Musing on medicine.
Posted on Sun 11th Feb, 2024 @ 9:32pm by Makila i'Hartelhai
2,080 words; about a 10 minute read
O' the Cardiff Rose
Location: Sickbay- Xenobiology Lab 3
Timeline: MD 5: 1600
Babies. Makila raked her fingers through her dark curls in frustration borne of studying too much into this subject. Perhaps she would have chosen differently if she'd known how much of a residency in Xenobiology was about babies. Not, that she minded babies exactly, it was just not what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. That much she was sure of, though she would continue to do what was needed, as her duties demanded. She'd delivered more babies in the Dawnstar than she'd ever wanted to, but that was part of the need there. While she did a lot of prenatal and antenatal care at the Dawnstar, she'd never put a huge amount of thought into what it would take to create life. Quite a substantial number of things had to go perfectly to result in a child.
Xenobiology was of course part of her elective course of study, as she was herself a hybrid. Makila snorted at the idea of someone studying her for anything related to medicine, but she was using her own self as a template for a number of things within her initial classes. However, as a resident, she found that her hybrid nature eased the discomforts of her patients. They could see the possibility of success, because that success was standing right in front of them in the form of one Dr. Makila i'Hartelhai. She made them feel at ease, and that made her work easier.
Her first serious xeni-genomics patient was a human who was trying to create a child with her Vulcan husband. They were having difficulty for many correctable reasons, but because the human partner was the one carrying the child they were at a built in disadvantage. Humans were incredibly resilient, but there were limits to that resilience. There were several enzymes needed for a Vulcan embryo to thrive that tend to make humans very ill. Like, vomiting for days with no recourse kind of ill. It also made the predominant flavor in the mouth one of copper, which was she was told quite unpleasant.
In order to get them, there were supplements that could be taken which caused the aforementioned illnesses. She was working on one of a set of alternative ways to infuse the embryo with the necessary enzymes. In this case, the simplest solution was to bathe the ova in the enzyme immediately after fertilization. This allows the absorb it through the oocyte wall and allows the yolk sac to have it at the most basic metaboliclly stable time.
Not having to dose these enzymes when the human female was most prone to morning sickness was of a benefit to both partners. It also reduced the risk of issues with the embryo implanting into the uterus. It also kept the Vulcan partner from randomly turning more green at random intervals during the day, due to the link between their minds. That idea had made her chuckle in the deep recesses of her mind, for she had a bit of a morbid sense of humor. She could also see the problems with such an arrangement, so Makila chose the simplest solution. It gave a new meaning to the term babysitting, as she had meticulously scanned and selected three mature eggs. A vial of sperm had given her a vast array to choose from, and she'd found the quest to find the balance she needed an exercise in her patience. Each had been injected with a single sperm, and had a cc of the enzyme bath poured over it. Then, once they reached maturation they could be implanted into the human subject.
Human subject felt like a fairy dispassionate way of referring to the mother to be who was almost palpably eager for the implantation day to occur, and she was briefly apologetic for her inner disdain for the process. It was beautiful in a way, and required such precision that she had to document every step. Simultaneously, she was preparing for the pregnancy to continue. The supplements needed to continue a hybrid pregnancy tended to compound nausea in the human, therefore she was using Vulcan anti-emetics to offer a higher degree of safety to the pregnancy as it continued. Teratogens weren't really as much of a problem anymore, though there were some things that could still result in birth defects if not properly compensated for. Some radiations for example that were a part of the Engineering decks. She'd have to avoid some of the things that were at one point part of her job. Outlining the change in job duties for the mother to be- she allowed her mind to wander.
How had the very first geneticists come up with matches that allowed inter species fertility? How had the creativity and scientific drive come together to do that tiniest of miracles. That was history that held its roots back in the days of Spock, when Amanda Grayson had to go through intensive therapy in order to carry a vulcan child. The multiple losses she'd had leading up to Spock's birth were well known in the research community and each one presented a different problem for them to solve. They'd been studied by the scientists of course, but they'd also been deeply mourned by Amanda and in his way Sarek as well she was certain. Her patient had also had multiple losses, each one deeply mourned by the couple. Makila was confident though in the health of these three embryos. They'd been selected specifically by her for their fortitude, and the precise balance of Vulcan and Human that seemed to optimize health if the scans of living hybrids were to be believed.
So, if anyone from the Ehtevau wants to marry a Betazoid, you have them covered. Her snide little snort had her curling up her lips in amused not quite laughter.
