Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pride (In the Name of Love)

Blogging for LGBT Families Day 2012

There are a lot of reasons not to like Pride.  I've heard it described as too corporate, too focused on partying, too boring, not political enough, too political, unrepresentative, and too sexual.  My big gripes are crowds, blazing sun, and a general lack of the things that I really enjoy.  If Pride was a moderately attended microbrew festival with amazing food trucks (Thai street food perhaps, maybe some Korean barbeque?) and a band playing country hits, Badger and I would be there every weekend.

Despite the fact that hanging out with some thousands of my closest friends on a blazing Baltimore summer afternoon is really not my idea of a good time, we are planning to go to Pride this year-mostly because of Ladybug.   I want LB to grow up knowing that there are lots of gay people in the world, but more than that, having LB has made me much more aware of how much we need each other as gay people.

Queer people/gay people don't necessarily have much in common with each other.  Besides defining ourselves as something-other-than-straight and a shared history of being oppressed and marginalized, what do we share?  We live everywhere, and are of every race, creed, and religion.  That diversity can be a weakness or a strength.  It's a weakness if we aren't willing to know each other and don't care about each other.  Those differences can be very hard to bridge in the real world, for example, what do I have in common with the young trans sex workers I see on the streets not that far from my house?  As a teenager living in a difficult situation, one not particularly related to my sexuality, I found gay adults to be a fairly useless lot.  In retrospect, they had a lot to lose from being overly friendly with a gay teen, and they probably knew better than I did that very little they could say or do would make my life better at that point.

Even if we can't solve all the problems of other gay people, our generosity and compassion is our strength.  We have a long fight ahead and we need each other for that fight.  We can't let the pettiness of "I hate techno" (which I do), and "I would never wear hotpants in public" (which I would not) divide us.  So we'll take LB to Pride, and hopefully we can enjoy some pit beef and snowballs while we raise a glass (of something which is sure to make Badger rail bitterly against the swill that is mass produced beer) to our proud forefathers and foremothers who partied like their lives depended on it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Vacation Land

On the ferry

We just got home from a lovely Memorial Day trip to visit my family in Maine.  It was 65 and rainy when we left this morning and 91 when we landed in Baltimore.  It was so nice to see friends and family, and we got to do all kinds of fun stuff including visits to four bakeries.  I also went to the local very small Memorial Day ceremony and parade with my parents.  LB is at a good age to hang out with her grandparents, which is nice, because they are so happy to spend time with LB that they don't mind if Badger and I do our own thing.  Our own thing involved a fancy dinner, some lunches, and some drinks out.

Vacationlanding Badger

Badger tells me that we tried at least eleven mostly local beers.  We also got to take lots of walk and go to the beach.  As a kid, I swam in the ocean from May to October, but as a grown up the water felt awfully cold.
On the beach

LB wasn't quite sure about the beach.  She likes watching the water, but dislikes new walking surfaces including beach sand.  All in all a glorious time.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Ladybug had her speech evaluation.  At first the therapist said she was just below the 25% delay cutoff and would qualify for services, but she rechecked her numbers and LB came out slightly over the cutoff. At 18 months actual her skills are at a 14 month level, and she would need to be at a 13.5 month level to qualify. I had accepted the reality of doing speech therapy, so it was hard to adjust to the idea of not doing it, but I think we are okay with the way things turned out.  Given that LB's adjusted age is 15.5 months, and her hearing loss (reminder: make appointment with ENT), and the fact that her language has really been increasing in the past few weeks, I think it's fine to wait and see for a few months.  And I am glad that we don't have to try to jam another appointment into our weekly schedule.

We have NICU follow up clinic at the end of May, so we'll see what they have to say.  Hopefully LB will get to be advanced in something besides tantrums and cuteness.  She excels at those like they are her job.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sick Baby Blues

Poor Ladybug has been sick this week with a slight fever, cough, and an unsettling raspy wheeze in the mornings.  Thursday night was worst, with coughing leading to projectile vomiting and multiple clothes changes for all.  Badger and I took turns sleeping on the floor of LB's room for fear she would choke on her own vomit and at one point around 3:30am we were down to our last clean crib sheet.  Fortunately, she seems to feel better today and is definitely less fussy.  I think I feel most like a mother when I'm rocking a feverish, listless little baby who brings out that mix of tenderness and worry.  However, when LB has been awake and inconsolable, it has been very hard to be patient.

