Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Midwives and Mothers

"It's not just the making of babies, but the making of mothers that midwives see as the miracle of birth."

-- Barbara Katz Rothman, Sociologist, Author of The Tentative Pregnancy, Genetic Maps and Human Imaginations and other books.

The doctor of the future

"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."
-Thomas Edison

Monday, March 20, 2006

Ultrasound in Pregnancy

While doing some research for a friend of mine concerning her pregnancy I came across this article from Midwifery Today. I do not think many mommies are aware of these issues with routine ultrasounds. As always is is about educating ourselves to make wise and informed decisions.

Ultrasound in Pregnancy
Ultrasound: high-frequency sound waves that travel at 10 to 20 million cycles per second. The pattern of echo waves creates a picture of tissue and bone.

In 1987, UK radiologist H.D. Meire, who had been performing pregnancy scans for 20 years, commented, "The casual observer might be forgiven for wondering why the medical profession is now involved in the wholesale examination of pregnant patients with machines emanating vastly different powers of energy which is not proven to be harmless to obtain information which is not proven to be of any clinical value by operators who are not certified as competent to perform the operations" (1).

Routine prenatal ultrasound (RPU) actually detects only between 17 and 85 percent of the 1 in 50 babies who have major abnormalities at birth (2,3).

RPU can identify a low-lying placenta (placenta previa). However, 19 of 20 women who have placenta previa detected on an early scan will be needlessly worried: the placenta will effectively move up without causing problems at the birth. Furthermore, detection of placenta previa by RPU has not been found to be safer than detection in labor (4).

The American College of Obstetricians has concluded that "in a population of women with low-risk pregnancies, neither a reduction in perinatal morbidity and mortality nor a lower rate of unnecessary interventions can be expected from routine diagnostic ultrasound. Thus ultrasound should be performed for specific indications in low-risk pregnancy (5).

Effects of ultrasound include cavitation, a process wherein the small pockets of gas that exist within mammalian tissue vibrate and then collapse. In this situation "...temperatures of many thousands of degrees Celsius in the gas create a wide range of chemical products, some of which are potentially toxic. These violent processes may be produced by microsecond pulses of the kind which are used in medical diagnosis." (American Institute of Ultrasound Medicine Bioeffects Report 1988). The significance of cavitation in human tissue is unknown.

Studies have suggested that these effects are of real concern in living tissues:

Cell abnormalities caused by exposure to ultrasound were seen to persist for several generations (6).
In newborn rats (similar stage of development as human fetuses at four to five months in utero), ultrasound can damage the myelin that covers nerves (7).
Exposing mice to dosages typical of obstetric ultrasound cased a 22% reduction in the rate of cell division and doubling of the rate of aptosis (programmed cell death), in the cells of the small intestine (8).
Two long-term randomized controlled trials comparing exposed and unexposed childrens' development at eight to nine years old found no measurable effect from ultrasound. However, the authors comment that intensities used today are many times higher than there were in 1979 and 1981 (9).
— Excerpted from "Ultrasound Scans: Cause for Concern,"
by Sarah Buckley, MD, Midwifery Today Issue 64, also published in Nexux, Oct–Nov 2002

Excerpt references:

Meire, HB (1987). "The Safety of Diagnostic Ultrasound," British J of Ob Gyn 94: 1121–22.
Ewigman, BG et al. (1993). "Effect of Prenatal Ultrasound Screening on Perinatal Outcome: RADIUS Study Group," New Eng J Med 329(12): 821–7.
Luck, CA (1992). "Value of Routine Ultrasound Scanning at 19 Weeks: a Four-Year Study of 8849 Deliveries," Brit Med J 34(6840): 1474–8.
Saari-Kemppainen, A., et al. (1990). "Ultrasound Screening and Perinatal Mortality: Controlled Trial of Systematic One-Stage Screening in Pregnancy. The Helsinki Ultrasound Trial," Lancet 336(8712): 387–89.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) (August 1997). Practice Patterns: Evidence-Based Guidelines for Clinical Issues in Obstetrics and Gynecology. "Routine Ultrasound in Low-Risk Pregnancy." No. 5.
Liebeskind, D. et al. (1979). "Diagnostic Ultrasound: Effects on the DNAS and Growth Patterns of Animal Cells," Radiology 131(1): 177–84.
Ellisman, MH et al.,(1987). "Diagnostic Levels of Ultrasound May disrupt Myelination," Exper Neur 98(1): 78–92.
Brennan P et al. (1999). "Shadow of Doubt," New Scientist 12:23.
Salvesen KA et al. (1999). "Ultrasound in Pregnancy and Subsequent Childhood Non-Right-Handedness: A Meta-Analysis," Ultrasound Obstet Gyn 13(4): 241–6.

