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, May 28, 2007

Meet Becca Wagner and Bill McDannell and others.

I've been asked, when talking about "energy psychology" what that has to do with the topic of this blog (a lot!), and since then I am sensitive to address that when posting what some might not see as relevant. My net goes pretty far as I integrate energy, physics, birth trauma, medical training, betrayal and disempowerment of women, and midwifery. This post might not have to do with birth or hospital versus homebirth per se -- but it's my blog and I can talk about whatever I want to. ;--)

It's Memorial day. I speak often of my GI Joe who is currently deployed -- and, I do so often weaving my processing of this as a mother with thoughts on the state of birth in the US and the world. By the end, I promise it'll relate to the debate hospital versus homebirth.

A few months ago, as I crawled "out of the cave" as I affectionately referred to my sabbatical from life as my son's deployment splayed and flattened me for a few months, I began volunteering at KOPN 89.5 community radio in Columbia, MO. I began learning to "run the boards" and I have been doing 'in the community" news pieces and interviews. My heart for the babies and children of the troops and the babies and children of Afghanistan and Iraq have me working on some work for the radio. You might say I am making lemonade. (Remember the old saying, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade?")

Columbia entertained a huge airshow at the airport this weekend. Yesterday and today I collected a wonderful assortment of interviews from an amazing diversity of people -- peaceniks, shredders of their pamphlets, and an Army Captain who explained that he is proud to be wear the uniform and to be a part of ensuring the freedom of both of them to be there expressing their diverging opinions.

I interviewed Viet Nam vets, a young, freckle-faced recently-a-teenager in ROTC who is on proudly on-task to be a pilot in the USAF, and I even spoke to a local hero in our community. One our young Marines not only survived his fourth bullet, but it entered his cheek and exited the back of his head. His odds were nearly zero, but he survived, and he is still beating all odds and is making a miraculous recovery. He has his hearing, vision, and is not only walking, but back to jogging.

I talked to the mom of a Marine who is deployed for the fourth time. As the a band played patriotic music in the background she shared how much her family and church have meant to her. Her eyes teared and her voice waivered, and one of her sweet sons reached out and put his hand on her back to comfort her. I was touched by knowing how hard it is for families -- how our children, siblings and children of the troops, have had to grow up too fast and too soon. I cried more tears this past year than I have in the previous forty-nine put together. I was reminded of the days and times my own daughter has seen and felt too much this year.

I left soon to go to a prearranged interview with a little girl I had learned about. Ten year-old girl, Becca, touched my heart with her "letter to the editor" about her concerns for war and how it affects people. She has no one in the war and yet her tender, compassionate heart hurts so for the soldiers who are there, and for their families, and for the people of Iraq that she can not sleep at night. She and her mother talk every night about these concerns that seem to weugh so heavy on her heart. I am comforted many times with the simple thought that comes to me in moments -- that I know so many people support and are "praying for the troops." Maybe not by name, but they are praying for my GI Joe as well.

I was very touched talking to and looking into the soft, gentle, hurting eyes of this innocent little girl who said she's very worried about the soldier's families. Nights I've cried myself to sleep, I know now, there was a little girl praying for the soldiers and their families, and for the children of Iraq. She said several times how lucky she is to have her mother. How many other children are troubled by this war and have no one to speak to -- especially those whose mommies and daddies ARE in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Africa? Who will answer their questions about their desire for a safe and peaceful world? I wish I could "take away" Becca's pain and worry and tell her that her world will be ok. I can't, but I do know that she will be a part of making it so. I know we must all step up and do so for our children and their children.

Becca told me she wants "to be like Martin Luther King" and to tell a lot of people about peace and getting along with different people. Words from Rev. John Prenger at a fourth of July mass fifteen years ago made a huge impact on me then and I thought of his words again as I listened to Becca and wondered .... "Freedom isn't free," Father John had said. I realize more than ever that our freedom does and has had a huge price. Many people have died in the pursuit of freedom for our country and its people. And, like Becca, I still wonder today, WHY? Why does it have involve killing others and dying?

Today was the day we honor them -- those who step up to ensure our freedom. I shared with Becca what Army Captain Matthew D. Shaw from Ft. Leonardwood had told me at the airshow the day before --- about how proud he is to be a part of protecting our rights and freedoms in America. He said he is proud to wear the uniforn and was doing so so that she and I could be talking so freely about the war. Actually, he was referring to the five groups of people who were opposing the war and supporting the troops AND the group shredding their pamphlets. I was aware of how fortunate Becca and I both are to live in such a great country and I internally still share her pained question -- how to do so without war and killing?

This evening I interviewed Bill McDannell from San Diego, CA. He and his wife were passing through Columbia. They sold their home and he began WALKING in November and his intention is to take a petition to Congress in Washington, DC, asking them to bring the troops home now. His wife follows with him in a support vehicle -- now their home; a twenty-three year old camper that has had thirteen flat tires. WOW. She drives five miles ahead and waits for him. Bill walks about ten-15 miles a day since early November. His message? We need to take back our America. Bill is a Viet Nam veteran -- the war going on when I was Becca's age. I believe that we need to listen to our vets -- including those coming back and telling us the truth and the tragedy of Iraq. Bill wants to bring attention to the fact that both Afghanistan and Iraq have held their elections and chosen their government -- we no longer have a right nor do we need to be there. He has a petition on his site, (Walking to End the War.) Check it out.

My little friend, Becca, read her story for me to include in my piece on the Memorial Day activities honoring the fallen. She wants to know, "If we are taught at school not to push and hit each other and we have to say sorry, why do we have war to solve our problems?" She asks, "Why can't we talk about things at the table and just shake hands? Why can't the President's of the world that too?" Good question! from the heart of an innocent babe.

Visit Bill at his website where he updates daily. He and his wife sold their home to do this walk and half way across the country unforeseen events have eaten up their money. They could use some support to take this message to congress. Check out their site and please support their effort.

Personally, I am touched beyond words at their sacrifice to make this trip to draw the attention to the need to bring our troops home from a war that is not a war. As a mom of a soldier who is there, I look around in my community and in our country, and I see so little sacrifice while I feel my son's and our family's is so great. From August to December I did not drive a car -- I walked or took a bus, in part to honor my son as he was sacrificing so much. I happen to believe that the war is about protecting the oil supply and the dollar as the world standard in order to maintain our prosperous way of life (while in the rest of the world a child dies of extreme poverty every three minutes). I wanted to not use oil. I wanted to go longer, but my daughter deserved a warm car to ride in. Don't all children in world? It seems such a small sacrifice I made as I imagine what it is for Bill to walk 15 miles a day down the highway from San Diego to Washington, DC to take MY message to Congress. Bring our troops home.

God bless these people , young and old, who not only care about our soldiers, but DO SOMETHING. Words can't express my gratitude.

By the way, Becca was born at home in Missouri ten years ago -- with a non-nurse, but highly trained midwife. Ah - ha! There's the connection!! We know in my field that babies born at home are very peaceful and aware. You knew I'd weave it together, didncha?

Blessings to you and yours on Memorial Day.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Baby blues - postpartum depression attributed to low levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone after placenta is gone - Brief Article

Discover, Dec, 1995

Many new mothers feel depressed for weeks after giving birth. Physicians have vaguely attributed this malaise to exhaustion and to the demands of motherhood. But a group of researchers at the National Institutes of Health has found evidence for a more specific cause of postpartum blues. New mothers, the researchers say, have lower than normal levels of a stress-fighting hormone that earlier studies have found helps combat depression.