That line of thought let her down a different path, one much more deeply personal. She'd never wanted children. She knew that Papa wanted more, with a depth that he'd been unaware of but that she could sense on the periphery when he looked at her. He'd given up everything for her, in the space of bringing her into the universe and her being an hour old...he'd sacrificed everything for her. Until he'd come here to this starbase, he hadn't had the opportunity to branch out in that respect. Makila was fully expecting to one day have baby siblings. She'd never given voice to her reluctance to bring children into the world to Khellian, because she knew those words would hurt him in a manner she couldn't take back. She was his legacy, in some respect. Then she'd started medical school and then she'd met Kellian. A man with secrets, that spanned lifetimes, and she knew he wasn't being totally honest with her. Yet, that had increased her attraction. Makila wasn't exactly sure how he'd managed to get her to be all maternal feeling, but now? He had her about to start scanning her genome to see if it was compatible with his. She had some inkling of what he'd be like as a father, when he was describing what his own father did for him. Makila found herself more attracted to that image than anything that she had experienced in her adult life. Yet, she couldn't explain the faint glimmer of envy that twisted her gut as she notated her experiment. They'd already committed to the baby that she was currently building in her petri dish.
Can we even make babies together?
Hybrid between of Romulan and a human wasn't a difficult proposition anymore, no more so than the Vulcan human hybrid in her petri dish was. Those three tiny lives were already beloved parts of their parents family and they didn't even have 20 cells yet. She was herself a hybrid, Romulan and Betazoid. The addition however, of that betazoid genome could very well make it impossible for them to conceive naturally. Each additional species made the number of things that had to go perfectly increase by an order of magnatude. Yet, she was curious. Licking her lips she pricked her finger and placed it on a bioanalysis chip. A drop of liquid welled up on her finger a deep coppery purplish color with the combination of her genetics. She wasn't exactly sure how green and red ended up with a shade of purple but she liked it. It was unique. Unique like her eyes and her telepathy. Unique, like her.
"Computer run spectrographic analysis of blood sample".
"Running analysis.". Words begin to appear on the screen in front of her some of them she already knew, though she had never analyzed them with the intent of looking at her compatibility with another person. Romulan 1/2, Betazoid 1/2. T negative, Xh positive. Genomic indicator of relation to 8th house of Betazoid. Minor dominant mutation in chromosome 19, offering violet coloration to eyes and blood classified not-harmful. Minor recessive mutation of chromosome 23 resulting in increased visual spectra processing classified not-harmful. Minor mitochondrial mutation resulting in increased energy storage from either Romulan or Betazoid normal- classified beneficial."
Both eyebrows shot up at that particular bit of information and Makila's fingers rested against her lips. Maybe, finding out about her biological father might be something she'd want to do sooner rather than later, if only to have the information on hand.
I can't believe I'm doing this...
"Save to my personal records then assess Jeoffrey fertility index, with the addition of Kellian Michaels, Lieutenant, Starfleet."
"Kellian Michaels lieutenant, human full-blooded. No genomic modifications registered, none found on latest scan. Rh negative blood type, no incompatibility issues with either Romulan T negative or Betazoid Xh positive factors. Sperm counts within normal limits for human male in his age range. High possibility for unique coloration of offspring eyes related to mutational compatibility. Minor recessive mutation in 16th chromosome affecting hair coloration- classified non-harmful. This mutation is common in those with Irish ancestry. High probability of transference of violet eye color, despite male mutagens. High probability of otherwise unique eye color in offspring from combining mutational genome with human DNA. Medium high probability of pigmentation changes from normal including poliosis circumscripta, ephelides, vittiligo and albinism. Other external..."
Oh that would be cute, a Romulan baby with freckles... She shook herself because she'd missed some of what the computer had said next. Violet eyes flickered closed for a moment as she listened more intently to the computers voice.
"Base indices indicate a 43-65% rate of spontaneous conception in a normal cycle. Probability of successful delivery of a hybrid child within normal parameters, as hybrid parent would be carrying the child and already produces key biomarkers needed for the sustaining of the pregnancy. Standard prenatal vitamins are recommended. The addition of folic acid supplements and a copper iodide compound, the Jeoffrey index of spontaneous conception raises to 70% with a corresponding increase in the theoretical health of the pregnancy.".
"Thats..." Her face paled to a nearly unhealthy color as she realized the ramifications of that statement. Running her scanner over herself she was relieved to not see any signs of pregnancy. That surprise would have been more than she could have tolerated right now, as strained as her life was. Not that she wouldn't have been happy to carry his child, just the timing would have been terrible. She'd have to start taking precautions...at least until they could have a conversation about it.
A beep distracted her from her musings and she ran the scanner over the trio of embryos, they'd absorbed the capacity of the enzyme that they could at this stage, and needed to be removed from the bath. Makila did so, then submerged the petri dish in a nutritional gel, that would optimize the three embryos for implantation. She turned the heat up in the unit, to 100 degrees farenheit and made a note to give the Lieutenant a pyretic before she began the actual implantation. Task complete, for now Makila murmured "Computer, please set a medication notification for Lt. Keller that she should begin the medication for optimizing implantation, starting at 1800 tomorrow." It would be seven days of optimization of her hormones, and then they could inject her with the trio of embryos and hope one, or perhaps two of them implant. The likelihood of all three doing so was approximately 25,000 to 1, and those were not odds that she would bet on.