Motherhood has been unexpected in its sublime and excruciating moments.  Who knew I would love to hold a sick baby, but hate to push a swing in the park (so boring).  Before LB, I couldn't know how quickly she would change and that I would have to change as well.  At around nine months LB when from being a sweet, cuddly babe in arms to a curious explorer (even though she could only get places by rolling), it was hard to have our quite post work cuddle replaced by a kicking, straining, pinching race to get out of mama's arms.  But, one night as I was rocking LB I was struck by the understanding that she was not part of me, that she was her own person with her own wants and her own agenda.  It was so weird to realize that I had still been thinking her as an extension of herself, and just that realization made it so much easier to accept the new explorer LB.

It can be hard to be all things as a mother-the mother who will sleep on a baby's floor and listen to her breathe, and the mother who will let a baby do her own thing.  Today I really wanted to get some pictures of LB in a little cap made by one of my mother's friends.  It is part of a beautiful layette and I know LB won't be able to wear it for much longer.  Of course, the pictures were a fail and I tried to remember how lucky we are to have an independent little fighter.

But this agreeable baby,

has become this feisty toddler who won't wear a hat.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Farmer's Market

I finally made it to the farmer's market this weekend.  We needed two tomato starts, which led to four quarts of strawberries and assorted other stuff (the tomatoes are from California).  Today was strawberry shortcake and tomorrow will be strawberry rhubarb pie.  Most years I regret not making full use of berry season, but this year will be different.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Two Books about Preemies

When Ladybug was in the NICU, I did no reading about preemies.  In terms of preemie parents, I was probably on the extreme side of not wanting to know any medical details.  I wanted to hear that LB was good, and if that wasn't true, I wanted to know that she wasn't going to die, and I didn't really want to hear the details.  With the rise in the number of M.D.s from Google University, I think most people want to hear what a doctor has to say and then they want to go check it out themselves.  In the NICU, we were given a lot of information, which for me involved listening to excruciating lectures with my eyes glazed over.  The NICUs focus on statistical risk always seemed useless to me as a parent.  Of course for a neonatologist, statistical risk is a useful tool, but as a parent I really don't care how 10,000 babies respond to a particular treatment, I care about my Ladybug.  From the neo's point of view, I guess statistics give them something to say.  Without the numbers they are just left with the truth of "I don't know," or "I have a hunch."

I've always like medical non-fiction, and now that I'm further away from LBs preemie days, I've started reading about preemies.

I recently read Adam Wolfberg's Fragile Beginnings: Discoveries and Triumphs in the Newborn ICU (2012) and I found it to be, not a bad book, but an odd book.  Wolfberg is a doctor and a medical researcher, but in the book he uses the experience of his own daughter, who was born premature, as a framing device.  Reading the book, I got the sense that either Wolfberg and his editor has very different ideas about the book, and/or that Wolfberg was uncomfortable sharing his families' experience.  I suspect that the author wanted to write a more scholarly book, and the editor wanted a book that would appeal to the broad audience of people who might be interested in the personal story of a preemie's survival.  The result of this tension is a series of interesting juxtapositions, a somewhat cold vignette about the author's daughter, following the story of a woman choosing to get an abortion at 23w 4ds, or a graphic descriptions of medical experiments on animals.  This back and forth gives the book a jumpy feeling.  Overall, this book was interesting and I don't regret reading it; however, if you know a family who has recently had a preemie and are wondering if this book is an appropriate gift, it is not!  Do not buy this book for anyone who has had a preemie!

I prefer Geoffrey Miller's Extreme Prematurity: Practice, Bioethics, and the Law (2007) and this preference is partly due to the fact that I find Miller's emphasis on ethics more interesting than Wolfberg's emphasis on brain plasticity.  Extreme Prematurity is a short book with a large amount of information.  The book contains sections on medical issues, bioethics, practices in different countries, and laws in different countries.  The author manages to be evenhanded, even when discussing controversial theories like utilitarianism.  I found the comparisons between the United States and other countries particularly interesting.  I definitely recommend this book for anyone interested in prematurity and bioethics, and I wish Miller would right an expanded version with additional detail.  Once again, this book is not one that I would recommend for families with babies in the NICU, but Miller has given the book a boring enough title that I can't imagine anyone mistakenly giving it as a gift.

