始运作,婴儿的全部生理过程产生了革命性的变化,比如心脏、肺、血管、肾脏、大肠、小肠、大 脑等器官,在数分钟内变得完全不一样。这些器官的变化是毫无瑕疵、有条不紊地进行著,这种完美即便是标榜精准度的瑞士钟表也是望尘莫及。

In my normal environment, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, with many premature infants

I deal with sick small babies; the smallest baby that we took care of and survived was 11 oz! Yet remarkably, as we manage these sick small babies, the major task is often not to really cure anything. Basically we aim to not ruin the amazing physiology that happens at this time. As doctors looking after premature infants, our main job is to prevent things from happening that could harm the baby. For example, we try to give them adequate nutrition (my field of research), and support for the lungs, so that at the right time, all the systems are permitted to turn on; whether it be hormones, enzymes, chemicals, they all ultimately should “turn on”! Even though they were not originally “planned” to turn on this early, if we do not harm the baby, “the systems” turn on to meet the new reality of early birth.

我专责于医治生病的小宝宝。你知道吗,我曾经医治并救活的婴儿最小的只有310克(六两多)[值得一提的是,对于这些生病的小婴儿,医生的主要任务往往不是医治,而是通过医疗手段,辅助并确保不破坏或干扰这个神奇生理系统的形成。 例如,我们会尽量提供充足的营养(这是我的研究领域)及支援肺部功能,以确保所有系统都能在最佳的状态与时机下启动。 无论是激素、酶,还是其他化学物质,最终都投入运作行列! 只要确定不伤害早产儿,这些系统都会自动提早投入运作行列, 以满足早产儿的生理需要。

So where does this precision reside? What is the program of this fantastic computer that can drive all of this? The huge modern day understanding of the complexity of molecular biology quickly reminds us to wonder, who is the master genius who designed it all? Who put in all the biologic “master switches”? What prompts an earlier switch when babies are born prematurely? 1 Who thought of this amazing system that results in the miracle of birth, to begin a life with potential for meaning and joy!?

那么,这个精准度从何而来? 能主导这一切的又是个怎 样精确的程式呢? 以现代科学来理解这繁复庞杂的分子生物学时,我们就不禁思考: 是什么样的天才设计了这一切? 是谁组装了整个生理主控系统? 是什么为早产儿提早启动这些生理系统? 是谁想出这个神奇的系统,创造了生命的奇迹,展开ー个 又一个深具意义和喜乐的新生命?