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

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Protect the unborn child: respect the mother

By Heather

"We worry about what a child will be tomorrow, yet we forgot that he is someone today." - Stacia Tauscher

Let us remember that throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery. I wish that this thought had been in the minds of those attending me during those times. More importantly, I wish I had known better than to give consent.

I had, overall, a textbook pregnancy and delivery--depending on what your opinion of 'textbook' and normalcy are in that area. To the doctors, I am sure it was quite routine. I had the regular symptoms of pregnancy and, like most women, was quite ready to be a mother by the time labor finally began.

My only true hinderance was morning sickness that persisted even into my third trimester. The CNM attending me, under the supervision of an ob/gyn, gave me a bottle of phenarghan. When that wore off, I was prescribed another drug. I quickly ran out of that, and she refused to prescribe anymore medication. Every month, she told me that it would fade away by the next visit.

By my second trimester, I had an extreme dislike of this woman for various reasons. She talked to me as though speaking to a child, with no knowledge of her body, who became accidently pregnant at a tender age and had no concept of adulthood whatsoever. She refused to help make my pregnancy or even my visits comfortable.

I was having such trouble sleeping that I all but begged her for something, anything, a prescription, a recommendation. She kept telling me to take Benadryll. If that had worked, I wouldn't have kept asking. Someone finally recommended melatonin, which was a blessing as I could at last get some rest without worrying about any side effects. I reported to the CNM that I had been taking it, and her response irks me to this day: "Oh yes, melatonin is totally safe!" (I don't know why she couldn't have mentioned that earlier.)

At my first visit, I was coerced into a pap smear. I told her that I didn't want one, that I couldn't have any STDs as I am and have always been monogamous, as has my husband who has tested STD-free at every physical since he enlisted. I was told I needed one anyway to check for cervical cancer, which I now know I couldn't possibly have had considering there was no way for me to have contracted HPV.

She insisted on quite a bit of bloodwork. Like a good little patient, I let them draw my blood. My eyes bulged as I noticed the six vials they intended to fill, but I remained obedient. I jokingly told the technician that I had a 'needle phobia.' By the second vial, I was feeling light-headed. By the third vial, I began asking the technician to stop. He kept telling me it was all in my head. As they filled the fourth vial, I went into convulsions and vomitted. I felt like I was going to fade away, as I uttered one final plea for them to stop.

As I sat recovering, sipping juice, the technician told me, again, it was all in my head. Another one came by, a rather intelligent fellow, and told me to make sure I had a nice big breakfast and plenty to drink before coming in to finish up tomorrow, so that I wouldn't become dehydrated and have low blood sugar issues after having my blood drawn. I am a small woman who cannot even donate blood because of my weight. I don't know why they felt it was okay to take 6 vials of it first thing in the morning.

I consented to all of the tests, even the gestational diabetes one which required me to starve myself and my child for half a day. I kept wondering how that could possibly be healthy.

Once I came into an appointment very sick and dehydrated with very low blood pressure. She sent me to have an IV put into my arm, along with some phenarghan to ease my nausea. I was very tired and hungry, and I wanted to sleep. I could not, however. The phenarghan made me restless. The fluids froze my arm and made me have to pee, almost every 5 minutes. The nurse assisting me thought I was going insane as I laid down, flopping around and jerkily moving about, using the toilet every 3 minutes, pacing the room, going out of my mind because of all of the mixed sensations. I asked her to remove it, and she would not for the longest time. Finally she asked if I truly felt better, and I lied so that I could go home.

How was it respectful to speak to me in such a condescending tone? How was it healthy to allow me to continue violently puking up everything I ingested throughout my entire pregnancy, then complain about my weight? How was it healthy to allow me to go without sleep, when she could have recommended melatonin? How was it respectful to coerce me into unneeded tests? How was it healthy to draw so much blood from a woman who barely weighed 110 lbs and hadn't been allowed to eat yet? How was it safe to force me not to eat for 12 hours? What benefits for my child could there have been? They paid no mind to the dangers of overloadng me with fluids or to the damage being done by my psyche, which inevitably affected my birth.

A birthing mother is a person. The child entering the world is a human being. They are both someone, not just patients and cases. They are intelligent people with vivid memories and complex minds. Doctors seem to forget this often, too worried about protecting their assets, their pocketbooks. Midwives and doulas try never to let this slip their minds and succeed much more frequently, being that they are typically paid the same no matter what the outcome

A mother who feels respected, encouraged, and empowered by her birth attendants, surrounded by positive energy, is much more likely to have a pleasant outcome, and that means birth and pregnancy are safer for her child. The best way to encourage the safety and well-being of a fetus is to treat the mother well who is carrying him within her womb.

No comments:

"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