The Other Side of the Glass

Part One was officially released June 2013 in digital distribution format. To purchase to to If you were a donor and want to download your copy send an email to

The trailer

Sunday, 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?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We used HomeFirst for our first child.. Terrible experience. What they don't tell you is that they've had their admitting privelages REVOKED for almost all Chicago hospitals (excluding Lincoln Park Hospital). The doctors are accidents waiting to happen (they've been sued and lost at least once before).
I'm happy that most childbirths are routine (i.e. can be done in the woods), but if you ever required medical attention, these people are the *last* you want around. We have contemplated suing them, and simply just don't want to rehash the experience, BUT want to warn anyone else thinking of it.

"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