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

Monday, March 12, 2007

Mammals Giving Birth Need Instruction on When to Push and When to Breathe?

Well, surprise, surprise, I have pissed someone off.

A fellow on YouTube posted video of his dog giving birth.

I posted a comment: I realize the intention behind this and yes, it's sweet. Unfortunately, neither dogs nor women need to labor and birth their babies with bright lights and a man telling them when to push. Jeez... their bodies know how to push and when to push.

And, here's what I got:

I dont post things like this because it is negative, but it more as ignorant than negative. The excitement & nervousness of this took over me. I was scared for her. 2 out of the 3 pups came out backwards and got stuck, and I had to get them out, you did not see what happened in the 3 hours of her labor to know why I said to push. One of the pups was stuck so long it stopped breathing and I gave it mouth to mouth for three minutes to revive it.

And, then, the fellow who doesn't like negativity continues:

Furthermore I have worked in the medical field and delivered 5 babies in an ER. The 2 most common words in the delivery room are "breathe" and "push". And what do you mean that they do not need a "MAN" telling them this? Take the stick out your ass and keep your mouth shut if you have nothing nice to say, especially when you have no idea what you are talking about and who you are trying to preach it too!

Nice, eh? So much for not posting negative things! So, here's my response:

He asks what do "you mean that they do not need a "MAN" telling them this?" Since he asked --- please don't assume I am a roaring, flaming, bitchy feminist who hates men. I am not. This is very interesting right after my previous post about a new spin on "body language" and how our expression reflects the emotions held in our viscera. Our emotions are in the body and the mind processes it and puts words to it -- raw emotions are reflect in our language related to organs functions. So, "take the stick our your ass and keep your mouth shut if you have nothing nice to say." "Sounds like" he is angry and has some "control" issues (anal and oral). Do I really need to ask, "And... so how do you feel about that?"

The fact that he has done that to five human women and their baby in the ER doesn't make it right and me wrong. Read the "peer-reviewed" literature about coached pushing (aka Purple Pushing known to slow birth)and go back to beginning physiology to review the pulmonary process of the blood transfer from the placenta to the lungs to expand the capillaries to move the fluids from the lungs. It's a physiological process to transition from a water breathing fetus to an air breathing newborn, whether it's a monkey, a dog, a cow, or a human. The being has the ability to function physiologically without the neocortex thinking, just as embryonic cell division and tissue differentiation happens by some intelligence or design before woman or dog owner even knows babies are there. Three types of tissue differentiate from one to become the heart, brain, bones and everything else to make the baby --- without the mother knowing how, when, and what to do. And, certainly, it happens without the doctor's instruction and touch. Cloning is one thing -- but "MAN" can still not make a baby, birth a baby, or sustain a baby at the breast. What's the big misconception about medicine (men/other humans) getting the baby out and making sure it survives?

Modern medicine perpetuates the belief that Nature has failed to provide that ability to the woman to birth. Nature that is exquisite and perfect in all other aspects of pro-creation just imperfectly left out that important piece of info -- how to get the baby out (even though in most cases in the world there is no man, doctor, knives, or forceps available)? And, then Nature hasn't provided for the way for the baby to breathe without rough over-stimulation and coaching? Babies are resuscitated routinely "in case" of, for liability reasons, not because they need to be. Research shows that resusciation has no impact on aspiration from meconium but the certifying board is not yet teaching this to doctors -- is IS hard to teach an old god, I mean, DOG, new tricks -- especially if it cuts into his bone supply. No birthing mammal needs AUTOMATICALLY to be coached to breathe. They just need placental blood to do so – it takes five or more breaths (pulses of the cord) to do so before he does so on his own. Babies can transition into breathing easily, peacefully, and gently. Doctors never see this in training.

My comment to this fellow was neither ignorant or negative, but well-informed, and ok, maybe a little flippant. I am so tired of seeing these images. I am simply an advocate of instinctual, mother-directed, baby-focused birth and I wanted to point it out. Too many folks watch babies being pulled, yanked, and roughly handled, cord cut immediately and then heroically "resuscitated to prevent" a rarely occuring problem, and they never realized how disrupted the baby is. Baby is crying and thrashing and observers smile and say, "Ooh and ahh, so cute." Not me.

I was disappointed and annoyed. I was expecting to see a dog birthing as dogs do - to see a normal, physiological, undisturbed birth. The media so misrepresents birth -- it is one of the tools of training women that birth is too painful to do, is a medical crisis, and she needs to be drugged, flat on her back, with professionals telling her when and how to birth. I was disappointed to see another message to the public that even a dog -- another birthing mammal needs coaching. So, where's the poor thing's EPIDURAL!?!? THREE hours of labor without narcotics? POOR THING! Lucky the dog survived without cesarean.

