January 28, 2012

what exactly was Eve's curse – pain or sorrow?

This is a question I've been turning over in my mind. Last weekend I talked to a friend at church about it, and she mentioned that Genesis 3:16 NIV says "I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children." That would seem to sum it up, but I asked her whether she thought that specific sentence was for all women to come throughout human history or just her? We were befuddled together.

I decided to do some research, as I suspected that there was more to this curse than a painful childbirth. It just felt a little too simple. I mean, why is childbirth painful in the first place? Well, every contraction is the muscles moving the baby down through the birth canal – it's a top-to-bottom squeeze, if you will. So every contraction is one step closer to the birth. They're progressive.

Ironically, when women react fearfully toward - or tense up against - the pain & pressure, it can make the process take longer and can lead to interventions. In a normal situation, the key is to embrace it and not fight it so that the body can do what it was built to do. Epidurals can make that process easier by relaxing mom's muscles (and if they're used very early can also extend labor time), but so can various relaxation and focusing techniques.

Okay, enough background.

After the fall of Adam and Eve, God tells them what live is going to be like from that point on. What I find interesting about what he tells Eve is the difference between the KJV and NIV versions. The KJV says "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children…" That sounds different from the term "pain" that NIV uses. Obviously, a closer study of the original Hebrew version is in order.

The interesting thing about Hebrew text is that it is layered. Each character often has more than one meaning, and in context can mean different things. This is very much unlike English which – except for all our duplicate words that can mean totally different things depending on pronunciation – are generally single-purpose and not multi-faceted.

All this is to say that I found a fascinating biblical study about just this subject which I found very revealing. In a two-part series, Jack Ke.lley of gracet.hru.faith asks and presents plausible answers to some key questions about this:

- Why would God command Adam and Eve to populate the world and then make childbirth so painful? Is that really His intention?
- Do the terms "increase" (NIV) and "multiply" (KJV) necessarily mean the same thing?
- What does the verse really mean and to whom does it apply?

What I like about Jack's study is his honest search for the truth. But now I'm at a stopping point, as his is the only one I've found so far. I'm not one to stop with one study and declare "ah-hah! I knew it!" My search is incomplete. But I'm fairly convinced that the NIV translation isn't providing the whole picture.

Anyone know of any resources that actually pay attention to this scripture? If so, please share!

January 20, 2012

right around the corner

The doc told me yesterday that he's lightening or lowering. Getting into position. My reaction was kind of like entering a marathon and getting my bib number sent to me.

Around 10 this morning I actually had lower back pain - something I have not experienced at all during this pregnancy - which only lasted about a minute. I thought it was a bit odd.

Around 3:30 this afternoon, I got a nice solid dose of cramping during which I closed my eyes and focused on breathing. It passed within 30 seconds.

Shades of things to come. I am drinking my raspberry leaf tea every day now, as this is supposed to help tone the uterine muscles (and thus make them more effective for baby's birth day).

Still haven't booked a doula, but am leaning toward hiring one direct from the hospital. If they get back to me on time...

January 8, 2012

embracing and letting go

At some point in the last couple of months, we had been watching our 10-year-old greyhound go through a series of illnesses that left us broke and seriously stressed out. We began to realize the true limitations of our current living situation: a two bedroom condo, no yard, and a concrete patio. That means gearing up for doggy potty walks 3-5 times a day, which we have done faithfully for 8 years. Unless he's sick, in which case it means even more quick walks and breaking out the carpet shampooer and washing bedding and anything else that comes into contact with bodily fluids.

I should stop here and say that Louie has been an amazing dog. He doesn't chew on things, doesn't bark at people, isn't aggressive, and just wants love most of the time (when he isn't sleeping 16 hours a day). He doesn't do a lot of normal dog things either, like fetch or sit (looks incredibly uncomfortable). We adopted him from a local greyhound organization and really loved him.

With a string of recent stomach upsets plus an infection, I started to realize quickly my own capacity for taking care of this senior hound coupled with the impending responsibility of a newborn. If I felt overwhelmed and exhausted now... Well, we wondered if it was fair to the dog to keep him on when we'd be learning how to be parents and cleaning up a different set of bodily fluids on a daily basis.

Very early Christmas morning, we woke up to an absolute disaster in our master closet. We sprang into action with the washing machine and carpet shampooer - even had to clean some extra clothes and a dresser - and we knew what we had to do.

Yesterday we drove Louie and all his accouterments to a foster that specializes in taking care of senior greyhounds, lives in a big house that backs up to a nature trail, and has three other dogs to keep him company. We knew we were making the right decision. He'll be much happier there, and won't get ignored by owners who are learning how to take care of a baby.

This morning was hard, though. I woke up thinking about how I didn't have to take the dog out, how for the first time in years we could just sleep in and not worry about cleaning up the latest illness... and cried. Eight years is a long time - almost as long as our marriage so far - and it was the end of an era.

We're in transition from being fur-kid parents to skin-kid parents. In a way, caring for Louie has prepared us (I can't even count how many batches of poo and barf we've cleaned off the carpet and the dog), yet of course we're nowhere near prepared. But we are definitely ready. Even at this moment, our son is shifting around in my belly and I'm incredibly excited. I never thought I'd have to let go of something really significant in order to take hold of this, but I do. I really do.

Oh, someday we'll probably get another dog. But it will be a few years, and not unless we live in a bigger place with a backyard. We'd have moved by now if it weren't for the real estate market crash, and we have many thousands of dollars to save before we can sell the condo and put a downpayment on a house. So there it is. We're stuck here for now, but like many other people we're doing the best we can with what we have.