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, February 13, 2007

Septicemia --- for "uneducated homebirth advocates"

Do you know," said Arneth slowly, "it's true of your discovery as it has been of every discovery in the whole history of medicine. When we take our medical oath we undertake to lengthen life and ease suffering. We are all united in seeking new means. And every time a man has come forward with a demonstrable truth, a remedy for good, the profession seems to have done its best to crush the discoverer and hide the discovery. No quackery -- no criminality -- nothing seems to make us so furious as a discovery.
-- Ignaz Semmelweis

It's difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.
-- Upton Sinclair

So, I am waiting to see if Anna Nicole Smith's death is due to Septicemia and if the source of it will be avoided.

Studies show it takes about takes seventeen years for medical research to get fully incorporated into medical practice. This means your doctor isn't always acting on the most recent knowledge. ( in Spirit, page 106 in "Does Dr. Know best? Often, but not always. So take responsibility for the quality of your healthcare." )

In the case of infections and maternal care, it seems it might be a HUNDRED and seventeen years. When it comes to hospital birth being touted as the safest with no regard for the scientific discoveries about infections and immunity, it is alarming that labor and birth are still done in hospitals where diseased and ill people go -- and where 25% of ICU patients are there because of infection.

One of the notable in the natural birth and homebirth advocacy literature is Ignaz Semmelweis who discovered the cause of "Childbed fever" had to do with doctors not washing their hands after dissection of dead and not between vaginal checks of laboring women. He began experimenting with various cleansing agents and, from May 1847, ordered that all doctors and students working in the First Division wash their hands in chlorinated lime solution before starting ward work, and later before each vaginal examination. The mortality rate from puerperal fever in the division fell from 18% in May 1847 to less than 3% in June–November of the same year.[7]

While his results were extraordinary, he too was treated with skepticism and ridicule (see Rejection of Semmelweis).

Just as it is for those of us who challenge the medical system with new ideas, or old ideas about natural birth are treated. Just as it is for women who challenge the expertise of those who insist inducing and epidural and cesarean are safe are treated. And, just as it is for those of us who support the proliferation of literature shows us that the human brain during prenatal, labor, birth, and early infancy is programmed in the brain are disregarded by those who have the most to lose by embracing new findings.

Homebirth is safer than hospital birth for no other reason than a woman and her baby have immunity to germs in their own environment, but not the hospital's. Even though supposedly our homes are some of the germiest places, our body knows our own home germs. Our bodies are bombarded by germs in the hospitals. Children new to day care and new teachers, student nurses and doctors are repeatedly sick when they first enter the new environment and their body is building immunity. A birthing woman and baby are over-exposed and their immune systems are overwhelmed and compromised in hospitals. Hospitals are filthy. Have been and will be. My sister who was born in 1960 got staph infection during her birth. My mother, father, and older brother got it. The hospital was shut down to get it under control. How does that happen?

In January of 2005, I was at the major hospital in central IL with a grandmother and her grandson for whom she had custody. He was getting a cat scan and EEG, and they would be done on different floors. We were told we could wait by an elevator to see him between tests but were pre-warned that he would anesthetized. We waited for well over an hour in front of a set of two elevators. When we were on the elevator I was surprised to be on with an anesthetized patient on a gurney. It was very uncomfortable. As we waited for the little boy -- every opening of the door of the elevator was possibly him -- I observed that visitors (flu and cold season) were riding with patients as were many, many hospital employees. Not only that but I watched many times a man pushing two large containers onto the elevator. Finally, as he waited for the elevator, I asked him what he was carrying. He answered, "One is garbage, and one is dirty linen." I was shocked. Patients, some anesthetized (direct lines to their blood or spine -- like the little boy I was waiting for) on the same elevator as travelors from all over the hospital AND with the general public of sneezing, coughing, hacking visitors AND with garbage and dirty laundry (blood and other body fluids!!)

It is not surprising that hospital-acquired disease is a major concern of every patient in the hospital, but especially for birthing women, and in particular for women whose abdominal cavity is splayed open (and the elderly). This is from a friend this week, An 81 year old woman was in X Hospital to have a battery replaced in her pace maker. She contracted a serious staph infection and was put on several months of powerful antibiotics. She weighed 91 pounds. She was profoundly affected by this treatment and by other drugs they had her on at the same time. Her physician, with the consent of the children in the family who had power of attorney, diagnosed her with "failure to thrive" and had her placed in hospice. Here, she was fed large numbers of drugs, too. And never recovered any quality of life until she died soon after. Might it been dirty linen from such a sick person on the elevator? Some tracking it on them as they trolled the hospital? Poor cleaning of her room? However it was, it was at the hosptial.

What do you think her death or Anna Nicole's "cause of death" or the cause of the infection that lead to a new mom becoming a quadra-amputee because of infection? "Natural causes" or "hospital induced?" In the United States, sepsis is the leading cause of death in non-coronary ICU patients, and the tenth most common cause of death overall according to 2000 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.[1] It is a major cause of death in intensive care units worldwide, with mortality rates that range from 20% for sepsis to 40% for severe sepsis to >60% for septic shock.

