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, December 24, 2007

Natural, Ideal Cesarean Surgical Birth

Doctors at Queen Charlotte's hospital in London are pioneering "natural caesarean" births with the aim of making the surgery less traumatic for mother and baby.

Full story at:
BBC News Pictures of "Natural Caesarean"

Also check out:
The Ideal Cesarean by Robert Oliver, MD

The key focus of this natural cesarean is clearly to preserve the relationship between mother and child and to create attachment. On another blog that denies the safety of homebirth, the issue of mother-child attachment and the fact that this attachment is harmed in hospital birth is also denigrated.

The information here from the BBC showing a new approach to surgical birth in the UK is the sort of information that you won't see on other sites trashing natural vaginal birth and the growing movement of homebirth, and especially homebirth among women who previously gave birth surgically. What is it about American doctors that has them so entrenched in their denial and in their positions -- that they are the only ones who refuse to recognize the critical human need to re-connect with the mother on the outside of the womb in order to create the attachment that supports health, harmony, and wellness?

The impact of surgical
birth on baby and mother is ignored there in order to perpetuate a war against natural birth. One site in particular refuses to allow a discussion of even the possibility of a detrimental impact of surgical birth on the mother and baby. What never enters the discussion is the baby's experience of the surgery -- EVEN IF it is done for life-saving reasons. To do so , that is, to entertain the possibility that any surgical birth is traumatizing to the baby, so that UNnecessary surgical birth is a very, very huge issue, well, this would lead to a very serious discussion in far corners about the MISUSE of cesarean surgery.

What women know, and what doctors especially know is that when a woman enters the hospital it increases the chances of a perfectly healthy woman and baby experiencing unnecessary, physiologically and emotionally traumatizing surgical birth. The discussion of the cost of this on many levels -- physiological, emotional, psychological, and spiritual, for their lifetimes -- never happens on another site that is so adamantly, rabidly opposed to homebirth with qualified caregivers.

Since homebirth's popularity is stemming from the conditions of birth in the hospital and the increased chances of a life-threatening surgery for no good reasons, it is an important discussion. They -- doctors and labor/delivery nurses (the "experts") -- further refuse to discuss how any surgical birth could have life long consequences for baby and mother. It is all said and done in the name of science. Yet, here we have those from the same party-- obstetric science-- confirming that surgical birth is dangerous and we do need to make attempts to do surgical birth more kindly, and with awareness of the impact on the baby and mother.

Why would we not!?! Do we really need empirical studies done over twenty years to finally tell us, "be kind to the baby", "make sure mother and baby make eye contact and touch", "make sure minimal interventions and touch by strangers in the first hours of life." No, the research on that is clear and has been for many decades. It is time to EXPECT and DEMAND that obstetricians everywhere follow the evidence-based science and to treat our babies gently and kindly.

Who should the public listen to? Who should pregnant women go to? Those who promote a balance between science and what we know logically and from our ancient history of birthing from the vagina? We need to create SAFE hospital birth by acknowledging that the human being is profoundly impacted by their birth experience ... wherever it happens. We need aware, kind caregivers willing to do what is morally and medically right for the human being coming in to the world, not what "has always been done" or is best "for my license" or to "prevent malpractice litigation."

Scroll down for my Christmas greeting to you.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Baby Story

I just watched TLC's "Baby Story."

Oh, my, why do I do this to myself? I don't have television but I am visiting someone who has cable.

The mother went to the doctor and learned she was dilated to four and so they sent her to the hospital. The next doctor's immediate plan of action was to induce because her labor wasn't productive. Four cm? She was still just 5cm after some time on Vitamin P. The doctor added that women can do this for weeks; that is have sporadic pains. The medical profession is so apt at creating the illusions that allow them to manipulate and control women in labor.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Half of U.S. doctors mum about incompetence: survey

There is a measurable disconnect between what physicians say they think is the right thing to do and what they actually do," said Eric Campbell of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, who led the survey.

When considering where a woman and baby are safest -- hospital or home, one needs to consider what the current researchers and hospitals are saying about hospitals and doctors in general. There are many posts here on this blog that raise the question of particular interventions and protocols of obstetric medicine.

Virtually every study done shows that homebirth is AS safe as giving birth in the hospital for babies and it is safer for the mother to birth at home. Every other industrialized country where mother and baby are safer (lower mortality rates) than in the US have midwives caring for low to moderate risk and doctors caring for high risk. In those countries midwives work in partnership with doctors.

Have you seen Michael Moore's movie, "Sicko" yet? He compares hospital care in the US with several countries with universal health care. Ricki Lake's move, "The Business of Being Born" is also being shown in select cities and addresses the "business" of obstetric medicine. She follows a midwife on several homebirths. Viewers can watch the experience of birth at home as one with out chaos and trauma, which is critical for the human baby as she or he IS experiencing birth. Reviews on both sides point out that the midwife does not wear gloves (so I will too). Midwifery supporters lament that this will be a detractor for many women and that doctors will make a big deal of it when it is very rare in practice.