Monday, May 14, 2012


LB's PT is currently a major enabler of our baby-related consumption.  She doesn't push us to buy things, but when we bring up something like a riding toy she will tell us what skills it will help LB build.  Who can resist that pitch?  Enter the Wheelie Bug.  We love the Wheelie Bug, but unfortunately it seems to be part of the slippery slope to this:

[Edit-Badger says that I must specify to the internets that this picture is our BASEMENT, not a room in our house.] What you see here is a slurry of sports stuff, crafting stuff, beer making stuff, and a drum set, but mostly lots and lots of baby gear and clothes (and if you look very closely, one little baby).  I think we could easily outfit triplet girls in any season.  And this picture was taken after I gave several large boxes of stuff away on Craigslist (goodbye "Daddy's little princess" onesies), returned stuff we had borrowed, and gave and lent stuff to friends.  Lest you think we have a serious shopping addiction, we don't buy much, but we are given a lot-both new and used.

When did this happen?  Most people I know don't have a lot of money, but we all have a lot of stuff.  Materially, my growing up in the 1970s was more like the 1930s than like anything LB will experience.  I got two new pairs of shoes every year (school shoes and summer sandals) and two new outfits (one for the first day of school and one for Easter/birthday). When I look at pictures of the house in which I grew up, it looks almost empty.  My very frugal mom buys most of LBs clothes.  She takes her coupons down to the outlet stores whenever they have a big sale and buys a pile of clothes, and always tells me that it's almost as cheap as the thrift store.  LB never seems to get one outfit or one pair of shoes, it always a box of barely worn outfits, or five pairs of shoes.  I am very thankful that we don't have to buy everything LB needs, and that she has nice things, but it is all overwhelming.  It makes people happy to buy stuff for a baby, and I know my mom in particular loves her trips to buy LB's clothes.  But how do raise a child who still has the pleasure of wanting things in the midst of so much?  And how do you keep from turning into a hoarder house?  Is it just gross to have so much?

I hope that we can teach LB not to distract herself with shiny, pretty things, but that seems like a lofty goal.  The important stuff (education, healthcare, retirement) costs so much, and the stuff that doesn't matter is so cheap. Given the state of our economy, enjoying it while we can seems a sadly rational choice.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


I told a friend that as a politically progressive married lesbian mom, I feel like I'm getting whiplash moving back and forth between happiness about Obama's evolution and frustration with the political goals of marriage equality.  The ABC interview was loving, but also troubling.  I think the word "monogamy" was a thorn for many of us. Badger and I are really the poster children for Obama's vision of marriage, but where does the extension of rights to those who are monogamous, committed, and child-having, leave the kinky, slutty, and otherwise disrespectable members of our community.  Where would our gay forefathers and foremothers fit into Obama's narrow definition of gay respectability.  In today's politics, it's acceptable to talk about rights and marriage, but not so acceptable to talk about gay sex.  Without gay men and lesbians who formed sexual subcultures, we wouldn't have gotten here to talk marriage, so best not to forget them.  I'm not sure that the drag queens of Stonewall, the radical lesbian separatist who rejected monogamy, or John Geddes Larence and Tyron Garner would make the cut.  Rights are rights, and you shouldn't have to conform to a narrow standard of behavior to be worthy.

So where does that leave me.  This anti-marriage agenda article by a progressive lesbian was published a couple days after Obama's statement, and even though I completely agree with the substance of her arguments, the piece felt a little petty and holier-than-thou.  This video (Making Newark Better) warmed my heart, and shows rather than tells the good (non-marriage related) work that committed glbtq activists can do-work that helps some of the most vulnerable community members.

Finally, I was watching Melissa Harris Perry's show. Perry always seems to come up with interesting analysis that goes beyond what you usually get on TV.  (I probably like her because she's a social scientist not a policy wonk.)  She used the analogy of slavery (and, of course, was NOT trying to say that being queer in the 2010s is like being a slave) to argue that gay marriage and a broad and inclusive gay freedom struggle are not in opposition.  Perry argued that slaves sought marriage and recognition for their relationships even as they sought the ultimate goal of freedom.  Wanting to be married did not mean that the did not want to be free. To mix some historical metaphors: we need bread, but it's not wrong to want roses too.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Preeclampsia Awareness: Giving Birth on Magnesium Sulfate

The short answer is "yes, it does suck."

