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, April 30, 2007

Alternative Health Care -- Senate Vote TODAY

Has anyone else noticed that "Alternative" health care is not really the alternative? It's usually grounded in the old and ancient ways with new scientific developments and confirmations. Even "energy medicine" is rooted in the ancient knowing. Shouldn't radiating, cutting, synthetic drugs actually be called the alternative? Osteopathic medicine teaches that the body is made to survive, repair, and thrive -- that it know how to do so. Progress in science and medicine have taken us far from that -- we are being lead to believe that everything must be treated by cutting or drugging or scanning or lasering ... THAT is the ALTERNATIVE to have we were made and how humans have survived for eons. Just wondering ....

I was walking in the woods with a friend yesterday and she commented that she'd probably die if she were just dropped in the woods and let to fend for herself. She wouldn't know what was poison. I thought about it a second. How did the ancients know? They HAD to trust their instincts and their body knowing. They HAD to depend upon the inner knowing and guidance. Many trials and errors must have taken place (early "research") to know what was edible and what worked for what ailment or need. The key tool had to be instinct, trust, and intuition and it came from need to survive.

Now, medicine is trying to futher take away our ability to prevent and cure disease without them cutting, drugging, and filling their coffers.

On April 30 -- TODAY ---Senate Bill 1082
will put an end to the practice of just about every form of alternative health care that is not supervised by a doctor.

Senate bill S.1082, the FDA Revitalization Act of 2007, would implement the FDA's plans to reclassify vitamins, supplements, herbs and even vegetable juices as FDA-regulated drugs.

  • Massage oils and massage rocks will be classified as "medical devices" and require FDA approval.
  • So will "Manipulative and Body-Based Practices" including "chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation, massage therapy, Tui Na, Reflexology, rolfing, Brown technique, Trager bodywork, Alexander technique, Feldenkrais method, and a host of others."
  • See the FDA's guidance document, published on the FDA's web site at

    S.1082 is scheduled to go to the Senate floor for a vote on Monday, April 30, and is expected to be rushed to the Floor of the House shortly thereafter.

    Aromatherapy, auricular therapy, biofeedback, color therapy, homeopathy, hypnotism, naturopathy, neurotherapy, nutritional consulting, reflexology, sound therapy and wellness consulting are among the alternative health modalities being redefined as "Alternative Medicine.” This subtle change of vocabulary from "alternative health care" to "alternative medicine" makes all of these industries subject to control by the FDA as medicine. Only medical doctors would be allowed to provide, prescribe and supervise the delivery of these services. Anybody else who provided any of these services would be practicing medicine without a license and subject to incarceration and fines.

    THIS IS THE ONLY PERIOD OF TIME WHEN THE PUBLIC CAN MAKE AN IMPACT because it has already gone so far! They really tried to sneak this quietly past the public, and nearly succeeded. Once it passes in the Senate, it will go to the House, so be sure to contact both your senators and your representative. [Note: The CSTA/NA is not taking a stand on this legislation, but providing you, as members of the association who will be affected by this bill, information on it.]
If you really want to make a difference, writing a physical letter in your own words is by far more effective than sending emails, but you could do both. You could also phone them.

Capital Switchboard 202-225-3121 or800-828-0498, 800-459-1887, 800-614-2803 to ask for your senators’ and representative’s offices in D.C.

If you wish to oppose this dangerous bill with just one Mouse Click, allowing you to INSTANTLY send a form letter to your Senators and Congressmen, go to either of these sites

If you want to save your health, your jobs, your businesses and your ethical principles, you MUST ACT NOW. The time on this issue has run out. We cannot emphasize enough that if you oppose this legislation, you must write and call your Congressmen and Senators now, before S.1082 gets to the Senate for a vote, and before it can be taken even further.

This bill was launched last week by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) with major support from Michael Enzi (R-WY). On April 18, 2007, S.1082 was approved by the HELP Committee (which Kennedy and Enzi control) and now moves to the floor of the Senate.

Senator Grassley (R-IA) is the one Senator who has expressed grave reservations about this bill. This move by the FDA is designed to once-and-for-all destroy the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) that the American population was able to put into law to make supplements legal.

There is MUCH MORE skullduggery connected to bill S.1082 than appears on the surface. It is part and parcel of the Trilateral Cooperation Charter with Canada/Mexico, that was illegally created between our 3 countries without Congressional knowledge or sanction, in an FDA attempt to bring in international standards set by CODEX* (which wants health matters under the auspices of Big Pharma and itself) by first harmonizing our food-based dietary supplement regulations with Canada's and Mexico's far harsher regulatory regimes. (For more info, see )

This insidious proposal is designed to redefine every complementary and alternative health care modality and product as "medicine." This has direct implications on the services and products provided by every alternative health care professional. There is no facet of complementary and alternative health care that is not affected. Essential oils, herbs, herbal remedies, homeopathic remedies, minerals, nutritional supplements, plant enzymes and vitamins are redefined in this proposal as "medicine." Very simply, medicine is under the jurisdiction of the FDA and, by law, only licensed medical doctors may prescribe "medicines."

Anybody else who advises, advocates, counsels, distributes, markets, recommends or suggests anybody use "medicine" is practicing medicine without a license. This is a felony in the USA punishable by fines and incarceration.Aromatherapy, auricular therapy, biofeedback, color therapy, homeopathy, hypnotism, naturopathy, neurotherapy, nutritional consulting, reflexology, sound therapy and wellness consulting are among the alternative health modalities being redefined as "Alternative Medicine.."

This subtle change of vocabulary from "alternative health care" to "alternative medicine" makes all of these industries subject to control by the FDA as medicine. Only medical doctors would be allowed to provide, prescribe and supervise the delivery of these services. Anybody else who provided any of these services would be practicing medicine without a license and subject to incarceration and fines.

[The above text is compiled from emails sent out by the International Myomassethics Foundation and the Natural Therapies Certification Board]


Complementary and Alternative Medicine Products and their Regulation by the Food and Drug Administration NCCAM classifies CAM therapies into four categories or "domains." These are:
  • Biologically-based practices;
  • Energy therapies;
  • Manipulative and body-based methods; and
  • Mind-body medicine.

What Is "Energy Medicine?"

NCCAM considers energy medicine to involve energy fields of two types:

  • Veritable energy fields, which can be measured and use either mechanical vibrations (such as sound) or electromagnetic forces, including visible light, magnetism, monochromatic radiation (such as laser light), and other light rays; and
  • Putative energy fields (or biofields) that have defied measurement to date by reproducible methods. According to NCCAM, therapies involving putative energy fields "are based on the concept that human beings are infused with a subtle form of energy" and therapists "claim that they work with this subtle energy, see it with their own eyes, and use it to effect changes in the physical body and influence health."9

In a sense, "conventional" medicine already uses various forms of "energy" medicine. For example, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) device uses electromagnetic waves to create images of internal body organs and tissues. As another example, an ultrasound machine uses sound waves to create images of body organs, tissues, and fetuses.

Given their intended uses, we regulate these products as medical devices under the Act.
CAM products that use veritable energy fields in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions or in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man or animals or to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or animals may be medical devices under the Act.10 Additionally, if the product is electronic and emits radiation, it may be subject to additional requirements to ensure that there is no unnecessary exposure of people to radiation.

CAM products that use putative energy fields in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man or animals may be medical devices under the Act. For example, we regulate acupuncture needles as "class II" medical devices.11

What Are "Manipulative and Body-Based Practices?"

According to NCCAM:
Under the umbrella of manipulative and body-based practices is a heterogeneous group of CAM interventions and therapies. These include chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation, massage therapy, Tui Na, reflexology, rolfing, Brown technique, Trager bodywork, Alexander technique, Feldenkrais method, and a host of others..

Manipulative and body-based practices focus primarily on the structures and systems of the body, including the bones and joints, the soft tissues, and the circulatory and lymphatic systems..12

To the extent that manipulative and body-based practices involve practitioners physically manipulating a patient's body, without using tools or machines, we do not believe that such practices are subject to regulation under the Act or the PHS Act. If, however, the manipulative and body-based practices involve the use of equipment (such as massage devices) or the application of a product (such as a lotion, cream, or oil) to the skin or other parts of the body, those products may be subject to regulation under the Act, depending on the nature of the product and its intended use..

What Is "Mind-Body Medicine?"