Close to G-d by Philly Farmgirl

Oh the glorious mountains!
Peaks majestic, proudly standing
The air is sweet and pure
The sun shines so brightly, brighter
And I can see so clearly
Looking upward, in the clouds
I am close to G-d

Oh, the depths of the valley,
Lower, sinking, deeper shrinking
The air is thick and damp
Darkness abides, darker still
And I strain to see, but cannot
Looking upward toward the clouds
I am closer to G-d

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Adventures of Philly Farmgirl

As we see our heroine today we find her walking aimlessly and dazed about her house searching for her motivation.


let's add a big heaving sigh to that::::SIGH:::

OK, that's better.


So what's with the oying and sighing Philly?

:::big dramatic orchestra music in the background:::


Pesach cleaning!

Now where did I put my motivation?

It was just here yesterday, and lots of it!

...lotta good that did me on Shabbat.

Here, motivation, motivation, motivation. pss...pss...pss...oh great, here comes the cat!

:::wonders what cat food is kosher for pesach this year?::::

OK. Let's try the mantra.


dust is not chometz...
dust is not chometz...
dust is not chometz...
chometz is dust...oops I mean,
dust is not chometz
and my beloved is not the korban pesach...

OK, I can do this!

Philly Farmgirl finds her motivation and plays really loud Simply Tsfat CD to keep moving.

Tune in next week to see how far she actually gets.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Supermarket Discussions

Anyone who knows me knows I love to talk about birth. I am a doula after all and it is my job to empower women to believe in themselves and how Hashem has created them. I am so about them knowing the strength that lies within. One of my other favorite topics is Moshiach. Well, today I was in the grocery store and met up with one of the incredible ladies that lives in my neighborhood. After greeting each other we almost immediately started to speak of things spiritual and began talking of Moshiach! Right there near the frozen gefilte fish we encouraged each other and spoke of the times we are in. We spoke of the 'birth pangs' of Moshiach. It seems there are many of us women in the community here talking about this very thing. So many of us are in great anticipation. It is like something has shifted and we feel it.
After all it is we women who know when the baby is coming. We see and feel all the signs. We feel the baby drop in our wombs and feel the increase in contractions. We feel the baby's activity quiet down right before labor and ours intensify as we go into a flurry of activity when we get our nesting urges. When the actual labor starts we are not totally shocked as we knew and felt the time was coming. We felt it and we prepared for it. Well, ladies, I think we are in beginning labor. I believe it is time to prepare. If we are indeed feeling the birth pangs of Moshiach than we need to be ready. We need to do teshuvah, increase in our tefilla, and to draw closer to Hashem. We need to encourage those around us, our beloved husbands, children, family and friends. We also need to encourage ourselves. Labor and delivery are not easy but they are possible and we can do it. This is an exciting time and as it was before so again now may it be in the merit of the righteous women's that we are redeemed from galut. May we have such emunah in our Father that we actively anticipate it.

I am getting my tambourine ready, how about yours?