If you have severe preeclampsia, you will probably need to be on magnesium sulfate while you have your baby and then for some time after the birth.  Magnesium sulfate prevents preeclampsia from becoming eclampsia (seizures).  You can have either a vaginal delivery or a c section on mag, but either way you will likely have a catheter and be confined to bed. "This is now a medical birth" was the phrase I heard a lot when I was in the hospital waiting to have LB.

I knew that mag would not be fun because the nurses looked really sorry for me when it was time to start the IV.  Usually patients on mag get a big dose at the beginning and then a smaller dose for up to 48hrs.  The big dose tends to be the worst part, and almost everyone feels very hot and vomits or dry heaves. My worst symptoms lasted about a half hour.  Mag also causes muscle weakness, which meant that I was burning hot, and dry heaving while lying flat on my back (Badger was there holding a basin).

I know that Baby Center can be a terrible place, but this thread in the group for people with preeclampsia has a nice roundup of women's experiences on mag.  At best, women report having very few symptoms, at worst they describe really vivid hallucinations.  Nurses warned me that I would probably feel hot and vomit, but they didn't talk about the weakness, confusion,  and visual problems that seem common with mag (or maybe they told me but I was too out of it to remember).

In my case, the best thing about mag (and the morphine cocktail I received) was that it made me feel very relaxed and unafraid.  I had been very frightened of having a c section, but as they wheeled me into the OR and did the spinal I felt very calm.  [I don't know what it's like to have a vaginal birth on mag.  It doesn't seem like it would be pleasant, but women on the internets report that they got through it just fine. If you are planning a vaginal birth on mag, you might want to check out the peanut ball.]

After having LB, I stayed on mag for about another 24 hours.  My most annoying issue was being unable to focus my eyes together and I ended up reading the Sunday Times with one eye closed so that I could focus.  About 12hrs after LB's birth, I was able to go up and see her in the NICU even though I was still on mag.  From hearing the stories of other women, I think it is unusual to be allowed to get out of bed so soon.  I had to have a L&D nurse with me the whole time, so perhaps staffing and liability issues limit early trips to the NICU?  If you know you are going to delivery on mag and your baby will be/might be going to the NICU, you should talk to your medical team about when you will be able to see your baby (and push them if it seems like it will be a long wait).

One final issue is bonding with your baby while you are still on mag.  Some women report that they felt an immediate bond, while others do not.  The first time I went to see LB, most of what I felt was fear.  LB was intubated (had a breathing tube) so we had to hold her very carefully.  She was handed over to me all bundled up and she looked so fragile and I felt very hot.  The lighting in the NICU was very weird and I felt like I was having an out of body experience.  At that moment, I really realized what a long road we had ahead, and I was so very afraid something terrible would happen to her.  A day or two later, when I really got to hold LB, I felt an overwhelming amount of peace and love, but not on that first night.  All that is to say, if you've given birth on mag, you've probably been worried about you baby and about your own health.  You probably did not have the birth you imagined.  You may be on a cocktail of drugs.  None of those factors help you have a blissed out early experience with your baby.  Many women who have been on mag, describe feeling emotionally distant or emotionally flat.  It's not a great feeling, but it's a normal feeling.  Give yourself a little time to recover from the birth and get off the mag.  Even if you don't feel bonded with your baby immediately, it can come with time (and it will feel just as amazing).

[And my advice for c-section recovery, take your pain meds.  If you are feeling significant pain you need more or different meds.  I found that Percocet made me feel terrible and didn't control my pain well, but Dilaudid worked great.  Also, use an abdominal binder during your recovery.  It makes it easier to move around sooner, which helps recovery.  I was given a big, industrial looking binder at the hospital, but you can also buy one through a medical supply store.]

My other preeclampsia awareness posts are  here and here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Historic Days

It's been a crazy 24 hours in gayby land.  There are many reasons not to be excited: North Carolina, DOMA, marriage being a generally crappy way to distribute rights, but I'm still excited.  I'll say it: I like Obama.  I don't love Obama, but I do think he is a good man and a smart person with integrity, and that's why I'm glad he is telling the truth about his beliefs.  Badger and I often say that Obama needs to be a little less JFK and a little more LBJ, which inevitably leads to speculation about whether Hillary would have been a tougher, more effective president, but today I'm happy and I am just going to enjoy that happiness.  

