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, January 09, 2007

Babies are non-consenting research subjects

What are the long-term consequences of this? A look at just a couple of peer-reviewed scientific research about epidural anesthesia will point out a major flaw in "scientific research" about the safety of epidural --- but first,

Murder Charged in Heroin-Fentanyl Overdose After Police Chief's Son Dies August 29, 2006

The overdose death of an Illinois police chief's son has led to murder charges being filed against the man who sold a deadly mix of heroin and Fentanyl to the teen, the
New York Times reported Aug. 25.

The 35-year-old dealer, Corey Crump, faces up to 30 years in prison in connection with the death of Joseph Krecker, 17, the son of Franklin Park Deputy Chief Jack Krecker. The teen overdosed in June.

The heroin-fentanyl mix has killed hundreds of people across the country, but this is the first case where murder charges have been filed in connection with an overdose.

"With this announcement comes the bittersweet reality that members of our own family can be vulnerable to the evils of gangs, guns and drugs," said Chicago police superintendent Philip J. Cline.

My deepest sympathy to this family on the loss of their son and so tragically. With deepest regard and heartfelt respect for them, I use their story to introduce and conclude regarding the health and social problems of using fentanyl in labor and birth.

Fentanyl is an opiod. It is considered a dangerous street drug and a potential chemical weapon by the Pentagon (previous post). The biological effects of the fentanyls are indistinguishable from those of heroin, with the exception that the fentanyls may be hundreds of times more potent. Fentanyls are most commonly used by intravenous administration, but like heroin, they may also be smoked or snorted. Aaaand, it is used in epidurals for laboring and birthing babies.

The number one flaw of the obstetric, peer-reviewed literature, is that the drugs were never shown to be safe for birthing human beings EVEN THOUGH the detrimental effects on adults are clear. Fentanyl in epidural anesthesia is considered "safe" after years of using on non-consenting, non-informed babies (and their moms). And, now as many as 85% of births are "under the influence" of epidural anesthesia. The drugs used in epidurals are known to be dangerous to adults and were never shown to be safe for the birthing brain. Yes, I say it everyday here -- sometimes multiple times. Drugs used in labor and birth were never shown to be safe for birthing baby. None. Ever. I am outraged that the antecdotal pseudo-scientific research that exists was done on birthing women and babies. In the late 80's it was clear that epidural was dangerous for mother and baby, and the research since has been done on NON-CONSENTING, UNINFORMED HUMAN BABIES. It's an outrage, I tell you. Here are just two examples:

Synergistic effect of intrathecal fentanyl and bupivacaine in spinal anesthesia for cesarean section. Jaishri Bogra, Namita Arora, and Pratima Srivastava,BMC Anesthesiol. 2005; 5: 5.

In this study by addition of fentanyl we tried to minimize the dose of bupivacaine, thereby reducing the side effects caused by higher doses of intrathecal bupivacaine in cesarean section.
Researchers -- in their research -- actually acknowledge the detrimental effects of epidural and are researching for dosage on live babies and women. We are to believe any of the research that the obstetric field dishes us? I gave birth twice in a teaching hospital - one a planned induction with epidural. Were we research subjects? Must not be, no one ever followed up to see how we did in the long term. HA! It's appalling.

Methods: Study was performed on 120 cesarean section parturients divided into six groups, identified as B8, B10 and B 12.5 8.10 and 12.5 mg of bupivacaine mg and FB8, FB10 and FB 12.5 received a combination of 12.5 μg intrathecal fentanyl respectively. The parameters taken into consideration were visceral pain, hemodynamic stability, intraoperative sedation, intraoperative and postoperative shivering, and postoperative pain.

The year is 2005. HOW IS THIS “SCIENTIFIC STUDY” APPROVED AND ACCEPTABLE TREATMENT OF THE HUMAN NEWBORN??? One hundred twenty babies randomly placed in groups to receive different drugs. Drugs that were never, ever shown to be safe for a baby. Lord o'f mercy -- do the people in charge of the "War on Drugs", drug prevention, drug treatment, and child psychology know this?!?! Being in all of those fields, I can tell you, NO, they don't.

Researchers concluded, Spinal anesthesia among the neuraxial blocks in obstetric patients needs strict dose calculations because minimal dose changes, complications and side effects arise, providing impetus for this study. Here the synergistic, potentiating effect of fentanyl (an opiod) on bupivacaine (a local anesthetic) in spinal anesthesia for cesarian section is presented, fentanyl is able to reduce the dose of bupivacaine and therefore its harmful effects.

