Wednesday, June 04, 2003

So, here it is...

So, here it is. I'm at work and should be working... And instead I'm thinking about my incipient fatherhood. There are miracles hidden everywhere if you search for them, and then there are the miracles that are so obvious you'd have to be blind to miss them.

I'm trying to decide how "frum" to make the blog. I'm not going to publicize this in any significant way, so I've no reason to assume anyone's playing along at home, but in the same way that I will go exploring on the web sometimes and come up with treasures it's possible that someone might stumble into my little briar patch and enjoy it enough to tell their friends. And of course, I've got this ego thing, so that if I do keep this up I'm sure I'll eventually let it slip to someone. I'm trying to decide on the level of universality I want this text to have, and how welcoming I want it to be to those who aren't frum or aren't yeshivish or even maybe aren't Jewish.

Of course, I've titled it "FrumDad," so at some level I've made this decision already, desu-ka? Probably. What I'll do is write the way I speak and think, and then throw in translations, footnotes, and parentheticals to help along those whose schema don't overlap sufficiently with mine. Which means I have to redo the first paragraph....

So, here it is. I'm at work and should be working... and instead I'm thinking about my incipient fatherhood. There are miracles hidden everywhere if you look closely enough, and then sometimes the miracles are so clear that they threaten bechira (free will).

Right now, in my holy wife's belly, she's making a baby. Creation ex nihilo -- something from nothing. From a "putrid drop" [fn1] and a magical half-cell, a whole (please G'd), living (please G'd), breathing (please G'd), healthy (please G'd) human. G. [fn2] is eight months along, and she's getting big. I like to say she has her own gravity, but she fails to find this amusing. But the amazing thing is that the baby's already got parts. As much as the sonograms are amazing, the truly amazing thing is seeing an elbow poke out of your wife's belly, or getting --as I have a few times already -- whacked in the head when I put my face up to G's belly and sing. The baby likes to hear me sing. Or the baby's trying to shut me up. We don't know yet. But I like to think the former.
[fn1:] Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) 3:1

[fn2:] This being a kind-of anonymous blog, I'm using the initial "G" for my wife's name. Actually, it's not even really her initial, but it's relevant.
I can't get over this. And I can't understand how anyone could ever get over it. You want to think this is a fortuitous confluence of time and protein? Some sort of primordial soup gets hit by lightning and a jillion years later I'm singing to a late-model monkey in a bag of saltwater? Go ahead, beleive that. You're an idiot.

There's a thing, in the baby's heart; a hole, effectively. While the fetus is in utero, it doesn't really need its lungs, and in fact if it pumps a lot of blood to the lungs the lungs could get damaged. More importantly, the fetus is getting all this great oxygenated blood from the umbilical cord that should get to the fetus' body ASAP. So there's an opening between the Right Atrium (which is getting that great blood by the short route from the umbilical cord) to the Left Atrium (which would normally be getting the fresh-from-the-lungs blood) and out it goes again (via the Left Ventricle) to the fetus' body. It's called the "Foramen Ovale" (the "FO"). Now here's the cool bit. At birth, if the FO doesn't close, and I mean pretty much all the way, and pretty much right away, the baby can't breathe, because blood's not getting to the lungs. So (hold onto your seats here, kids) as soon as the baby takes its first breath the FO "[c]loses at birth due to decreased flow from placenta and IVC to hold open foramen, and more importantly because of increased pulmonary blood flow and pulmonary venous return to left heart causing the pressure in the left atrium to be higher than in the right atrium. The increased left atrial pressure then closes the foramen ovale against the septum segundum. The output from the right ventricle now flows entirely into the pulmonary circulation." (from

If that's too complicated, let me simplify: There's a little gateway in the fetal heart that the fetus needs to be healthy, but that will kill the baby if it doesn't close within minutes (seconds) of birth. So it stays open during gestation and closes, tightly and completely, within moments of birth.

What I can't figure is how anyone could ignore the hand of Hashem [fn3] in this? But then of course, I'm a Chozer B'Tshuva [fn4] myself, and I understand very well how someone could look at the miracle and see accident. Beautiful accident, true, but still accident. The watchmaker argument [fn5] is not and has never been compelling, because it is defeated by the posit of an infinite number of broken watches, and in fact an infinite number of beaches. The answer isn't in pointing to how improbably lucky we are to be asking the questions. The answer is asking, "why not even luckier? Why not with a watchmaker, too?"
[fn3:] lit. "The Name"; God, especially in the aspect of relating to humans.

[fn4:] lit. "Returnee in Repentance"; an individual who chooses to become an religious Jew after a period of time during which he or she was not observant. Usually implicit is that the person was not raised orthodox, but the term can be applied to someone who was raised orthodox and then went "off the derech (path)."

[fn5:] An argument for the existence of God from design, first presented by William Paley in 1802 or so. The argument is, roughly, that the order apparent in the universe implies an order-or much as a watch found on the road would imply a watch-maker.
The answer is faith. Which I always had, in one form or another. Faith and serious thought about the implications of that faith, which is what it took me a while to get to.

Okay; Wow. This has gone pretty far afield. And it's taken a lot more time out of my workday than I had planned. So I'm going to end it now. I probably won't post again until after Shavuot. [fn6] If anyone reads this before then, have a good holiday or weekend or whatever.
[fn6:] lit. "Weeks"; a really excellent holiday. See the OU site or the Aish site for more info.


Labels: ,

Links to this post:

Create a Link


At Oct 12, 2005 2:52:00 AM, nope said...


I'm sorry for being intrusive in to your blog. But I am Melissa and I am a mother of two that is just trying to get out of an incredible financial debt. See my hubby is away in Iraq trying to protect this great country that we live in, and I am at home with our two kids telling bill collectors please be patiant. When my husband returns from war we will beable to catch up on our payments. We have already had are 2001 Ford repossessed from the bank, and are now down to a 83 buick that is rusted from front to back and the heater don't work, and tire tax is due in November.

I'm not asking for your pitty because we got our ownselfs into this mess but we would love you and thank you in our prayers if you would just keep this link on your blog for others to view.

God Bless You.

Melissa K. W.
To see my family view this page. My Family

Learn How To Create Your Own Custom Income Generating System.

Welcome to AdWordEqualizer / Ad Word Equalizer Finds The Most Profitable Search Terms And Products For You!

Get Paid to Take Online Surveys!

At Oct 24, 2005 2:29:00 AM, Frumdad said...

I've been majorly comment-spammed recently, but I'm going to leave this one up.

For a little while at least


Post a Comment

<< Home