When we are under stress, a part of the brain called the hypothalamus secretes corticotropin-releasing hormone, or CRH. Its secretion triggers a cascade of hormones that ultimately increases the amount of another hormone - called cortisol - in the blood. Cortisol raises blood sugar levels and maintains normal blood pressure, which helps us perform well under stress. Normally the amount of cortisol in the bloodstream is directly related to the amount of CRH released from the hypothalamus. That's not the case in pregnant women.

During the last trimester of pregnancy, the placenta secretes a lot of CRH. The rise is so dramatic that CRH levels in the maternal bloodstream increase threefold. "We can only speculate," says George Chrousos, the endocrinologist who led the NIH study, "but we think it helps women go through the stress of pregnancy, labor, and delivery."

But what happens after birth, when the placenta is gone? Chrousos and his colleagues monitored CRH levels in 17, women from the last trimester to a year after they gave birth. All the women had low levels of CRH - as low as seen in some forms of depression - in the six weeks following birth. The seven women with the lowest levels felt depressed.

Chrousos suspects that CRH levels are temporarily low in new mothers because CRH from the placenta disrupts the feedback system that regulates normal production of the hormone. During pregnancy, when CRH levels are high in the bloodstream, the hypothalamus releases less CRH. After birth, however, when this supplementary source of CRH is gone, it takes a while for the hypothalamus to get the signal that it needs to start making more CRH.

"This finding gives reassurance to people that postpartum depression is a transient phenomenon," says Chrousos. "It also suggests that there is a biological cause."

COPYRIGHT 1995 Discover

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

Of course, I always go to the next questions -- does not allowing the mother's body to deliver the placenta on its own, in its own time, INHIBIT some physiological, hormonal step/process/need?

Has obstetric science RESEARCHED the difference between women whose body birthed the placenta (her body processing the hormonal shift) with women whose placenta was pulled out, and women who gave birth surgically?

Wouldn't it be amazing if so many maladies could be prevented by allowing the physiological process of birth?

Research, "suggests there is a biological cause." REEEEEALLLLY!??!

"Natural birth" is better for mother and baby's health. OH, MY!

So, what's been done with this research in twelve years? Why is obstetric medicine not regulated and expected to adhere to the science-based evidence?

Why... why... why.... so many questions.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Anyone Know?

By Mariah

This is your essay test:

1. What are the pros and cons for the US to have a SYSTEM of respectful partnerships between OBs, FPs, CNMs, and CPMs (to give adequate, necessary care that allow women to choose and be responsible?)

2. Who is responsible for the outcome of the outcome of ten months -- other than the mother?

2a. How does gestation and mother's life impact the labor and birth and who is truly "responsible" for the "outcome?"

3. To what degree and how is the medical or midwife caregiver legally responsible for the mother's choices, birth experience, and outcome?

4. How can obstetricians in the US decrease maternal and infant mortality? If you don't have an answer and are fine with the current situation of the maternal and fetal mortality, that will tell us a lot.

Comparing Apples to Oranges

NCB "advocates" don't say childbirth is completely safe. I've never heard anyone say that. We just prefer to let things happen naturally until (and only if) we need "saving". More chances than not women will be fine during childbirth. That doesn't mean we're denying that things can and do go wrong. We're just saying that we have a greater chance of surviving than dying.

--- Tricia, Child Development Professor, Homebirth mother

A poster on a blog replies to Tricia's comment:

Are you talking about NCH or home birth? Apples and oranges.

NCB in the hospital is safe. A section is available if, as you put it, you "need saving." Home birth doesn't have that.

I have to comment, though, on this: That doesn't mean we're denying that things can and do go wrong. We're just saying that we have a greater chance of surviving than dying.

Yeah... BUT.

Do you wear a seat belt?

Do you look both ways before you cross?

The risks are pretty high.

Huh? Isn't comparing seat belts (and airbags) to obstetric interventions used on all women whether necessary or not like comparing apples to oranges, dude? Or maybe it is actually more like comparing apples to brussel sprouts? Or maybe the unregulated misuse of medical technology including non-medically necessary inducation and planned surgical birth on an "in case" basis, is like expecting all Americans to be in full protective gear in case of a terrorist attack.

The seat belt analogy is very inadequate.

99.99% of the time one is safe in the car and traveling --- EVEN while it is one of the most dangerous things one can do.

Sure, when you're not safe not, you're not. But most car accidents are not life threatening and the range from scraps to fender benders to serious accidents to fatal is very broad, just like the range of degrees of danger in childbirth. It's not necessary for everyone who drives or rides in a vehicle to have rollbars and wear helmets. A seat belt is pretty efficient.

That's why we have precautions, protections, and government safety oversight and laws that car makers have to follow, as do drivers to know to drive, to be aware of the dangers, to know the precautions, and when to increase their safety measures (ie., driving in fog, snow, on freeways, gravel, etc.)

If I drive down the end of the cul de sac to pick up my kid at a friend's or go a short distance to the grocery store, do I use a seat belt? Yes, but in the end, did I really need it? Nope. YEARS of driving and accident free. Or could we liken average, everyday seatbelt wearing to good prenatal and nutritional care and preparation, training, and experience? Prenatal care improves outcomes and prevents problems --and, prenatal care does NOT case MORE damage as seat belts and airbags sometimes do, and as induction, drugs, AROM, and surgical birth do. Seat belts are mandated for "in case" and don't often, but do rarely cause death. My friend's husband died after a accident in an intersection in town. Days later he collapsed and was hospitalized because his lung had collapsed. He lingered for three months before dying -- a very healthy man just retiring. What makes obstetrics safe for a minority of women in danger actually harms far more who do not need the precautions and interventions. We would not allow the use of seatbelts if it created as many problems are interventions purported to make birth "safe."

What are the chances of being saved by the seatbelt when one actually has a wreck? Pretty good, but it also causes its own damage. Car seats can only be compared to birth if we look at the impact on the woman who is carrying the child, and how she generally, like a car, protects her passenger. It is not THE CAR that harms or kills the passenger - it is the misuse, mistakes, and accidents from other's. Very often, it is another driver who causes the accident. And, we must look at the many, many, many conditions and locations for driving cars. Am I am more aware of my need for the seat belt when I drive on I95 and I495 in NY going into the city? You betcha.

I have evolved from early days as a child NEVER wearing a seat belt (there weren't any in the back seat!) to be an adult who ALWAYS wears a seatbelt. In using the seat belt, do I hope and believe that seat belts -- and air bags -- will save my life IF I were to be in an accident? Sure. But I have driven 30-40,000 miles in one year and I never needed to be saved by the seat belt or the safety features of my Volvo. Do I feel EVEN safer in my Volvo and with the air bags? Of course. Have children been decapitated before they were banned from the front seat? Yep. Have people died in Volvos. Yep. Have a lot more people died in little inexpensive American cars? Absolutely. Do we outlaw the little cars known as "death traps?" NO. Do we insist that every car have the KNOWN safety features? NO. It's left up to INDIVIDUALS, based on their preferences and INCOME, to buy the car they want. Safety belts are the basic safety feature. Why don't we, as a society and a nation, equalize the risk and safety in car driving? Eliminate SUV's and small cars. If we really cared about saving lives we would require one kind of car for everyone -- totally equipped with every safety feature and economically available to every driver -- just like in obstetrics.

