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, March 25, 2007

Cord Clamping

“Another thing very injurious to the child, is the tying and cutting of the navel string too soon; which should always be left till the child has not only repeatedly breathed but till all pulsation in the cord ceases. As otherwise the child is much weaker than it ought to be, a portion of the blood being left in the placenta, which ought to have been in the child.”

Erasmus Darwin, Zoonomia, 1801

The average American hospital birth goes like this:

The woman is on her back with legs up. The baby's labor has been induced so that mother is likely on narcotic pain medications (epidural). Often medical caregiver has one leg and the husband or doula has been instructed to be at her other leg to push her bent legs up to her chest as she pushes. The doctor and nurses loudly instruct her when to start and stop pushing. As the baby's head emerges, the body has not yet turned as it will do so as the birth proceeds. The head is often grasped by the caregiver to begin pulling on the baby. On the push that makes the head fully out, the OB will manually rotate the head to have better visual and physical access to the baby's mother to begin suctioning. THIS process is the FIRST INJURY to the baby's head, shoulders, and hips and the foundation for many, many, many medical and chiropractic visits throughout the lifetime. Shortly the baby is born into the gloved hands of a physician and immediately a nurse begins to roughly dry off the baby with stiff hospital quality towels. With astounding skills of orchestration, the physician is clamping the baby's umbilical cord and very shortly it is cut. THIS is the most DAMAGING action a human being can do to another, a newborn baby.

Sometimes the baby is held up for the mother to see -- a swift movement from position of exiting the womb to upright in bright lights and noisy room. Occasionally, the nurse will allow the mother to have her baby up to her face for an early peek of her baby. Most often, the baby is then whisked away to the hospital cart for interventions such as increased resuscitation measures, continued scrubbing, shots, weighing, and measuring. THIS is the MOST DETRIMENTAL thing another human being can to do a mother and newborn.

What does the majority of American baby get?
Induction of baby's labor (disruption of baby's physiological need)
Mother in supine position (making her pelvic outlet up to 30% smaller)
Coached pushing
Rough first touch by a stranger
Early cord clamping
Harsh, violating resuscitation
Separation from the mama

Today I want to focus on Resuscitation
The cord is meant to pulse in order to move placental blood to the baby. This blood is important for the baby to have now. Early cord clamping results in a disruption to the lungs, the heart, the liver, and the brain -- and every other system of the baby. When left intact the cord will pulse (move) the placental blood to the baby. This is very rich blood that is meant to support the baby during the transition from water to air breathing. The blood enters the lungs and begins to filled the collapsed alveoli sacs and to push the the amniotic fluid from the lungs so the baby can take first breath without fluids in the lungs. This often takes minutes to complete during which time the newborn is "breathing" through the umbilical cord. When the lungs are ready -- blood enriched, fluid removed -- the baby takes his or her first breath of air. Medical caregivers initiate panicked maneuvers immediately to get the baby breathing with zero regard for the need for the intact cord to pump the enriched placental blood.

Perhaps cesarean born children have lifelong problems with breathing because their lungs never cleared the fluids. Compression of the chest during vaginal birth prepares the lungs for expelling fluids and cesarean born child do not experience this and their cords are clamped immediately because of the need to close the mother's incision. It seems possible that there might be away to keep the cord intact and remove the placenta attached -- if there were a will to do so. Either way, cesarean birth is quite inherently dangerous to both mother and baby and clearly, is the cause of many lifelong physical and medical issues. I will refrain from launching into the emotional and psychological experience of the mother and baby during this.

Dr. George Morley, an obstetrician, is dedicated to the need to stop the early cord clamping that is happening routinely. I met Dr. Morley in April, 2005, at the Future of Birth conference in Columbia, MO. He stole the show and a new break out was created for him to continue. Most of us have had disrupted birth and our transition to air breathing was very violated. Spiritually, in every religion, there is reference to breath as our connection to our Maker, God, or whatever name to which one refers. Our human search for connection with our Divinity and to God, I believe, is found in the breathe. Our struggle and seeming inability as humans, I believe is related to birth and our early cord cutting experience -- that coincides with harsh, rough handling by medical caregivers and separation from our mother, the safe God(des) we have known in our journey from a spiritual world to this physical body sustained only by her. In modern life how could our mother be anything less than the most important person in our life from whom we are challenged to separate and at the same time so mysteriously drawn to stay so connected with?

From Dr. Morley's amazing site:

Although the pulmonary vessels are fully developed in the fetus, only a tiny amount of blood (about 5% of cardiac output) flows through them due to intense vasoconstriction of the pulmonary arterioles. The nutritive blood supply to the lungs is from the bronchial arteries that arise from the aorta. The collapsed alveoli (air sacs) are filled with amniotic fluid.