I didn't post an "Oooh and ahhhh, you are so wonderful" at the doggy birth and instead, pointed out some similarities to birthing women. But, uh oh, the filmer is a doctor (I am lead to fear, but is probably a nurse) and has delivered five babies in the ER ,and I am told "to pull the stick out of my ass" for opposing his view. Just the "stranger" I wouldn't want catching my baby.

I also don't oooh and ahhh at a hospital birth watching a woman when her body knows she needs to rest a moment to allow the birthing baby to rest and adjust, but the panic-educated doctors and nurses won't let her and they yell at her to push as she begs to rest. No regard for physiology. The baby is pulled from the mother, is scrubbed, poked, and prodded while it cries and thrashes with fisted hands, to stop the person doing so. They don't stop. Before women were conditioned to believe that their bodies couldn't do it, the situation you describe is rare for either dogs or women, and people observing often do get nervous and intervene. The dog master/filmer/medical expert's voice was loving and concerned -- the love and care is obvious. Viewers see that clearly. So do I. I just saw more. Bright lights and coached pushing happens thousands of times a day in maternity wards and ER’s.

So, point is, while birth is fascinating to watch and we get emotional about it, it doesn't change that females of every species know how to give birth and when left alone, even with a baby coming out backwards or struggling, she knows how to get the job done without humans. The only females who don't are humans and it's not because she doesn't know how -- she is just not allowed to. It may not happen as fast as the observer would like, the problem with women birthing. Animals birthing gets the job done most of the time without human's "helping". She knows how to birth the baby that is backwards and she knows how to get her baby to breathe. Mammals instinctively, physiologically know how to birth their babies. That's why we have so many animal shelters.

I am not dis'in' the filmer for helping but the evolving perception that female human body doesn't work and needs someone to coach her to push and breathe , even when there is no problem, IS a problem contributing to the major issues of obstetric medicine and malpractice. Check out this long list of articles about medicine and obstetric care from the perspective of malpractice and other doctor and hospital concerns. The Common Good Restoring Common Sense to America site. Doctors cannot rely on the law to protect sensible decisions. Legal fear is eroding the quality and availability of healthcare in America. Common Good's MedWatch collects recent news and commentary reflecting on this trend. I just advocate for bridging the gap between the issues doctors face and how their resulting behavior affects the human baby. It's challenging to get them to look at how they behave towards those who would like babies born naturally, gently, guided by her body, and in a protected space. That would be without drugs, force, coached pushing (shown in their own research to be detrimental and to prolong the birth), and without constant disruption.

Doctors who attend birth don't impress me much -- unless they practice an "evidence-based" physiological model of maternity care. They don't practice what they learned in basic physiology. And, if they do see the baby is a soul coming into this world and honor birth as sacred and intimate I am pretty darn close to seeing the doctor as a God.

For mammals, left alone, with the cord intact to pulse blood from the placenta to the lungs to remove the fluid in the lungs, it takes about five+ minutes to take the first big breath. My one-year old German shepherd had 12 mutts in the middle of torrential rainstorms, under a trailer and they all lived - I confess I was zero compassionate with her for climbing a six foot fence and visiting the black Lab down the road. Her second purebred litter, when we tried to help her by handling the puppies and cleaning them, BECAUSE of the "investment" involved, etc. we lost three of the twelve. I learned from my cousin, a dog breeder, to just watch and let them do what they know instinctively to do. To sit on our hands (me and my obstetrician husband) and marvel at the amazing female and what she can do. Humans need to do the same, as Michel Odent tells us. That is not what they were trained to do. But, Wow, guess what! Maybe You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!! Teach them to just watch and marvel. Birth is amazing. But doctors can’t do that in the ER when a woman comes in --- she is in need of emergency care, partly because she is part of the evolution of belief that she can’t do it. If she believes it so in her neocortex and doesn't have trust and support to let her body work instinctively, she can not birth unless she is in the hospital with the expert someone telling her what to do and when. Doctors are needed in that case. Push and pull – it’s their license as she has given up responsibility and power to them and they pay dearly for it. So does the baby.

So, Dude --- your dog is amazing and the pups are cute -- either way. It's even more amazing to me that women can actually give birth in the hospital with such lack of privacy, disruptions, and violations. Dogs and cats, too. Thanks for sharing it and thanks for being my "muse" for the day. Hey, I am just passionate about making birth safe and loving for the human baby.