I'm going to try to turn my anger over North Carolina and my happiness about Obama's comments into some actual action on my part.  Maryland will have a referendum on gay marriage in November that will decide whether the gay marriage law passed by the legislature actually goes into effect.  I just dread the phone calls and door knocking, which are always what activist groups need people to do.  Hopefully LB will be talking by the time, and she can do the talking points while I huddle in the background.

Okay Mr. President, time to put on our shoes and get to work.

Just don't forget that I'm still pissed about DOMA.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

North Carolina On My Mind

The person keeping me updated on North Carolina's marriage amendment is a friend who is a straight, white man, with no other reason to oppose the amendment than being a decent human being.  And it makes me happy that he cares about us gays, and single ladies, and couples for whom "it's complicated."  Overall the North Carolina situation leaves me with not quite fear or sadness, but a deep feeling of heaviness.  As a historian, I believe in the human capacity for change, love, forgiveness, and transcendence, but I also know that we allow terrible things to happen.  "Never again," is a wish, not a promise, because it always happens again, just not in exactly the same terrible form.  If you were a Jew in Germany in 1932, or a Pole of any sort in 1938, a Sarajevian in 1991, or Rawandan in 1993, you didn't know how bad it would get.  You lived in a modern country, your neighbors were good people,  and then things fell apart.  I don't say this to be overly dramatic and argue that North Carolina's vote on marriage starts us on the march to genocide, but it is smart to consider the ultimate goals of your enemies.  I suspect that the gay haters, like the haters before them, don't know exactly what they want.  They don't want to kill us, but they do want us to disappear, and that is dangerous.  I also believe in the strength of America to hold its self together.  For all the craziness of this nation, maybe because of it, we are resilient.

My NC friend points me toward data showing that most NC voters don't actually know what voting Yes on One means. Is ignorance better than principled homophobia?  I have no idea.

I can't say that becoming a (gay) mom has made me more of an activist, I don't think I have the constitution for activism, sadly.  But, being a mom has raised the stakes of politics for me.  This blog post expresses many of the same feelings I've had as the political and the personal have become hopelessly intertwined.  After I gave birth to Ladybug, I was put under for a multi-hour surgery, followed by the loopiness of a mag sulfate/morphine cocktail.  Badger went to the NICU and held LB, cuddled her, and took pictures.  I'm haunted by the fact that that experience, in many states, is a privilege doled out by the hospital and not a right.  Under NCs Amendment 1, could our LB have spent her first hours alone with no mother's touch or voice.  If she had been sick, would she have died alone?

I tell myself "be the river." The river just flows.  It moves on without anger or bitterness, because it is made to flow.  I hope that queer families are the river washing gently over those who oppose us.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

"Her Life Was Saved by Rock 'n' Roll"

Badger bought us an excellent gift, a tabletop radio!  We listen to a lot of radio, and, unlike our cheap transistors, this radio actually gets a bunch of stations without static.  We mostly listen to NPR and pop country, but with the new radio we can actually get more stations.  I know that we can get almost any radio station on the internet, but for me internet radio kind of ruins the experience of dialing through the stations.

I love the simultaneity of radio.  I've spent a lot of time alone in my life and I've felt comforted by the idea that there are other people out there listening to the exact same thing at the same moment.  As a kid living in rural New England in the 1970s, I listened to the pre-Craigslist swap shows on AM radio every weekend.  A soundtrack of "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree," "Love's Been a Little Bit Hard on Me," and "Wildfire" segued into "When Doves Cry," and "I Wear My Sunglasses at Night."  As a young girl in the 1980s, I remember hearing an NPR radio report on a mysterious cancer cluster among gay men in California and feeling terrified, although there was no reason that an event so distant from my own life should cause fear.  On college radio in the 1990s, I heard Hole's "Pretty on the Inside," and it blew my mind by expressing exactly the kind of pissed off, mostly apolitical, hard partying, dirty, feminism that was roiling around in my life at the time.

During Ladybug's NICU stay, radio saved me.  Thankfully, our NICU wasn't the fancy kind of place that pipes in soft classical music.  I would have lost my damn mind if I had been forced to listen to classical music for two and half months.  Instead, we got a huge Panasonic radio from the 1970s that had been dug up from somewhere.  The nurse on duty got to choose the station and we heard a mix of country, pop, classic rock, r&b, and christian r&b.  There was something comforting and discordant, and funny about holding a tiny baby, staring at the city's night skyline, and listening to the latest pop hits from Katie Perry, Pink, and Cee Lo Green. Because of that time, "Firecracker" will always be Ladybug's special song, and for at least a while "Fuck You" was our song to the world.