NCCAM describes mind-body medicine as focusing on "the interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behavior, and the powerful ways in which emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and behavioral factors can directly affect health."13 It states that mind-body medicine "typically focuses on intervention strategies that are thought to promote health, such as relaxation, hypnosis, visual imagery, meditation, yoga, biofeedback, tai chi, qi gong, cognitive-behavioral therapies, group support, autogenic training, and spirituality."14

In general, CAM practices in this domain would not be subject to our jurisdiction under the Act or the PHS Act. As with the manipulative and body-based practices domain, however, any equipment or other products used as part of the practice of mind-body medicine may be subject to FDA regulation, depending on the nature of the product and its intended use. For example, biofeedback machines intended to help a patient learn to affect body functions, such as muscle activity, are regulated as class II devices.15

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Birth Story: Homebirth with HomeFirst in Chicago

By Holly

As for the end of Daniel's birth... I think about it all the time, because it was so awesome. It gives me chills every time and warm fuzzies...which sound like opposites, but you know they are not!

(Holly just minutes before baby was born.)

He started pushing his head out of me while I was on my side, so he instigated the pushing process. I quickly turned over and told the nurse I had to push right then. (as he was already coming out on his own!) Once I started pushing, his head came out on the first contraction. Everyone was so excited! The nurse asked if my contraction was done and I said yes, so she said to stop pushing... one of my prayer requests had been that I would have the self-control to stop pushing between contractions during Danny's birth, b/c during Maks' I did not have that control. I did stop pushing... relaxed for a moment... and HERE IS THE BEST PART... I reached down and touched his head! Oooh! That is the part I keep running over and over in my mind. I cannot ever express the immensity of feelings that welled up in me at that moment. We were still together, one unit, and yet I was touching him.... it was INCREDIBLE. It felt like minutes, but I'm told it was probably less than 30 seconds, and the next contraction came on. His torso came out.

Baby Keeper: In prenatal and birth healing "first touch" is a very important experience. Our first human contact with another is imprinted in our brain. Mother or father should be the baby's first touch. We all easily recognize the difference in touch from someone who loves us rom strangers or others. The person who first touches our baby leaves THEIR imprint on our baby's perception of the world -- be it gentle, harsh, painful, angry, respectful. Whatever we feel and need is what the birthing newborn needs as well -- soft, loving touch.

The nurse stopped him for just a second to push down the umbilical cord, and then a tiny push sent out his big old feet. :) (My boys DO have big feet. And they stink from day one. What can I say? Testosterone.)

So that was the pushing process. The nurse instantly scooped him up upon his exit from the womb and laid him on my tummy.
Baby Keeper: Even better if mother can pick up her baby and bring him to her. I believe no one but loved ones should touch the baby in the first minutes and hours of life. I believe mothers can be trained in basic neonatal resuscitation and handle the baby, clean the baby, bathe the baby. Many homebirth midwives are very "hands-off" during labor and following birth as well. The assesment of baby is done while baby is in the mother's or father's arms.
Women are CONDITIONED now to not know how to care for the newborn or to be repulsed by their own body fluids on the baby, and to believe the excessive handling and medical interventions need to happen. Recently someone told me about the grandmother who could just not stand that the baby was not bathed for several hours. Women from that generations are frantic to hear the baby scream and cry, to know the weight, and for them to be bathed -- none of which is necesssary and important during home birth. The weight is always want "standers-by" want and need to know. Our culture does not know how to slow down, breathe, not talk, and just welcome the baby to this life.
Oh so cute! We just lay there together after that, and I just watched him. My sister wanted me to get him latched on to my breast, but I remembered on your website something about letting a newborn find the breast on their own. So I opted to wait for him. I don't know how long we laid there, probably 10-15 minutes or so,and then he started wriggling and rooting. He wriggled and rooted all the way up to my nipple, all on his own. And he nursed! And that was that! I was elated that he had found it himself... and a bit surprised!

As to Maks' experience, you know the pushing. Too fast. Looking back, I'm thinking I wasn't even fully dilated when I started to push (the midwife was pushing me to push, but I think it was pure adrenaline and rage that pushed him out, not my body (or his) being ready for it.)

Baby Keeper: The midwife at the first child's birth was fired from the practice for her actions -- she had wanted to catch the baby alone and she pushed the birth to happen before the doctor arrived. She took over and the Nurse decided, for the mother and baby, not to force the issue and make it worse. The midwive forced the mother to get angry, telling her to "cuss at your baby" in order to get the energy to push the baby out. The mother lost control and it was her sister who intervened by grabbing her and holding her face, eye-to-eye and calming her down. The effect of this on the upcoming birth is why I met them -- to heal the mother's guilt and shame and to address the acting out of the older boy during last trimester of the pregnancy. The behavior of head butting against his mother's very pregnant belly stopped when mother and father learned how to "meet" the behavior, acknowledge the child's needs and his story.
How many nurses and midwives and doctors do you know who should be fired, or at least reprimanded and re(s)trained?

I did not stop pushing between contractions, just non-stop pushed to get him out ASAP. I wish the doctor had been there, b/c I know he would have INSISTED I be checked to make sure I was ready and he would have been more forceful when I was losing control and being so wild and obnoxious! Oh well. All too rushed. Maks WAS put on my tummy immediately after being birthed, however. But I had never heard of letting a newborn find the nipple on his own, so we started working w/him right away to get latched on. Again, too rushed!
Baby Keeper: Mother and father learned how acknowledging and apologizing for the experience, and by dealing with their own guilt and anger at what happened, they could interact with their old son in a way that did not allows trigger his feeling of being rushed. As they are doing this they are involved in a new experience that allows the child's brain to have a new experience (creating new wiring for new perceptions and reactions to the world.) The combination of aspects is why behavior just changes.

Looking back, I can see that. And he didn't figure out how to latch on by himself for almost 2 months then. Every time he wanted to nurse, I would have to pull his mouth open for him. In the middle of the night it stunk b/c I had to turn on the light, sit up, and pull open his mouth, EVERY TIME! Talk about lack of sleep!

With Daniel, I don't even wake up. Or if I do, it's for such a split second, just to make sure a boob is exposed and available, that I hardly remember it in the morning. He latches on himself and we all stay asleep. I am getting wonderful sleep! And so is he…..

Baby Keeper: Daniel is two weeks old here. Seriously! From day one he knew what he wanted and when and how to ask for it. From very early he was clearly communicating -- he did not allow his mother to breastfed to calm herself as many mothers do. Every time the baby cries they calm baby with the breast. Daniel did not allow this. A self-sufficient, intent, and non-conforming baby is one of the benefits of homebirth that many parents are not prepared for, and nor is the world of adults. Old parenting ways don't work with these babies. New parents are challenged to rise to the occasion.
Daniel is now four and a very lively, brilliant, and entertaining fellow. He and I met when he was three months old. As I held him, he engaged with me fully with deep, clear eye contact that brought a powerful chill of deep knowing to me -- and he talked and talked to me. TO me. Very directly and very intently. It brought sweet tears to me as I felt he was speaking to me deeply on a level I could not be conscious of. I was without words -- he was speaking to me. His mother came into the room talking and broke the "spell" we were in. We both startled and he turned to her and chastised her! Without speaking a beat, she apologized and he turned back to me and continued talking to me in the same sweet and serious tone. I believed at the time and I still do, that Daniel had a shared with me something vital from the other side. It felt like he "downloaded" something to me. I knew without a doubt, because of this baby, that babies are closer to God and more aware of the other side than we brainwashed and tatered old adults are. In the following weeks, something I had been struggling with seem to resolve and I know it was because of Daniel.
THIS is the HUMAN POTENTIAL that EVERY HUMAN BEING has that is hidden in the shadows of drugs and violations during labor and birth. Unnecessary, intrusive, and unconsious care to women who are drugged and denying their bodies create difficult birth experiences. The experience of birth is a template for how we are in the world. Birth doesn't have to be difficult -- and neither does life.
If we could take the benefits of homebirth and the benefits of hospital birth and bring them together to create aware, safe, and gentle birth we could create a world of harmonious , healthy, and functional beings.
Oh, hey, it's being done -- birth centers and practices like HomeFirst in Chicago. Why won't obstetrics let this happen? Why are two great non-hospital birthing alternatives in Washington DC shutting down -- while the rest of the world with lower mortality rates increases midwifery and homebirth options? Why won't women and men fight for it?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Thanks for your comment, No One

It is worthy of a long response that I am not breaking up into many posts covering a point every day or week.

