The Other Side of the Glass

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

The trailer

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Midwives administering epidural anesthesia!?!?!

I have just arrived home from Los Angeles and the Association for Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Health Congress a few hours ago. WOO-hooo. It was so awesome.

I presented the Safe Baby Resolution on Saturday night. One of the most exciting requests of the Hawaii legislature is asking them to look at the use of narcotic epidural anesthesia and high cesarean rates (the resolution is on I was on a panel with Robin Grille, author of Parenting for a Peaceful World at and Robbie Davis Floyd who shared the exciting news of the progress of CIMS (Coalition for Maternity Services) at CIMS has a new document coming out with the research documentation about epidural anesthesia. The Missouri legislature (where I live) is looking at giving midwives the right to practice in MO (rather than making it a felony charge of practicing medicine without a license.) This week the Senate committee PASSED it so that it WILL BE heard in the SENATE!! Yeaahhhooooeeee. I was also interviewed by the film maker of Pregnant in America: A Nation's Miscarriage ( ABOUT the use of epidural anesthesia and the effects on the mother-baby relationship. I spoke of how I wish for my own daughter to engage with others (and eventually her future husband) in loving, intimate, and drug-free ways. (Ah, that would be Parenting for a Peaceful World!!) Don't we as a society tell our children from early on to "just say no" to drugs and try to teach our children to function successfuly withOUT drugs? WE KNOW that narcotics (and other drugs) interfere with intimacy and in our ability to engage in whole, respectful ways. If I wish for my own daughter to not use drugs in her close and intimate relationships BECAUSE of the emotional and psychological consequences, why would I want her to use narcotics during the most important, intimate process she and her baby will ever do, in relationship with her baby's father and her partner??

Yeah, what a great week! Theeeeen I just got one of the "bubble-poppers" -- you advocates of natural birth, empowered birth, homebirth, obstetric reform -- y'all know what I am talking about. Tired, yet excited from the experience and travels, I viewed a few emails. I just happened to get a link to a blog by a Canadian midwife. Nice blog, and then scanning I was surprised and dismayed to read that she was just recently qualified to administer epidural anesthesia (after practicing midwifery less than a year, if I read correctly). Say, what!??! THIS is a huge issue to me -- on so many levels. Midwives are the keepers of physiological birth (and protectors of women and should be of babies). DOCTORS are trained for years in technology and they ought to be the keepers of the medical and technology. In a perfect world -- well actually, not so perfect but in other countries -- midwives do low to medium risk, natural births with the majority of women; doctors do high risk and medicated birth for the small number who can not give birth without medical assistance, right? I just had to post --- and here it is:

"WHY!?!? as a midwife are you training for and using epidural? It is so known to be dangerous for the baby -- the research is clear. NARCOTICS!! A woman and baby birthing "under the influence" will live their lives with the consequences physically and emotionally.

OF COURSE, sometimes a woman and baby must have pain medication -- and then there are understandings in pre and perinatal psychology about how to administer, monitor, and support the dyad WITH CONSCIOUSENESS. It ought to be last resort. Women ought to be expected to PREPARE in all ways for conception, pregnancy, labor and birth, and mothering. It is not just a "woman's right" to labor and birth drug impaired.

I am saddened because it the midwives who I see as our champions for the woman AND THE BABY. There is no way in which it is the baby's best interest for his/her mother to labor "under the influence" of narcotic epidural anesthesia. I have done so --- a woman is NOT only "numb fromt the waist down". She is numbed emotionally and unless someone makes great effort to support her to stay connected internally with her baby (not watching tv, chatting, etc) she and her baby's connection is tragically harmed.

And, I submit this with the greatest respect for what you do and that you have put much effort into your decision. It is just SO CRITICAL that ANY intervention or drug used on a laboring and birthing baby be done with respect for the wholeness and sentience of the baby and with conscious regard.

I pray that the Missouri legislature does not learn of Canada's allowing of midwives being certified to administer epidural anesthesia. The CASE for midwifery care is BASED on midwives NOT practicing medicine. Administering epidural anesthesia IS medicine. Jeeeesh ..... AND, Lord o' mercy. Help us.

I am trying to get the image of midwives' future need to control birth and malpractice avoidance out of my mind. Midwives!! Pleeeeeeease, BE the change you wish to see!!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Birth as we know it

I attended Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova's session, "The Making of the Film "Birth As We Know It." Elena, you might know from the work and video of birthing in the sea in Russia.

The video is awesome. Many women birthing blissfully and without drugs and looking as if they are not in pain. In fact, one woman had mulitple orgasms.

Well worth the money. Ten percent of the proceeds go to the woman featured on the cover who is a midwive in a birth center in Russia. More than ninety-nine percent of births in Russia are in state hospitals where women and babies are routinely separated for five days. Disruption of the bonding period ensures the ability to do control and eliminates future "crowd control."

