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

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dangers of Homebirth Blog - My Perspective

Safe Baby Partners said...

Woah ...I agree with you, Grandma, and let's back the bus up here.

Everything in a couple's lives prior to conception, and conception itself, and gestation create the dynamics of the impending birth as the family barrels down road of life -- love, stress, etc -- towards birth. There is a whole theory of how the conception through gestation experiences CREATE the dynamics of birth in the prenatal and birth psychology field -- not for here. Doctors and midwives both have no control over anything that leads to the multitude of possible issues that do happen. However, they are responsible for the outcome.This story says more about the total lack of support for a woman's choices than it does about this woman and her baby.

Amber took responsibility for her second birth. She CHOSE and STUDIED the option of homebirth and did everything right to move towards that, BECAUSE of the previous hospital birth. Pitocin, epidural, membrane stripping, and episotomy - a "normal birth", by medical standards that a woman is expected to just accept. But Amber knew better and she clearly had loving support from her partner. The financial choice is no small matter. Most people will go do whatever their insurance covers even if it is non-effective or traumatizing. She doesn't say, but I'd bet that the first baby was medically induced.

The most important issue in this story, is the contribution of a broken obstetric system to the lack of support for women to have a natural, peaceful, intervention-free birth. Most women choose homebirth to avoid unnecessary medical interventions. THIS is the problem. Is it a collaborative effort between hospital and insurance companies?

Like most Americans in need of ANY kind of health care, the important decisions were dictated for Amber by her HMO, not her. Often, very important medical decisions are not even made by one's physician who went through fifteen years of training. They are made by a insurance company employee with maybe a bachelor's degree.

Left with minimal options for what HER needs were -- to protect her baby by not being in that hospital environment without choice and control -- Amber had to make THE BEST decision she could, and that is what this whole birth debate is about. WHERE to best give birth safely, peacefully, and respectfully when the OPTIONS SUCK -- big time.

Not one meets the needs of the laboring and birthing mother and baby.

1) She could go to the HMO approved hospital knowing what she knows, and wants to avoid. Having the PRIOR birth experience she did and responding (correctly) to it as she did also made her a PSYCHOLOGICAL high-risk wherever she went unless she did the emotional, psychological work around that first experience.

There is not a social value for a woman to process this "normal birth" experience of traumatizing interventions.

Society, including MIDWIVES, doesn't promote the healing of a previous birth either before conception of the second one or during pregnancy. Doctors ignoring the impact of what they do is part of this stupid debate that perpetuates the system.

2) Her second option is a forty-five minute drive to birth center -- which always scares a mother-to-be. Even one who has a three day labor will fear not getting there in time.

Working in a birth center I observed the only time this is not true is in the case of a woman, like Amber, who had a long, protracted, painful labor in the hospital. At home she doesn't realize she is in labor and progressing so easily, so she waits too long, waiting for the intensity she experienced before that is "normal" with medical birth, but not with natural birth.

3) Amber made a good choice in choosing homebirth with a professional birth caregiver, a CNM, a team, within safe driving distance to a hospital. Sounds like the best option to me. (btw, same as the doctor drives to arrive to catch baby managed by an RN or CNM -- what's the big difference really?).

THIS DEBATE needs to SOMEDAY address how it is that women can work equally with birth care providers, insurance providers, and expect evidence-based care where ever it is. Hospital birth is not evidence-based and the means (for doctor's schedules and litigation avoidance) do not justify the end. This particular CNM made a judgement call to not go earlier when she saw the malposition. Probably not a wise one. WHY didn't she? Why do midwives often wait too long? I have observed for awhile now that this is a complaint of the obstetricians and the nurses. And, I have a theory.

The conditions and attitudes of medical caregivers TOWARD midwives and the woman who chose homebirth and transports PLAYS A HUGE PART in the CO-CREATED problem and the lack of partnership between midwives and doctors. WOMEN and BABIES are the ones harmed by the fervent control of birth by medical profession and disregard for midwifery care. I have heard many, many times by obstetric residents the sentiment, "That's your choice to have homebirth, but don't expect us to clean up your mess."