So, I have driven and driven year after year with my basic safety features -- whatever the government demands of the car makers at the time, and sometimes I have driven a safer than other vehicle, like my Volvo. Ironically, falling asleep with the cruise on 75 and driving off the freeway, and riding the median up on two wheels twice in the middle of Nebraska in my Toyota SUV encouraged me to buy my Volvo. My other car was a sports car and I didn't feel safe anymore. The oncoming semi during my ride made riding along side the big semi duals in my little car too terrifying. I sold 'er and got a Volvo. It was fear -- just like my first doctor-induced traumatic birth took me to the hospital three more times because I believed that birth was dangerous. Not very many people give up driving after a life-threatening or traumatic accident, but they don't easily get over it either.

(I didn't wreck that day, by the way. I stopped upright in the median and the vehicle had only a dent in the front fender where I ran over a lone little reflector when I "missed the only curve in Nebraska" as GI Joe -- who was the only one awake in the car as Baby Girl was also asleep -- then twelve recounted later. That reminds me, in the discussion about how women who birth at home risk their children's lives, do you think we women ought to EVER take our children in our cars. I mean, maybe we ought to fly -- it's statistically safer. And, truly, if our children's safety was our main consideration, we would not allow teenagers to drive alone until they are twenty. We would have four years of licensed-driver in the car. Imagine all the other things that would minimize and eliminate while enhancing parent-child relationships.)

BUT here is the key point. HOWEVER, I don't have lifelong health issues as a RESULT of wearing my seat belt, or the airbags or other features of the Volvo. My friend's husband would have lifelong health issues had he survived the seat belt. Would I be so likely to use these if I my chances for MUCH more serious consequences from using them on the remote chance I'll have an accident. No, that would be nuts. If using the safety features caused me physical damage than the actual accident, why would I do that?
This is the case with the technology and tools that make obstetric medicine "safer". They cause more damage to the baby and mother than they help -- when used unnecessarily or "in case" or for doctor and mother convenience and to minimize the DOCTOR'S RISK OF MALPRACTICE SUIT. And, in doing so, they cause the accident.

Why don't we as a society take the same precautions with c-sections? Why doesn't OB medicine have to shape up like the car makers? Why are women not expected and demanded to use the technology and drugs of obstetrics ONLY when necessary?

What if WOMEN had to pay for and carry the insurance to recover losses from pregnancy? What if the more convenience and or choosing of medically damaging NON-medically necessary interventions meant SHE paid more insurance?

You can see, I am sure, that we just can't use the simple analogy of the seat belt to compare multiple, cascading, dangerous interventions during labor and birth.

To really use the "car seat is to obstetric safety" analogy intelligently we'd have to look at adding roll bars and helmets to drive every where just in case we had an accident, or in case we might end up on the Eisenhower in Chicago during rush hour.

That's stupid.

Maybe all of us Americans should begin to wear full length camouflage gear, helmets, and bullet proof vests, hard toed boots, and carry M16's just in case we are struck by terrorists. It's just as likely to happen as birth is a a life-threatening event.

Even GI Joe gets a break from the life-saving gear and interventions and gets to rest -- even in a life-threatening situation. War.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More Mother's Day History

Let's all do something on June 2 -- like shake off the chains that bind us, and march into the streets to claim our bodies and souls from medicine, to save our babies -- male and female -- from the violations of intrusions and drugs at birth, to save our sons and daughters from being the those who must carry out the ill will of a greedy, comfortable, commerical society.

We women in America can learn from the women of Ireland and Middle East -- and progress in human rights comes from the demand and fight by women to stop the atrocities. We women must be the ones to step up and to protect our sons and daughters from the War on our children and familes and selves -- the War on Poverty, the War on Drugs, the War on Cancer, the War on Terrorism. America loves to war -- based on religion and medical science. They all begin with the disempowerment of women in birth and usurption of her responsiblity of her choices.

Mother's Day for Peace – Honor Mother with Rallies in the Streets

by Ruth Rosen.

The holiday began in activism; it needs rescuing from commercialism and platitudes.

Every year, people snipe at the shallow commercialism of Mother's Day. But to ignore your mother on this holy holiday is unthinkable. And if you are a mother, you'll be devastated if your ingrates fail to honor you at least one day of the year.

Mother's Day wasn't always like this. The women who conceived Mother's Day would be bewildered by the ubiquitous ads that hound us to find that "perfect gift for Mom." They would expect women to be marching in the streets, not eating with their families in restaurants. This is because Mother's Day began as a holiday that commemorated women's public activism, not as a celebration of a mother's devotion to her family.

The story begins in 1858 when a community activist named Anna Reeves Jarvis organized Mothers' Works Days in West Virginia. Her immediate goal was to improve sanitation in Appalachian communities. During the Civil War, Jarvis pried women from their families to care for the wounded on both sides. Afterward she convened meetings to persuade men to lay aside their hostilities.

In 1872, Juulia Ward Howe, author of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic", proposed an annual Mother's Day for Peace. Committed to abolishing war, Howe wrote: "Our husbands shall not come to us reeking with carnage... Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs". (see complete statement below)

For the next 30 years, Americans celebrated Mothers' Day for Peace on June 2.

Many middle-class women in the 19th century believed that they bore a special responsibility as actual or potential mothers to care for the casualties of society and to turn America into a more civilized nation. They played a leading role in the abolitionist movement to end slavery. In the following decades, they launched successful campaigns against lynching and consumer fraud and battled for improved working conditions for women and protection for children, public health services and social welfare assistance to the poor. To the activists, the connection between motherhood and the fight for social and economic justice seemed self-evident.

In 1913, Congress declared the second Sunday in May to be Mother's Day. By then, the growing consumer culture had successfully redefined women as consumers for their families. Politicians and businessmen eagerly embraced the idea of celebrating the private sacrifices made by individual mothers. As the Florists' Review, the industry's trade journal, bluntly put it, "This was a holiday that could be exploited."

The new advertising industry quickly taught Americans how to honortheir mothers - by buying flowers. Outraged by florists who were selling carnations for the exorbitant price of $1 a piece, Anna Jarvis' daughter undertook a campaigning against those who "would undermine Mother's Day with their greed." But she fought a losing battle. Within a few years, the Florists' Review triumphantly announced that it was "Miss Jarvis who was completely squelched."

Since then, Mother's Day has ballooned into a billion-dollar industry.

Americans may revere the idea of motherhood and love their own mothers, but not all mothers. Poor, unemployed mothers may enjoy flowers, but they also need child care, job training, health care, a higher minimum wage and paid parental leave. Working mothers may enjoy breakfast in bed, but they also need the kind of governmental assistance provided by every other industrialized society.

With a little imagination, we could restore Mother's Day as a holiday that celebrates women's political engagement in society. During the 1980's, some peace groups gathered at nuclear test sites on Mother's Day to protest the arms race. Today, our greatest threat is not from missiles but from our indifference toward human welfare and the health of our planet. Imagine, if you can, an annual Million Mother March in the nation's capital. Imagine a Mother's Day filled with voices demanding social and economic justice and a sustainable future, rather than speeches studded with syrupy platitudes.

Some will think it insulting to alter our current way of celebrating Mother's Day. But public activism does not preclude private expressions of love and gratitude. (Nor does it prevent people from expressing their appreciation all year round.)

Nineteenth century women dared to dream of a day that honored women's civil activism. We can do no less. We should honor their vision with civic activism.

Ruth Rosen is a professor of history at UC Davis.

Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation:

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have breasts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly:

"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn

All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace."

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day: Originally a Day for Peace

Mother's Day: Originally a Day for Peace

By Last Night in Little Rock, Section War In Iraq
Posted on Sun May 13, 2007 at 12:03:00 AM EST Tags: (all tags)

"Mother's Day was originally designated as a day to inspire people to work for peace. It was conceived after wars at home and abroad by American abolitionist and suffragist Julia Ward Howe."

