Monthly Archives: March 2007

Information – Updated

So, I still can’t find the exact article that I read, but I did find abstract references (as in “In some studies, hospitalisation for bed rest led to an increase in preterm birth” — why can’t they cite the freaking studies?). These two sites refer specifically to bed rest in the hospital; not at home. The study I read referred generally to bed rest.

The first article is “Preterm labour and prematurity,” by Parland, Jones, and Taylor in the October 2004 issue of Current Obstetrics and Gynaecology. I can’t link to it directly because I gained access through my university library account.

This is the layperson’s version:

The evidence seems to be extremely contradictory and the studies I found today usually ended with “more research needed.” I need to stop looking, though, because it’s very depressing. I wish I could find it, because actually I’d like to show it to my doctor. None of what I’ve been reading describes the circumstances around Natan’s birth at all. I guess that’s why it’s something of a crapshoot.


In my post yesterday, I referred to a study I read which said bed rest may actually aggravate pre-term labor. I should have first, remembered that women on bed rest (or might be eventually) are reading this blog, and thus, second, cited the study. But I read it a few weeks back, probably following a link from a link, and didn’t take note of its source. It was in an online medical journal.

I remember it said, specifically, that lack of activity may hinder a pregnant body’s ability to handle the increasing amount of blood. Does anyone out there have any ideas about where I might have read it? I’m going to keep looking, but thought you all might have some clue.

Thanks. And I promise never ever to write scary information again with citation.


I added my husband as a “contributor” because this is his year as well.

Cognitive Dissonance

I have absolutely no problem holding two conflicting beliefs at the same time. Nor am I particularly bothered by other people’s hypocrisy. I see no reason why you can’t believe one thing and do another. Flip-flopping, as well, is a perfectly fine approach in my opinion. None of these behaviors cause me any “uncomfortable tension” whatsoever, or compel me to devise a new set or system of beliefs. Except of course, when they do. I know that consequences are illusionary. But I’m still furious that I can’t control what happens.

I did everything right for my pregnancies, and they both ended in tears. That of course doesn’t mean I should have just gone ahead and ignored the advice of medical professionals. And now I don’t know what to do for the future. Another pregnancy? My doctor says it would be totally fine to try again, whenever we want now. We have no idea what went wrong, really, but we’ll do a cerclage, 2nd trimester progesterone shots, and steroids at 24 weeks just in case. Bed rest? I don’t know. We’ll see what happens. Of course, while anecdotal evidence supports it, some studies have shown it can actually cause pre-term labor. As an historian, I am perfectly happy, thrilled really, that two contradictory facts are sometimes true. Taxes unequivocally caused the Americans’ war for independence; while at the same time, taxes unequivocally did not. I can easily make the case for each (and other topics, far more interesting.)

But I am absolutely not okay with two opposing opinions being true in medical science. Can we not do better than this? Again, as an historian, I love to talk about the fallibility of all sciences, especially medicine. I like to talk academically about the imprecision of obstetrics and gynecology, and the evils of the medicalization of childbirth in the 19th and 20th centuries. But I don’t like it to be about me. My doctors did the best they could. Really. In fact, I liked and trusted them all so much, I hope to go through pregnancy and childbirth with them again. But last time the best just wasn’t good enough. It really could have been.


After I chose a treadmill on the opposite side of the gym from the Woman With Big Elbows (because she scares me), I was punished by three pregnant woman choosing the ellipticals behind me as the site of their conversation about nursery paint. I asked myself why I even come to gym. The answer came in the form of contrasts.

I want to run 2.75 miles. I don’t want to run 2.75 miles faster.
I want my pants to get bigger before they get smaller. I don’t want to need smaller pants.
I want the missing Boy Scout to come home. I don’t want to watch about him on CNN.
I want to like soy milk. I don’t want it to make me skinny.
(The televisions at the gym seriously interfere with my thinking)
I want this run to be over. I don’t want to get to work.
I want a complete dissertation. I don’t want to write it.
I want to talk to Zooey and Lyman.* I don’t want to talk to my adviser.
And with that last one, I hit 2.75 and went home.


I’m Posting Again

So much for once a week. And so much for carefully edited well-thought out posts. This evening i was thinking about parenthood. No surprise there. But then, in thinking about our parents, I almost asked Josh what he thought Natan would say about us when he grew up. Whoops. I forgot. Natan will never grow up. He won’t ever get mad, resent us or question our parenting techniques. Finally, I have an advantage. Natan will always be my perfect son.

What will that mean if I have another one?

Damn Ass

The story of that title is the intellectual property of my 4-year-old nephew. Nevertheless, it is exactly what came to mind when Emily told me about an article in the New York Times with the topic mommy blogs. My second thought was, “Who told David Hochman my idea about contemporary narcissism? And a full year before I even considered it no less?” The third thing I thought was, “This article is lazy. He doesn’t even get close to the source.” Watch this site for more about it. In the meantime, my niece and nephew are darn funny kids. Funnier than yours I’m sure. And the diapers they go through? Especially when there’s a norovirus going around. Wow.

My Husband Hates Baby Dancing and He Stole My Travel Mug

He does and he did. We were lucky enough not to have to do the former to get pregnant and are hopeful that it’ll stay that way in the future. No counting, no temperature taking, and no planning necessary. As a fertile couple, it’s easy to bemoan that stuff as rote and unromantic. Just a bit of wine and a good meal to quickly leave behind celebrities and Soviets. In the past, I even expressed the sentiments of the much-loathed Starbucks Cup #208. But my own apparent shortage of “sticky baby dust” (that’s the last time I’ll write those words) has changed me. So while I’m also not a fan of “bd-ing,” I’ll just be grateful that I don’t need to be utilitarian about it all until after conception.