The "messes" of homebirth are never greater than the ones in the hospital. Midwives, unless they have a good relationship with the doctor or hospital, can be very affected in their decision-making by what they know will happen at the hospital --how she and the mother will be treated.

Highland Midwife so eloquently says -- the location was not the problem. This same situation happens all the time in the hospital. So, sometimes the midwife delays in transporting. Why? Lots of reasons. Just like a physician will respond to a situation based on recent experience, perhaps she has just experienced a previous similar situation, she knows who is on call, etc. A thousand reasons.

I have known homebirthsAPGAR of zero, but it was at home. I have issue with these homebirth doctors and midwives who have then proceeded to use hospital lingo, "Baby was juuuuust fine." NO ONE -- midwife or doctor at home or in the hospital -- wants to admit that the means don't justify the end. No one wants to believe that they have profoundly affected that baby.

NO ONE wants to ask the baby who had a 3 day labor with every intervention exception extraction or surgery or the homebirth attempt that ended up "just fine" without interventions, or ended like sweet, baby, Jewel's. Like Amber, I support a blending of nature and medicine. I believe we need to participate in birth with awareness that everything we do profoundly impacts the baby. I agree with homebirth opponents that birth should not just be about the woman healing her body --after a surgerical or traumatic birth. It should be about the baby. It's the baby's birth.

There is so much good in Amber's story. It is great testament to the power of a woman to make choices, be responsible for her body and birth, and to labor without drugs and stay focused on her labor and her baby. Mother and baby undrugged, whatever they go through is the most ideal.

Finally, and this is a CONSEQUENCE of the HMO, the lack of GOOD options, and the need to satisfy the needs and timetables of others -- Amber began induction of the baby in order to satisfy others' time frames and needs. One can call it "encouragement" but it is still induction - for the needs of others besides the baby.

WHENEVER ones uses ANYTHING to induce the baby's labor, it is INDUCTION. Herbs, castor oil, acupuncture, and homeopathy are natural and do not have the total effects of pitocin (such as the central nervous system effect of creating false sense of trust in the caregivers), but it is still induction and a disruption of the baby's innate biological, physiological impulse to begin labor when he or she is ready. CLEARLY, the baby was not ready and not in the right position for birthing. I suspect the first baby was also induced.

Would the baby have ever turned to the ideal, correct position? Who knows? Baby does. Baby knows why she was in that position as she prepared for birth. She may have physiologically needed up to two weeks (average gestation) and then would have had time to move. Many times in healing work there is a very good reason for baby to be in a certain position until labor sometimes -- comfortable position, cord could be compromised.

COMMUNICATION with the baby in utero is the best but least used form of supporting a baby to prepare for labor and birth -- by physicians for sure, and even midwives. When it is medically necessary to induce conscious, respectful interaction with the baby is very effective.

Any way I look at it, the bottom line is that baby Jewel's labor and birth was that Amber was "induced" and "disrupted" by the medical establishment before they even got to the intersection of labor and birth. Amber, Jewel, and daddy have every right to be feeling whatever feeling they are -- the whole darned spectrum from joy to anger.

I have a particular interest in the father's experience in the medical machine (that includes insurance dictates, hospital policy dictates, the anti-midwifery sentiment). I am touched by his obvious support of his wife to make the best decisions possible for his children, and the financial sacrifice he obviously made. I acknowledge the powerless a man feels in witnessing the first birth and how our society does not honor his internal God-given impulse to protect his partner and child. My regards to an amazing man and dad.

What an unfortunate addendum here about the trip to the hospital. I wonder if the good doctor would see this as NOT affecting this child, as she refuses to even consider that everything that happens at birth in the hospital is insignificant to the laboring and birthing baby.