Check out the website --

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Gone for awhile ...

I am in LA -- no, not for the Oscars, although we are going to try to get close enough to gaze upon some "stars" on Sunday night. Why not indulge in some silliness?

I am here to attend something much bigger than the Oscars -- the Association for Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Health congress!! I'll be presenting the Safe Baby Resolution on Saturday afternoon. I hope Heather can post some of her informative and compassionate articles while I am gone.

I'll be back after the 28th -- pUMped UP, no doubt!!

Check out the conference schedule here:

By the way, Dr. Joel Evans, the holistic obstetrician who cited the Johnson and Daviss study as quality is speaking. His workshop title is "Sacred Dimensions of Pregnancy.”

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

There’s an open secret in medicine: Patients lie. They lie about how much they smoke and whether they’re taking their medicine. They understate how much they drink and overstate how much they exercise. They feign symptoms to get appointments quicker and ask doctors to hide the truth from insurance companies.“Doctors have a rule of thumb. Whatever the patient says they’re drinking, multiply it by three,” said Dr. Bruce Rowe, a family doctor in suburban Milwaukee. “If they say two drinks a day, assume they have six.”


"There's an open secret in medicine". That caught my attention ... sounds like Clinton, obstetric, and scientific double-talk to me. An open secret would be known deception, if you ask me. And then the deceivER is calling the others liar. Do people reeeeeally lie? Is denial and self-deception really out and out lying? Who gets hurt the most when one lies to one's self. If patients lie about certain private information (as the story shares), can we say then that doctors out and out lie to us? Is that really lying? Or, just denial. Self-reporting is always likely to be exaggerated or minimized to fit the "norm." "Baby looks fine."

On the other hand, the use of cocaine and cigarettes are almost certainly major contributors to adverse neurobehavioral outcomes. But your proposed study will probably not work because you have no objective way of determining fetal exposure. Numerous studies have shown that self-reportage of use is unreliable and you need to have objective measures to verify the incidence and degree of cocaine and cigarette use.

-- personal communication from a researcher regarding my research proposal for evaluating the long-term effects of drugs during labor and birth by following babies' development comparing non-medicated and medicated birth. Recently, discuss sing the study that found high incidence of brain hemorrhaging in vaginal born babies, I suggested it would be a good study to assess and compare babies born at home without drugs and interventions to those in hospitals with drugs, mother supine, and interventions. This was my research proposal -- and he indicated that it would be impossible to look at the effects of drugs used at birth because women will under-report their prenatal drug exposure. So, then, just don't look at drugs at birth? When the majority of pregnant women will be adamant about no drugs during pregnancy, but believe doctors who say epidural anesthesia won't affect their baby. Did the researcher shoot me down because he didn't believe drugs at birth were a problem (as his communication did say) or was he just lying? Does he have a vested interest in not "rocking the boat" with medicine and big Pharm?

A lot of studies, I notice, make very sweeping claims like "Patients lie to doctors." Is lying actually the best word to use to describe the relationship between doctor and patient; medical profession and society? We could get into one of my favorite discussions about the dynamics of power -- and how it is in the medical system that one has to be very vigilant and self-protective. Every patient, especially pregnant women, cancer patients, and the elderly need an advocate with them all times. Most of the people I know feel the bigger problem is the inability to give or get adequate, accurate information from the physician.

As for self reports, having worked in drug treatment, I am aware of under- and mis-reporting of drug and alcohol use. However, the women I know who chose to have a homebirth do so very often in order to ensure they don't have drugs. It seems odd to me that women who are so intent on being drug-free during labor and birth would be women who drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and use any prescription or illegal drugs during the prenatal development. Most of them that I have known endure many painful injuries, ailments, and common colds, etc without any medications whatsoever.

I wonder what pregnant women "lie" about to their obstetricians. I was physically abused in the eighth month of my pregnancy and had a black eye. My obstetrician never even acknowledged it. My doting medical-student husband (later to become an OB) was there. And, do physicians ever deny, collaborate with lying to protect themselves (emotionally, mentally, financially) and each other? Or, to us? Like tell a woman -- sometimes in the first visits -- that her pelvis is to big or later that baby is too big (like Ann Nicole) to have to induce when the truth is s/he is managing her schedule?

If pregnant women deny their drug usage, how can doctors take into consideration the previous drug history of a woman if they don't know it? (By the way, isn't zero time three still zero?) What is the consideration for a laboring woman AND the laboring baby whose mother has know drug usage prenatally? Are there precise, science-based protocols for determing the "safe" dosage for mother, while keeping it "safe" for the baby (IF any drugs were ever shown to be safe, that is)? For example, if one watches Anna Nicole's Cesarean video, she clearly was not fully anesthetized. Was this because of her history of addiction (per reports of methadone during pregnancy) and her tolerance for drugs, so that a "normal" dose didn't work? Is she a liar or a drug addict? Which came first the liar or the addict? Is medicine, psychology, and religion to continue to deny/lie about the importance of prenatal, labor, and birth to the developing brain and body?