Besides initiating the tradition of Mother's Day, Howe is best known as the author of the words to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic". As a pacifist during the Civil War, she witnessed the devastating effects of the conflict through her work with widows and orphans. In 1870 she wrote the "Mother's Day Proclamation," a call to women to oppose war and to convene to promote peace and be the architects of their family's -- and their own -- political futures. She presented it at international peace conferences in London and Paris , where she lamented the atrocities of not only the American Civil War, but also the Franco-Prussian War.

Howe envisioned the first "Mother's Day" as a time for women to gather, grieve and determine a peaceful solution to war.

Howe's 1870 "Mother's Day Proclamation" reads:

Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means / Whereby the great human family can live in peace, / Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, / But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask / That a general congress of women without limit of nationality / May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient / And at the earliest period consistent with its objects, / To promote the alliance of the different nationalities, / The amicable settlement of international questions, / The great and general interests of peace.

"President Woodrow Wilson declared an official national Mother's Day in 1914, approving the Congressional resolution to celebrate the day every year on the second Sunday in May."

If women ran the government, there would be no wars of aggression. Women, for obvious reasons, have no need to prove how big their "equipment" can be.

My oldest grandson is 3-1/2. A year ago, I feared he would end up being drafted to fight the War in Iraq as it entered its 20th year. Now we see "a light at the end of the tunnel," Henry Kissinger's famous words as the War in Vietnam dragged on.

Today, as Bush's poll numbers equal Nixon's at the time of resignation, the President should quit lying to himself and the people and tell us what we already know: This war is no longer winnable because your gang botched it from the beginning.

You, Mr. President, have no credibility left. As a nation, we have little credibility left, thanks to you. We have squandered almost all our goodwill, and over what?

All we are saying is give peace a chance.

And how many soldiers will die on Mother's Day? How many mothers will lose their sons and daughters in Iraq that day?

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Baby Keeper: Here, Here!! Bless all our soldiers who must carry out the atrocious orders of a power monger, and bless their families.

I caravaned to the St Louis airport with the family of one of the members of my military family support group yesterday to greet the arrival of one of our precious family members. As people left the security section and passsed us more people than not looked away. Some on their cells phones connecting with loved ones were unaware of how precious that gift is -- to talk to their loved one and to live in America and have a phone or the opportunity and income to fly. A few spoke and said thanks. One pilot made an effort to acknowledge us and one woman stopped to watch our soldier in embrace with his wife and daughter. She looked at us and said she had chills.

What a joy to see my friend -- one of my sweet sisters on this journey -- and their three-year old daughter reunited with him - and to be with his mother, step-mother, father, aunts, childhood friend and family, neices, nephews, and grandparents as they welcomed him home. What a great mother's day gift -- to see a soldier reunited with his wife and child. One hundred and thirty-two years after Howe wrote her proclamation spurred by the impact of war on families, the US is gravely affected by war (while many don't feel it), but one family is reunited.

I was particularly touched by the huge embrace with him -- a man I had not yet ever met but felt so much for and for whom I had prayed so many months; a man the age of my oldest, in his military fatiques, shaved head, and sun-reddened face. Of course, he was clean, not fresh from the desert, but with the overwhelm of my senses, I felt the fall of the 6000 miles between me and my son, if for just a brief moment. A blessed moment for my soma and my heart and mind to take in. Today, I am very tired from the emotions of it all. I cry less these days and I play and work more. Earlier, I would have been in sobs by the end of these two post. Right now, one huge tear has welled up in my right eye. It fell and rolled down my cheek and I felt it land in my lap. Wow.

My GI Joe is over half way home -- seven months have passed. It's hump month in the year long deployment. I have been more likely to be appreciating the gifts of my experience with my son -- as a mother of a son a war; and a mother opposed to war and who has sought peace. And, I know to prepare for hard days in September and October -- the coming home is so stressful. God keep you safe, my baby.

Here come the others -- these join together and slowly roll down my cheek and neck. Have you ever noticed your different kind of tears and FELT them? It's one of the blessings for me.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Parking Lot Babies

Washington State Patrol troopers might want to start wearing scrubs when they work because more babies are being born on Seattle-area freeways -- at least in recent months.

The newest member to the club -- a baby girl -- entered the world Tuesday morning in the northbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Spokane Street, the Washington State Patrol reported.

Tim Scheufele gave his mother-in-law some bad directions Tuesday morning, causing her to miss the turn to Avista Adventist Hospital. But cut the guy some slack, he was busy delivering his son in the back seat.

Tim Scheufele Jr. was born just after 5 a.m. in the Louisville hospital parking lot, minutes after his grandmother overshot the hospital exit and ended up on McCaslin Boulevard.

In September, Dalton Hanson was welcomed into the world in the front seat of a Ford F-150 at the intersection of Foothills Parkway and Baseline Road. His mom, Kim Edwards, of Thornton, had been sent home from Boulder Community Hospital earlier in the day because she wasn't far enough into labor.

And, this week in the news in Utah a mother gave birth in the parking lot before the midwife arrived.

The baby is said to be fine, so why in NICU? Standard care. The baby could be in NICU for no medical reason, but to be "OBSERVED" because the BELIEF is that being born with only the mother and no caregiver the baby is damaged and distressed. Very likely the baby unwent extensive interventions to "check him/her out." My friend gave birth to her baby on the beach in Hawaii -- he was a footling breech so she could not be in the ocean as planned. Several days later DCFS took him and flew him to another island and he went through brutal treatments. She totally believes that they tried to kill to prove how wrong it was. She got him back weeks later but the ordeal dragged on and on and it opened the door for the father to take the baby -- after he "babynapped" the baby at about 11 months and took him out of the country. The mother didn't see her child for eleven years.

We had a couple of close calls at the Birth center here. One of my VBAC clients gave birth in the birth center -- had wanted to do homebirth, but house was a mess under construction. She had the urge to birth outside with trees -- we talked about it numerous times. Babies whisper their wishes to the mother. I told her to get clear within herself and with the baby about where. She arrived at the birth center and was waiting for the midwife and fought an urge to go into the trees to birth. She was just about to go and the midwife showed up -- she was thinking about my words to make sure of where you deeply want to birth. After the birth she regreted not giving birth outside. (That midwife might have supported it if she'd said somethng.) She continued to have that urge to birth in the trees. One baby was born enroute -- they lived an hour away, third baby, first non-hospital birth. Another friend's wife gave birth on the corner of College and Stadium in sight of the MU Tigers football stadium enroute back to the birth center. Doctor had sent her home, got half way there and turned around to come back.

I observed that women who birthed in the hospital previously and were used to the delays, drugs, interruptions, and pain did not have a sense of normal labor. Usually they think they have awhile to go because they are not in delibitating, excruciating pain. They don't realize that they are so far progressed as they are waiting for the hard part. The unpredictability of birth is the reason doctors and hospitals control it.

This will be interesting to watch. Rather than seeing how easy birth can be the media and medical focus will be on showing the danger. So many perspectives --- mine is that babies are participants in the process. They choose what happens (on a soul level before conception even) in order to live the life they intended and as "teachers" as they enter the mix of the family. It's the baby's birth -- the baby has a lot to do with what happens.

In the most recent story, AGAIN, it is person other than the parents going after the midwife. Grandma probably wasn't too keen on the idea in the first place. Unfortunately, she is of the majority and this one case will be used to further discredit midwifery and to encourage naysayers and legislators to further take away women's choices and responsibility for their birth. Besides that, Grandma is not honoring her grandchild's grand and independent entrance to their lives.

Here's another possible perspective. Similar story, different perspectives of the experience.