Perhaps I deserved to lose the coffee mug that I purchased yesterday for way too much money in the hopes of saving the earth and, eventually, money at the coffee shop where I spend my writing days. I did stay in bed until 1pm while he left the house to work many hours earlier. But in fairness, I wasn’t being lazy. I woke up with a pounding headache, stuffy nose, and a sore throat. I was excited, though, when I did eventually get out of bed after the Tylenol Cold took effect, that I could buy a brand new coffee for refill price. Now especially after finding a friend here at the coffee shop willing to listen to me babble on about family, rabbis, alcohol and the state of my State I feel much better.

I’m going to end this brief, rambling post by ripping off Niobe’s blog:

Things I feel strongly about but won’t post about:

1) Baby dancing

2) My husband

3) Drunken undergraduates

4) Israel

5) Dog clothing

Things I feel strongly about and might post about

1) Pregnancy

2) Marriage

3) Lazy undergraduates

4) Religion

5) Mammals as accessories


I forgot to explain exactly how I’m being unfair today. I said I don’t want to hear anyone tell me how to make meaning out of Natan’s death unless I ask them. That’s not entirely true. One of our friends wrote to us that his mother told him that babies who died at birth or soon after are souls who are already complete. He also wrote that he thought maybe he shouldn’t tell us that, that maybe we don’t want to hear it, or that maybe it would insult us, or be too different from what we believe. But somehow, in the context of it being from him, I liked it. Maybe because I know he has suffered a terrible loss. Maybe because he wrote us a long letter totally void of platitudes and because I don’t know another person as kind as him. I don’t know. I know for sure I couldn’t say what he did and be successful in making someone feel better. And maybe other people have meant as well as him, but somehow I don’t think so.


I am going to be completely unfair in this post. Bereaved “brighters” (to steal from Aurelia) have been writing frequently these past few days about G-d and insensitivity.

I fully realize that everyone who has ever said an idiotic comment to anyone who has experienced a loss, especially the loss of a child, means well. But that does not recuse them from guilt. Why? Because I already need to forgive the world for cheating me out of my son and I don’t have the energy to make people who make me feel bad feel better just because they didn’t mean to.

Sometimes, the commenter is uncomfortable and speaking first to assuage personal discomfort. Sometimes he or she actually feels guilt over my pain and wants to find a “silver lining.” I think a lot of parents of healthy, living children feel these ways towards us. The very fact that something so terrible, and so rare – the thing they fear the most— has happened to us, makes us scary and threatening, because it is hard to separate us from the event. So they want to explain it. Even if they don’t say, or even explicitly feel it, they can’t overcome their own cognitive dissonance – sex and pregnancy equals birth not death – without pedantry. Maybe I’m doing that right now – taking hurtful comments and trying to make a “teaching moment” out of them.

But I’m not forcing anyone to read it. I’m not even sending out a sympathy card or an email, which in the abstract you could choose to ignore but obviously wouldn’t.

So, my biggest point here is that I think comments meant to help me find meaning in Natan’s death, if I’m not talking about it and I haven’t asked, are self-centered and wrong. Don’t ask me to subscribe to your way of making meaning in your life. Clearly, I am not a person who believes in witnessing. I am a Jew, who finds her epistemology in ritual and the Torah, and doesn’t think there is one central message from G-d at all. Except for maybe in Hillel’s one-footed explanation, “what you hate, don’t do to others.”

I don’t need to make meaning of my loss. Natan’s death is the fifth really bad thing I have experienced. I made my peace with G-d and metaphysics after those events. I understand as much as I can about the greater cosmic significance of Natan’s death. I know I need to cope with it and grieve. I don’t need to consider how other people think I’m progressing at it. I think I can actually “cope” with his death better than a lot of people I know. But that has nothing to do with why it happened, nor did G-d do this to me because I could handle it. If I believed that particular deaths and pain were part of any grand plan, or test, I would go insane with anger and resentment. I expressed it succinctly enough when a friend told me after my first hurt years ago, that it was all part of G-d’s plan. I said, “Well, f— him then, he can go to hell.” That’s not blasphemy because I didn’t believe it in the first place. Plans are for human beings. I only know things that can be expressed in words, sounds, and human sight. My cat doesn’t understand why I wash dishes, and I don’t understand why people die. Both might be “good,” but I won’t know what that means while I’m in this world.

I find peace in knowing that I have no idea what this is about. But I do agree with Aurelia, over at “No Matter How Small,” that people could prevent it. A friend with some knowledge in this field told me that pre-term labor is increasing in the U.S. but researchers are having a lot of trouble finding funding to prevent it. That confirms my feelings expressed way back in this post.

I’m a Nut

As I sat here writing in my dissertation about one of my figures, a man who nearly died from delirium tremens and mania a potu after burying his wife and infant daughter, an old camp song came to mind and won’t leave,
I’m a little acorn round,
Lying on the cold cold ground,
Somebody came and stepped on me,
That is why I’m cracked you see,
I’m a nut,(clap, clap) in a rut,(clap, clap) I’m crazy.

Poor guy.