I might point out that it is a usual tactic for some one defending their belief system to post so many links to stories that no one will follow all of them to determine if the links presented are actually relevant to the post. That doesn't help your argument. Neither does making a post so long that very few people have the time to read it at all.

It is scholarly where I was trained to site references. And, just today I transferred the post to a document and saw it is ten pages. Amazing. A couple of hours work collecting the most basic of the scientific resources that support my OBSERVATION AND QUESTION, and there is so much more to prove my point in order to elicit some interest in research and stopping the violating treatment of women and babies. I am defending science that supports care for our babies prenatally, during labor and birth and after. I am only about making birth more gentle and aware for the baby. I believe a woman can sacrifice her rights and needs for the brief but lifelong critical experience of her baby's birth.

You might reach more people if you were to tackle one subset of what you wrote at one time--say like over a week or a month.

Thanks for your opinion. It's my blog and, quite frankly, it's just been a resource for me write about things that have been on my mind and heart for a long time and haven't opportunity to write about. I weave my post with threads from many of my thirty-two years of parenting four children, twenty-five years of professional work that includes working for multiple states on systems change to make the systems family supportive to empower women. It includes threads from my own healing process as I learned about the impact of birth trauma on the baby and the mother, being the deep and powerful work of healing, and then made it my business to meet and learn from many of the pioneers. And, the main thread right now is my own maternal grief and healing related to my son's deployment. The blog is about me having MY VOICE -- finally, and if I want to rant, I do. It doesn't matter to me if anyone reads it, (HEARS me), but I love that some people do.

You did actually say that the doctor in question wasn't going to learn. That is, in essence, name calling. If he were the doc to my children and had done a good job with them, then I would be offended as well.

If that is the criteria for name calling, well, it was pretty much a two-way. Anyone who knee-jerks with such a post as to reduce anyone and lump an entire group of professionals into a one-liner defense ("pseudoscience) and negate publicly a well-respected colleague/educator ..... well, that person is just not an open-minded person willing to learn something new. (Please refer to my post called, "Baby Cries." It will be pretty hard world for you then, and others, who want to focus on that as the point of the discussion. It's just not my choice/problem, or under my control, how you or they choose to (over) react to other than the facts.

When I was birthing my babies I first noticed that one could mention a doctor's name, any doctor, in any setting, and some would foam with loathing of him and some would gush with love of him as her hero. So, be offended. I am not in control. I'll address this more below.

If you choose to take on this energy of battle over protecting him, that's yours or their choice. He lives on regardless, and if he's as wonderful as you say, he knows he can't take every person's opinion personally. He knows at the end of the day the kind of job he's done -- while two people will have different views of it.

The information you presented was broad, interesting, and made me think (although not follow all those links).

Thank you. That's all I want --- because the only thing that motivates me is to create aware, safe, gentle practices from conception forward in order to create harmonious, healthy babies -- people. I spent fifteen years trying to support and help people get over their problems and the search took me back further and further to the earliest development. I have always been just ahead of the mainstream. Maybe you'll read the Safe Baby Resolution I wrote for the state of Hawaii. I wrote it during September and October as my son prepared to go to war. I was literally on the floor in grief somedays and then back at the computer pouring my heart in a dream to bring each child into this world in love, safety, gentleness, and harmony.

I disagree with Dr. Wirth and the methods of his studies,
It doesn't make him wrong. I also disagree with the OB's who divided 120 babies in five research groups and gave them different combinations of bipuvicaine (narcotics) and fentanyl (in epidural) to determine what dose of fentanyl (considered by the US Defense Dept to be a chemical weapon) counters the dangerous effects of bipuvicaine. !?!?! Bupivicaine seems to be the "drug of choice" for epidural after two decades of experimenting on LIVE BABIES DESPITE the science in the late 80's that showed epidural was dangerous. This is EVIDENCED-BASED research?? The buddy of your neonatalogist has not, in one year, come up with ONE single scientific research source that shows that ANY drug EVER used in obstetrics since the turn of the century was EVER researched and SHOWN to be SAFE for the BABY BEFORE USING and eventually become widely accepted as normal UNTIL removed from use for harming women and babies. Ether, DES, morphine, Demerol, Scopalamine, Cytec, other narcotics, and NOW, Paxil and Zoloft. Meanwhile, the science that Dr. Wirth's book is based on is well-accepted and actually can question the research on babies -- NON-consenting, NON-informed subjects (See post earlier this week about a Canadian decision about this.)

Dr. Wirth's book is a wonderful explanation of Candace Pert's work so that lay people can understand how the neuropeptides work. Pert is a well-known, respected researcher who found the receptor site for opium, and thus proving that in order for a drug to work there has to be a receptor site, meaning the body can make the needed substance for pain relief. She also used this discovery to create the first highly successful anti-cancer drugs and meds that took away the death sentence for AIDS patients. The medications use a receptor site (key and lock type image) to block the virus.

According to the literature, it takes 17 years for the new discoveries to make it into medical PRACTICE. Doctors often don't know, or do and don't change what they do for many years, if ever, until forced by consumers. Heretics, rebels, squeaky wheels, and whistle-blowers lead the way. Wirth is a leader in bringing info to his colleagues AND women. I admire that. It is truly amazing what "retired" people do when they no longer have to cower and comply with the Queen Bee, the demonized system. Pert's work is important in a discussion of labor and how a woman's body can make the chemical necessary for adequate pain relief but she has to be in a safe, nurturing enviornment that adjusts to her and her baby's timing and pace as every women's body's labor is different, even among her own children. Pert is featured on the documentary "What the Bleep Do We Know." Wirth is very grounded in the current science.

but that doesn't mean that I disagree that babies feel something. I also don't think that the doc from Tales from the Womb would deny that either.

He did deny it and he called it pseudoscience BEFORE a decent discussion could happen. You don't seem to care about him denying it and trashing my colleagues by name ... because ... ? He pulled out the Scientology and Cruise card to mock "silent birth" -- a practice that is quite normal when doctors and nurses refute new information. Silent birth is a natural aspect of natural settings like homebirth, made extreme by the media mocking Cruise and scientiology. Meanwhile, the sheep just laugh and accept it in the extreme misrepresentation. Good luck to anyone wishing a quiet, reverent environment for her baby's birth in the hospital -- like the door kept shut, people pausing to let go of the crap going on in their lives or the hospital before they enter, entering and doing lawyer-based interventions and timing of them regardless of what the mother needs, etc., etc.) "What are you, a Scientologist, or something?" Someone who has never attended a birth that is guided by the woman's UNCONSCIOUS BODY that ALSO MADE the baby WITHOUT her NEOCORTEX or medical intervention, and cloaked in reverence for the baby -- homebirth -- will not "get this". They just join the sheep.

To me, that’s sadly ignorant that the environment of the hospital THEY create -- noise, disruptions, and strangers is considered normal - with NO REGARD for the BRAIN RESEARCH that shows us it is critical PRENATALLY and during INFANCY. Why not during labor, birth, hospital stay, and NICU. Simple question. Simple answer -- from my perspective. I don't have to change everything I do and the system I do it in. THAT, is the big issue here and reason for the inadequate response using Scientology. He doesn't appear to be knowledgeable about the Reichian work or the whole body of work it took me brief afternoon to google and compile. Doctors don't have time for their own family, let alone to read outside the scope of their work. It's my soulful, moral, and civic duty to inform anyone who wants to endure it. His buddy, an ex-OB, posted an additional mocking of the birth psychologists -- and I am pretty certain from her comments that she has no concept of the real prenatal and birth psychology work, just her defensive medical perspective of anything that triggers her.. Obstetrics harms the baby, even while saving his or her life. (I never call the baby "it"). The work has a history in Europe where most quality, non-money influenced research comes from.

You just don't like his politics, and that appears to have affected your reading of his posts.

I doubt you know my politics. I don't know his politics. I only know he hates George Bush - but so does 90% of the world. (Hell hath no fury like a war done in Jesus name, I hope.) If you are referring to the comparison of the NICU mom telling me to stop flinging insults and lies to me telling him to stop bashing my president, that was only an example. The purpose was to make a point of life is personal, but it doesn't change the facts. NICU effects your friend and you. The war in Iraq effects me equally. I have tried to find "what it's like" in a society who doesn't "get it".