Oxygenated blood is red, de-oxygenated blood is blue, and at the moment of birth, a normal newborn is circulating a mixture of blue and red blood. The color (lips and tongue) of a healthy newborn at birth is a pinkish purple; the child has been this color for nine months and normal placental function (cord pulsating) will maintain this color until the lungs function.

When the lungs are functioning, the umbilical vessels close, the ductus venosis closes, the hepatic portal vein is open, the foramen ovale closes, the heart is two sided, the cardiac output from the right ventricle (blue blood) goes through the lungs and is oxygenated, the left ventricular output (red blood) goes through the body, the ductus arteriosus closes, the pulmonary arterioles are open, the alveoli are full of air and the child turns from purple to pink. All of this complicated process is coordinated and controlled by the child’s reflexes; it usually happens within three or four minutes of birth. What makes it happen?

All babies are born soaking wet, and on meeting the atmosphere, the skin cools; this triggers two reflexes:
1. The cold crying reflex – cold, wet diapers produce the same result, crying.
2. The cold pressor reflex – cold skin raises blood pressure.

In order to cry, the child must first take a deep breath, and an inspiratory “gasp” is often the first sign, triggered by cold, that a child is going to cry or breathe. Contraction of the diaphragm and intercostal muscles increase thoracic volume and create negative intra-thoracic pressure. Once air is in the lungs, another reflex is triggered that relaxes the pulmonary arterioles; this causes an enormous increase in pulmonary blood flow.

The cold pressor reflex increases the blood pressure in the aorta, and this may be sufficient to reverse blood flow through the ductus arteriosus causing more blood to flow through the lungs.

The cord is also cooling, and the cord is a well-designed self-refrigerator. It has no skin and blubber to keep it warm like the child. It contains only the cord vessels surrounded by a watery gel, Wharton’s jelly, covered by a single layer of cells, the amnion. Water evaporation cools it rapidly, causing the vessels to constrict; this further helps to raise systemic blood pressure and to reverse ductus arteriosus flow.

At the same time, a large transfusion of placental blood is being forced into the child by gravity and/or by uterine contraction, greatly increasing cardiac output and pulmonary blood flow. The net result of these changes is a large amount of blood flowing into the left atrium from the lungs, which raises left atrial pressure and closes the foramen ovale – the heart changes from one-sided to two-sided. The lungs are now oxygenating blood that is pumped round the body by the left ventricle – the child turns pink.

I believe how babies are treated in their birth coming into this world is CRIMINAL CHILD ABUSE by medical caregivers from beginning to end -- labor to leaving the hospital. I believe the message in the experience of leaving the mother's safe womb and coming into this world message is "Welcome to the cold, cruel world, kid." The handling by strangers who are hurried and disregardful of the sacred baby and the early cord clamping causes a horrific violation of the baby physically and spiritually and leads to the separation from the mother which is a tragic scar in the mother-baby relationship.

The medical caregiver (doctor or nurse) has only to pass educational and licensing requirements. They are not checked out like I have to be to work with children --- fingerprints, background check. One does not know who is caring for her and her baby in the medical system. It is rampant with drug addiction and people with serious personal problems just like in every profession and walk of life. Medical caregivers are self-overseeing of what happens in medicine and the focus is self-preservation. There is no standard of medical care for pregnant and laboring and birthing women and babies. There is no standard for even reporting medical treatment and mortality -- it is reported that infant and maternal mortality is severely under reported. The foxes are allowed to manipulate and create the illusion of what happens to the hens who disappear.

Steve Harris, MD - arrogantly BOASTS about law enforcement looking the other way: "Without enforcement, there is no law. Without law, there is no crime. These are elementary principles. Get an adult to explain them to you."

Just this week I found another writer, Dr. Todd Gastaldo, (above reference) who has also been writing about this as child abuse. He has written about how "Medical associations/societies fail to protect "pregnant" women and the "newborn" citizens." I have have written much about the need for malpractice reform to include the poor, non-science based protocols and treatment of women and babies, and the need to somehow come together to create a way for the obstetric medical system to stop what they are doing without an all-out litigation war.

And, perhaps what it would take is the onslaught of litigation based on the REAL transgressions in obstetric care. Dr. Todd Gastaldo suggests "Pardons in Advance" would be fair for medical malpractice. (Google his name or visit However this would be addressed, the other concern I have long contemplated is how for doctors, nurses, and consumers to go beyond that to the actual forgiveness for co-creating it. One has to remember that doctors and nurses are themselves so brainwashed and indoctrinated that they have also allowed their own children to be birthed in this violating system -- without knowing it is violating. The American society is the walking numb from decades and decades of birthing under the influence of narcotics. We are the proverbial tale of the frog sitting helpless in the boiling pot of water.