Last fall, Cindy Meza gave birth to her second daughter, Isabel, under a eucalyptus tree in the parking lot of her birth center. And while it wasn't exactly what she had planned, Meza, who caught her own baby, says the care and information she had received from her midwives over the course of both of her pregnancies allowed her to stay calm throughout her surprisingly quick labor and delivery.

Cindy tells her story like this, "My labor with Isabel was going very fast. My husband called the birth center and said, 'I think she's going to start pushing.' They said, 'Don't let her do that! Drive her here immediately.' We drove so fast, we beat the midwife there. I managed to get halfway across the parking lot when I felt the baby crowning. I made it to a tree about 5 feet from the center's front door."

Her husband was busy consoling their toddler, since they hadn't had time to get a babysitter, so Cindy was on her own. "But," she recounts, "because of the confidence instilled in me by my midwives, Sharon Milan and Janice Rodenberg, I knew exactly what to do and was never afraid. I knew how to support the head. I knew to stop pushing at the crowning. I remembered to wipe down her nose for mucus. Actually, she was born with the sac over her head, so, first, I had to pull it back off her face. I rubbed up her back, because that was something Sharon had told me would induce her to breathe. I trusted my body and my instincts, and delivered a perfect nine pound baby." Now, she reports, "I trust myself much more in all aspects of my life. I am proud to be a woman, and I owe so much to the two midwives who helped me achieve this."

While Cindy's story is an inspirational one, her tree-shaded birthing place was one few women would, or could, choose. Cindy herself had not actually chosen the birth center for its back-to-nature charm. In fact, she says, "As a technical writer and Web publisher at a software company, I work in a field of technological advances and, although I wanted my pregnancy and childbirth to be as natural as possible, I was not sure I wanted to give up medical technology. I decided to go to the Birth and Women's Health Center here in Tucson, Arizona, because the birth center is across the street from a hospital, and was a perfect compromise for my desire for natural childbirth and my fear that I might need medical assistance. It was the right choice. I had my first daughter, Astrid, there without medication and it was an incredible, empowering experience."

Monday, May 07, 2007

Randon Conception -- what's the price?

Why does this happen, especially to children? Someone with a grandchild in a very disruptive relationship between the father and mother emailed me and asked this question, in the context of very bad parenting behavior, fighting, and the lack of options, outside of the state department of children and family services.

Do you really want my answer?? It "triggers" an article I've been itching to do. I spent the last two days at a psychiatric fellowship training and participating in diagnostic discussions. Several adult cases made me wonder back to my days of working with children in poverty and who were abused physically, emotionally, and/or sexually. (My "good ole days" of trying to make the system work to support families). Their stories, like the adult women in the videos with serious psychiatric disorders and tragic lives, always begin with what to me is unthinkable experiences as children. So many times in my previous world of work in traditional therapy and social service programs, I would be amazed at the resiliency of the human being who survived such atrocities as a child. I did the best I could and back then felt so powerless to truly assist the person to heal at the level we needed. It's always been like putting tiny bandages on huge, gaping, infected wounds. In fact, those years were important in my journey to here as they lead me finding the earliest experiences that create our lives.

I have been watching the "blame game" for a very long time -- two decades? We Americans are constantly evolving and much of the time it is into something none of us wants and none of us wants to claim responsibility for. "Society" (that's us) blames the teachers, blames the parents, blames the politicians, blames DCFS, blames the medical machine for all of the problems our children are experiencing. Of all of the professionals "responsible" for children, I would not want to be a teacher. Teachers "live with" the problems of society all day long. They are expected to instill values and worth and teach children who are living horribly violent, lonely, or empty lives. Teachers can not give children what they did not get in the first moments of existence (conception) through infancy and toddlerhood. Psychiatrists, counselors, therapists, and case workers are extremely limited in what causes they can truly effect. They can not change the conditions children live in, nor can they cause real healing in the brain of the children who is ACTING OUT what s/he has been programmed to do.

As I watched the video sessions of several women, I felt heavy with the awareness of the total picture --- the continuing incidence of these issues and the inefficacy of what we humans can do to really alter the prognosis for abused children. I am struck again at the importance of bringing a human being into this world. Everything always brings me back to looking at the earliest moments of our existence for the real understanding and the true healing. Conception is when we each began. Our responsibility as a society is to give every human being the best foundation possible. The foundation is built preconception through infancy -- including the time spent in the hospital (labor, birth, and first days of life.)

So, to answer the question .... at my lunch table with three others, I said something I believe in strongly but know it is nearly impossible to do in a human and just way. I said, as lowered my voice, "Some people should not be allowed to have children." I believe we need to look, as a society, at the RIGHTS of the BABY and to how support people to continue to conceive children ONLY when they are not able or ready to be parents. God bless, my little friend Jonathan, the handicapped boy who has been raised by his grandmother. His mother is not capable of caring for herself, yet society says she has "reproductive rights." WHY?? This question extends to looking at the large number of teenage mothers which is lower that in recent decades, but what about the number of babies being born to drug addicts, or women who are bi-polar, depressed, or chronically mentally ill.

Before you yell at me, please understand my BOTTOM LINE is about the rights of every human baby to have a quality life. I have known many children in that situation and there is no easy answer. The social service system CAN NOT meet their needs for the love, touch, warmth, and nurturing of a mother, or the love, acceptance, and protection by a father. I know adults who were raised by mothers who were alcoholic, bi-polar, or schizophrenic. It's a very hard life. Is there another way to look at the RELATIONSHIP between a woman's reproductive rights and society's obligation and commitment to care for the babies whose mothers are not able? Is there a way to respect our rights and to be productive in how we care for the mothers and babies in needs. THAT is what my heart and heat desperately want to know. Visit the Crisis Nursery where Jonathan was held for a week and got lice. You know you also secretly wonder it -- why are these people allowed to have baby after baby that they can't care for? Our medical and psychiatric facilities are filled with children with severe issues we can not fix and the struggles of the children and teachers in schools is just a sign of things to come. Today on this blog is a story about an Iowa Guardsman who lost custody of his children.

For years, I have cringed at a huge fundraiser where I used to live in IL -- big news media coverage of a drive to raise funds and donations for unwed mothers and others. Pleas for donations of diapers, formula, socks, etc. leave me in a quandary. If one can not afford diapers and clothing, they ought not to be bringing a child into this world. This fundraiser, like child daycare in high schools, both are signs of society ADAPTING to unacceptable behaviors and consequences rather than addressing the issue. I believe we are living the consequence of decades of random, uncommitted sexual behavior and the result -- random conception.

Before you react, let me say, from my perspective as a young mother at age eighteen, almost 19, still a teenager I came to admit in my late thirties, I understand the life-long consequence to both the baby and the mother. I am aware of the consequences to the father who is often a powerless donor, though not at the time of his initial donation. Life is never easy for the baby (or anyone) when a new life is conceived between people who have no intention to be together, but for some it is horrible.

Statistically, when a woman has a child before she has completed her education and is on her own, her life-long earning potential is less. If one reads that in the media, one is likely to think in terms of income and think, well if she gets her MA or her MD degree she'll make as much as anyone. Maybe, but what is hard part and important is the "getting there" with a child in tow. She always is catching up. These days many women have the option of choosing to have the baby alone, very different from the expectation of marriage in my day. There is never an easy choice after a woman -- or girl -- chooses to be sexually active. When men and women conceive babies it is a life long commitment. Whether one aborts, relinquishes for adoption, or chooses to keep a child conceived in any variety of multitude of situations where the soul is not being welcomed into a union that is welcoming and preparing, life is never the same.