After working with parents whose children have died and parents of children in NICU, there's just no comparison. A few weeks ago a nurse said who doesn't have a child in Iraq or Afghanistan said she thought it would be like a parent who's child is abducted or missing. And, she's right. Only we know where they are, what they are experiencing, and we can't do a damnned thing about it -- sort of like the NICU parent. Only we can't see them, comfort them, or hold their finger. They are 6,000 miles away -- there is no friggin' way to even see them, or call them, or even call a charge nurse to see how they are doing. We wait for any sign from them - a beep, bleep, a movement. In my head-body-heart, I am, on my blog, as was the mother whose daughter was missing in Aruba and was in the news doing everything possible. She could not sit in the US while her daughter was missing. A mother vigilant at her baby's side in NICU for weeks or months is in the very same physiological and emotional state, as is a mother whose child is at war. We mothers of soldiers can do N-O-T-H-I-N-G but put one foot in front of the other every day -- and watch the unaware masses living life normally. Sound familiar? There is NOTHING to be done to change our child's situation or to make them safe. I am glad the NICU doctor is the mother's hero for her -- where I am, there are no heroes to make it ok. Just our child, the hero.

SO, our personal experiences influence us, inform us, embolden us in our passions and crusades, and they can cloud us (I am saying this because I need to hear it.) I get your anger and need to defend the NICU doctor who made the difference. And, don't you dare dis' my support people or I might come out with teeth nashing too. So, I don't take it personally that those of you whose babies are alive and well because of doctor so and so. I would kiss the ground (and his or her ass) the person walks on if there was one person singularly responsible for bringing my son home alive -- and, with his vision, his hearing, his limbs, his brain intact, his body unscarred from constant shrapnel damage we don't hear about in the daily news. God, for him to come home with his healthy, optimistic, charasmatic wit and humor and with his compassionate heart will be a miracle. Will he ever be normal again? You mamas of babies who survived in NICU know the place we mothers live in -- that place in time, when you are waiting to hear the prognosis of your little one?? Your adrenal system is in hyper alert -- is your child going to live or die? And, what will life look like? Struggling not to hold your breath and daring to FEEL. THAT is where we moms of soldiers LIVE.

And, then there's the soldier's story -- and watching as a mother what you can not change. We know that frantic feeling of wanting to rip back time. But, it doesn't change the facts or confusion and controversy of the war and what got them there and keeps them there. Just like in birth and living life with the consequencs of some bizarre mix of choices we are responsible for and some we aren't. Such is life. In both cases, we have to focus differently and we have to look at ideas and options that aren't going to ever change what happened to your child or mine. We can only look to saving the newborns from damage and the way to end the war. Science, religion, and politics -- makings from the human mind to justify what it wants and needs, as it makes sense of the information in the body.

People get all jiggy about politics and mix it with other stuff. I LOVE learning about other's political and religious views and in the context of their personal lives. Each issue, for me, birth, war, gun control, welfare, abortion -- all stands on it's own, has to be evaluated outside of political lines. I do not have a party affiliation -- God forbid. I am cursedly on the friggin' middle of just about every issue. It is a curse and a blessing to see both sides. Do I think the Democrats have my child (who represents to me all of those who are sacrificing the most) in the mind and best interests? Hell, no.

For the record, from what I have read on his blog, he and I are very much in political agreement. I do have to say, I commented on two blogs that day -- one very much in support of his political comments and I said my son is in Iraq. I was disappointed in his lack of (zero) acknowledgement of that post, but then he was apparently busy writing the PseudoScience blog which I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated it as a compliment to be worthy of a post. (Hope you do, too). This is the first controversy I've had on my blog since I started it in November, two weeks after my baby was boots on the ground in Iraq.

Demonizing everyone who follows evidence based medicine isn't a good tactic either.

Modern medicine is very behind in practicing evidence-based science, and obstetrics is the worst. It is our place as consumers to confront it. The system is a demon -- the people are not. I understand how it is that they can not even confront the wrong doing that they see. Believe me, I understand the politics and the powerlessness of doctors and nurses within the system. It does not stop me from being the rabble-rouser I am --- to stir up women to take back the power in their lives and over their bodies - in labor and birth. And, it doesn't stop me from inciting doctors to rise up either. I always talk about how the doctors are the "worker bees" making money for the Queen (the status quo system-- that's who/what I see as the demon. Why are you not incensed that he demonized my profession, my colleagues -- I tell you, who are some of the most intelligent, astute, and compassionate people a mother would ever want to meet. and More links. Sigh. I am an information gatherer and a networker. I believe people need to have the resources.

And, lastly, you completely alienated me when you made this statement: they say cutting through a woman's abdominal wall to pull her baby out is safe for her and doesn't harm the baby. Good grief, lady. In some cases, this is the only way that a mother and child will not die--including me. Statements like those make reasonable women want to never read another word you write.,

But they will read what I write because deep within them in the body -- the unconscious as Pert says -- we women weep for the truth and to be free. Our heart breaks for our children when they suffer and struggle and we take it on and into ourselves. More guilt and shame and anger in the body -- something within us knows that it is not true. We are not failures, we are not the guilty one. I have been to those places and back -- and I speak from it. In the body we know the truth and it bubbles up, even if the brain chooses to translate it to anger. The brain is very much a relay station for the body's emotions and memories. The body is considered the "emotional body" and the "unconscious." The body remembers birth -- as a baby and a woman. What ONE FEELS is ones own stuff. I have posts way back about that.

C-sections may be over used, but they are definitely safer than dying.

A life saved by surgical birth is still a life physiologically and emotionally impaired -- for life. Actually, it's two lives. I suspect that you will zero find another who is as balanced, teetering in the middle, straddling the fence to the point of excruciating pain in support of the WISE AND APPROPRIATE USE OF MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY AND SKILLS as I am. I suppose one might say I am "radical" about looking at the impact of hospital birth on the 80% of women and babies who are experimented upon, deliberatly mislead and deceived and manipulated and who choose to use unnecessary medical technology and drugs for their own benefit. In the hospital, like in birth centers, women COULD be supported to birth without harming their baby -- for theirs and their physycian's convenience and malpractice avoidance. The problem is doctors, nurses, and women now defend the treatment of women and babies the has evolved as science based when it has not. And obstetrics answsers to no one. Women believe the are "liberated" women "choosing" to induce, use narcotics, and to have surgical birth. Not even feminists see the lies and the collateral damage to the dyad. AND, frankly, it is concerning to me that so many women now want to birth at home because of this treatment, the enviornment, and relationships. Medical caregvers DEMONIZE these women, and so do women who had traumatic births and were rescued by the physician who CONTRIBUTED to, if not caused it. It took me twenty-five years to see my first son's birth as a doctor-induced horror show and that THIS is why I thought birth was dangerous. How dare the medical establishment REFUSE to look at what they do and how dare they not PARTICPATE in CREATING a SAFER, RESPECTFUL environment for birthing in the hospitall.

I know how much medical caregivers go through to be able to do what they do. I respect that more than you can know. AND. AND.... the majority of women do not need the medical management of labor and birth. In birth centers the csection rate is 2-5% while in hospitals, it is 30%. My ex is an obstetrician. I am privy to some inside scuttle and shop talk, and how they are trained to protect their asses and their assets, how to manage their schedule and lives. And, I know they know it is done at the expense of mother's and babies. They come to believe their own propoganda.

I am sure your csection saved your life and your baby's life. But in about only 5 out of 30 are actually truly life threatening situations. The others vary in degrees of danger but a good number are created by MEDICALLY UNNECESSARY induction of labor or are "planned" by the physician. If your labor was induced for your convenience or openly for your doctor's convenience or even one of the many "BOGUS" excuses doctor's give (time management, baby), then the need for the life saving surgery was induced. Extremely high induction rates correspond to "life-saving surgeries". If your labor was induced for valid medical reasons (one high BP in the 8th month is not a medical reason. I mean a real medical reason) it still doesn't classify the surgical birth as necessary for life saving. Of course, at that time, it is life saving, but a woman can not really know that it was truly was or not. A woman's life becomes a mangled combination of her "choices" and medically-initiated self-serving practices --- SHE must live with the consequences in her body, emotions, and relationship with her child. The BABY will also LIVE with the consequences of being induced (physiologically and emotionally), with being drugged during birth, with not being able to get through an unripe uterus (think of how a nearly ready to bloom rose looks if one tries to force the bloom open).