Complications in dosage and other factors such as hunger, dehydration, size, etc. is consistent with what the researchers at University of Pennsylvania found in adults (previous post). So serious is this opiod that it is considered a chemical weapon by the US Pentagon -- and yet, it is used routinely at birth. Someone needs to regulate obstetrics and this research. It is criminal to administer opiods to non-consenting babies in research - drugs known to be be fatal if administered in too high a dose and that doses must be customized, Oh, my!! A baby who used fentanyl (and possibly drugs for later ADHD, etc) or whose mother was born using fentanyl or used during her life could react to fentanyl later? And, that includes legal and illicit use. How many babies have died or become addicts because of being born "under the influence?"
So sadly, we now have young adults dying from overdosing of the drug fentanyl. Again, from the tragic story above, The heroin-fentanyl mix has killed hundreds of people across the country, but this is the first case where murder charges have been filed in connection with an overdose. I wonder if those who have died from the heroin-fentanyl combo (and those who suffer, but don't die and live life struggling as addicts) were born "under the influence" of fentanyl - maybe even those who were early subjects of this peer-reviewed "scientific research" to find a cocktail that achieves "maternal satisfaction" aka "control of women." The issue of women "under the influence" and the impact of this on attachment and life-long mothering is another topic.

Bupivacaine versus bupivacaine plus fentanyl for epidural analgesia: effect on maternal satisfaction. J D Murphy, K Henderson, M I Bowden, M Lewis, and G M Cooper, Department of Anaesthetics, Birmingham Maternity Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Medical Centre. BMJ. 1991 March 9; 302(6776): 564–567.

OBJECTIVE--To compare a combination of epidural fentanyl and bupivacaine with bupivacaine alone for epidural analgesia in labour and to evaluate factors in addition to analgesia that may influence maternal satisfaction.

"Maternal satisfaction" is the objective!?! with a drug like fentanyl?? while the field promoted controversy about home and water birth?!? Perhaps this “scientific” approach to studying the drugs used in epidural anesthesia – focused on maternal satisfaction – give us some clues as to how this culture approval for these dangerous drugs has evolved into “maternal request” and “informed consent” lingo and an epidemic addiction problem in the US. This research was done in 1991 when the literature was clearly showing the detrimental effects to mother and baby. It is a lie that this is about maternal satisfaction. Epidural was and is promoted by appealing to the suffering of the laboring woman; but, it is about money and controlling women. (See my January 6th post, "Anesthetized women look so vulnerable.")

The addition of fentanyl to bupivacaine reduced the requirement for local anaesthetic (-33 mg, -55 to -15, p less than 0.001) without compromising analgesia. No adverse effects in neonates were attributed to the use of fentanyl.

Oddly, many of these “scientific” studies of drug use during labor use statements such as this -- “No adverse effects in neonates were attributed to the use of fentanyl” even when this was not the focus of the study, variables not accounted for, but reported on nonetheless. How the newborn was assessed, therefore, is not part of the “scientific study” and there are no "hard numbers" to support this claim. It is inappropriate reporting. There rarely is an adequate, non-objective, research-based method for assessment of the newborn -- for the baby is considered a product of birth, not a participant, and certainly is not considered to be experiencing the single most profound experience his brain will have.
Was the APGAR used? The APGAR was designed to evaluate babies born under the influence of ether in the forties! and has never been normed or updated. The Brazelton Newborn Assessment Scale is considered the "gold standard" for newborn assessment. Nor, has it or any assessment for evaluating newborns been normed on NON-DRUGGED babies. How could they? Estimates are that eighty to 95% of babies born in the US are born under the influence of drugs. Think about that – the assessments for evaluating babies at birth have been normed on drug-impaired babies. We do not know what our human potential is and those in the medical field do not know, objectively or subjectively, what a normal functioning, non-impaired baby "looks like."

So much for winning the "War on Drugs," the “Just Say NO” campaign, and the DARE program.

The study concludes, The already high maternal satisfaction from conventional epidural analgesia can be improved; epidural fentanyl may be combined with bupivacaine to reduce operative deliveries and confer other advantages that may increase maternal satisfaction. Further investigations should be performed to determine the exact mechanisms of these findings and, in particular, to develop a safe method of delivering such analgesia to women.

MORE studies using drugs shown to be detrimental to babies DONE ON BABIES in order to find safer mechanisms and dosages and combinations -- for maternal satisfaction? Nooooo! No more drugging our babies to find the "exact mechanism" and to "develop a safe method of delivering such analgesia to women." You've shown it is NOT safe. STOP PROMOTING it as safe. Does this make anyone else as nuts as it does me??? What women would not pursue other satisfying non-drug methods of pain relief (water, self-hypnosis, prelabor body work, movement in labor, etc) if she only knew the truth?
Is anyone else starting to look with new eyes at the heroin, crack, meth, cocaine problem in our society? The painful struggle of recovery from these drugs is successful for 15% of addicts. And, maybe addiction can be prevented by drug-free prenatal development and labor and birth. Anyone else wondering about the rising incidence of asthma, autism, allergies, ADHD? Educational and behavioral problems? Family, marital, and parent-child problems?