The baby is unaffected by what happens at the hospital but is everywhere else, and yet prior to admission in the hospital drugs are bad, but they are good in the hospital. So confusing.

Thank God for the new understandings of the brain and healing, so that whatever happens in birth we can mediate and heal.

Blessings to Jewel and her family,
December 17, 2006 1:40:00 PM PST


Niamh said...

I just wanted to comment on the reasons one might delay transfer if possible. I am sure that the treatment I received was quite extreme but I just wanted to show what OBs are capable of and can get away with when it comes to how they treat home birth transfers.

I transferred for help with a persistent cervical lip. The OB on call first screamed and cursed at me for attempting a homebirth. He then lied to me, belittled me and downright abused me until he got me to sign the concent for surgery.

No attempt was made to help me deliver vaginally. The whole time this man ranted, the rest of the hospital staff either averted their eyes or looked at the floor.

When I asked why I couldn't try to birth vaginally the OB shoved his ARM into me and began to roughly feel my already swollen cervix. When I screamed in pain and begged him to stop, he refused to stop, choosing to completely ignore me and instead speak to several other people in the room about "homebirth nuts." He didn't even didn't look at me, even as I continued to howl in pain.

When I continured to try to argue that I wanted to try to birth vaginally and that from what I could see the baby was fine (moniter was right there), he told me my baby wouldn't come out of my vagina alive while shaking the concent form and his fist in my face.

He left me alone for a while so he could "regain his calm" and I tried pathetically to push dd out before they could force me into a section. During this, my gown had fallen down several times. I did not care about who saw my breasts, I desperately wanted to have my baby safely.

As I recovered from the section EVERY SINGLE nurse who came into my room not only lectured me and chided me for attempting to birth at home but most also mentioned my "scandelous" nudity, whether they saw it firsthand or had heard about it. They all NEEDED to put me - the homebirth nut - in my place in any way they could.

When they did wheel me in to get the spinal for the c-section the anest. doctor screamed when I contorted trying to deal with a contraction "curl over NOW, we don't wait for f*cking contractions in here!"

A nurse commented when entering the OR while I was being closed up "whew, you did a number on THAT one".

I was later told by the OB (who came into my post-op room to yell and curse at me for trying to homebirth a bit more) that I was lucky my baby wasn't taken away and he had the power to do so. He also snidely mentioned my nudity when trying to push. When I responded by stating the fact that I was trying to birth, he laughed, told me I had better learn when to keep my mouth closed and left the room.

They kept my baby away from me for HOURS. They gave her formula and a shot in the nursery without my consent.

When I finally got my daughter, I DID NOT PUT HER DOWN UNTIL I LEFT. One of the nurse reported a bonding problem. There was quite obviously no bonding problem whatsoever.

The hospital reported my midwife for "practicing medicine without a license." They reported me to some Children and Youth group for endangering my baby. About two weeks post partum an ex-police officer showed up at my door to "investigate" at my homebirth attempt for the State.

I am having an hba2c for this birth. I will transfer to the hospital if I feel the need and face whatever they dish out. I don't want a certain "birth experience" at any cost, I just want to birth my baby safely and, if possible, safe from abuse and harm.


Niamh said...

Oh God, I am so sorry I forgot to mention this - I was an hbac and that was part of the reason I was treated so badly I'm sure.

I was refused vbac in the hospital, as it was banned for legal purposes.

Safe Baby Partners said...

Niamh --

My God. I am so sorry. There is so much to say -- and acknowledge. Your story brought tears.

Home or hospital -- so many things can and do happen in labor and birth. The very least we all can do -- for a woman and her baby -- is to work towards the common goal of providing a safe, peaceful, respectful environment.

The doctor and nurses you encountered are the ones who need to know the information about the awareness of the newborn. They are the ones who will resist it the most. How could they begin to feel the depths of what they have done to so many babies and women?

My post tomorrow -- I have been delayed in posting it. It is time. It addresses somewhat what you have shared -- the women who stand by, with eyes averted and those who participate in the abuse of women.