The bell curve is very accepted way of viewing everything. Obstetrics ought to fit into that model as well. With 30% of women having surgical birth, the curve is way off. A certain number of women and babies will die no matter what. About 2-5% of women can also give birth without any assistance whatso ever. Another 10-20% can birth at home with a trained midwife or a physician with minimal assistance. Probably 10-20% of the women will have a very challenging birth -- long labors, prolonged pushing, structural pain, and emotional complications also cause failure to progress, need augmentation and drugs for pain, but I propose that 50-60% need very little of this. In the perfect world. Some European research -- in a country where natural and homebirth is the norm, showed that the cultural beliefs of the woman determine her ability to give birth without pain relief and interventions. In other words, in Sweden, a US woman screaming for her rights to her epidural at 3cm would be seen as odd and very troublesome on many levels. The cesarean seems easiest for everyone involved and it could be, but truly, logically and scientifically (physiologically), it doesn't make sense. AND, for the baby, though easiest in the moment surgical birth poses many other issues -- that are currently conveniently ignored and dismissed by the medical field. It's to their advantage to do that. Surgical birth insures patient populations for their colleagues. Hormones are key for all functions of the body. The body remembers everything -- that's really common understanding now.

Oh, the percentages? They're mine -- generally known stats compiled into my evolving theory/question. Hypotheses that obstetrics won't even let us begin to consider and get funding to look at. So, the natural birthers and women who would have died without cesection create the poles of what I suspect is the good ole bell curve. I expect that the obstetric bell curve would be pretty normal if women were allowed to follow their bodies. Apparently, there is a big debate going on between the two ends of the curve -- called "homebirth vs hospital birth. Neither is wrong. Both are right. For themselves. The other 90% of women who need or want neither, but to just have a loving, peaceful birth are the losers. We need to focusing on making birth SAFE for the women and babies birthing in the hospital, and creating ways to support women to birth at home and have access to medical care when needed. If you feel they are demonized it is because I know they have the skills and abilities to save lives and to provide a protective, gentle, peaceful haven in which to birth. But they don't, because they practice pathologically, defensively, and selfishly.

So, a main point of my blog is that BABY EXPERIENCES her or his birth REGARDLESS of whether it was medically necessary or a CHOICE. IF WE ONLY Recognize the BABY then we can support the baby to integrate the experience.

You are not the first woman or the last to rise up in anger at the idea of your experience and/or choices being a contributor to life long issues for your child. We mothers live it with it every day. We see our baby's struggles and pain, or deformities and disabilities and wrangle over it. We women need to come together to support each other from the beginning and through the whole walk of motherhood.

If you only get one thing, please let it be that the bottom line for me is making birth safer for the 70% of babies who don't have a voice, don't consent to drugs, don't consent to induction, or planned cesarean, but they get to live with the consequences. It's the baby's birth. The "Demon" is the system (all of us) that allows drugs, interventions, and procedures that were never shown safe for the birthing baby to become considered normal.

The denial that keeps us from seeing that the baby is learning and neurons are connecting around the experience -- fearful, happy, invaded, separated from mom, etc --- keeps the current practices going AND fear and denial prevent women from seeing that WHEN it had happened with their baby, we can heal whatever happened. It guides us to be more aware and respectful in the process of birth -- no matter what is happening, we can honor the baby's experience, as it is the baby's birth. And, we can support the baby and mother to heal AFTER. I try to always give hope with the message.

Thanks again for your post and the inspiration.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Healing Baby's PICU Experience

By Julie Carlton

After Mika’s birth we knew we wanted to make some changes if we were blessed with another child. The biggest change we made when preparing for Elijah’s birth was that we chose to give birth at home with a Certified Nurse Midwife. We had taken Bradley childbirth classes before Mika’s and found them immensely helpful but I needed more help with relaxation so we chose to take HypnoBirthing classes. I had also become a doula and childbirth educator after Mika’s birth. I went into my second birth much more educated about birthing choices, how the body functions during birth, relaxation techniques and helping provide an atmosphere in which I could labor and birth my baby that was best for our baby, myself and our family. For us this was at home and our homebirth enabled us to give birth to Elijah in the gentlest way we possibly could - surrounded by the love of family and friends.

Elijah’s birth was awesome! His issue wasn’t birth trauma. His trauma came later. My eighteen-hour labor that progressed so gently that if I hadn't known better (from my first birth and from being a doula and childbirth educator), I would have seriously doubted that I was really in labor until I was nearly complete! Adam and I took two naps together!!! Yes! Naps during labor... and I am not talking early labor. I was at 6 cm before the first nap and eight cm before the second one. I had heard of women being able to do that, but I never thought I would be one of them! I dozed soundly and surges just kept going.

I entered a birthing pool for the last three hours and Adam got in with me. The surges intensified (uncomfortable but not painful) until he was born. It just took more effort to remain focused and relaxed, so I listened to my relaxation tapes and rocked in the soothing water with Adam. I found as soon as I started to tense up an area, pain would sneak in and as soon as I relaxed again the pain would vanish. I felt my baby move down the birth path. I felt my water break about forty-five minutes before he was born. I was aware of my baby's every move and feel I was able to connect with him on a very deep level even before he was born. I did not push but relaxed and breathed through the surges and let my body move my baby down. I pushed the last few contractions as his head was born and then realized he was stuck because he had shoulder dystocia. It was a scary few minutes at the end but our midwife knew exactly what to do. I feel I was able to stay calm and focused on what she told me to do in order to get him out because I was already so relaxed and calm. After he arrived, we were amazed at how big he was! 11 pounds 2 oz & 23 inches long and I had no tearing!

It was an absolutely amazing experience. It enabled Adam and me to work as partners in birthing our baby. I felt like I was really able to connect with my baby on a much deeper level and was much more conscious of him and his descent into the world than I was during my daughter's birth. I am just sad I didn't know how to give my daughter the beautiful birth her brother had.

Elijah's Diagnosis, Surgeries, and PICU Experience

We spent the next two days in such joyful bonding with our new baby. On day three of life during a routine newborn exam with our pediatrician, Elijah’s gums were noticed to be a bit dusky. His doctor thought maybe his PDA (the heart valve that is open during pregnancy but closes soon after birth) hadn’t quite closed yet which wasn’t a big deal at his age. Elijah had no other signs of a heart defect but our Dr. recommended we have a pediatric cardiology consult just to cover our bases. By divine intervention we were able to get an appointment that day. To make a long story short, Elijah ended up being diagnosed with multiple congenital heart defects and would certainly die without surgery to correct them. Talk about having your world turned upside down!

Although he was doing amazingly well when the diagnosis was made, the cardiologist admitted him to the ICU in order to monitor his status until the corrective surgery could be made. Unfortunately as the staff worked to provide intervention, he became stressed and began to fail. It became a vicious circle … the more they tried to stabilize him, the more stressed he became and the more he slid downhill. Before the night was over our baby would be in emergency surgery fighting what seemed to be a losing battle for his life. The rug had completely been pulled out from under us.

Elijah beat the odds and survived the night and began to stabilize. He underwent two open- heart surgeries and multiple other procedures. We were initially told to expect a stay of four to 6 weeks in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit based on his condition that first night. But, Elijah exceeded expectations at every turn and he went home in a little over two weeks from that first day! The deciding factor in sending Elijah home was when his surgeon noticed that his vital signs were consistently more stable when he was being held skin to skin with his mommy! Elijah's greatest risk factor was infection and the care team felt his risk was much lower at home. It was truly a miracle. We were told this daily by the staff. We were also surprised to hear several staff members credit Elijah's gentle birth to helping him recover so quickly. Elijah didn’t need to recover from his birth so he could put his energy into healing instead. A great example of how a baby is born DOES make a difference!!!

We brought home a fragile hurting baby who was wary of being hurt and we were nervous wrecks! Because Elijah was still very fragile and had to be monitored constantly, he had also become very defensive. Diaper changes were horrible! As soon as he realized we were going to change him Elijah cried and we cried! He had developed a severe yeast infection in the folds of his neck and in his groin area due to all the antibiotics and diuretics he was on. The skin on his groin area was literally sloughing off and had to be so painful! It was horrible!

