The Other Side of the Glass

Part One was officially released June 2013 in digital distribution format. To purchase to to If you were a donor and want to download your copy send an email to

The trailer

Monday, December 18, 2006

Contradictions of Obstetric Care That Make Hospital Birth Unsafe

There are so many contradictions in obstetric, hospital care --- these contradications and the care because of them make birth unsafe in the hospital.

One of my "favorites" is when a woman who is 37 weeks has a spontaneous membrane rupture. She is immediately on a time frame imposed upon her by the medical establishment. I have noticed that this is one of the situations that will inevitably lead to the cesarean surgery "for failure to progress." What the midwives know is that it can be days before labor begins and that the risk of infection is very low outside of the hospital. The risk of infection is because it is the vaginal exams that increase chance of infection in the hospital environment. At any rate, it is required that she be on intravenous antibiotics (a direct entry to her blood and one of the conditions that makes her more suseptible to hospital-acquired illness.)

On the other hand, if a woman at say, 33 weeks has a spontaneous membrane rupture she will be put on medication to prevent the labor so the baby can stay in the womb and develop. She is often IN the hospital and subjet to vaginal exams.

Why is it safe for a baby before 37 weeks but not after? Why can't a woman with ruptured membranes at 37+ weeks stay at home until her labor starts? And, btw, what is ithe science that says it's ok to induce at 37 weeks so that now 40 weeks is considered late?

Another contradiction that baffles me is how the hospital is touted as the safest BECAUSE the doctor is there (in theory only.) I have seen one birth this year where the doctor was there at all before the mother was ready to push or they needed to get things going and finish it up -- "on the clock" of established time frames. My own grandson's doctor came in by 7:00 armed with Pit to "get that baby out." It's clear to most people that a physician can not be in three places at once -- labor and delivery, surgerical suites, and the office with 9-5 hours (home is number four). So, they run around and nurses manage the mother and baby anyway. Our baby was out by 8:30. Check that one off the list of "to do's" and off to the office.

If the doctor can be a half an hour away, why can't the mother labor or birth at home? I know, I know, it has to do with "management" and who has been managing. The transfer of a late stage laboring woman is something that hospitals and obstetetricians can work out a safe plan for with midwives.

What are your "favorite contradictions' of the obstetric practice?? When what they say is medically and scientifically sound and necessary is contradicted by the next doctor, nurse, or woman's situation?


Heather B. said...

I too don't know why we force a woman to deliver or go into the hospital when her water breaks. As long as objects are kept out of the vagina the risk of infection is slow especially with fluid frequently flowing DOWN the vaginal canal. The baby doesn't just slide out because the amniotic sac breaks.

Highland Midwife said...

I'm particulary fond of the fetal monitors. The caregivers tell women for 9 months not to lay on their backs because it restricts blood flow to the baby. Now in labor, with circulation more important than ever, they make her lay on her back so they can monitor the baby - and predictably watch the baby go into distress - from the ridiculous position mom is put into to monitor her!

And the benefit? The latest studies show that there is no increased benefit (no better outcome for baby) of continuous electronic monitoring over intermittent monitoring when it is done the way it should be. Just lots more interventions with EFM.

So keep that hand-held Doppler and good ole' fetoscope handy.


heather b said...

How about that women who are past due by a week are often induced, though it has shown that the situation in the womb isn't typically dangerous until after 42 weeks? Some doctors induce at 40, some at 41 or 42.

Or, how about the fact that some doctors consider a baby term at 37 weeks, some at 38 weeks?

Or, that doctors know that babies are better off being born at term but frequently induce people prematurely 'just in case' they have something like a brain tumor, based on an ultrasound, as if birthing the 30 week-old infant gives it a better chance of handling brain surgery than waiting the extra few weeks for the child to develope more?

Or that they take big babies by C-section at 37 weeks, knowing that it is safer to leave them in until they are closer to the mother's due date?

heather b said...

I love also how they remind you that the ultrasound predection of gender isn't 100% accurate, but will then do something dangerous like schedule you for C-section because of a big baby or induce you prematurely because it looks like the child 'might' have an abnormality--when the chance of the ultrasound being wrong about abnormalities, weight, or due date is much higher than the chance they'll be wrong about gender.

"Soft is the heart of a child. Do not harden it."

A public awareness reminder that things that happen behind the scenes, out of our sight, aren't always as rosy as we might think them to be. Perhaps its a restaurant cook who accidentally drops your burger on the floor before placing it on the bun and serving it to you. Here it's an overworked apathetic (pathetic) nurse giving my newborn daughter her first bath. Please comment and rate this video, so as to insure that it is viewed as widely as possible, perhaps to prevent other such abuse. -- The mother who posted this YouTube. How NOT to wash a baby on YouTube Are you going to try to tell me that "babies don't remember?" There is no difference to this baby's experience and the imprinting of her nervous system/brain and one that is held and cleaned by the mother or father either at the hospital or at home? By the way, this is probably NOT the baby's first bath. The nurse is ungloved. Medical staff protocol is that they can't handle a baby ungloved until is has been bathed (scrubbed if you've seen it) because the baby is a BIO-HAZARD -- for them. Never mind that the bio-hazard IS the baby's first line of defense against hospital germs.