Just a ramble from a big sister

The sun is shining so brightly today and it is turning my thoughts to spring. I miss spring terribly, much like I miss my brother and my sisters when I do not get to see them. Spring makes me feel happy and feel like myself. Seeing the new birth and peeping flowers reminds me of my beloved nieces and nephews, growing up and discovering new things.
This past Sunday I was able to spend time with my siblings and their brood. I have to tell you, I am just nuts about my sibs! I have two sisters and one brother and I just love them to death. They are some of my fave people. My sisters are two of the most beautiful women I know and my brother...:::sigh::: what an awesome guy! My brother's wife and my youngest sister are both expecting again. It is so much fun for me to visit with them and their children. At some points it made me a bit wistful, missing my own older two so much, (thank G-d I still have one at home!) but it is really wonderful to be a "Tity."
Now in spite of all the joy I felt, I ended up having to fight my own very opinionated self and bite my tongue. It was so hard when I saw my sibs making some decisions I either thought or know are wrong. I felt somewhat frustrated and sad at the same time. I wanted to say, "hey, why don't you try it this way!" or "no, honey you don't want to go there, remember what happened to me." I am the oldest after all and of course I feel like I must fix it, warn them, and teach them all about life, marriage and child rearing. :::sigh:::
They know me and they have seen my children grow. For the most part they think it is great, other than the "That's just big sis, Y'know she's the religious one." Don't get me wrong they are very respectful of me, but it just isn't their thing...yet. Example goes a long way. You never know who you affect by the way you live. Hopefully they will learn from the good I do and also from unfortunately the many mistakes I have made along the way.
I just want them to be happy and I want so much to spare them from any heartache. What can an oldest sister do? Threatening their lives and to tell mommy just doesn't seem to work any more. So what do I do? I use my main weapon! According to Rebbe Nachman, "Prayer is the Jew's main weapon." (Advice pg.275) So I will pray. I will pray for their relationships and their jobs. I will pray for their children and their homes. I will pray they will have good health and all that they need spiritually, physically, emotionally and financially. I will pray they come closer to G-d and find rest there. But mostly I will pray that I am a loving and kind big sister, and that I am worthy of my incredible brother and sisters.


I just found this site and it looks like just the thing many of us ladies have all been longing for! I have been checking it out over my morning coffee and what a blessing it has been. When the children go down for thier nap go take a peek. Oh, but don't forget to come back and visit me too! The tea will be waiting...or the coffee if it is before 7 AM.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Beautiful example of REALLY trying to be b'simcha

I know many of us have struggles in our lives. We all have a level of pain that sometimes truly feels unbearable. Through it all we try to be b'simcha, to find the happiness and joy that we know somehow exists within the depths. This is no easy task. If you need encouragement check out this beautiful post from Shalom Bayit. You will find what to be joyful over as you visit with this dear single mom and read her heart's cry.

Here's to joy in the journey!

Friday, March 10, 2006

To Encourage us to Dance!

The Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her in dance with timbrels. And Miriam chanted for them: Sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously/Horse and Driver He has hurled into the sea.
Shemot 15:20-21

Sarah was often ill. (Rebbe Nachman’s daughter) Her suffering deeply pained the Rebbe, who often spoke of it. Once the Rebbe came to visit, and found her greatly distressed by a toothache. “Even if it is difficult, you must force yourself to be happy,” the Rebbe told her. Then he explained that by vividly imagining being joyous, she could come to experience true joy -- so much so that she would wish to dance. Through this, she would be cured. Sarah took her father's advice to heart. Closing the shutters of her house, she began to dance. Before long, the pain had disappeared (Until the Moshiach, p. 334).