Hopefully radio will never die, and maybe something I hear on this new radio will finally drive away my current "Luckenbach, Texas" earworm.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


It appears that Ladybug may be walking, slowly, and with the warning from our PT that she could still need braces, but definitely walking. With that good news, Badger took LB in for a hearing screen and the result was "mild hearing loss." The audiologist says that the most obvious culprit is fluid, and LB has had a continual head cold since October.  We've noticed in the past few months that LB has stopped using some of her words, and her new words are just vowel sounds.  For example, the cat at daycare is eeeeeeee.  Even as she uses fewer words, LB has become much more communicative with gestures, and her receptive language has gotten much better.  So here we are once again in the land of uncertainty.

Thankfully, Honey Badger don't care!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Preeclampsia: You Might Get It, You Can't Cure It

It's Preeclampsia Awareness Month! Yay!  Before I got preeclampsia, I had no idea that there was such a month, and therein lies a serious problem with issue months-the only people who care are those who have already "been touched" by the disease.  But, in any case, this is my combination PSA and rant.

The Preeclampsia Foundation (a group of smart women with good information) tells us that the risk factors for preeclampsia are as follows:

  • Previous history of preeclampsia
  • Multiple gestation (i.e., pregnant with more than one baby)
  • History of chronic high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease or organ transplant
  • First pregnancy
  • Obesity, particularly with Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater. Calculate your BMI here.
  • Over 40 or under 18 years of age
  • Family history of preeclampsia (i.e., a mother, sister, grandmother or aunt had the disorder)
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Lupus or other autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis and multiple sclerosis
  • In-vitro fertilization
  • Sickle cell disease

  • Of these risk factors, I had exactly one: it was my first pregnancy.  I developed preeclampsia sometime between week 23 and 27, went into the hospital on bedrest at week 27, and then delivered at week 29 with a diagnosis of severe preeclampsia.

    When I got the call to head to the hospital immediately, I was feeling fine-a little tired, but normal for the third trimester.  I had no headaches, no rib or shoulder pain, no swelling, and no visual disturbances.  My only symptoms were silent ones-blood pressure of 160/100 and elevated liver enzymes.

    There are a variety of current theories about preeclampsia.  This article from the New Yorker "The Preeclampsia Puzzle" discusses some of the theories, as well as some of the problems involved in trying to conduct medical research about pregnant women.

    What I took away from my experience with preeclampsia: 1) Generalized risk doesn't matter as much as  what actually happens to you.  In my case, knowing that I was statistically unlikely to develop preeclampsia made me less willing to acknowledge the seriousness of my rising blood pressure.  2) Keep a close eye on your blood pressure in pregnancy and don't be embarrassed to call your care provider if you feel off.  Many of the symptoms of preeclampsia are also normal pregnancy symptoms, but the good news is that the tests for preeclampsia (blood pressure checks, 24hr urine collection, and pre-e bloodwork) are relatively cheap, easy, and non-invasive.  When in doubt, get checked out!

    And now the rant....

    If you are a health food eating, healthy living, natural birthing type pregnant woman with signs of preeclampsia, you have probably come across online advice about nutritional therapy for preeclampsia. This advice comes in a few flavors, preeclampsia only happens to poor women who don't eat well (and we feel bad for them), you got preeclampsia because you ate white bread and fried chicken (and if you say you didn't you're a liar), and no one who follows the Brewer's diet will get preeclampsia.  Some natural birthers do disagree with these ideas, but dietary solutions to preeclampsia seem pretty widely accepted, particularly by those affiliated with the Bradley Method.

    This advice is based on the research of Dr. Tom Brewer who experimented with nutritional therapy for malnourished pregnant women.  When his book came out in 1967 it was very poorly received.  But even the fact that the Brewer's diet is old hack research wouldn't necessarily lead me to dismiss it.  Sometimes you have the right solution at the wrong historical moment.  For example, the Ketogenic Diet was used to treat epilepsy in the 1920s, then it fell out of favor, and now it is back.  But those who promote the Ketogenic diet do not suggest that it can be used successfully for all people with epilepsy, and it is really the 100% cure absolutism of the Brewer's Diet folks that drives me crazy.  To me someone who says they have a 100% cure for preeclampsia is the same as someone who says they have a 100% cure for cancer-he or she is a person with some snake oil to sell you.