As a mother it was heartbreaking to want to help and comfort your baby and to be rejected because he was afraid of being hurt! I have never felt so helpless! I felt like that ICU stay had saved his life but had driven a wedge in our bonding experience. We did all we could to help overcome that break. We co-slept with him, carried him skin to skin around with us and when he was healed enough to tolerate the sling, we took turns wearing him all day. Thank goodness he was able to maintain breastfeeding! That was our one way to connect and that I could provide comfort to him. Slowly we made progress but I knew more could be done. I knew Janel could help us make the extra progress that was needed to fully process what had happened and to help us reconnect. I talked to Adam about working with her and he was fully supportive. I contacted her when Elijah was about 8 weeks old. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

Our Experience of CranioSacral Focused Prenatal and Birth Therapy

Trying to explain to someone about what Janel does exactly and how her work is done is very difficult. There just aren’t words enough to explain what goes on in a session, but I’ll try. The first time we met we went over in detail what had happened to Elijah from the beautiful birth, the PICU experience and all that had happened since. She had absolute respect for Elijah and talked to him. She asked him if she could hold him and told him exactly what she was doing as she did craniosacral work with him. She followed his movements and let him move as he wanted to. She in no way made him move, she simply supported him as he turned or moved a body part or pulled a foot or hand back, etc. as he “told his story” and she helped us process it as our feelings and memories came up. Many people believe that tiny babies can not communicate. I beg to differ! Elijah made it perfectly clear what he was saying through his body language!

Each session she did this and each session we learned something new that helped us help Elijah and helped us process the trauma with him. She was able to help us look at things through Elijah’s eyes which was priceless! For example, one session as they worked together Janel sensed that something about his feet was concerning him. In pursuing further we remembered that he had been pricked numerous times a day on his feet in order to get blood glucose readings to check his blood sugar! No wonder when anyone came up to him and tried to touch his little feet (as even strangers often will do to make contact with babies!) he got upset and quickly pulled his feet back. He was afraid of being hurt! We realized we had to not only be more aware of this and how it affected him but also do a better job of advocating for him. When people reached for his feet we were able to gently move him out of the way or just plain explain to them that he’d had his feet hurt in the ICU and didn’t like them touched. People were very understanding and quickly Elijah over came his aversion to having his feet touched!

Another example was when we discovered why diaper changes continued to be so difficult even after the yeast infection in his groin area had cleared up. Janel helped us remember that every time he’d had a diaper change, the nurses had also checked IV’s and arterial lines in his groin & chest area, had checked chest tubes, changed surgical tape holding tubes, adhesive heart electrodes, urethral catheters, given medications, etc., and it had been painful to him! (I say we remembered because it was about us having a safe, calm environment in which to tell the story and re-connect with Elijah. As he cried and moved and I settled myself as Janel taught me, I would remember what was going. As soon as named it, Elijah would stop crying and look at us. Who would image an infant so young could communicate so clearly?) Think how painful it can be to have a band aid removed & he’d experienced tape change multiple times a day. No wonder he still hated diaper changes! We just did it to him and he expected pain! We were able to recognize this and make sure that when we changed his diapers we told him what we were going to do and we made it the most positive experience we could for him! Within a week Elijah stopped screaming and within a couple of weeks he actually started enjoying our diaper changing times!

A third example was the day he cried. Now you may think this odd but other than diaper changes (when he all out screamed!) Elijah didn’t cry. He fussed and squirmed but never really cried! We found that very disconcerting. Babies cry. It’s how they communicate. But when Elijah started to cry, he quickly stopped or just fussed so that we knew he needed something but he never all out cried like a typical baby. Something about it just didn’t feel right. That day Janel held him and was doing craniosacral with him. As she did this, we talked about how he’d been on the ventilator and Adam and I could tell Elijah was crying, but he couldn’t make any sound. Every time he started to cry they’d sedate him to keep his heart rate from rising too much. It was such a difficult moment for us … watching Elijah helplessly lay there trying to communicate his needs & feelings to us but being unable to do so. I shared how frustrated I’d been not even being able to pick him up and to comfort him. Earlier, I told her how I knew that ventilator was keeping him alive but how I’d cried myself and wanted to rip it out of his mouth!

Janel helped me tell Elijah that it was ok to cry now. That his heart was strong now and he could cry and that we could hear him and would meet his needs. We apologized to him for his crying being silenced in the PICU. Suddenly he began to cry! You can call it coincidence if you like, but he cried. And cried and cried! I’ve never heard a tiny baby cry like that before! It was a long soulful cry and had such grief to it. It sounded like a much older person crying! It sounded like a much older person crying! It was the first time he’d shed tears too. As difficult as it was for me to let Elijah cry, I also realized that he needed this opportunity to fully express himself and be allowed to cry. Janel supported me too and led me in what to say to him since I was crying too! We acknowledged his pain, his loss, his grief and encouraged him to cry if he wanted to. We told him it was ok. He was safe now and very loved. It was such a profound moment of connection! He cried and then fell asleep in Janel's arms, and he had such a peaceful look on his face"

I could go on and on giving examples! I’ll leave you with one more. One session she was working with Elijah and we were talking about his surgeries. He became upset and as much as a three-month old can he began frantically reaching for her finger. Once he grasped it, he settled down. When she disconnected him and we continued to talk he did it again. He’d done this before but it wasn’t until then that we made the connection. When he was in the ICU after his surgeries I wasn’t allowed to hold him. With all the lines, ventilators etc connected to him he was almost completely covered! The only way Adam and I could connect & soothe him until we could hold him again was to hold his tiny hand with our fingers. We did that for hours at a time, standing by his bed! With Janel that day we realized just how important that connection and contact was for him; and, to this day, when he’s upset we let Elijah grasp our finger and it helps soothe him! It was such a great thing to be able to make that realization and to find a tool and resource that we could use to help our son when he is in an emotional crisis and needs support!

Each session with Janel helped Adam and me feel more connected to our son and I know Elijah felt more connected to us too. We quickly over came our bonding issues and now you would never know there had ever been a concern. Elijah is now the happiest, sweetest child. He wakes up with a smile on his face each morning ready for what the day may bring. I truly believe he was able to overcome his difficult start with Janel’s help. She not only helped us look at Elijah’s behavior through his eyes but helped us learn to problem solve in order to figure out what may be behind his behavior. The greatest gift she helped us give Elijah (and our other two children also!) is to be strong advocates for him! When he can’t speak his needs or isn’t sure what they are, we now have the skills to know when to step in and advocate for him, to better protect him and make sure others respect his needs and individuality and now we aren’t afraid to do so either!

Janel, we thank you and Elijah thanks you too!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

As I lay me down to sleep ....

having just read a news story on the House passing the plan to leave Iraq, and thinking of my GI Joe (a neighbor came by earlier and rang my door bell -- soldier's loved ones dreaded sound strikes fear and causes a cascade of hormones and feelings) ... I noticed tonight that the Cost of War ticker that I installed a couple of months ago has clicked another ten billion on to the total. 420,000,000+ BILLION of dollars now. From WHERE is all this money coming?

The Bills Gates Foundation has said that we could spend ONE BILLION dollars in an African country and save half a million lives. Think of what we could have done here and in third world countries/place with 420 billion dollars --- like creating sustainable communities (homes, energy, work), and bringing back the three millions factory jobs that left this country, and training midwives and creating mobile units to care for birthing women.

Please support your legislators who are supporting a plan to bring our soldiers home AND to support Iraq to rebuild their country. And, I hope they'll impreach George while we're they're at it.

I want a bumper sticker that says, "Hummers make mamas cry."

I pray the Lord their souls to keep ...

Darn. I really don't like the nights going to sleep in tears -- for my GI Joe, the men he holds dearest to him right now -- and their families, my friend's husband leaving this weekend for Iraq and my two friend's soldiers who are coming home this month, the people of Iraq and especially their babies, the child who is dying every three minutes from extreme poverty, the US babies born unnecessarily induced, drugged, forced and cut out, and mishandled because caregivers don't believe they'll feel it or remember it.

Naming it all helps. G 'night.

Fetal and Newborn Memories (Learning)

A study of adult behaviour without consideration of its origin before birth is as incomplete as . . . the study of adult anatomy without reference to the embryology of the structures considered.
-- Carmichael (1954)
In a debate against fetal memories, a female OB poses the question on her blog:

What makes you think that the brain starts recording memories at birth or before?"

The question was posed after the blogger posted comments by a neonatal doctor on his blog who blasted my post/statements about babies being aware and conscious and that no matter what happens in birth the caregiver can treat the baby with respect and regard -- because the baby remembers the experience of labor and birth.
And, a poster replies:
.. isn't this common sense? I think what Diane was trying to get at is absolutely correct. Babies don't have "memories" per se, but clearly EXPERIENCES do impact the developing infant. For example, one of the strongest needs of infants is physical bonding. A baby doesn't remember being cuddled by his mother, but clearly that bonding matters in his development. Babies will actually die from lack of physical connection. What makes you think that experiences DON'T have an effect as early as birth? At what age do experiences start to matter for an infant?