Nothing is easy -- even for a highly competent, functional woman -- who has to care first for her child's welfare. My children's welfare always came first -- and, it was a constant juggling that often didn't result in what was best for my child. I felt like I "stepped up" to live the with the experience I had created. While I am bragging of course, that "what is best for me is therefore best for my child thinking" so common to mothers, isn't always so. I earned four degrees -- one, with each child. I also see a different world where teenage pregnancy is accepted and where drugs interfere with many lives. My little friend, Jonathan, was kept a week in a Tulsa child crisis center that is licensed for 38 children and has had up to 90 children who are waiting for foster care placement. What is going on here? Why are so many humans conceiving children that they don't want or can't take care of?

Basically, the world if full of humans (souls) who came here unwanted and unwelcomed -- in a sacred, honoring way to learn their lessons. That's all I can figure out. So, on the surface it seems to me that the increase lack of morality and indiscretion has allowed us to be sexual without considering the rights of the human baby. AND, apparently, as I have thought about this for YEARS -- from early life through working in the systems -- the soul also chooses. Some, and I believe this, believe that the soul and the parents have "soul contracts" to work out. This does NOT negate any of the Christian beliefs --- but some people get all jiggy. The Bible says I knew you before you were born. I believe free will and choice came BEFORE conception and life. I can't make any other sense of why there is so much diversity and discrepancy. I can't make sense of such an "unfair" world -- child born in Africa to a starving mother and child born into family in America, and then compare the families and experiences within America. Bill Gates or Britney Spears' child or the fifth child of a twenty-two year old on the south side of Peoria. WHO chooses this? A God? So, how FAIR is HE?

So, I teeter all of the time between: 1) my passion and life's purpose to making an aware, safe, gentle, and harmonious world by welcoming souls into couple's lives who want to bring a soul/baby/teacher into their lives and how 2) the soul is deciding to come in to a family where those conceiving him or her are also agreeing to provide the lessions/life he or she is coming here to experience. I imagine how the world could be if every baby was wanted and welcomed, nourished and nurtured, and protected, safe and cared for with utmost regard from before conception and beyond. I am a "philosopher" and a "wonderer" of spiritual matters my entire life.

I wonder what is the purpose of this planet as such large number of human babies are brought forth by parents who will be unable to care for him or here, a world where we know that the maternal-baby relationship is profound and yet we continue to evolve in very destructive ways. Maternal career and accumulation of material goods is a higher priority than the emotional, spiritual, and physical wellbeing of our babies. Meanwhile, we evolve every day to accept greater discrepancy between what we know is right and what we accept that is so contrary. This includes the practice of obstetric medicine, the waging of war, the continuing of production of goods that poison our water and air, etc., etc.

In fact, that's how the lunch-time discussion with a psychiatrist, pychiatric nurse, and a pediatric neurologist came about --- a discussion about Walmart as the "Chinese Store" preceded by a discussion of oil, war, and the many wounded children, lead to my statement that China has done one important thing -- they have limited their population. I reasoned that this had to have lead to changes in many ways-- such as in how people come together to have that one child. Does it change their premarital, sexual behaviors? Are their children wanted and welcomed? Will the theories of Pre and Perinatal Psychology bear out in the future as we observe the restriction of the number of children one can bear? Do they stay together in family units? Fewer births means fewer children and this means few goods needed and produced.

Too many of our babies are being born destined to live out hardship, pain, poverty in all aspect of life. We have too many children living in emotional poverty, regardless of their financial status. We have too many children with serious mental and psychiatric disorders. We have too many children in poverty, unable to read, and in foster care. Too many adults of all ages are living a life destroyed by drugs. What is the hope of their children who do not experience a loving mother-baby relationship? A surge of feminism is swelling again, and the focus on women's roles in the workplace and fight for day care WHILE trashing the science of attachment worries me.

So, I am just asking what I believe are the hard questions ....

.... remember, I have four children and I am from the era of two children as "normal". And, I am old enough to worry about the next generations. OF COURSE, I could be one of the first to jump on someone who asked my questions if I could only see my own current experience. Would I be so traumatized by having had only one or two of them? Of course, I would be devasted at the loss of one of the two younger ones -- well, yeah, this blog is full of my wailing about my GI Joe in Iraq, so much so, that I hardly write about my special, Baby Girl, who is the "joy of my life". But, if I they'd never come to my body and life, how would I grieve them? Am I devastated and traumatized today because of the six I didn't have to make my family of ten children like my friend did? NO!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Birth Story: Induced, epidural, ER surgical birth

by Carrie

I was around 35 weeks when I told the Drs at the hospital I didn’t think something was right, because I had a high heart rate and the flutters, nausea, and faint feeling. Also about that time I found out that Jasmyn was breech. The Dr’s gave me two choices. Schedule a cesarean or have a version. Version is where they literally move the baby by pushing her from the outside to the normal position. IT did sometimes cause stress and need an emergency c-section. I considered the facts and decided that a chance for a natural vaginal birth was better than a scheduled c-section. I scheduled the version. For my 39th week.

I was 34 weeks pregnant when a Dr called me and said that he wanted to put me on a heart monitor. I asked them why it took them 3 weeks to call me when I complained about this. He said that it sounded like hormones and like it would stop after the pregnancy. I said if that was the case I didn’t want to have the monitor on me. If they were not concerned to the point it took them 3 weeks to call me, why should I worry. Plus I would have to wear a monitor for the remaining time, I had only 2 weeks before my due date. What complete dorks, so no monitor, no worries.

I was silly. I should have taken it when I had the chance. I went in for the version and when the Dr hooked me up to the monitor and confirmed Jasy was breech he said that he would be back with a trainee. Jasmyn heard this and decided she was not going to be man handled by a stupid Dr and flipped. The Dr came back and there she was in the normal position. He said he wished all things were that easy. It was really funny. It was a moment I realized my baby had a will of her own and she would never allow herself to be manipulated by another human being. Yeah Jasmyn!!! So the Dr told me that I was free to go home. So I got my wish and avoided a c-section. I was hoping to have a natural birth, with out drugs. I really did want a natural birth with the mirrors this time. I really wanted to see me giving birth.
Baby Keeper: How many times have physicians, nurses, and mothers seen this happen -- the baby responding -- in many situations including version. People recognize it and know it, but still deny the abilities and contribution of the baby. With conscious awareness and connection with the baby caregivers can support the baby to such things more effectively.

A week went by and oh, I started having contractions. Happy day for me. I was so excited. One day I had them and they were a minute long and came every 5 minutes. I didn’t want to concern Tim so I didn’t call him. When he got home I was a bit annoyed with the contractions. He had me go to the hospital. The L&D nurses hooked me up and watched me. I had a great labor pattern but I was not able to be admitted.

So, I had contractions for a week. They would go up and down as far as how hard they were. My body was getting ready for birth. I was miserable, I wanted to have the baby. I was very annoyed with how I felt. I kept going in and I wasn’t at 3 cm so they wouldn’t admit me. Finally after a week and a half of having contractions I was 3 cm. I was tired, cranky, and ready for Jasmyn to come to me. I went in and had a great labor pattern and they gave me some pitocin. Since I had been through the inducing before I knew what was before me. It scared me, I knew after a week and a half of the contractions, if they sped them up to super sonic, super hard I wouldn’t be able to make decisions. I had a strange feeling that I needed to have my head screwed on tight. So I told them that if they were going to induce I wanted them to give me the epidural. Again, this is the worst pain imaginable. I wanted to cry thinking about it. I didn’t want it but I had a feeling that I really had to do this. The same routine, round my back into a ball, lean against Tim, and in comes the needle. I warned the nurse anesthetist I knew I would jump because the pain was too much for me. She told me in all the caring of a surgeon, I wouldn’t if I were you. I did jump, when I felt the needle prying my vertebra to go in-between. I felt and heard the pop and then felt the icy cold fluid run down my spine. I smelled the same sickly sweet smell of medicine. I knew in my heart I needed this, but I couldn’t help but be mad that I allowed myself to get the drugs again. It broke my heart b/c I knew I wouldn’t have the natural birth experience I had wanted.