I think the medical profession should stop lying to themselves and to us about the promotion of epidural as safe and "natural" and all of the evidence-based science that clearly shows what is true. Maternal choice for inducing, epidural, or planned cesarean ain't the truth -- every time the doctor maneuvers a woman into "choosing" these interventions, there's a lotta lyin' goin' on. Both sides, baby.

Next time you go to the doctor, sit him or her down and tell the truth. See where it gets you.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Two infants in LA NICU die from bacterial outbreak

L.A. hospital cited for deadly bacterial outbreak
Two infants died after staff failed to clean instruments properly

Updated: 11:29 a.m. CT Jan 24, 2007

LOS ANGELES - Hospital staff did not properly clean medical instruments linked to a deadly bacterial outbreak at a neonatal intensive care unit in Los Angeles, regulators have concluded.

White Memorial Medical Center closed the unit Dec. 4 after an outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa sickened five infants. Two of the babies died, and their deaths were believed to have been caused by the pathogen.

In a report issued Tuesday, inspectors from the California Department of Health Services faulted hospital staff for not following manufacturer’s recommendations for sterilizing laryngoscope blades, which are used to insert breathing tubes. The report said the respiratory therapy staff simply wiped the blades with soap, tap water and alcohol wipes.

I'll repeat my belief -- that labor, birth, NICU, and PICU units need to be in separate self-contained, free-standing facilities, away from hospitals where sick and diseased people come for care. The problem is that sixty percent of a hospital revenues come from maternity care. In the inner city hospital where the resident in previous posts worked, the cardiac and obstetric departments competed to hold the title.

Nah --- the indoctrination of women to believe hospital birth is safer, with drugs and interventions to ensure her baby is born alive and is healthy -- it's not about the money. And, ACOG's stand against homebirth, water birth, and VBAC isn't about money and has nothing to with their organized ability to stay off the radar of accountibility by ANYONE outside their peer group. Riiiight.

Why don't obstetricians stop fleeing because of liability costs and organize to empower themselves to move birth from the hospitals (they could be in control, make a lot of money, and do birth right) and stop accepting the responsbility of having their a**es on the liability line for so many --- women, babies, colleagues, and hospitals?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Plus Side of Immunizations

Is there a plus side of immunizations?

I received an email today from CARE2 Make a Difference! Makes me think about the immunization debate again -- one, that I generally stay out of. This information from UNICEF verifies the value of immunizations in saving lives. I wonder what would happen were children in America not immunized - would measles become a problem again?

We, the Undersigned, endorse the following petition:
Thank UNICEF for Helping to Reduce Worldwide Measles Deaths

See Full Petition

Measles deaths have fallen by 60 percent worldwide (largely in Africa) since 1999 - incredible public health success! According to the World Health Organization, global measles deaths fell from an estimated 873,000 deaths in 1999 to 345,000 in 2005. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved.

The reduction in measles deaths is due in large part to support from the Measles Initiative, which was spearheaded by UNICEF and other organizations. The initiative mobilized more than US $300 million to support campaigns working to increase the numbers of children vaccinated early in life. Between 1999 and 2005, more than 360 million children across the world received a measles shot as part of mass vaccination efforts.

The fight is not over yet, but this is one victory that deserves a big round of applause! Show UNICEF your appreciation by signing this thank you petition.

I do believe it is one of the leading causes in the alarming rise in autism, and I believe so is the use of epidural. Is the debate about mercury -- thimersol -- that was knowingly used even after it was shown to be dangerous, or is it about immunizations in general. I know part of the problem is the lack of trust in drug companies, medical community, and legislators BECAUSE of thimersol debacle.

More about drugs and Anna Nicole Smith

Meanwhile, an attorney for a California doctor accused of prescribing methadone to an alias of Anna Nicole Smith while she was pregnant with her daughter said her client gave Smith "sound and appropriate" treatment.

Attorney Ellyn Garofalo said she and her client, Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, were confident the California Medical Board would find Kapoor had committed no wrongdoing in his treatment of Smith. The board opened an inquiry Thursday into any possible mistreatment of Smith by Kapoor

This week, published what appeared to be an Aug. 25, 2006, pharmacy receipt for a methadone prescription written by a "Dr. Kapoor, S." to "Chase, Michelle." TMZ said "Michelle Chase" was an alias used by Smith. TMZ did not say how the document was obtained.

Methodone is a synthetic opiod, like Fentanyl (used in epidural anesthesia). Methadone is often used to help people withdraw from heroin and narcotic addiction.

