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WebBizarre

Even Online Spring Springs Eternal

 by Jon F. Merz (jonmerz@wwwiz.com)

           Ah, spring, when everyone's thoughts turn to those of love.  Yes, even the whiz kid coder down the aisle whose usual fixation seems to be ingesting large espressos while playing Quake is liable to take an interest in a passing skirt.

          Everywhere right now, you'll find life bursting forth from winter cocoons, dancing in warm sunshine and eager to frolic with reckless abandon.  Spring is also the time of year when pregnant women emerge in large numbers.  This leads me to suggest that sex be named the official winter pastime, instead of say–hockey.  Satin sheets or faces smashed against Plexiglas, take your pick.

          Naturally, the Internet abounds with sites geared toward expecting families.  Websites such as http://www.webmd.com and http://www.parentsplace.com have hundreds of articles on pregnancy.  But there is also a smorgasbord of sites that fall a little to the side of normal, sites that find a home here in WebBizarre.

          Pregnancy has always had an unusual amount of superstitions and wives' tales attached to it.  Is she carrying high or low?  Are stretch marks inevitable?  Check out the top nine myths at http://www.surry.com/wivestale.html and see for yourself if you've fallen prey to any of them.  Succinct explanations about the truth or falsehoods surrounding these tales make for quick, fun reading.

          Red raspberry leaf tea is another folklore item thought beneficial to a pregnant woman, but usually treated with skepticism.  Recent herbal and pharmacological studies have determined that this herbal supplement can indeed have a positive affect on pregnancy by providing beneficial doses of various vitamins.  Find out all about the twisted and maligned past of this herbal supplement at http://pages.ripco.net/~lnrplxus/rrl.html.  Not only will you find out great information, but a few recipes as well.

          If you or someone you know is expecting, throughout the pregnancy ultrasound pictures will be taken. Not usually what you'd stick next to Uncle Harry and his Congressional Medal of Honor on the mantel, many folks post them on the Net instead.  This is exactly what you'll find at http://ohww.norman.ok.us/maren/baby/ultrasound.html.  Eight pictures detailing various parts of the baby will blossom across your monitor screen, depending on your modem speed.  (If you're like me, you pray to the gods of DSL on a daily basis for area availability.) 

          Or you can always check out Tom & LeAnn's baby page.  Find a thumbnail gallery of ultrasound pictures and even some .wav files of the baby's heartbeat captured on a Doppler ultrasound.  Ever since I found this site, my new email alert sounds like a cross between the ``Jaws" and ``Marathon Man" soundtrack.

          As the pregnancy progresses, back pain will be a constant factor.  To help combat this, head over to http://www.leadinglady.com/maternitybelt.html and check out an ergonomically designed back-support belt specifically designed for expecting mothers.  Judging from the picture, this might also help my cousin Sammy in Florida who has an addiction to Italian pork products and beer.

          You'll need a name for your new child, and while you can easily head over to conventional baby name sites such as http://www.babynames.com or http://www.babyzone.com/babyname.htm, why not come up with something truly unique? Point your browser to http://www.heptune.com/ocnames.html where Brenna Lorenz in Guam has put together a page filled with South Pacific oceanic names.  There's also a book available at http://www.heptune.com/pacifici.html called The Pacific Islander's Book of Names.  A fun and different twist on the baby name topic, even if your heritage doesn't originate in that region. After all, it didn't stop Frank Zappa!

          Soon into your first trimester, you'll need to decide how you intend to deliver the baby.  In terms of comfort, speed and professionalism, many would argue there's no substitute for a trained medical professional.

          However, there are folks who take the term ``do-it-yourself" to a whole new level.  And anyone who likes to rebuild '57 Chevys on weekends may find this especially interesting. 

          Meet Charity Gregson: current mother of eight in a small Washington town near Bainbridge Island.  She and her husband, Scott, decided a few kids back that hospital delivery is seriously overrated and that ``unassisted homebirth" is the way to bring new kids into the world.  Now, allow me to clarify:  ``unassisted homebirth" means that Scott plays catcher, coach and designated surgeon. That's it.  No midwives, no doctors, no 20th century innovations for this self-titled Christian family in the Pacific Northwest.  They do it all.  You can find them at http://www.kjv.com/family/ and read all about their disdain for modern health care.

          Charity clarifies by saying of her husband Scott: ``'He is the head of our home, and it is only appropriate that he be the first person to touch his child."

          Uh...?

          As a former First Responder, I have training in childbirth techniques and let me tell you something: the guy in the scrubs, mask and letters ``MD" after his name can handle the delivery for all I care.  Pass 'em over after they've been cleaned!

          Fortunately, Charity has had healthy children, so far.  I'd strongly advise medical consultation in consideration of delivery options, however. Too many variables during childbirth make gambling with a newborn's life a stupid bet.

          Still, as more people discover the Internet, you can bet there will be stranger methods of delivering children posted by someone with a homepage.

          For the rest of us, maybe reading about the bizarre is enough without actually contributing to it. Now, if you'll excuse me, the warm weather seems to have shortened the hemlines on skirts in my neighborhood and it looks like a nice day for a walk.   

          Jon F. Merz is a freelance writer working in Boston, Mass. His nonfiction has been seen in Ura & Omote Journal, World Rhythm Magazine and Wcities.com.  He has also published more than two dozen short fiction pieces in various national and small press magazines.

  

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