It was about 0900 when I got the epidural and I decided that I should get some sleep while I could. I had that strange feeling something was off. I was awoke just after midnight that I had to wake up, lie on my side and have the oxygen. The baby was in serious distress. Every contraction I had her heart rate would drop. I had to try to get her to relax. I was told that I needed to have a monitor attached to her head. I can’t remember the name of it, but it has a small wire that is screwed into the top of her head. Brianna had to have the same thing when I was in labor with her. It showed that she was in fact in distress and the oxygen was helping a little but not a lot.

My Dr came in and did an exam. I wasn’t progressing, my dilation and effacement were not coming along and Jasmyn was face presenting. She had her face wedged in my canal looking out as if trying to see the world. They knew this because when he did a pelvic exam he felt her nostrils, lips, and cheeks. He should have only felt the small amount of hair on the top of her head.

By this time Tim was awake and wondering why I had more monitors, and tubes coming out of me, and why I was wearing oxygen. I explained the circumstances and I told him that I knew this was going to have to be a c-section. He agreed, he felt that a mothers intuition was enough for him. When my Dr got back from t
alking to the resident Dr the news was less than desirable.

The dr I had wanted to deliver c-section, the resident wanted me to deliver vaginal and to give more pictosin to speed up my contraction and hurry me through dilation. This really pissed me off a
nd I said that if my baby was in such distress that her heart rate dropped with every contraction I was refusing to have more medicine to make them harder. I told them that I wanted the c-section. It took one hour of me telling the DR's that I was not going to put her in more distress by taking more medicine.

Picture at right is Carrie waiting for the resident and attending to agree.

I finally got my wish when Jasy started to really become distressed. My c-section I had demanded now became life and death. I had to take fluid before I could go to surgery. It was so fast I had cold liquids pushed and I was freezing. It happened so quickly that while Tim went out to smoke a cigarette and call our parents to let them know the hard situation I was he almost missed them cutting into me. Yeah, they started the c-section while he wasn't present. He came in just as I felt blood spilling on my legs. I know I wasn't supposed to have feeling, but I was so cold that the warmth was shocking. I have a 6 1/2 inch cut where they opened me up.

They had to intebate Jasy twice b/c she wasn't breathing. She spent 1 day under the oxy tent, 1 full day on oxygen, and 1 day was off and sent home with me. Before I could see Jasmyn I had to go to recovery. In recovery a dr came in and said that some of the tests done on her indicated stress on the heart and might be a congenital heart disease or something to effect (the tests came back negative, she was stressed only [Duh]).

She had jaundice but that was being taken care of. It was scary, I couldn't react b/c the drugs in my body were so thick I couldn't understand what was going on. Today I have a 2 inch in diameter patch on my lower belly that is still numb. It is a constant reminder to me that I should never allow a dr to do or not do anything I don't agree with.
Baby Keeper: Below, mother and baby connect for first time. THIRTEEN HOURS later. Some important windows of opportunity for attachment of baby to mother and the bonding of mother with baby have been missed -- AND, the good news is that this woundings can be mediated. Woundings become our strengths and gift when acknowledged and healed.
I will always, ask questions, get second opinions, and trust my instincts. They may know more about medicine, but I live in my body. I know when something is right or wrong. I will never stop fighting for my body or my children.

Contractions or contractures? The mother here describes weeks of contractions. Later, hopefully, tomorrow, I will post information from Peter Nathanielsz research about the pre-labor contractions that he calls contractures ... and what that is about.

I am very grateful and I thank Jasmyn and her parents for giving me permission to use their pictures ---- I honor Jasmyn and her birth and sharing is ALWAYS with my heartfelt intention to honor her and to create the social will to make hospital birth safe and humane.

Of course, Jasmyn, is "normal" and "resilient" and happy child - and she is also strong-willed, challenging, and a few other things that are great attributes to have, but not always from the parent's view. Resilient -- a common attribute used and studied in psychiatric literature regarding PTSD. What does resilient mean, really? That we are adaptive and compensatory beings meant to survive even with great odds? Is the "resilient" person really happy? Feels complete, able to connect, function in relationship? Don't we know of those famous folks, ourselves, and some we know personally who are "resilient" person? And, in our society what IS the measurement of a good person and a happy life and relationship? Is it those who manage to appear by social standards to have accomplishments and acquisitions -- even with a terribly misshapen head, chronic neck pain and headaches, and constant personal chaotic relationships? Does the ability to have things meet the requirement of the soul and the heart, or is relationship and love that we read in the sappy poems is what is important at the end of the day and the end of life?

Also, next week I am posting an article about the baby/ soul's decisions about birth and how it is part of the human's plan for this life. A baby who "survives" a traumatic birth is usually a human being with amazing abilities to deal with challenges. Our challenge as a child and adults is to not use our "survival" skills in every situation. Because it is the early imprint in the brain from that first experience of moving from the womb in a traumatic experience,the labor and birth experience is a template, a magnet, a perception of the world that we draw to us over and over. More about that coming up soon.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Fetal Research on Pain and Consciousness

The brain and nerve fibres must be functioning for anyone to feel pain.

Brain cells which are essential for consciousness in the adult are known to be present in the foetus by 10 weeks. (Fetus on left is 10 weeks old.) Nerve fibres which transmit pain impulses are known to be present before fibres inhibiting pain are completed.
According to a scholarly study of the available evidence, this "implies that the first trimester foetus may be more susceptible to pain than slightly older subjects."10. The first trimester of pregnancy is the first three months.

In other words, if the baby can experience pain before the body's mechanisms to suppress pain have developed, this means that the baby may be able to feel pain at a much earlier stage than was previously thought, and perhaps even more keenly in the first three months of pregnancy than later.

The same study concludes that there is a likelihood that the "foetus has started to acquire a sentient capacity perhaps as early as six weeks, certainly by nine to ten weeks of gestation. Anatomical examination of such foetuses indicates the probability that differentiation sufficient for reception, transmission and perception of primitive pain sensation has already occurred."11

Practising for life outside the womb

"At 11 weeks after conception the foetus starts to swallow the surrounding amniotic fluid and to pass it back in his urine. He can also produce complex facial expressions and even smile."12 Swallowing prepares the baby for taking in milk at birth. Thumb-sucking has also been recorded in the foetus.13

Foetal breathing movements have been detected as early as 11 weeks 14.

Although the baby does not breathe air inside the fluid-filled amnion, these movements help develop the respiratory organs.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Let's Get Real About the Sentience of the Human Baby

“You are your brain.”

Dick Swaab, Dir. of the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research

I like to say, "You are your PRENATAL brain."

.... brain function and behavior are critically influenced, even permanently modified in major ways, by the environmental condition that exist during development. How we think, reason and see are not just inherited characteristics. Brain function, behavior, mood, IQ, and emotional stability are not solely a product of our genes.

—Peter Nathanielsz, MD (OB), PhD (Vet) in “Life in the Womb

On the left is the adult version of the twelve week old fetus -- everything in the adult was formed by twelve weeks.

