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, March 21, 2007

My blog muse's birthday is today

Today is my GI Joe's twenty-fourth birthday. March 21, 1983. A spring solstice baby and person. Picture of us to the right looks like it was near the summer equinox, on our acreage.

I made a big pot of his "comfort food", Hungarian Goulash -- and, I mean real goulash, as his father is Hungarian and I learned to cook many Austrian-Hungarian foods, cakes, and pastry. Tomorrow I will go to a friend's to dehydrate the soup to send to him -- it's an experiment and I just thought of it. I wish I'd thought of it in time to send to him for his birthday.

Ya'all like birth stories, right?
He was born at 11:30 am. About ten o'clock the night before I noticed bloody show. I was so excited -- my third child and I had never seen that before. Contractions began very soon. We were told be concerned because my second daughter's labor had been five hours from "hmmm.. I have a backache to she's here." We went to bed and slept off and on, cuddling and excited that it was finally time. NO sonograms, so we didn't know if he was a girl or a boy. Somehow, that seems to me now to have added a very fun aspect. We went to the hospital at 5:30 am only because of the previous fast birth. In those days the doctors weren't in the hospital but came to check on you immediately. Amazing, eh? I remember he was groggy and he had toothpaste on his shirt. He was part of three-person OB team and not my doctor, but my doctor would be on call that day.

Labor progressed nicely -- obviously, as he was born only six hours later. It was just me and his dad for the most part and this was nice, except that I didn't want to be touched. I was like an animal, just in the zone and growling. I am not sure why it wasn't fast enough for them, but they wanted to rupture my son's membranes which they did. During the entire labor they nagged me to take drugs. Towards the end when we were getting close I was in "the zone" and a woman came in and interrupted me. With the second birth and this birth I was able to "doze" in between the two minute contractions. This woman was a nursing professor at the college. She wanted one of her students who had never seen a birth to see my son's birth. I wasn't answering her and she kept asking. I had to come out of this zone I was in and didn't want to. She forced me to and I answered her with a loud, "NO!" and went back. Later in the day she came back and was a little abrasive as she inquired as to why I wouldn't allow the student in and why would I not answer and why did I snap at her like that? I was with my son who roomed in with me at my insistence. I still didn't want to talk to her. I was surprised at her gall -- and I said, "I was in labor and having a baby, sheesh!"

Towards the end of the labor, I agreed to Demerol "It'll make it go faster" -- and as a result, I don't remember much. Why is ten hours from start to finish not fast enough? I got my son's records a few years ago and learned he had a fetal scalp monitor. I am pretty certain there was no reason for that. Nothing had been going on and he was born with ten hours of labor beginning. I know I didn't give conscious consent -- if they even asked me, a woman on narcotics, for consent. Also in the records, I saw the names of the residents in the room and it is an odd feeling to not know who these people are who were in the room when you gave birth -- especially since they were my husband's students. I am pretty certain that my son's cord was cut immediately and that he was scrubbed, poked, and prodded. (I have done healing sessions around this.) I did what I know now is this weird dynamic in our society -- we relinquish our body and babies to strangers expecting them to be taking care with our newborn. Somehow, having made it through medical school or an RN program makes them capable, but who are they as people, we don't know. Now, I know this is not the case that medical caregivers are gentle and harmless. The lack of regard for the birthing baby is one of the most horrific things we do in our society. I often wonder what happened to my babies when away from me -- and, I see it when I am in a hospital. Parents touch their baby with care and regard. Medical caregivers determined to do medical interventions are thoughtless and harsh. At least I had the sense to keep him in my room. He was breastfed for eighteen months when he weaned himself. He never had one bite of baby food, nor one bottle. He refused to take breast milk from a bottle and the pumps were pretty sad twenty-five years ago. We co-slept, he had no caregivers other than us for two years, and he ate organic food from our own garden.

It occurs to me that his story is not all happy and glowing as I would like, even though it was an "almost natural" birth. Perhaps, it is just who I am now -- a critic of hospital dynamics, champion of homebirth, and advocate/therapist for healing the wounds of birth. Perhaps, it's just my sadness -- that he is in Iraq and even though if he were home in the US he'd be with buddies and not likely with me today, but he'd be here and not there. I hope they had cake and sang "happy birthday" to him.

I don't think it's just me that feels something off when we think of our baby's birth in the hospital. We are told, even by OB's, that this is a joyful day, but most often, the joy of this new soul coming into our lives is really overshadowed. I do notice that Doulas who write birth stories for their clients are masters of optimism as they can take any birth story and write it in a positive sense for the baby's records. My fond memories of his coming into my life are overshadowed by what I know now about birth and his experience of coming into this world. That is a fact for most of us women and humans. My fond memories are knowing he was wanting to come in for well over a year, and then his conception (I saw him come in), his prenatal period, and infancy, and his childhood. I simply cherished and adored him. What I wouldn't give to have those days back. It's very sad to me that his birth was disrupted as it was and that those moments are not also part of our special memories as I have come to know how birth outside of the hospital can be. AND, in the healing work, we embrace and honor the birth that it is, for this where our presence and survival skills originate.