A big message from your story is the need to have a midwife provider who is in relationship with a physician and the hospital, and to have a supportive pediatrician for the baby. I can't say enough good things about the group in Chicago. It's a model.

I wish your little one a very safe and peaceful birthing into your arms.


creepyUCmama said...

I wish I had known about this blog ages ago, I added you to my blogroll. I just had a UBAC myself and am always horrified to hear all the hospital birth stories, especially thinking back to my own with my first.

Safe Baby Partners said...

CreepyUCmama --

Congratulations on the new baby and you gave birth unassisted after a cesarean? Wow.
I have to tell you -- I just don't know what I think about unassisted. Planned unassisted is just so rare, and honestly it's scary to me. Homebirth was too once upon a time, until I realized my need to be in the hospital for my last three was actually because of the doctor-induced traumatic first birth. The trauma serves so many women to create or reinforce that message that birth is dangerous. I remember the moment and conversation when I realized that.

I am first and foremost an advocate for safe birth -- and I believe that the birth is the baby's, and I trust a woman's inner wisdom to know how to birth her baby. I know mother's are guided to make choices that are from the baby -- what the baby wants. Like the story you responded to.

UBAC seems so huge to me. I'd like to learn more about it. Heather, the co-moderator here is planning to give birth unassisted -- would love to have more information here, if you ever want to contribute.

Early on I invited others to post articles, so feel free to do that. you can send to me at janel underscore miranda at yahoo dot com.

Thanks for adding us to your blog list.


creepyUCmama said...

My entire birth story is posted in my blog and you are completely welcome to republish it here. I will be adding thoughts and feelings as time goes on and a newborn and toddler allow of course.

I do not believe that UC or UBACs are totally safe for everyone. It depends on your level of comfort and what kind of environment you feel safest in. I spent a very very long time healing from the trauma of my son's birth and working towards where I am now and where I still have to go. The birth was really only a part of my journey.

I will say that to have a UC one really needs to work on themselves and their own fears. I spent a lot of time considering every possible scenario, and I mean everything, then researching it to the ground, learning the facts, and then dealing with my emotions that followed. It took over a year but ultimately I knew that it was the best and safest option to birth my daughter and I won't hesitate to do it again with my future children unless my intuition tells me otherwise.

Thanks for the opportunity to write here, I'll be checking in a lot, so glad I found this blog. =)

Safe Baby Partners said...

You are welcome. I am glad you found it too. I look forward to reading your story.

I totally believe that birth is so important that the best thing one can do is what you described -- heal your own stuff, for the first birth and for every one. I suspect if women were to do the INNER work that you describe, that birth at home, hospital, or birth center would be much easier for most women.

I have observed that at about 5-7 cm the "failure to progress" is usually the woman's emotional issues. The hospital is glad to step in and a woman is all too glad to drug the isuse -- and so it doesn't get resolved. Cesarean just compounds it all, and the denial of the effects of csection don't help a woman get out of the spin.

I look foward to the discussions about this.

thanks. janel

creepyUCmama said...

Thanks, I'll email you the story too so you have it in an easy format. If you ever read anything in my blog that you want to use just let me know.

I know of a Heather online who is planning a UC, I wonder if it's the same one. =)

Heather B. said...

Janel, I will post articles about UC in the future. Stick with me; I'm sure after hanging with me a while, you will at least be more comfortable with the concept. I know it seems very far out at first; it did to me, too. It's not for everyone--only for those who can take the responsibility to fully prepare and accept the consequences. Like the other poster said, UC is NOT safe for everyone.

You are right about one thing: it is HUGE. Many UCers will say birth is no more profound than any other part of life, like eating, but I disagree. I think it is profound and is to be respected, not underestimated. It is the most powerful experience of a woman's lifetime. You have to really keep an eye on yourself, prepare yourself, etc., and I don't think some people do it as well as they believe they can. :/

"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