By moving about or dancing, you can awaken feelings of happiness inside yourself.
~~~Rebbe Nachman m’Breslov

The righteous women who left Egypt were so confident that G-d would perform miracles, that they took tambourines into the desert. So, too, with the final Redemption, the righteous women must -- and certainly do -- trust so completely in the imminent Redemption, that they will begin immediately in the last moments of exile, to play music and dance for the Redemption.
(The Lubavitcher Rebbe, 13 Shvat, 5752-1992)

It was the woman who accepted the Torah first at Mount Sinai, and, it was the womans heroic efforts in Egypt that ignited our deliverance. And once again, it will be the woman's song and dance that will lead us into the swing of Moshiach. (http://www.foreveryjew.com/women/nidah/index.htm)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Giving children something to hold onto

One of the nicest things about having children in seminary/yeshiva is that they share with me the Torah and life lessons they have learned there. It is such a bracha to listen to them give over all the precious jewels of truth that they have discovered. This is one of the treasures my daughter most recently shared with me. During a class the teacher spoke of the saying, "holding on to (or hiding) behind their mother's skirt." The teacher pointed out that as time has gone by and fashions changed there was less and less for the children to hold on to or hide behind.
We all realize that fashions have changed. Hemlines on ladies skirts and dresses have been down to the floor and back up again. Depending of the whims of designers and what society deems acceptable the skirts have gone from maxi to micromini. But have we ever thought about how this has affected our children?
I am reminded of shopping with my three little ones. There we were in any given store traipsing up and down the aisles looking for this or that, children cling to my skirt. This is how I trained them to shop with me. Sometimes I even had all three connected to my skirt, depending on whether or not there was a shopping cart for the youngest to ride in. The shopping had to be done and I could not always hold their hands. I did not allow them to walk away from me so holding on to my skirt was our only option.
There were also times when we would go somewhere new and unfamiliar. Although my children for the most part were very outgoing, I remember occasionally feeling a gentle tug at my skirt. I would look down into one of my children's wondering eyes peeking from behind their security blanket, my skirt. I would stroke their hair and smile at them, assuring them we were all just fine.
Rebbe Nachman teaches that, "The clothing a person wears is indicative of his character." (Alef Bet book pg.40) What I wear as queen of my home and a daughter of the King, shows who I am. It also gives my children something to hold on to. A tradition of faith and stability. A tradition of loving and respecting myself. I teach my daughters and my son how a lady looks. Now, I realize that it doesn't end there. Modesty goes far beyond keeping myself lovely, respectable and covered. It all starts in my heart and if that is the case than all the more so I need to strive for this modesty.
It truly is up to us, dear ladies. We are the ones who are the hearts of our homes. We are the ones who give the love of Judaism to our children and we are the ones who must give our beloved children something to hold on to, so they can be secure in this world.
I miss feeling that slight drag on my skirt knowing they were right there with me. B'ezrat Hashem, I have given them more. Something stronger than my skirt, and more stable than fluctuating hemlines. I pray the something that I have given them to always hold on to is Hashem and his Holy Torah.

Friday, March 03, 2006

A love song to Abba

By Philly Farmgirl

Knowing with my whole heart that You are really there
Feeling in my deepest soul that You truly care
Although everything around me is blowing out of control
I hold on to Your words to calm my restless soul

You are the Beloved
My only truth and hope
You are my safety
My only way to cope

Provider of all my needs, guiding me through each day
Giving me the strength to move, keeping me on this way
I know You want what is best for me, and all You do for my good
I place my simple trust in You as I know I should

I know that You Love me
I know that You Care
I know that You are Compassion
I know that You are there

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

2,000-Year-Old Judean Date Seed Growing Successfully

by Ezra HaLevi

A 2,000-year-old date seed planted last Tu B’Shvat has sprouted and is over a foot tall. Being grown at Kibbutz Ketura in the Arava, it is the oldest seed to ever produce a viable young sapling.

The Judean date seed was found, together with a large number of other seeds, during archaeological excavations carried out close to Massada near the southern end of the Dead Sea. Massada was the last Jewish stronghold following the Roman destruction of the Holy Temple over 1,930 years ago. The age of the seeds was determined using carbon dating, but has a margin of error of 50 years – placing them either right before or right after the Massada revolt.

The seeds sat in storage for thirty years until Elain Solowey of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies was asked to attempt to cultivate three of them. Solowey spoke with Israel National Radio's Yishai Fleisher and Alex Traiman about reviving the ancient date palm.

Solowey, who raised the plant, has grown over 100 rare and almost extinct species of plants. Together with Hadassah Hospital’s Natural Medicine Center, she seeks to use the plants listed in ancient remedies to seek effective uses for modern medical conditions. The Judean date has been credited with helping fight cancer, malaria and toothaches. Solowey was skeptical about the chances of success at first, but gave it a try. “I treated it in warm water and used growth hormones and an enzymatic fertilizer extracted from seaweed in order to supplement the food normally present in a seed,” she said.

As this year’s Tu B’Shvat (the Jewish new year for trees, the 15th of the Jewish month of Shvat) approaches, the young tree that sprouted from one of the three seeds now has five leaves (one was removed for scientific testing) and is 14 inches tall. Solowey has named it Metushelah (Methuselah), after the 969-year-old grandfather of Noah, the oldest human being ever.

Solowey said that although the plant’s leaves were pale at first, the young tree now looks “perfectly normal.”

The Judean palms once grew throughout the Jordan Valley, from Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) to the Dead Sea. Those from Jericho, at the northern end of the Dead Sea, were of particularly notable quality. Though dates are still grown widely in the Jordan Valley, the trees come mostly from California.

The Judean date palm trees are referred to in Psalm 92 (“The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree…”). The tree was also depicted on the ancient Jewish shekel and now appears on the modern Israeli 10-shekel coin.

It is too early to tell, but if the tree is female, it is supposed to bear fruit by 2010, after which it can be propagated to revive the Judean date palm species altogether. “It is a long road to our being able to eat the Judean date once again,” Solowey said, “but there is the possibility of restoring the date to the modern world.”