Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
January 6th, 2012


Library Journal Reviews offers an up-to-date look at the current science findings in pregnancy.

Pincott, Jena. Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?: The Surprising Science of Pregnancy.
What a charm! Science writer Pincott (Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes?) tackles some myths and legends associated with pregnancy and compares them to peer-reviewed research on the matter. The book covers such questions as: “Do men prefer babies who resemble them?” “What does a baby’s birth season predict?” and “Do bossy broads have more sons?” This is an enjoyable, insightful, and fascinating look at pregnancy that explains what we know and identifies what we don’t. In discussing topics from stretch marks to mama’s boys, Pincott takes a conversational tone, making the science readily available to all readers. An ideal acquisition for public libraries, a great gift for expectant parents, and the perfect choice for the doctor’s waiting room, this winning title deserves some talking up. Way more fun than What To Expect.

In her book, Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies? Jena Pincott, science writer, takes an easy-to-understand look at new discoveries about the intimate relationship between baby-in-utero and mother.  Psychology Today has this to say about her.

Jena graduated with a dual major in Biology and Media Studies from Hampshire College. Seeking a happy medium, she worked on science documentaries for PBS, and then moved on to book publishing. She was an editor at John Wiley & Sons. She received an M.A. from New York University; her thesis was on science and the sublime in the works of Thomas Pynchon. Later, she became a senior editor at Random House. Then she left it all to be a science writer.

Jena writes:

Is it any solace to sentimental mothers that their babies will always be part of them?

I’m not talking about emotional bonds, which we can only hope will endure. I mean that for any woman that has ever been pregnant, some of her baby’s cells may circulate in her bloodstream for as long as she lives. Those cells often take residence in her lungs, spinal cord, skin, thyroid gland, liver, intestine, cervix, gallbladder, spleen, lymph nodes, and blood vessels. And, yes, the baby’s cells can also live a lifetime in her heart and mind.

Here’s what happens.

During pregnancy, cells sneak across the placenta in both directions. The fetus’s cells enter his mother, and the mother’s cells enter the fetus. A baby’s cells are detectable in his mother’s bloodstream as early as four weeks after conception, and a mother’s cells are detectable in her fetus by week 13. In the first trimester, one out of every fifty thousand cells in her body are from her baby-to-be (this is how some noninvasive prenatal tests check for genetic disorders). In the second and third trimesters, the count is up to one out of every thousand maternal cells. At the end of the pregnancy, up to 6 percent of the DNA in a pregnant woman’s blood plasma comes from the fetus. After birth, the mother’s fetal cell count plummets, but some stick around for the long haul. Those lingerers create their own lineages. Imagine colonies in the motherland.

Moms usually tolerate the invasion. This is why skin, organ, and bone marrow transplants between mother and child have a much higher success rate than between father and child.

Of course, we nosy mothers would like to know exactly what our children’s cells are up to while they hang out in us. Are they just biding time in our bodies? Are they mother’s little helpers? Or are they baby rebels, planning an insurgency? Read more at Jena’s blog, BOING BOING.

This is stuff for amazement! The more we learn about human biology, the more wonderful it becomes. The interactions! Who knew?!!

Here is a link to experiments done on pregnant mice showing that cells from the indwelling-babies can migrate throughout the mother mouse and actually help her to heal from a heart attack!

We are indeed wonderfully made!

See my previous post on the interaction of the male’s semen with the woman recipient.

July 11th, 2011


(Vital statistics:  Dorothy Agnes Hodson, first child of Agnes and Frank Hodson, born July 11, 1923, in Detroit MI, weighing 6 lb 6 oz)

Most of us, even when we were young, have caught a glimpses of ourselves in a store window as we passed by and thought: “Is that how I really look? So, er…….un-wonderful!?” That happened to me again this morning. I saw myself in the door window as I entered church and thought:   “That is definitely an old lady. See her posture. See how she moves. Look at that face?”   Well, duh, what can I expect?  I am old.

I see a lady friend from a distance crossing the street. She is more than ten years younger than me and I think, “Omigosh! She’s turned into a little old lady, too!” Her hair is white and she seems to have gotten smaller. She’s still spry and sharp but she’s one of us.

Another friend has come out for the summer – into summer clothes, that is. He has gotten leaner over the winter. Arms are scrawnier.   Knees and elbows are knobby. He should have stayed under wraps. But we’re all in this together. When I asked him how he liked “this growing old thing” he said he didn’t.