It is scientific and logical that physiologically the structures begun at conception and completed by the end of the second month of gestation DO establish the biological, hormonal, emotional, and mental foundation for who we are to be our entire life. Every experience thereafter, whether in the womb, laboring and birthing, or life long is part of one long continuum of brain development. YOU are YOUR prenatal brain.

From conception forward, the baby (brain and body) has developed in the maternal relationship and response to the environment. The human baby's experience and feelings of safety, love, support, worth, being wanted, etc are established prenatally through infancy. From before conception, in the sperm and the egg, we are fully living tissues of our parents and influenced on a cellular level by their lives. Every system and brain is literally built according to mother's physiology, her life experiences, and her perceptions of herself, the baby's father, and the world. During gestation there is not one second of time that is not critical in building the baby's brain and body. It is recorded (imprinted, remembered) in the cells. Nor, is there one second of time during labor and birth that is not critical to the baby's billion neurons and so, to his brain and to his experience.

L. Janel Martin (Miranda), MA,

The human newborn is the most amazing creature on the planet. The baby is a fully sentient being. The first neurons fired in the prenatal brain by day forty-two. It grew from the developing neural tube that developed from the zygote that formed with the union of two live cells, the egg and the sperm. From prior to conception sperm and egg cells are fully functioning within the parent bodies and they are live cellular tissue experiencing and responding to the everything that happens. Was conception consensual, welcoming, chemical-free, loving? We know it matters, but did you know it matters on a cellular level? Picture to right is of conception.

The picture to the left below is the embryonic spinal cord at 14 days. Everything the mother has experienced, felt, and ingested is already a part of this baby's basic structural, cellular, and emotional development. The heart is almost ready to take it's first beat. Ever wonder about that moment? When yours or you baby's heart took that first beat?

While "scientific research" clearly shows us the sensate world of the prenate who is responding to the outer environment medical practice does not honor this. We already "know" on one level how amazing the newborn human is -- even though most of humanity treats the human baby as if the brain and other systems hit the "pause" button during labor and birth. The facts are ignored -- that birth is the baby's birth and s/he is brilliant, aware, and she is experiencing birth and learning and wiring her brain. How can it be that modern obstetric medice is so barbaric to the baby? And, gets by with it?

Last week I posted a long entry that included many, many links to scientists who study the role of the prenatal period. It is well know and well-established science -- it permeates obstetric medicine and their demand for "prenatal care." Our society expects, though we can't seem to enforce this, that women do not smoke, drink alcohol, partake of "illicit" drugs (though prescription drugs have squeaked by our rational meters so that doctors promote and women believe that many of the depression and bi-polar meds are safe -- and the research is in. They're damaging. Such a surprise.) We also hold a woman to certain expectations for parenting her newborn/infant.

Embryo here at right 42 days old. The nervous system (brain) has already fired it's first neurons. It is preparing to come "online" with the heart. Ever wonder about that? That moment in development when your heart and your brain began to work together? "Embryonic Rising" is the term we use. The moment that your heart and brain "fired up" together --- is a critical experience, as is the moment your mother first learned of your existence. The concept of body-mind connection or "heart-mind" connection is gaining awareness and popularity, but rarely does it involve looking at the moment of when the two connected. If you believe the statistics that more than half of all pregnancies are unplanned or unwanted so that a women is feeling and experiencing dramatic emotions around the time her baby's heart is forming and beating for the first time, her baby's brain is forming and firing it's first neurons for the first time, and the two have a moment in time where they begin to work together. It's a profoundly significant moment that will afffect the rest of development and the rest of life.

The gestating baby to the left here is twelve weeks old -- fully formed, all systems and organs are done. Baby will live with mother's lifestyle decisions and with her emotional and psychological imprints.

Baby to the left below is 8 months gestation. The caption in the book called this the Racing Mind. Researcher and technology have come together to show us conclusively that the prenate hears, particularly the mother's voice and responds, comforts himself, tastes, feels, experiences, learns, and responds to the environment.

In that post last week I included a large number of links to scientists doing research in the newborn/infant behavior, language, abilities, and learning. My point was that there is well-received scientific research to show that the PRENATAL brain is functioning as it DEVELOPS, from conception forward. The prenate EXPERIENCES, LEARNS, and REMEMBERS and this is all recorded in the brain which functions in orchestration with every other system. This is a significant part of the third trimester development.

We hold a woman to certain expectations for gestating her baby and then parenting her newborn/infant. What about our expectations for a mother and doctor to treat baby with same regard --- because it affects the baby?

The baby to the right is in the second stage of labor/birthing. There is NOTHING in the scientific literature to suggest or confirm that the laboring and birthing baby is UNAFFECTED by her experienced. Everything leads us to the obvious conclusion and understanding that the birthing baby does feel and experience labor and birth. The human baby's brain is recording and remembers birth. There is no "OFF" or "PAUSE" switch. Drugs numb the mind, but the body remembers. Or, in other words, the laboring and birthing brain/baby is jsut as capable of learning or being affected by sounds, substances, experiences of the mother, etc. than the prenatal brain/baby. EVERYTHING suggests that the laboring and birthing baby's brain is "ON" in record mode, and functioning as the gestating baby's brain is known to do. When you add to that the PHYSICAL experience of birth, either through the pelvis or being pulled out, it's logical that our FIRST injuries of our head, neck, shoulders, and hips occur during birth. The TISSUES remember. Science proves that now.

The newborn below is thirteen hours old. She clearly experienced a violent birth -- induced, epidural, malpositioned. Her face obviously rammed again a hard, bony part of the mother. Both their bodies remember this -- even when disregarded by medcine. This baby's brain, sensations, and awareness was never "OFF" or on "PAUSE" to accommodate doctor's schedules and malpractice avoidance. She may have been "numbed" by narcotics, but her brain recorded that to. It's part of her brain development now -- thanks to doctors and the med-wives/CNM who used their wares on a healthy mother and baby. The baby experienced her birth and her brain processed the experience as it does everything other moment of life.

If this baby had gone home normal - without this bruised face -- and returned the next week with the same condition, the medical establishment would contact child protective services and she would have been taken from her parents. It would have been all over the news. However, when this abuse occurs because of medical caregivers in the hospital it is totally ignored -- because THEY promote the MIS-science that babies don't really feel it or remember. It's CRAZY. NOT A WORD was spoken BY physicians, nurses, or midwives about the bruising on this baby's face. No one dares. Parents are so disempowered, in shock, and are shy about confronting the medical machine, and yet, the obvious damage was done by the medically induced birth. Why are these people allowed to abuse babies and not subjected to the same mandatory reporting laws?

How are doctors getting by with promoting the propoganda that what they do is safe when the literature clearly shows otherwise? How are they allowed to continue to harm babies and take away women's choices and responsibility for her baby's birth?

The debate about the safety of birth at home versus hospital, sadly, ironically does not include what is actually safest for the fetus/newborn in that amazing transition being from fetus in the womb to newborn in the world. It's a relatively short period of time but it is such a profoundly significant experience that will DEFINE in the BRAIN of the HUMAN BABY HOW s/he will BE IN the world.

The laboring and birthing baby is just as alive, learning, growing, experiencing as the prenate and newborn. Good, God, let's get real. And, do the right thing. Doctors and women.

What do you suppose would have happened had someone hotlined the CNM, OB resident and attending in a Naval Hospital for the obvious trauma this baby experienced?

to be continued .... for sure ...

Pictures are used not with permission but with the greatest regard and appreciation from the book:

From Conception to Birth: A Life Unfolds by Alexander Tsiaras
Buy your own for $35.00

"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