Good question. When DOES the human experience start to matter -- pun intended!? When IS IT that a woman should BEGIN to act as if her behavior -- good, bad, or indifferent -- impacts her baby? When does the love, the joy, the nurturing, the conscientious diet, and elimination of stress and toxins matter? What about the science that shows us that the baby in the womb is learning language and taste, shows emotions, and responds to the mother and other outside stimulus? Based on "defensive" caregivers denial should a mother no longer hug her pregnant belly and talk to her unborn baby? Why bother if the baby doesn't RECEIVE it and KNOW it?
The neonatal doc trashed his own colleague (but they won't buck their own system) who retired from neonatal medicine and is an author who has written about the need for prenatal preparation for preventing one's baby from being in NICU. Dr. Fredrick Wirth ( describes the well-known and accepted science that supports fetal learning and he teaches mothers and fathers to take "fetal love breaks." (Hint: we are hormonal beings.) If the neonatal doc blogger is correct -- that there is no fetal, birthing baby, or newborn learning, why bother with all that love crap? Eat, drink, and be merry, (and smoke weed, too) for it won't affect your child until, oh, say, about three? Isn't that when the child LEARNS to TALK, THINK, EXPRESS EMOTIONS? Put away the cigs and quit yer cussin' cuz at age three -- the kid will hear you then. And, no more violence and spanking. Oops, or doesn’t science clearly shows us the foundational brain has developed BY AGE THREE? Hmmmm.... oh, heck, where is that picture of me glazed-eyed, looking off, rubbing my chin, contemplating?

Lord o' mercy and Oh, Mama -- the science is pretty clear -- even if those you'd expect to know and behave accordingly don't know it or believe it --- the human being from conception forward is EXPERIENCING, INTERACTING, RESPONDING, and LEARNING. Psst.. it's about cells!

The discussion on the OB's blog occurred in support of her neonatal buddy who took a spin on the tired old media driven spin-machine, using the media slander of Scientology's "Silent Birth" to debunk me and his own colleagues with pictures and narrative about Tom Cruise. Yaaaawn. You forgot to mention Brittney. The docs got so ruffled by the possibility of babies REMEMBERING the treatment by doctors and nurses during birth that they immediately jumped where docs always do -- blame and litigation avoidance (and turf and income protection). And, if you and I believe the scientists they lump into the tired PSEUDO SCIENCE defense, damn it, isn't the worst thing that would happen is the OB's, neonatalogists, nurse, and pediatricians will have to learn and change, too. And, we'll all treat pregnant women, birthing women and babies, and newborns in a more respectful, loving way?
Keep this in mind as you meander through the research below and wonder with me, why don't these highly educated and professional "scientists" embrace the science and follow it through? How do the people who actually work every day with newborns not incorporate the science into their own work? Why don't they know that the science that supports the understanding of fetal programming and infant ability and learning also applies to the laboring and birthing and NICU babies? I mean, how ignorant to believe the laboring and birthing baby's brain ceases to function and to interact with the mother and her environment.

As a physician and writer in this area, I am also excited by the new neuroscience that confirms all that What Babies Want teaches: the existence of preverbal (implicit) memory; the importance of pleasure for optimal brain development; and the negative impact of stress and stress hormones on brain cell growth. We can now say, scientifically, that the happiness that we put into our babies will nurture a healthy brain life-long.
--Sarah Buckley, MD
So, to answer the poster's question about whether a baby remembers her mother's hugs --- in subconcious way, yes, we remember everything. A child who has been abused or who did not receive hugs and gentle touch will RESPOND automatically to touch in a certain way. This child grown up will continue to react to touch or lack of touch without consciously thinking of or remembering the early abuse or lack. It is the implicit learning and memory. Recoiling at touch, for example, is the subconscious body, the soma, the somatic reaction and communication. NICU babies are particiularly sensitive to touch and resist appropriate affection. THAT is the early memory or learning IN ACTION. Of course, every touch, scrub, tug, or pull of the newborn is remember somatically. So, as I quoted at the beginning of this post,
A study of adult behaviour without consideration of its origin before birth is as incomplete as . . . the study of adult anatomy without reference to the embryology of the structures considered.
-- Carmichael (1954)

Your obstetrician, nurse, neonatalogist, and pediatrician mostly will not tell you about how amazing your gestating, laboring, birthing, and connecting baby is -- and many will even deny the science that is showing us that it is imperative that we treat babies differently. Very differently than they are treated in the medical machine. YOU will have to be the one to expect and ask them to treat your baby with respect and awareness.

Read for yourself below about the scientific communities who are studying the prenatal environment as the foundation for health and wellness. You are smart enough and you are a logical, thinking, feeling, and compassionate person who can put one (prenatal brain research) and one (infant brain research) together to make TWO (labor and birth brain matters too). You don't have a couple of hundred thousand or more reasons to deny it. You know that our baby's brains are also working during labor and birth, so that we know babies are affected for life by their birthing experience.
We know babies are LEARNING in the womb and in the first moments and hours. We know from that that babies are learning during labor and birth as well. THAT is the point of this long post with lots of resources for you to come to your own conclusion. YOU and YOUR BABY were/are brilliantly aware, interactive, and learning (everything from fear to joy and love to hate) during labor and birth as well as every other moment of your life. Can I roll my eyes now and say sheesh? For emphasis.

Prenatal/Fetal Programming (Learning, Imprinting)
Gerald Vind, PhD, Neurobiologist
During pregnancy, your mother's neurochemicals are passed through the placenta and influence your development. At any stage of a developing brain, the depletion of norepinephrine, and release of the brain's natural opiates, along with excessive activation of a part of the limbic system called the amygdala, can lead to permanent structural and functional alterations. This affects brain interconnections, synaptic size and densities, as well as their responsiveness. With severe stress, an abnormal form of neuronal interconnection can develop along with a reduced response threshold. In other words, if your mom is severely stressed while you are inside her womb, her stress reaction can negatively affect the way your brain is "wired."

Peter Nathanielzs, MD (OB), PhD (vet)
Nathanielsz points out by the time of birth the infants have already passed through more developmental milestones than they will pass through in the remainder of their years, and their brains have achieved most of their development.

Ten Principles of Fetal Programming
From Life in the Womb: The Origin of Health and Disease by Nathanielsz

1.) During development, there are critical periods of vulnerability to "suboptimal" conditions. Vulnerable periods occur at different times for different tissues. Cells dividing rapidly are at greatest risk.

2.) Programming has permanent effects that alter responses in later life and can modify susceptibility to disease.

3.) Fetal development is activity dependent. Normal development is dependent on continuing normal activity. Each phase of development provides required conditions to subsequent development.

4.) Programming involves structural changes to important organs.

5.) The placenta plays a key role in programming.

6.) The developing baby will attempt to compensate for deficiencies in the womb. But that compensation carries a price in later life.

7.) Attempts made after birth to reverse the consequences of programming might have their own unwanted consequences.

8.) Fetal cellular mechanisms often differ from adult processes.

9.) The effects of programming might pass across generations by mechanisms that do not involve changes in the genes.

10.) Programming often has different effects in males and females.