Missouri Senator Louden Speaks

Finally, A Birth Film for Fathers

Part One of the "The Other Side of the Glass: Finally, A Birth Film for and about Men" was released June, 2013.

Through presentation of the current research and stories of fathers, the routine use of interventions are questioned. How we protect and support the physiological need of the human newborn attachment sequence is the foundation for creating safe birth wherever birth happens.

Based on knowing that babies are sentient beings and the experience of birth is remembered in the body, mind, and soul, fathers are asked to research for themselves what is best for their partner and baby and to prepare to protect their baby.

The film is designed for midwives, doulas, and couples, particularly fathers to work with their caregivers. Doctors and nurses in the medical environment are asked to "be kind" to the laboring, birthing baby, and newborn. They are called to be accountable for doing what science has been so clear about for decades. The mother-baby relationship is core for life. Doctors and nurses and hospital caregivers and administrators are asked to create protocols that protect the mother-baby relationship.

Men are asked to join together to address the vagaries of the medical system that harm their partner, baby and self in the process of the most defining moments of their lives. Men are asked to begin to challenge the system BEFORE they even conceive babies as there is no way to be assured of being able to protect his loved ones once they are in the medical machine, the war zone, on the conveyor belt -- some of the ways that men describe their journey into fatherhood in the medicine culture.

Donors can email to get a digital copy.
Buy the film at

The film focuses on the male baby, his journey from the womb to the world and reveals healing and integrating the mother, father, and baby's wounded birth experience. The film is about the restoring of our families, society, and world through birthing loved, protected, and nurtured males (and females, of course). It's about empowering males to support the females to birth humanity safely, lovingly, and consciously.

Finally, a birth film for fathers.

What People Are Saying About the FIlm

Well, I finally had a chance to check out the trailer and .. wow! It's nice that they're acknowledging the father has more than just cursory rights (of course mom's rights are rarely acknowledged either) and it's great that they're bringing out the impact of the experience on the newborn, but I'm really impressed that they're not shying away from the political side.

They are rightly calling what happens in every American maternity unit, every day, by its rightful name - abuse. Abuse of the newborn, abuse of the parents and their rights, abuse of the supposedly sacrosanct ethical principal of patient autonomy and the medico-legal doctrine of informed consent, which has been long ago discarded in all but name. I love it!

In the immortal words of the "shrub", "bring it on!" This film needs to be shown and if I can help facilitate or promote it, let me know.

Father in Asheville, NC

OMG'ess, I just saw the trailer and am in tears. This is so needed. I watch over and over and over as fathers get swallowed in the fear of hospitals birth practice. I need a tool like this to help fathers see how very vital it is for them to protect their partner and baby. I am torn apart every time I see a father stand back and chew his knuckle while his wife is essentially assaulted or his baby is left to lie there screaming.
Please send me more info!!!!
Carrie Hankins
CD(DONA), CCCE, Aspiring Midwife

Thanks for sharing this. It was very touching to me. I thought of my brother-in-law standing on the other side of the glass when my sister had to have a C-section with her first child because the doctor was missing his golf date. I'll never forget his pacing back and forth and my realizing that he was already a father, even though he hadn't been allowed to be with his son yet.

Margaret, Columbia, MO

In case you don't find me here

Soon, I'll be back to heavy-duty editing and it will be quiet here again. I keep thinking this blog is winding down, and then it revives. It is so important to me.

I wish I'd kept a blog of my journey with this film this past 10 months. It's been amazing.

I have a new blog address for the film, and will keep a journal of simple reporting of the journey for the rest of the film.

I'll be heading east this week to meet with a group of men. I plan to post pictures and clips on the film blog.

I'll keep up here when I can -- when I learn something juicy, outrageous, or inspiring related to making birth safer for the birthing baby.

Review of the film

Most of us were born surrounded by people who had no clue about how aware and feeling we were. This trailer triggers a lot of emotions for people if they have not considered the baby's needs and were not considered as a baby. Most of us born in the US were not. The final film will include detailed and profound information about the science-based, cutting-edge therapies for healing birth trauma.

The full film will have the interviews of a wider spectrum of professionals and fathers, and will include a third birth, at home, where the caregivers do a necessary intervention, suctioning, while being conscious of the baby.

The final version will feature OBs, RNs, CNMs, LM, CPM, Doulas, childbirth educators, pre and perinatal psychologists and trauma healing therapists, physiologists, neurologists, speech therapists and lots and lots of fathers -- will hopefully be done in early 2009.

The final version will include the science needed to advocated for delayed cord clamping, and the science that shows when a baby needs to be suctioned and addresses other interventions. Experts in conscious parenting will teach how to be present with a sentient newborn in a conscious, gentle way -- especially when administering life-saving techniques.

The goal is to keep the baby in the mother's arms so that the baby gets all of his or her placental blood and to avoid unnecessary, violating, and abusive touch and interactions. When we do that, whether at home or hospital, with doctor or midwife, the birth is safe for the father. The "trick" for birthing men and women is how to make it happen in the hospital.

Birth Trauma Healing

Ani DeFranco Speaks About Her Homebirth

"Self-Evident" by Ani DeFranco

Patrick Houser at

Colin speaks out about interventions at birth