I would like to add that it seems the medical perspective for wearing gloves is much more about self-protection. I have seen myself, a nurse in a hospital take a glove out of her pocket and use it for a vaginal exam. She was protecting herself, with no regard for the mother and baby. Detractors will always find some relevant, but not critical thing to look at to verify their point that homebirth is dangerous. So, if you watch the movie, know that the midwife won't be wearing gloves. Feel your feelings about that part and then focus on the experience of the baby.

The baby ... that's what birth is about .... or should be.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Prenatal and Birth Memories

Prenatal and birth memories are a little more complicated than what we think of as memory. Prenates and newborns are very sensory. Their brain is recording every event from conception forward. Language develops over time as the human infant and toddler put words to feelings and make connections. A good example came up today at my house. My 14 year old was talking about "remembering" seeing her father and I in bed and how she didn't know what it was about. Now she does. That is how children learn everything --- just because they don't have words for the experience as an infant or toddler doesn't mean they don't remember it. By the time she KNOWs the language to understand and speak about sex, she has known about it for a very long time.

It is well- known and accepted that the brain wires in response to experience. Research and technology of the 90's confirmed and deepened our understanding of the brain. This development of the human brain begins in the womb, begins at conception and during the first weeks of life the neural tube is one of the earliest structures. The experience of the newborn and infant is as real as yours or mine is now. The baby is experiencing something -- and the brain responds and wires connections ... safe or scary, happy or angry, fearful or relaxed ... their sensory oriented body takes it in and it is recorded in the brain. This is why we talk to and touch the baby, and it is why we give them visual stimulus. It is known if this interaction with the environment is minimal or violent or distracted the baby won't develop intellectually or appropriately.

According to Gerald Vind, a neurobiologist and expert in prenatal brain imprinting and reimprinting"

Norepinephrine acts in the developing nervous system of a prenate to suppress the growth of irrelevant and undesirable neural connections, while at the same time facilitating the formation of relevant synaptic connections. Norepinephrine also provides protection in the brain, especially a part of the emotional center (limbic system) that is called the amygdala. It prevents damage to the amygdala and suppresses abnormal kindling activity (seizure activity) when operating under conditions of peak activity. Under conditions of acute or repetitive maternal stress, norepinephrine levels are depleted. This is typically accompanied by the secretion of natural opiates that also exert an inhibitory effect on the release of norepinephrine. During pregnancy these natural opiates are passed through the placenta and influence the development of the prenate. At any stage of a developing brain, the depletion of norepinephrine, along with excessive amygdala activation, and opiate release, can lead to permanent structural and functional alterations affecting brain interconnections, synaptic size and densities, as well as their responsiveness. With repeated instances of heightened stress activities, an abnormal form of neuronal interconnections can develop along with a reduced response threshold. In other words, severe maternal stress while you are carried inside your mother’s womb can really mess up the way your brain is "wired." This is how the foundational capacity for empathy and socialization is handicapped. 

And people get so "jiggy" about babies remembering birth and early infancy --- babies who are fully formed human beings from second trimester on, awake and looking around at birth, and their brains don't remember? Basic brain development is that the human baby experiences and interacts with the environment and the brain responds and "wires" up in response. Was it happy or sad, joyful or painful, stressful or gentle?

Once one understands that consciousness is present in the cellular matter of the egg and the sperm one begins to see how everything happening outside the womb of the baby is contributing to his or her development. Some say it's inappropriate to speak to children about their birth?? On some level that is so laughable, because of the utter ridiculousness that the baby doesn't remember -- as if the baby wasn't there and didn't experience the birth. HIS or HER birth.

There is a field of scientific research looking at the primal period of life and specifically the last trimester when the human fetus has been shown to be interacting, tasting, feeling, sensing, and hearing and responding to the environment. There is also a field called Infant Psychology and most major universities have a research lab looking at the ability of the human newborn's effort to interact with his or her new environment. Yet, we are expected to believe that this development from primal period to infancy is somehow in the "off" position during labor and birth? So, that a baby is not impacted by the experience?

We have evidence about prenatal period so it is inappropriate to dismiss the birth experience. THEN, one can begin to look at conception and the first imprint of perception, based on the mother's hormones in response to HER experience -- love, ambivalence, guilt, rape. Emotions result in hormones. How the cells join together to create the one cell of the new human in a particular hormonal environment is the first experience of the human being. It's so logical that in every cell that develops from that cell, the being knows what happened at conception. This continues through gestation, labor and birth. How can we logically and morally and scientifically say that process and experience of birth is insignificant to the baby?

Anti-homebirth folks rail against women for thinking only of their own experience. They are chastised for putting their baby in great harm and putting their need for a good experience ahead of the baby's. Most birth caregivers refuse to consider the baby's experience.

What would it hurt to consider how the birth might be experienced by the baby and that same science about development applies to the period of labor and birth as it does to the prenatal and post-birth period?

"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