It surprises me how often I leave church in the morning after mass with something already in my mind to blog about that day. Lately I have been comparing the seasons of life with the “seasons” of a pregnancy — something I am quite familiar with. You start out amazed that such a thing has happened to you — you are actually PREGNANT! — and then you settle into it and await developments. It goes on, and on, and on and on. And on and on. You get more and more uncomfortable and more and more looking forward to the end, with both fear and anticipation. The birthing thing doesn’t sound like much fun. The baby thing — what will it be like to have a wee human counting on me for every little thing? All day. Every day.

In the meantime, what is the baby inside thinking? Perhaps in some way it knows it has eyes, and ears, and arms and legs. Does it wonder why? Is it looking forward to being held in loving arms, tasting sweet milk, seeing a beautiful world, running, dancing, singing, enjoying a new and wonderful freedom? Of course not. It hasn’t a clue.

On the one hand, I feel like the pregnant woman at 9 months. We old folks have beening going on and on and on for some time now. And it’s not getting any easier. Sometimes it’s a serious drag. We look forward to the end with both fear and anticipation. The dying thing is inevitable — and scary. And then what?

On the other hand, I feel like the infant still in the womb, awaiting a new birth! What potentialities do I have that will then be actualized?

I came across this darling video just a day or two ago. It runs through all of a pregnancy in two minutes. And then? Voila! Le denouement!

Genevieve Damascus goes from skinny to full-on preggo in this time-lapse video. We took photos every week during her pregnancy, and what you see here is the progression from nine to 39 weeks pregnant… and beyond!

In another video we are given the privilege of watching Genevieve actually giving birth. She thanks God it is over and thanks God for the outcome.

We old folks (and Genevieve) are in the hands of a master designer. We have seen the polywog grow legs, the butterfly emerge from the cocoon, the baby robin go from hatch to dispatch in a three weeks. And we have known the blessing of a baby.

How can you wonder that I am anticipating the next scene?

He has shown me he is able, and he has promised.



Our times are in His hand
Who saith, ‘A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God, see all
Nor be afraid. — Browning

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him. — 2 Cor. 2, 9.


March 3rd, 2010


The First Telegraph

If you click Library of Congress you can see a larger version of Samuel Morse’s first telegraph message on 24 May 1844 from the Supreme Court room in Washington to his assistant in Baltimore.  And if you look carefully you can see the raised dots and dashes that made up the message. Below them are  letters: W h a t  h a t h  G o d  w r o u g h t,  written by the person who decoded the message.   Nowadays we think this method of delivering a message speedily quite primitive.   At the time it seemed almost miraculous.

Here is another  remarkable delivery, born March 2, 2010.


Men – and women – may play their roles, but in the end we can only echo  Samuel Morse and exclaim in amazement:       WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT!


What hath God wrought!  — Numbers 23:23

June 1st, 2009


In the summer of 1991 I was in Wichita with Randy Terry praying at the abortuary of George Tiller, praying that he would stop what he was famous for, the killing of late term babies.

At this point he has met his maker. The many people who have prayed at Wichita over the years will never know what difference their prayers may have made. We only know we did not wish him ill, only good, only that he would stop killing God’s babies and turn to his merciful God for forgiveness.





Avenge not yourselves, for vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. — Romans 12:19

March 21st, 2009


In 1991 a gathering called the Summer of Mercy was held in Wichita Kansas, where George Tiller ran an abortion mill which specialized in late term abortions. At that time tens of thousands of committed Christians came  there to cry out for an end to abortion.   I and many of my friends were among them. Tiller had a lovely facility which sported an incinerator where he could dispose of the aborted babies on site.

In 1991 70 local pastors in the Wichita area covenanted to “continue to speak out with urgency until the killing of innocent children is outlawed and Wichita becomes an abortion-free city.” A parade for life was held and it was heartwarming to see the pro-life sentiment in the mid-West, especially as compared with the cold hearts in the northeast United States.

There were, then, three abortuaries in Wichita.   Now but one is left, the infamous Women’s Health Care Services run by Mr. Tiller, where women from far and near come to have late term babies “delivered” still-born. (The babies get an injection while in the womb to be sure they are dead on arrival.) Tiller is facing 19 criminal charges for violating Kansas law on late-term abortion.   Tiller has performed over 80,000 abortions and has boasted that he has done more late-term abortions than anyone in the western hemisphere.

Finally, this coming week, Tiller goes to trial. The jury pool has been selected. As Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition writes: “The conviction of George Tiller will energize the prolife movement in a way that we have not seen in 20 years. It will also demonstrate that regardless of the political landscape, God’s power is great and not limited to who resides in the White House.”

