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

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Midwives administering epidural anesthesia!?!?!

I have just arrived home from Los Angeles and the Association for Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Health Congress a few hours ago. WOO-hooo. It was so awesome.

I presented the Safe Baby Resolution on Saturday night. One of the most exciting requests of the Hawaii legislature is asking them to look at the use of narcotic epidural anesthesia and high cesarean rates (the resolution is on I was on a panel with Robin Grille, author of Parenting for a Peaceful World at and Robbie Davis Floyd who shared the exciting news of the progress of CIMS (Coalition for Maternity Services) at CIMS has a new document coming out with the research documentation about epidural anesthesia. The Missouri legislature (where I live) is looking at giving midwives the right to practice in MO (rather than making it a felony charge of practicing medicine without a license.) This week the Senate committee PASSED it so that it WILL BE heard in the SENATE!! Yeaahhhooooeeee. I was also interviewed by the film maker of Pregnant in America: A Nation's Miscarriage ( ABOUT the use of epidural anesthesia and the effects on the mother-baby relationship. I spoke of how I wish for my own daughter to engage with others (and eventually her future husband) in loving, intimate, and drug-free ways. (Ah, that would be Parenting for a Peaceful World!!) Don't we as a society tell our children from early on to "just say no" to drugs and try to teach our children to function successfuly withOUT drugs? WE KNOW that narcotics (and other drugs) interfere with intimacy and in our ability to engage in whole, respectful ways. If I wish for my own daughter to not use drugs in her close and intimate relationships BECAUSE of the emotional and psychological consequences, why would I want her to use narcotics during the most important, intimate process she and her baby will ever do, in relationship with her baby's father and her partner??

Yeah, what a great week! Theeeeen I just got one of the "bubble-poppers" -- you advocates of natural birth, empowered birth, homebirth, obstetric reform -- y'all know what I am talking about. Tired, yet excited from the experience and travels, I viewed a few emails. I just happened to get a link to a blog by a Canadian midwife. Nice blog, and then scanning I was surprised and dismayed to read that she was just recently qualified to administer epidural anesthesia (after practicing midwifery less than a year, if I read correctly). Say, what!??! THIS is a huge issue to me -- on so many levels. Midwives are the keepers of physiological birth (and protectors of women and should be of babies). DOCTORS are trained for years in technology and they ought to be the keepers of the medical and technology. In a perfect world -- well actually, not so perfect but in other countries -- midwives do low to medium risk, natural births with the majority of women; doctors do high risk and medicated birth for the small number who can not give birth without medical assistance, right? I just had to post --- and here it is:

"WHY!?!? as a midwife are you training for and using epidural? It is so known to be dangerous for the baby -- the research is clear. NARCOTICS!! A woman and baby birthing "under the influence" will live their lives with the consequences physically and emotionally.

OF COURSE, sometimes a woman and baby must have pain medication -- and then there are understandings in pre and perinatal psychology about how to administer, monitor, and support the dyad WITH CONSCIOUSENESS. It ought to be last resort. Women ought to be expected to PREPARE in all ways for conception, pregnancy, labor and birth, and mothering. It is not just a "woman's right" to labor and birth drug impaired.

I am saddened because it the midwives who I see as our champions for the woman AND THE BABY. There is no way in which it is the baby's best interest for his/her mother to labor "under the influence" of narcotic epidural anesthesia. I have done so --- a woman is NOT only "numb fromt the waist down". She is numbed emotionally and unless someone makes great effort to support her to stay connected internally with her baby (not watching tv, chatting, etc) she and her baby's connection is tragically harmed.

And, I submit this with the greatest respect for what you do and that you have put much effort into your decision. It is just SO CRITICAL that ANY intervention or drug used on a laboring and birthing baby be done with respect for the wholeness and sentience of the baby and with conscious regard.

I pray that the Missouri legislature does not learn of Canada's allowing of midwives being certified to administer epidural anesthesia. The CASE for midwifery care is BASED on midwives NOT practicing medicine. Administering epidural anesthesia IS medicine. Jeeeesh ..... AND, Lord o' mercy. Help us.

I am trying to get the image of midwives' future need to control birth and malpractice avoidance out of my mind. Midwives!! Pleeeeeeease, BE the change you wish to see!!


Housefairy said...

This is so scary and bizarre to me!

Is this becoming something widespread? How is this even midwifery? Because they dont go to medical school?

I thought Midwives were the keepers of whole birth. Not wanna be druggists or failed doctors or anesthetists.

Wow have things gotten way, way off-course.

Cassandra said...

In that interview for the pregnant in america film did you talk about how important it is for women to have homebirths either midwife assisted or unassisted? I started two new websites I hope you add them to your links
Have you talked or will talk about unassisted birth? Becuase I believe that is a safe option for most option. If you want to learn more about it then you can check out this site

Baby Keeper said...

Hi, Cassandra --

Heather, my co-moderator, is planning a UC in September. She has posted several articles here in December.

When I was interviewed for the documentary my topic was about the use of narcotics in birth. I didn't talk per se about homebirth. While I am an advocate of midwifery and homebirth, I am mostly fiercely about making birth safe for the baby -- this means focusing on hospital interventions, etc because that is where most births are. As you can tell, I am very interested in dispelling the myths about the culture of obstetrics and how it affects women -- on many levels. I am not that up on UC as I have admitted here -- not sure what I think or how I feel about it. Mostly, because I believe is not about the mother primarily or foremost, that the birth is the baby's, and the baby is the Driver and planner of birth. I feel a mother needs a lot of love, support, protection, and care during labor and birth, so I wonder about UC. I know there are many forms of UC. I am certainly open to knowing more about it. I am very interested in birth in third world countries -- many, many of these women are giving birth without any support or care whatsoever. I think it's hard for our society to wrap their head around the concept of birth outside of the hospital, "sterile fields", doctors, etc. And, homebirth and UC just conjurs up distorted images and misunderstandings. I welcome the clarifications -- and, have appreciated Heather's articles a lot.

I'll check out your blogs and add them. I was just playing with the html today figuring that out -- I added the Cost of Iraq ticker.

Thanks for posting.

"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