    And really, if preeclampsia was all about nutrition, wouldn't having an eating disorder prior to or during pregnancy, or having hyperemesis be major risk factors for developing pre-e?

    And below is a couple days of Mary's Diet to Promote Early and Severe Preeclampsia (from my pregnancy food diary).  Interestingly I ate a ton of calories, but gained very little weight.  I was also taking a prenatal, vitamin B, and fish oil with vitamin D.

    B. hardboiled egg, 1 slice Ezekiel, 1 orange
    S. hardboiled egg, almonds
    L. hummus and cheese on Ezekiel, yogurt, carrots
    S. steamed whole milk, almonds
    D. meat and bean chili (homemade) on baked potato, sour cream, broccoli, melon, pint of whole milk, homemade ice cream
    S. Cheerios with whole milk

    B. oatmeal with whole milk
    S. hardboiled egg, berries and melon
    L. hummus and cheese on Ezekiel, orange, salad
    S. hardboiled egg, cheese and wasabread
    D. chicken, tomatoes, collard greens in homemade cream sauce on pasta, pint of whole milk, berries
    S.Cheerios with whole milk

    My other preeclampsia posts are here and here.

    Christian Ladies, Gay Mormons, and the Joys of Internet Eavesdropping

    The first blogs I read regularly were conservative Christian lady blogs.  I can't quite reconstruct my original intent, but it was some mix of personal fascination and professional project.  Back in the day, I used to go to the library and read books on my day off.  I read lots of memoirs, and some sociological studies.  I had a copy of Lesbian Nuns: Breaking the Silence that I used to read on the train and hilarity always ensued.  Anytime that I became interested in a topic, I would quickly run through the available materials.  Now I have an academic library and ILL at my disposal, but even with those resources, I love the blog.  I love the peek into the lives of strangers (even those who seem to be unreliable narrators).  I love to see the intra-sub culture conversations to which I would never have access in another format.

    Blogs like this one by a off the grid, homeschooling, submitted wife at First Fruits Farm, or the really gorgeous Eyes of Wonder blog, or the lovely and practical Like Merchant Ships, show me a world I do not know.  LMS was driven off the internets by nasty commentators.  I don't really understand the dynamic of hassling bloggers you read regularly, it's just killing one's own entertainment.  (I'm purposely only linking to defunct blogs.)  As a lesbian, it's an interesting exercise to read the blogs of people who are decent people in their everyday lives, and who would certainly vote against my interests as a gay person, wife, and mother, if not actively shun my family.  These blogs don't make me more sympathetic to their politics, I think that would veer into self-hatred, but they do help me understand conservative Christian cosmologies.

    More recently I've started reading gay Mormon blogs (or moho, same sex attraction, and mixed orientation marriage blogs).  These blogs are as foreign to me as the Christian lady ones, but they make it much more difficult to maintain personal distance from the authors.  Moho bloggers are a varied lot, from those who see same sex attraction as a cross to bear-one best addressed through a personal commitment to celibacy, to those with gay identities seeking to make a marriage to a straight spouse work, to those who are seeking to lead a gay life while still maintaining a connection to a Mormon spiritual life.  In theory, I support the right of every individual to choose his/her own spiritual and sexual life.  However, when I read some of these blogs, I just want to hug the authors and rush them off to SF or NYC for deprogramming.  I suspect that many of the moho bloggers would find my perspective not useful or condescending.

    The recent "It Get's Better" video featuring BYU students created a lot of chatter among gay Mormons and straight Mormon allies.  This link to Box Turtle Bulletin features the video and an interesting debate in the comments, featuring people who think the video is a great step forward and people who fear that the BYU students are being used by the Mormon Church as cover for the Church's homophobic politics.  Several commentators also worry, as I do, about young people who stay in a subculture that may never fully accept them.  The nature of acceptance has been the subject of one of several interesting posts related to gay issues of Feminist Mormon Housewives.  The author raises some very interesting questions about definitions of homophobia and acceptance, and the problems of "Love the sinner, hate the sin."

    Long live the blog!