updated 17:06 EDT 09/30/14
Doctors in Skowhegan, Maine were given the surprise of their lives when Victoria De Los Reyes gave birth to her son Brayan. Brad Trammel, obstetrician at Redington-Fairview General Hosptial, recounts what happened at 9:31 am Monday, September 29; “The baby had fully emerged from the womb when we saw something fall out of his hand and onto the floor. When we picked it up, we realized it was a pen…the kind you twist to open. We were still looking at the pen when the notebook fell out. At that point, we knew something truly remarkable had taken place.” Upon further investigation the notebook turned out to be a journal.
Researchers are pointing to a phenomenon called Umbilically Transmitted Cognition (UTC) as the likely cause of Brayan’s elevated consciousness. “Up until this point, it was only a theory…an unsubstantiated and preposterous one, more suited for a movie like Benjamin Button than real life,” says Ava Gentry-Sloane, lead researcher at Beijing Genomics Institute. “With UTC, what we see is the baby harnessing the mother’s brain capacity via the umbilical cord. Once the cord is cut, the baby immediately loses that connection and returns to its normal baby brain waves. This explains why Brayan was exhibiting college-level writing abilities in the womb, but could not speak a single word once the cord had been cut.”
“This totally changes what we know about everything,” says prenatal specialist Mike Grol. “I don’t know what to think about anything anymore. I don’t know who I am. I don’t know who you are. Get that tape recorder out of my face. I need some air.”
Others did not share the same sense of awe. Lisa Greenwell, a delivery nurse for over 22 years at Baird Creek Hospital in Miami, Indiana admonished those more gullible than herself; “I don’t believe it, this simply isn’t true. How would the baby have gotten a pen and paper? Babies can’t speak, let alone write. This is preposterous. Get it together, people.”
Fetal Activity Analyst Brock Atkins admits, “When I first heard this, I laughed. This is a scam. Someone is having a good laugh at the scientific community over this one. But then I thought, who’s laughing? A baby just penned a full length play while still a fetus in its mothers womb. I began to cry. It was beautiful. So beautiful.”
When asked about how the baby may have obtained the journal and pen, Atkins declined to speculate, “I simply have no idea,” he shrugged.
The small 5 x 7 notebook contains 147 entries, including everything from introspective prose, to moving poetry, haikus, song lyrics, and political rants. The journal, entitled “My Amniotic Prison”, is being published by Simon and Schuster and is set to hit shelves sometime next month. While a case like this is not unprecedented, people everywhere are asking the same question: How do copyright laws apply to infant authors? While Simon and Schuster declined to comment on exact figures, it did reveal that a legally binding agreement was reached with Victoria De Los Reyes to put a “sizable percentage” of the money into Brayan’s college fund.
So inspired were researchers at the University of Michigan that they appropriated 12 million dollars to research UTC and methods of inserting journals, voice recorders, and small musical instruments into the womb of mothers. “We don’t know how a journal and pen got into Victoria De Los Reyes’ amniotic sac. We can only speculate. But we aim to find out. We want every baby to have the opportunity to record its experiences in the womb. And if writing is not their cup of tea, we want to provide them with options. We don’t know if every baby is as intelligent as Brayan, but we at least want to give them the chance.”
Dr. Carl Grayston, MD of University of Michigan’s Medical Research team has joined with researchers at Johns Hopkins and Mayo Clinic to begin providing expectant mothers with the option of having a journal inserted into their womb. “For safety reasons, namely the health of the fetus and the mother, the earliest we can insert a journal is 20 weeks. This is the point at which a fetus exhibiting signs of UTC would likely be most receptive to the journal.” If Grayston’s journal-insertion procedure is adopted on a nationwide scale, all a mother would have to do is to check a box on a form for her first antenatal appointment indicating she would like a journal inserted.
Brayan’s remarkable case of baby authorship has sparked a wildfire of possibilities throughout the scientific community, but along with it, some tales of woe. Upon hearing of Brayan’s feat, doctors in Arkansas attempted to insert a small piano, aptly dubbed the “Baby Grand”, into the womb of Andrea Payton. While it seemed promising at first, the fetus ultimately rejected the piano, staring at it for hours but refusing to play. Lead doctor on the operation, James Bradshaw, Jr. laments, “At this juncture, we don’t know how to get the piano out, so it will have to come out when the baby does. By that time, the baby will have likely resolved to never touch a piano again.”
Specialist Nick Draves echoes the same concern, warning that “Trying to force a particular instrument on a baby, whether it be a pen or a piano, could be too much for the fetus and may cause irreversible trauma that will follow them into adulthood.”
Victoria De Los Reyes declined offers to sell Brayan’s journal, saying she plans to give it to him on his 18th birthday, so he can see “just how far he’s come”. Following are excerpts from Brayan’s journal, printed with permission from Victoria De Los Reyes and Simon and Schuster:
Freedom calls to me
While slimy walls pulse and laugh
You shall not pass
It’s dark in here. I shiver with cold. I’m lonely. I want to run but there is a tether on my belly button. I kick, I flail, I scratch, I curse. My legs are weak and useless against the elastic walls, my hands too short. I try to swim but it is an art I have not mastered. I end up farther away than when I started. I become hysterical. I pass out from exhaustion. I awake to darkness. What is this slime? Who am I? Questions without answers. Answers without questions. Days without end. I cry myself to sleep for the 100th time.
Sometimes I feel a strange sensation in my chest. It’s like invisible light; I can feel it, but I can’t see it. A tingling in my throat, warming my heart. It is hope. Hope for a better tomorrow. Hope for someone to find me here. I know it is probably irrational; I’ll probably grow old and die in here…but for now, I shall hope.