by mary e gerdt c 2012 all rights reserved
Betty Wolf held the tiny little baby in her hands and her heart filled up with love.
All the arguments with Susan, all the doubts, all the misgivings, internal strife, the grating thoughts, all the bad in the world could not steal this moment from Betty.
Betty had longed for a grandchild to hold, to love, to start over with. Her only daughter was Susan, who was always so wrapped up in science, the space program, her travels,
And into her loneliness as Betty thought, her never marrying, a foreign concept to Betty, whose conventional wisdom apparently was not genetic but taught. Betty grew up in the rural hinterlands, survived many years and felt grounded, she had her faith, her belief system, her solid community involvement, in the groove of a fragile place.
Here, she was finally a grandmother, and facing her worst fears.
This was also her scientifically created daughter.
Alice Karma was a beautiful baby, just like Susan. Betty would say that over and over.
Susan at first angry, annoyed, came to accept her mother’s quirky actions and well, the truth. Susan came to see her mother as who she really was only in the last 18 months of her mother’s life.
Susan had spent 2 years in Switzerland in a lab where she helped develop animal, plant and then human cloning. There must have been some unknown corporate backing. (As an adult, Alice stayed up late some nights wondering who backed the production of her.)
No one knew then and no one knows still just who or what funded this project. No records exist as far as anyone knows.
Susan then began the long trek towards giving birth to Alice, the first cloned baby.
Several miscarriages named only by number gave Susan nightmares sometimes. She had been pretty far along. A boy (no one knows whose DNA that was) and a girl, Alice's sister.
This time she flew back and went to full term.
Her Mom was there and was asked to wait outside the birthing room. There were so many doctors (who also owned the company) and Betty thought something had gone wrong.
Instead, they softly cheered at the healthy scrappy girl and each felt their wallet expand and their minds went wild with possibility. They are only human.
Each doctor had put in their life savings and more.
They were bound to silence and each left shortly after the birth.
All so confusing for Betty. She sat all alone on a hard bench staring at the linoleum at the hospital in Bermuda. Counting the tiles, one, two, three, trying not to cry. No shoulders here, or ever Betty thought, a total life review on this hard hospital bench.
Georgia was Susan’s midwife and was busy caring for the baby and afterbirth care.
The doctors filed out with a cold congratulations, eager to call their wives, their brokers, their banks, their lawyers. They were part of something wildly phenomenal.
Susan was overwhelmed. She held Alice to her heart, she felt nothing.
Then she felt, why did I do this to you? Why did I bring you here?
Then a rushing feeling. “Alice,” she uttered softly, “I love you.” Then Susan asked Georgia to knock her out with something. Susan had never felt that kind of love before.
Georgia settled Susan with a sedative.
Georgia took the baby to Betty.
“Please help us Betty and love this child in your normal way. We do not want anything out of the ordinary for Alice. We cannot have this child thinking she is ..well…different, or a thing…”
Betty nodded and began her 18 month love affair with little Alice.
Alice does not remember and cannot remember these moments. Georgia would not tell her, Susan was wrapped up in her life work. Betty was gone now, a woman of few words anyway, but the one woman who could have explained that day, that balmy Bermuda day,
When the first human clone was born.