Friday, January 30, 2015

Marshawn Lynch's extra placenta feeds the curiosity

The most important sporting event in the universe will take place Sunday night and that's partly why one of the players, Marshawn Lynch, has been in the spotlight. But it's not entirely why.
Marshawn Lynch, running back for the Seattle Seahawks.
He's an interesting guy, and in more ways than his mesmerizing moves, broken tackles, and bizarre locker room interviews, as Andrew Sharp writes:
After his mother gave birth to him 28 years ago, the midwife told her that she may have had a twin that died in utero.“They just knew that Marshawn was living off two placentas,” his mother told USA Today. “She told me that with that, he may be an amazingly strong child.”
We all have origin stories, some more elaborate or more epic than others. And when someone is notable or special or revered or freakish, we certainly pile it on. You can't just be born if you're somebody. You have to emerge under a full moon at the very least, but even better under a meteor shower, and best while Halley's comet's in sight.

Siddhartha was talking and walking right out of the birth canal. And you know who he became? The Buddha.

Marshawn Lynch was feasting from not one but two placentas. And you know who he became? Beast Mode.

Right. But if you've ever read this blog before you're probably wondering the same thing I'm wondering: Is it even possible for a fetus to be nourished from two placentas? Like with two umbilical cords or a bifurcated one?

I'm going to offer that yes, it's possible; to say otherwise is as arrogant as that semicolon. But hell no I don't know of an instance to share with you. And hell yes I think it's highly unlikely that Lynch was living off two placentas. What's more, even if he was, it wouldn't necessarily have anything biologically to do with Beast Mode. I just can't see how. But I'm not exactly the Beast Mode of placentology so take that for what you will.

Lately, however, I am the Beast Mode of new motherhood so I adore how the midwife and the family interpreted the two placenta event. This is what makes humans a riot. This is why they're my new favorite species. Spin a tale about the start of a precious life, the kind of tale that sets dreams afloat... the sky's the limit for this kid and nobody better get in the way of that.

But here comes science. The parsimonious placental tale would be that Beast Mode's twin died in utero, but the placenta stayed around (boring!). I gather from a brief Google search that this happens occasionally, or that this is how the presence of two placentas (or one placenta that looks like it has two parts) is normally explained.

But see, now we've done it. The science killjoys have ruined another beautiful legend. If the Lynch family has already been fed that boring scientific explanation, or if they read it here just now, and feel like their story might no longer have legs, we can help. Let's put some stardust back into it, but with different science.

If there was a twin, then the fact that Marshawn Lynch survived the same experience that his twin couldn't, well, that might speak volumes about his strength. 

There. It's not a far-fetched story, as-is, already. And that's lovely. But we can do better.

If Marshawn Lynch was born with teeth--which the Buddha probably had too if he could speak so well at birth--then maybe Lynch didn't just merely out-survive his twin. Maybe he went full Beast Mode in utero, just like the sand tiger shark where one vicious shark blasts through the other eleven. No kidding. This shark has to prey upon its siblings in the womb if it is going to be born, and the one born is not only strong but stronger for it.

Feeding from two placentas? Never heard of it.

But feeding off your embryonic kin? Yeah.


Ken Weiss said...

That explains it all, including the press conferences!

Holly Dunsworth said...

That it took me until this morning to realize his name is a different spelling of Martian is disappointing.