Mary Sowerby said...

Hi Janel, this is Mary Sowerby - what you wrote is so true. I've written about farmers interfering in the births of their livestock - would you like to read it?


Baby Keeper said...

Hi, Mary:

Yes! I'd love to -- do you have it posted on your journal to link to from here? Or, I can post the article here?

And, of course, Michel Odent, MD wrote "The Farmer and the Obstetrician."


Gena said...

Great post! "Purple pushing" is a new term to me; can't wait to google it. I think that puppy catcher is a symptom of the patriarchy trying to stake control over the most important thing females can do that males can't. I guess when you question whether the patriarchy is needed in this process, the patriarchy gets pissed off, and madly tries to demonstrate its power over other random orifices ("Take the stick out your ass and keep your mouth shut"). Wow, Freud would have loved to talk to that guy. I'm so sorry you had to be subjected to it, but thank you for turning it around and sharing it with us.

I wish it weren't such an uphill battle to give birth peacefully and instinctively in our society. It floors me that people don't think an unhindered birth is possible and safe. I'm starting to get really annoyed every time I see a news story about accidental/surprise births that are made to sound like "emergencies" simply because everyone "involved" was in panic mode.

Thanks for the blog, I'm enjoying it and learning a lot.

Baby Keeper said...

Hey, Gina -- thanks for the post.

Purple pushing comes from the color that a woman's face turns as she is pushing.

here's a quickie from a google:

"Purple Pushing
When you are asked to hold your breath to a count of ten, numerous times during one contractions, we call this purple pushing. While the picture is not beautiful it is one of a mom turning purple, eyes bulging out, possibly broken blood vessels, not to mention a room full of people screaming, "PUSH!"

Purple pushing came into play as the epidural rates increased and women never got an urge to bear down. We now extend it to nearly everyone having a baby."

I attended a birth in which the nurse forced the mother off her hands and knees on to her back to wait for the doctor to arrive. She held the woman down. Twenty minutes later the doctor arrived only to allow the shaking first year resident who had been then waiting the entire time.

THEN, they all shouted and instructed her to push, even when she kept telling them she needed to stop. We heretics know in prenatal and birth therapy and this baby is actually one who taught me personally --- that when his mother wanted to stop and rest it was when HE was trying to move, to adjust himself as he proceeded. It is nearly impossible for medically trained caregivers to believe that the baby is the DRIVER, not a incapable, stuck blob.

Another time I'll try to write about how the baby "shows" me or "teaches" me, as I have referred to several times. For now, everyone knows babies squirm around and "fuss" -- as mother is telling her story and I am "holding" baby in a "settled" craniosacral way, the baby's body moves in relationship to the mother. Baby communicates with the body just as s/he did IN the womb.

The baby I was speaking about had a lot to say about when he was "stuck" waiting for the doctor and when his mother pushed him past the pelvis when he needed to adjust. The resident was squeezing his head and pulling so hard that his bicep was quivering and he was sweating bullets. WHY? Because they had to wait for the doctor. End result for baby, among many things, was a distortion of his head and neck and colic.

I really like your comment --- it's so true. I am learning a lot, too. Sometimes, I just don't know from where it all flows!

Thanks again.

Mary Sowerby said...

I will post it in my diary, feel free to post it here if you like it.


Rachael said...

The thing about animals is, you can yell at them to push until you're blue in the face, and they're going to have no clue what the heck you're saying. They push on their own, when their bodies tell them to.
I've worked with animals long enough to know that they are best left alone when in labor. Some like you to be around (especially some cats) for comfort, but that's it. They are almost always fine, for the most part.
And that's the thing about nature- often when we jump in and assist, or resuscitate a puppy who would die otherwise, it often has numerous problems later, if it survives at all. The mother knows when to interfere, and when to leave it alone.
At the clinic I work at, we rarely need to interfere with a laboring animal. When we do, it's for good reason, like a c-section on a dog who had a deformed pelvis from a severe fracture the year before. We've also done c-sections for many small-breed dogs, who truly had a pelvis that was too small for their babies. Thing is, even that is often from human interference. So much selective breeding has gone on for decades, to get a dog with certain "attributes" specific to whatever breed it is- they are a far cry from what nature intended.
I think some people can't accept the notion that things may actually still be okay if they relinquish just a little bit of the control they feel the need to have. It's an issue of a person's perception of their self-importance not being in sync with what's REALLY important in any given situation. But what did you expect from a doctor- especially an ER doctor? They are used to the idea that the lives around them depend on THEM, nevermind if they really do.

"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