Over one hundred plus years of increasing medical technology and the decreased mortality rates from the forties to the fifties -- because of antibiotics, sanitation, and nutrition, more than saddleblocks , forceps and surgery which are more the reason it has NOT continued to decline like in countries where natural birth with midwives is the standard. Most of us did not feel the heat getting hotter and hotter. Unbelievably to me, is that even now, the average person, not even the medical caregiver THINKS, FEELS, SEES, or PROCESSES what is going on, what they are participating in, and promoting. It is mind-boggling to me to hear NURSES forcing the medically, ethically, and morally CONTRA-INDICATED treatment of a baby. Today nurses really, truly believe that they MUST roughly, harshly scrub the newborn within seconds of his or her entrance to STIMULATE them to breathe. They have never seen a placenta pulse for thirty minutes as the MOTHER'S BODY cares for her struggling newborn --- JUST LIKE IT DID FOR TEN PREVIOUS MONTHS. A baby with a low APGAR has that score most likely BECAUSE of some aspect of the BIRTH experience. He NEEDS his mother's body to regulate him.

From one of my readers in London:

I'm in the UK so things are a little different here. The majority of women are cared for by a midwife, and if there are medical circumstances that might permit the need for an OB, then the midwife refers the woman to an OB [this is in the context of a hospital birth, not birthing centres/home birth etc] I remember watching US birth shows, and was pretty shocked about how intervention friendly it was out there for circumstances that didn't need it. Is it about money? The way doctors are taught out there? I haven't watched Pregnant in America yet, but I'm hoping that'll answer some questions. Not only that, but in some programmes I saw, the staff were so disrespectful, I'm amazed they allowed it to air [2 residents doing a ventouse delivery, one saying, "What's that, that's weird!" while staring at the pushing woman's vulva. I honestly had no words at the time, my jaw just dropped]

Something very serious is happening to us in America -- that we allow our babies to be so man- and woman-handled by medical caregivers. I have said this before -- modern obstetric birth is creating warriors. The focus is now on peace and ending this war --- Peace IS the absence of WAR. We can't seem to have "peace" without having the war. As a society we need to focus on creating HARMONY in our homes, our lives, and with the birthing of our children -- not starting wars. Harmony is more of a state of being, not an absence of war and conflict either within or throughout the world. Such simple things in birth, such as letting the cord complete pulsing really could change the world.... one baby at a time.

IMAGINE the world we could create if every baby:

  • is conceived wanted and welcomed at conception by two loving adults who are physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially prepared to be parents
  • has complete nutrition and a toxin-free womb in order to build a healthy, fully functioning brain and body
  • felt safe and protected by parents, and without stress throughout pregnancy and birth
  • was connected with and nurtured by parents throughout pregnancy, at birth, and beyond
  • has his or her own biologically programmed impulse and timing for birth while in continued relationship with the mother and safety of the father
  • completes the biologically programmed “self-attachment” sequence of coming to the breast in his or her own timing – resting in the arms of the mother and father, without interventions

Oh, what a wonderful world it could be .......... and it can only happen by reforming obstetric medical care to give the power and control back to birthing women, by legalizing midwifery in a REFORM that includes a national STANDAR OF CARE in maternal and newborn care.

We need to create LAWS based on physiology and science to be enforced in the care of women and newborns.


gena said...

Very interesting to read about this transition. I'm wondering about this passage from Dr. Morley's site:

All babies are born soaking wet, and on meeting the atmosphere, the skin cools; this triggers two reflexes:
1. The cold crying reflex – cold, wet diapers produce the same result, crying.
2. The cold pressor reflex – cold skin raises blood pressure.

A few of the homebirth stories I've read say that the baby didn't cry (maybe the baby wasn't cold?), but just went to sleep or looked around and perhaps let out a tiny sound which reassured the mother, but no crying in response to the cold or anything else. So do you think this would imply that being cold, and/or the "cold crying reflex", isn't necessary to start breathing?

Baby Keeper said...

It might be that the term cold is very relative? And, it could be that he or whoever wrote it has not seen or experienced homebirth and is unaware that it is not cold, but just air hitting (for lack of better word)the wet body.The reflex of the mother is to bring her baby into her for protection and comfort. We do know in the trauma healing work that THIS is what a baby wants and needs in those seconds and moments. Like he said about the cord, I have observed a mother NEVER handles her baby as medical people do. She is soft. I noticed this at my grandson's birth when I slipped in between the nurse and the neonatalogist to slooooow them down. My voice and touch were so so soft, in awe, seeing HIM, the soul. Such a difference. I see, touch, and interact with every baby that way.

"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