Raise your hand to stand with the babies for life. Raise your voice to God for an end to this carnage.

Also this week:

March 18th, 2009: Topeka, KS – Yesterday, the Kansas State Senate passed a bill that would require that women seeking abortions be allowed to see an ultrasound image of their baby at least 30 minutes before the abortion. This bill puts the radical abortion views of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who was recently nominated as Secretary of Health and Human Services, again in the spotlight.


Am I my brother’s keeper?  And the Lord said, ” What have you done?  The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.”  —  Genesis 4:9

January 29th, 2009


I have just added Inside Catholic to my blogroll.  Their post today, titled 8  Responses to the Pro-Choice Mindset,  is a must.

January 1st, 2009


I forward this magnificent rendition of O Holy Night with Josh Groban to celebrate His birth and the birth of my first born on this date 60 years ago.

(Actually Wendy was born on December 30, but I had trouble uploading the video.  Thank you, Johnny.)  So consider it also a New Year’s gift.  Blessings for 2009 to all who read this — and all who don’t!

December 24th, 2008


There she is. Celebrate the child! The amazing gift. The baby.  Her name is Kaylin. The gift of her father to her mother. The gift of the mother to the father. The gift of God to them both.



Her greatgrandma says: “Went for her 2 week checkup and she had gained 1 lb 1oz and grew an inch. That breast milk is good stuff ….”

Kaylin and Greatgrandma

Kaylin and Greatgrandma

Once upon a time greatgrandma was my baby sister, Dolly.  Another gift.

Kaylin and Greatgrandpop Dwight

Kaylin and Greatgrandpop Dwight

Kaylin and her Mommy

Kaylin and her Mommy


For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11.

October 8th, 2008


When this article as published way back in 1955, breast-feeding was a lost art.  Most babies were bottle-fed and I knew of no woman  who nursed her baby.   Breastfeeding was at that time counter-cultural.  The first La Leche League group was formed in l958 and their The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding was written to fill a very real need.   Is is not amazing that a normal, natural, motherly action could be so supplanted by a contrived, bothersome, inferior method of baby feeding?   It makes one wonder about the common sense of womankind.

The swing is back to normal mothering but individual mothers still need encouragement to persevere, especially when they know there is a workable alternative if they run into problems.   If you, like me, have no friend, relative, or mother to cheer you on, I think the following should be helpful. Reading it over some fifty years later, there are some sentences that I might want to tweak a bit, but human nature and human physiology do not change significantly in a mere half-century. Much is written nowadays about the importance of finding time for one-on-one relationships. Much is said about the need for busy mothers to find a little time to relax so that they don’t get so overwhelmed.  Just settle down, with a baby at the breast, and  let the oxytocin flow — it’s like a little oasis!


I once heard of a woman who filled up so much after her baby was born that she couldn’t buy a bra big enough to fit her.  But she couldn’t nurse her baby.   She had “that blue milk, you know.”  And every time I think of her I grieve a little for the baby that would have thrived on that abundance of blue milk — for it cannot be disputed that human milk is the best baby food.  True, it is bluer than cow’s milk — and for good reason.  It has less protein, less fat, and more sugar than cow’s milk.  Its composition is different because it is intended for a baby, not a calf.  By the time cow’s milk is properly doctored up with a formula (water and some form of sugar are added to cow’s milk for no other reason than to make it more like breast milk) it, too, has a bluish-white color. Read the rest of this entry »

July 16th, 2008


“I think Pinky is going to have babies,” I remarked casually one day. “I think she is, too,” said six-year-old Terry. “Her tummy is fat like yours was before you got John.”

“…And Katy and Peggy and you and me,” added Wendy, from her eight years of experience.

When Pinky had come to us the previous fall as a young cat, we had not been enthusiastic. Living in small quarters with a fairly large family, we figured if there was one thing we didn’t need, it was a cat. We gave her a saucer of milk and figured she would disappear as had the other cats the children had brought home before her. But Pinky was different. She decided we were her family, despite tail-pulling by toddlers, eating only table scraps, and spending most of the winter outdoors. She was gentle, very affectionate, and smart, as cats go — smart enough to keep out of sight until the smaller tots became used to her and ignored her presence.

However, when spring brought evidence of Pinky’s approaching motherhood, she was no longer persona non grata–in spite of the fact that if there is one thing we figured we didn’t need it was more cats. The whole family looked forward to her approaching accouchement. Read the rest of this entry »