The "one true cause" of "child bed fever" became known at the turn of the century to be caused by strep, and today in 2007, women are still at risk from this infection as well as others. Women are routinely tested now in the month before pregnancy (ignoring the risk between then and birth.) Antiobiotics are now known to be so misused as to be no longer effective. And, where is one most likely to catch a viral or bacterial infection? The hospital. And, it's scientifically founded to run antibiotics "in case"? So that a baby is born with antibiotics disrupting his normal flora before he is even here? What is happening to our babies' immune systems from these practices? I don't think it's my imagination that infants and young children often become ill shortly after their visit to the doctor's office for their Well-Baby Checks. Ironic? Long term health consequences?

Have you noticed the smell, and feel, and sense of the labor room when you first arrive? Have you thought of HOW MANY women have given birth in that room -- all the bloods, fluids, feces? And, wondered how dedicated to their jobs were the cleaning people? Have you noticed the traffic in and out near most labor and newborn nursery rooms? If obstetrics has advanced us so greatly, why is it that women must routinely recieve antibiotics during labor, and why do hospital caregivers, women even, perpetuate the belief that a woman's body is germy and defective?? IF, eye ointment is put in the newborn's eyes to prevent infection "because of coming through your birth canal" I heard a nurse tell a woman, why is it also done to babies born by cesarean? Why does society ignore the "germ factor" in the hospital for laboring and birth women and then create policies and procedures and interventions to the baby to prevent infection.

In case, you, the reader is new to the field of "unscientific" thinking of the natural and homebirth movement and advocates, here are links to get you updated.

From a book review Book Review by Bobby Matherne of The Cry and the Covenant by Morton Thompson, 1949. It has some gruesome tidbits about the way women were used in research.

Semmelweis was a country bumpkin from Hungary in the sophisticated milieu of Vienna and his cup of social graces was as empty as his font of empathy for his patients was full. Exactly the opposite of what the noble profession of medical doctor, surgeon and professor of medicine required. Also he had a dangerous penchant for innovation that was unwelcome in a university whose job was deemed to be that of teaching what was known of medicine as it existed at the time. Childbed fever had always existed and always will, one of his friends told him. Ignatz, or Naci, as his friends called him, rebelled at the thought that there was no hope for stemming this carnage of human life. Unanswered questions filled his thoughts: Why did the women who gave birth in the streets not die of childbed fever? Why was the rate of death in the Second Ward one-third that of the First Ward? Why was the rate in Vienna so high compared to England? To France?(1) And most importantly what was the etiology, the one true cause of childbed fever?

Most natural birth and homebirth advocates know who Semmelweis is. One of the doctors on the three different continents who came up with the "discovery" that "lying in" or "birth fever" was being caused by germs (although not yet called that.) Childbirth fever later became identified as Puerperal Fever and identified as strep. Today, it is still such a problem that women are tested for it in late pregnancy.

From Wikipedia:

In 1843, Oliver Wendell Holmes published The Contagiousness of Puerperal Fever and controversially concluded that puerperal fever was frequently carried from patient to patient by physicians and nurses and suggesting that hand-washing, clean clothing, and avoidance of autopsies by those aiding birth would prevent the spread of puerperal fever.[4] Homes stated that ". . . in my own family, I had rather that those I esteemed the most should be delivered unaided, in a stable, by the mangerside, than that they should receive the best help, in the fairest apartment, but exposed to the vapors of this pitiless disease."[5]

Holmes conclusions were ridiculed by many contemporaries, including Charles Meigs, a well-known obstetrician, who stated "Doctors are gentlemen, and gentlemen's hands are clean."[6]

In 1844, Ignaz Semmelweis was appointed assistant lecturer in the First Obstetric Division of the Vienna Hospital where medical students received their training. Working without knowledge of Holmes' essay, Ignaz Semmelweis noticed his ward’s 16% mortality rate from fever was substantially higher than the 2% mortality rate in the Second Division where midwifery students were trained. Ignaz Semmelweis also noticed that puerperal fever was rare in women who gave birth before arriving at the hospital. Semmelweis noted that doctors in First Division performed autopsies each morning on women who had died the previous day but the midwives were not required to perform such autopsies. He made the connection between the autopsies and puerperal fever after a colleague died of septicaemia after sustaining an accidental wound to the hand during an autopsy.

Semmelweis began experimenting with various cleansing agents and, from May 1847, ordered that all doctors and students working in the First Division wash their hands in chlorinated lime solution before starting ward work, and later before each vaginal examination. The mortality rate from puerperal fever in the division fell from 18% in May 1847 to less than 3% in June–November of the same year.[7]

While his results were extraordinary, he too was treated with skepticism and ridicule (see Rejection of Semmelweis).

The true mechanism of puerperal fever was not generally understood until the start of the 20th century. In 1879 Louis Pasteur showed that streptococcus was present in the blood of women with puerperal fever. By the turn of the century, the need for antiseptic techniques was widely accepted, and their practice along with the mid-century introduction of new antibiotics greatly diminished the rate of death during childbirth.

Now, in 2007 the incidence of infection is still a major risk in hospital birth, not for pregnant and birthing women and babies, but for anyone who is hospitalized. Death due to hospital-acquired disease is one of the leading causes of death.

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