Speaking of the War on Drugs, it was reported in multiple sources in September that production of opium is up 59% in Afghanistan and that "last year, about 450 tons of heroin was consumed worldwide, 90% of it from Afghanistan, according to the U.N." And ,they say America's war in Iraq is about oil supplies!!

According to Bob Curley, in Mission Accomplished in War on Drugs? August 4, 2006, Adolescent use of illicit drugs has declined over the past 20 years, while use of heroin has remained stable, if stubbornly so. Everyone has agreed for the past 20 or 30 years that the only real improvements will come from demand reduction, not supply reduction," said Dogoloff, a former U.S. drug czar. Interestingly, this is the same time period that epidural anesthesia with bupivacaine and fentanyl (opiates) has been increasingly popular to the point of being "standard protocol" in virtually every hospital. And now women and men claim they had "natural birth and the epidural was great." Natural now means "vaginal" to many - drugs are so accepted as normal in birth and for every ailment.

Seems to me we could stop the DEMAND for opium by not birthing our babies "under the influence" of opium. In the early nineties a cutting-edge program "Parenting for the Drug-Free Years" out of the University of Washington (that I was trained to present) was based on enhancing the parent-child relationship in order to extend the "first time drug usage" of the child. It was known the later the first time usage, the less likely a person would become an addict. Opium at birth --- who woulda thought? How many parents and children are struggling to understand what is happening in their lives while the world ignores the beginning of life and the early drugging as the root source?

Humans will look back on this time in history and shake their heads in disbelief at what humans did to their babies. I already did that in regards to my induced and epidural labor and birth of my own baby. Thankfully, there are new understandings of the brain and healing technologies for birth trauma. And, there is forgiveness of self and others, and there can be a collective effort to make birth safe for babies coming in now.

Again, my deepest sympathy to the family of Joseph Kreckler.


Dylan Emrys, M.A. said...

Wow. Thank you, although I already don't support epidurals, I had no idea about the details you present here.

Heather B said...

It is surprising how much we don't know about the most common trappings of hospital birth. Even more surprising is how little many doctors know about it--and their unwillingness to admit the truth even when it is staring them in the face. :(

Anonymous said...

I am a terminal ovarian cancer patient and my doctor prescribed a fentanyl patch for the extreme pain I suffer. It has provided excellent relief and I don't believe that it has damaged my mental or physical health in any way. However, I have read that it is not short-term, acute pain, so I would agree that it doesn't belong in obstetrics. However, I think you're going overboard to classify it as a street drug. There are people who misuse just about anything in an attempt to get high. Should we ban house paint and spray cans so teens can't "huff" them? Same with fentanyl. There's more to life than giving birth. This drug has brought much comfort for people who suffer chronic pain.

Anonymous said...

Dearest OVCA (ovarian cancer) woman of COURAGE: I too am an ovarian cancer survivor. I have a friend who is a pain patient, her very, very, very good physiatrist will not prescribe fentanyl lollipops to her. WHY, because the amount of fentanyl necessary to kill the pain is very close to the amount of fentanyl that permanently stops respiratory function. If your doctor has not discussed this danger, you might want to check, or find a more knowlegeable pain specialist. There are safer pain medications, if you can locate a knowledgeable physiatrist who does not play with pain medication. Some docs are good, others are not.

As for moms & babies, I wouldn't even go there ----- though epidurals use lower doses of effective medicine than say oral or blood doses. But then I'm not a doc. Good Luck OV Woman, moms, and babies to be.

Baby Keeper said...

Thank you for your contribution. Blessed be that you are a survivor.

Again, I'll reiterate the title of my post, "Babies are

Your note that it is hard to regulate is important for adults and babies. According to the information regarding the use of fentanyl for crowd control in Czech or Russia where it certainly did control the crowd ... many people died ... the information is that it is extremely hard to regulate. It is even more so when there is a history of drug use. So many people have a medical drug history. It seems to me that it is dangerous to assume that they can control even a smaller amount that is going directly into the mother's nervous system, and to the baby.

I am outraged that obstetrics has been able to use this drug for women and babies without appropriate research to show it is safe. Their experimentation is being done on live babies and mothers. It is criminal that such research exists that allowed researchers to use different doses of this drug to see which alleviated the negative reactions of other bupivacaine. Epidural is promoted as safe ... so that it is now considered normal, and people will say they had a natural birth and "the epidural was great." That's how accepted it is. I am so surprised that we can the use of fentanyl is so dangerous for adults, but that it might be ok in small doses for laboring baby and mother.

Thanks again for your post ... and I wish the best for the both of you who posted regarding your ovarian cancer.

"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