What is the job of every mother-child dyad is the transition of child to differentiate himself. As a mother of three adult children, and having worked with many, many children and families, I developed the belief that the reason God made the teenage years is so that we will let them go. Until then, it seems like an impossible concept. Around age thirteen, when the child's job is to begin the process of breaking away, it stings and down right hurts. One can begin to see the possibility. Sometimes by the age of sixteen, a parent, like I found myself thinking some days with one of mine, can I make it another two years? God, what I wouldn't give for a few of those days, good or bad, but preferably the good ones.

So, it is the first day of spring, my baby's birthday. My baby, GI Joe, whose sacrifice for this country and world peace ("We can bomb the world to pieces but we can't bomb it into peace" song, Bomb the World by coincided with being banned from contributing on the other blog lead me to start this one.

I want to thank you all for signing in on the map here on the blog. It's been very exciting for me to see readers from all of over the world. I mean really exciting. I had no idea. I found this map just as I was thinking it's time for me step away from the blog for awhile. I have been writing as though I have an audience and that makes it a lot of fun and very rewarding. Creating the world-wide synergy for creating harmonious, happy, and health-focused birth experiences was a dream of mine for a long time. Thank you so much. Even though you haven't all signed in I see there are many visitors and I am inspired. It has been such a tool for healing and processing so much -- especially during my son's deployment, the hardest thing I have ever been through. I am so grateful to you. Having a means and voice to share what I have learned throughout my very diverse personal and professional journey and to weave this tapestry from multi-colored threads of birth, science, war, politics, violence, harmony is a blessing to me.

I have been sequestered in my safe home, grieving and writing, making sense of lots of loose ends. In addition to enjoying an audience to rant to about birth being the BABY's experience, part of me thinks I am emptying out a lot of clutter to prepare for the book and the documentary that it is on my mind and in my heart. Another part (that pays bills) thinks it is time to move on and get back into the world. Because of my deep regard for the newborn, the infant, and the young child, I have minimized my contact with baby's since August when and while I found it was necessary for me to do this deep emotional work. I have recently turned some huge corners and I am ready to get back out into the world and to work with the babies and mamas and daddies.

This blog is important to me, and if it is important to you as well, I want to continue it. Let me know by signing in.

And, please send my son, Laszlo Joszef, aka GI Joe, a birthday wish and pray for his safety. Bless you.
ljm, Baby Keeper

Babykeeper: One who Keeps the Baby as the focus of the soul's journey of birthing into this world.

"The Recruiter"It is by Ed Fleck -- a recruiter shared with him his anguish at living with the death of young soldiers he'd recruited. You link to it on his site ---


Gena said...

Your blog is important to me! It's likely I'll be a mother relatively soon, so I'm reading everything I can about birth. Even before I started researching, I felt discontented about the hospital birth stories I have heard from friends and strangers, feeling that I just wanted to educate myself and do it myself, like the people who don't make it to the hospital in time. I'm healthy, strong, I can do it! The more I read different views of the birth process (trusting birth versus intervening socially or medically), and the more I think about my own life experiences, and my experience with the medical profession, and how annoyed I get when people interrupt me when I'm trying to get something done, the more I feel that I can trust myself, and only myself, to do what needs to be done when push comes to shove (!). I don't have the benefit of experience in this, so I am relying in large part on people like you, who share their wisdom and insight honestly. I like that you post so often; almost every time I check, there's a new entry, and that keeps me coming back. Like you, I would like to see more comments, but in looking at the map, I think there are a lot of people out there like me, looking for more information but not feeling as though they have enough insight or experience to contribute to a discussion. Happy Birthday to your G.I. Joe!

Baby Keeper said...

Hi, Gena ---

Thanks so much for your post and kind words. I am very honored that my naval-gazing, meandering, sometimes ranting has helped you to know you can trust your body. Truly, I am honored and blessed with knowing your little one will come into this life in a conscious, loving way. That is touching.

Yes, I have something to say, lots of it, everyday. I receive and research a lot of info related to birth and like to pass it along, so I try to at least something of value everyday.

And, now it is Spring and I am itchin' to get outside. My pants are too tight from sitting at the computer all winter. ;-0. And, I need to "get a life," so I am told. A life beyond deployment. I understand it's part of the family's process to also have to get into a new groove. It's such a new groove, it takes time. My son grew up around civic duty and politics. He is a historian. He wants to make a difference via the military and has worked towards being an officer since he was 17. Look for him to come back and be a leader in making sense of this war. He and you -- your generation -- will inherit this unfortunate job. I am just doing my part to create a safer, gentler, more aware environment for our babies to come into.

So, I am feeling the need to shift gears and get back to working with babies and children. My daughter, SIL, and grandsons are coming to MO from Phoenix next week and that will keep me busy. As I mosey back into the world, I am going to be posting -- maybe shorter ones with ONE thread, instead of weaving a new tapestry everday. Riiight, we'll see. Something less overwhelming perhaps and that folks might feel more inclined to post about. Frankly, I don't mind the quiet.

Thanks again for the encouragement and I am so happy my writing is meaningful to you.

Yes, you can do it!! You are wooooomaaaaan.

"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