Nathanielsz' work lays out the foundations of fetal programming -- the process by which the prental enviornment interacts with genetic and other factors to produce an individual human constitution. This is parallel to the cellular biology work of Bruce Lipton whose work supports the changing paradigm of the Newtonian science upon which medicine is built. We are not pre-destined and pre-determined merely by our DNA. From before the union of our sperm and our egg we are cellularly INTERACTING with the world. Forever more.
Rather than being genetically predetermined, organisms develop in balance with their environment and purposively select, or if necessary rewrite, what they perceive to be appropriate gene programs to ensure their survival.
It is well-known and well-accepted that the prenatal period is significant for development - and research in the last twenty years tell us even more so how critical this is for the lifetime. Prenatal care and medical visits are considered necessary for optimal growth and development and criminal if a woman doesn't. EVEN SO, society -- especially doctors and nurses who are held responsible after using non-medically necessary interventions routinely -- does not fully embrace the logic that the laboring and birthing baby is also affected by interventions, rough touch, pokes, probes as well as the stress, poor nutrition, disruption in the environment, isolation, and disempowerment of the mother that is "normal" during hospital birth.
So, a cultural, collective BLACK OUT exists about the science showing the impact on the laboring and birthing brain. We skip, lah, lah, lah, lah, lah over the abusive treatment of babies "in the name of medicine" by educated professionals and pick up again our scientific sword of truth after birth and after the family is at home. Babies don't remember anything abusive if it happens in the hospital.
Other researchers have also been studying the postnatal, infancy period and development. Infants are being studied to learn about vision, interactions with parents and environment, reactions to strangers, foreign language. Researchers have found that infants express their preference (communicate) by their suck.
So, all of this research about the prenatal life of the baby and the infant's learning proliferates the PEER-REVIEWED SCIENTIFIC literature. WHAT ABOUT THE BABY'S EXPERIENCE OF LABOR AND BIRTH??? WHAT ABOUT THE NEWBORN'S EXPERIENCE OF THE FIRST HOURS AND DAYS IN THE HOSPITAL OR MONTHS IN NICU?? Am I to believe that the little girl I worked with, born at 25 weeks and weighting less than a pound who was in the NICU for four months has no memory of her experience, and therefore is UNAFFECTED? How could a neonatologist even think his colleagues' work is psuedoscience? Kangaroo care was implemented after decades of children of NICU experiencing child abuse, not because the parents are bad people, but because of the trauma to the maternal-newborn/infant attachment and bonding -- that happens in the brain.

Fetal Memories/Learning

Why do seemingly very intelligent doctors and nurses, for example a neonatalogist from www.talesfromthe, deny the obvious -- the human being's brain does not shut off during labor and birth so that they can do whatever they want without consequence. And, really ... a blogger with that title who doesn't believe in infant memory (LEARNING!) when clearly, for decades we've known that prenates and newborns learn? It's downright scary what some will call psuedo science just to keep from learning themselves.

Peter Hepper, PhD, Fetal Memories Researcher, Belfast, has been studying the embryonic study of fetal psychology for over two decades. If you google his name you'll find many scientific articles. Ultrasound technology has allowed significant advancements in observing fetal behavior.

Published in 2005 --

Perinatal Olfactory Learning in the Domestic Dog

Janet DiPietro, PhD, John Hopkins, Obstetrics Department

Research and Professional Experience
As a developmental psychologist, my research centers on methods of assessment of risk in infants and young children and their efficacy as predictors of outcome. Specifically, my interest lies in the underlying physiological basis for individual differences in cognition, socioemotional behavior, and temperament. I have explored these relations in early infancy and in the neonatal period, in samples of full-term and preterm infants. My current research program, which has been ongoing for the last 15 years, extends this interest to the human fetus. I have developed computerized assessment methods of measuring fetal neurobehavioral functioning in order to investigate the ontogeny of development with the ultimate goal of predicting clinical and developmental outcome from the fetal period. Within this context, I am further exploring the role of maternal factors, including poverty and psychologic stress, in mediating fetal development. Application of principles of developmental psychology and psychophysiology to the antenatal period represents a new frontier that manifests unlimited potential for uncovering new knowledge about the origins of human behavior and development.

Infant Memory and Learning

From Kids -- about as mainstream as you can get.
During this time, you will see your baby's personality emerge. In the first month or two of life, the baby depends on you to initiate any interaction. But by the end of the third month you will find your baby engaging you with his or her expressions, vocalizations, and gestures. Your infant's eyesight will be improving, and your child is better able to distinguish between different sights and sounds. Your baby will be carefully watching your facial expressions and listening to your voice, responding to you with coos and gurgles, and around 2 months, respond to your smile with a smile. Between 3 and 4 months, most infants can squeal with delight and laugh out loud.
The miracle of the fertilized egg becoming a human infant in only 9 months is followed by another astonishing miracle. In a mere 36 months, completely dependent human newborns become remarkably complex creatures who understand that they can share thoughts, feelings, and intentions with others, who come and go as they please, who express themselves abstractly using symbols, who empathize with others, and who read and understand subtle social signals from others.
The first neurons fire in the prenatal brain by day forty and the neurologists will tell us the that most significant development of the lifetimes happens in utero. The brain is definitely "on" and then the time for labor and birth comes and the belief promoted by obstetricians, nurses, neonatologists, pediatricians, and even mothers is that the baby won't "remember" birth. The brain is switched to "off"? So as to avoid the induction, drugs, dragging over mother's sacral prominence as she is numb and supine. Monitoring, strangers, having their heads touched and squeezed by strange, adult hands, vacuums, forceps, mother cut open to be pulled out, rough handling, and resuscitation is not really experienced and felt, so therefore, it is also not remembered? Nothing in the brain and body PERCEIVES or EXPERIENCES this?
From the very first days of life infants demonstrate awareness of their environment and evidence of learning, confirming that different family experiences likely affect infant development far earlier than once thought possible.
--- Charles Zeanah, Director of Tulane University's Infant Institute
Mother is fully aware of her child's personality throughout the third trimester, science tells us all about fetal learning in the womb, BABY'S brain switches to "off" for labor and birth and then science tells us that ...
Newborns come into the world with sophisticated brains that are phenomenally wired for intellectual growth. During the first year of life, they are more impressionable and able to develop than at any other time in life. This cognitive development affects them for the rest of their lives. Thus parents have a tremendous responsibility and a sacred obligation to nurture their children in love and train them in the Lord’s paths.

Research shows that a baby’s brain is designed to be extremely receptive to experience. With each experience, babies gain a broader understanding of their world. They use the same parts of their brains as adults do, though their brains are less mature. By one year of age, so much development has already occurred that a baby’s brain will more closely resemble an adult brain than the brain of a newborn.

Many US universities and researchers now have infant mental health, communication, and behavior labs.
So, prenatal programming and infant psychiatry are well-established. Post-natally, the brain has magically turned back to "on" and is capable of engaging once more with the mother? Learning again?

University of Missouri
Infant Cognition Lab

Tulane University
The Infant Institute

Center for Infant Studies

University of Wisconsin
Infant Learning Laboratory

Northwestern University, Chicago
Early Learning Laboratory

University of Maryland
Maryland Infant Studies Laboratory

New York University
Infant Cognition Center

University of Texas -Dallas
Babies learn rapidly about the sights and sounds of their environment, and how to affect the people and objects that make up their worlds. Consider the following accomplishments in the infant's life:

  • Within just 2 days after birth infants recognize their mother's voice, and prefer it over other voices. **
  • Three-month-olds can detect primary colors, and prefer red and yellow over blue and green.
  • Seven-month-olds can match an angry or happy face to a voice expressing the same emotion.
  • Nine-month-olds can watch simple actions and remember and imitate them one week later.

** Ninety-nine of the babies in these research projects were born in hospitals with up to 80% or more born under the influence of drugs while their mother's were supine closing in her pelvis up to 30%, making birth much more traumatic. Research has not been conducted to determine infant or human potential on non-drugged, non-traumatized humans -- in infant memory, or any field. Once one has witnessed the uninterupted, stress-free, intervention-free, and drug-free birth and has personally seen that these baby's respond to their mother's voice within minutes, one can not help but explore the wonder of the prenate, laboring and birthing baby, and newborn as fully sentient.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

The Infant Institute --

Infant Communication

Early Learning Laboratory

Infant Mental Health

Infant mental health may be defined as the state of emotional and social competence in young children who are developing appropriately within the interrelated contexts of biology, relationships and culture.

--Zeanah, Charles in Zero to Three, August/September, 2001

The Infant-Parent Institute, Champaign, IL, Michael Trout, Director. --

Illinois Association for Infant Mental Health -

Austrailan Association for Infant Mental Health -

Michigan Association of Infant Mental Health -

Just google to find your state.

CURE AUTISM NOW - This study examines the motor and cognitive development of young infants to better understand the early signs of autism and other developmental disorders. Investigators at the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Child Development Lab will observe infants between 3 and 7 months of age who could be in one of these 3 groups:

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- Michigan State University. The Mother-Infant Study Resources:

So, read for yourself and join me at looking at posts like at, April 22, 2007, Debunking the Pseudo Science of Infant Memory. You might want to consider becoming a very wise consumer in the obstetric medical field. They say induction, epidural with fentanyl and narcotics is safe for the baby and they say cutting through a woman's abodominal wall to pull her baby out is safe for her and doesn't harm the baby. You decide if it's scientific and logical that the science that tells amazing, indepth info about the learning environment of the womb and the first days and weeks of infant life doesn't also tell us that babies feel, respond to, learn from -- and, therefore, remember, unconciously -- what they experience in their labor and birth.

"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