Why is it wrong for a physician to prescribe Methadone to a pregnant woman but not wrong to prescribe an opiod during labor and birth to the majority of women and babies? Ok, ok ... I know ... I know ... a woman has a right to CHOOSE to be pain free during labor and birth; and it is, after all, such a short time, and the baby won't remember, and the complications documented for decades in peer-reviewed scientific literature "just go away." Right? Whatever happens to the baby doesn't matter since it just "appears baby is ok."

Who is thinking clearly and unimpaired to continue to perpeputate such un-logical and un-scientific use of drugs during labor and calling it safe? The use of opiods in labor and birth safe is promoted as safe, inspite of obvious scientific research showing it is not -- and, now, to the point of it being seen culturally as normal and even natural? And, using them prenatally, the woman and the doctor can be in trouble? This is crazy. Why doesn't a woman have the right to choose to use drugs during gestation? It's her body, after all.

Clearly, a woman ingesting opiod on a regular basis during pregnancy is more traumatizing that the relatively short time she is drugged during labor and birth. But for the woman who would not dream of using opiods or even tylenol during gestation, but without question uses epidural anesthesia for labor and birth, HOW do we KNOW that even the short time during labor is safe for the baby? Looking at the history of scientific research that shows the mulitple complications of epidural to mother and baby**, how do we know that "one-time use" of opiods during labor and birth does not contribute to future psychological, emotional, and addiction issues?

** Have I mentioned that women and babies are non-consenting, non-informed research subjects in one long research project?

More about the Tlingit and Birth

I am particularly interested in the reference in the article by Ina May in my previous post about the Tlingit women giving birth asleep as the Tlingit are from Alaska. My sister was a Methodist minister in Nome for three years during the time that I was working in state systems and grassroot efforts -- we had much to share about the conditions of indigenous and disempowered women. Our ancestors are Native American. My sister was involved in undoing decades of abuses by the church. She was "face" of many wrong-doings as she earned the trust of the local people who had endured decades of abuses. My friend who trains teachers to teach infant massage tells me that the women of Alaska tell her, "Now you tell us to do this again after you told us we were wrong?" Now, my son is deployed to Iraq with the Alaska 297th. Picture below is of the homecoming of their previous deployment. Over one third of his unit are Native Alaskan. I am thrilled to get newsletters with stories of the soldiers integrating their native rituals into everyday military life. When I attend Native American Pow wows I am always touched by the patriotism of the Native Americans who have served in every war. Honoring their service to this country is an important part of the opening ceremony.

Following is a story by a young Tlingit woman about how her ancestors gave birth and what she wishes to bring back. As I read it I thought of many of our modern beliefs and procedures that are nothing more than religious rituals cloaked in science, and are now our social rituals being passed off as "scientific". Rituals. Passed on from doctor to resident in our medical education system - technology and religion. Passed down from woman to woman. My mother believed her surgeon a few years ago who told her she should have had a cesarean birth and it would have prevented her prolapsed uterus. Why do they say such sh**? Coulda, woulda, shoulda -- what is a woman to do except try to save her daughters from her fate? And, now the research is showing that forceps is the contributor to pelvic floor damage -- my mother had six children on her back, three with heavy drugs and forceps. I digress, as usual. The point is, and the point of sharing the story below is to look at the history of birthing women, how culturally our rituals are about promoting womens' bodies as dysfunctional and needing to be helped with technology. Where is this taking us, and why are the men-folk allowing it?

The story shows us, like in many older cultures, men clearly had a different role than that of today -- and I am reminded of Michel Odent's assertions about why he believes fathers ought not to be in the birth. The possibility exists that perhaps in modern day birth in particular where he is unable to protect his woman and baby, that a man experiences too much that is not within his ability to process. He is unable to protect and watches the violation of his woman. She feels he did not protect her -- a common emotional issue with women and they are unable to adequately address it in their relationship. Neither men or women have a place to process and heal their experience of birthing their baby as birth is not seen or felt in our culture as signficiant in emotional and spiritual ways -- as it was in earlier cultures.

I am wondering about this, and such things as HOW ever did women birth without modern chemicals?? There is no other explanation but that they HAD to trust their bodies and inner wisdom, and each other. How did babies ever take their first breath without harsh, over-stimulation with stiff cloths, and without 100% oxygen? I mean "room air" is only 28%. How did they survive without 100% oxygen and warming units? (Hint: most likely "nature" intended for our first breath to be the concentration we'd live in. DUH. And, mother's body was the warmer . Did "sensory integration problems" even exist before the days of modern birth with immediate cord clamping and over-stimulation of the newborn to force him or her to breathe before his lungs did their necessary process?) I digress again. SO much to say always.
Again, in the story below we learn about the women's ritual in birth, and I wonder ... what was the male's ritual in preparation for fatherhood? What did the community of men do -- besides, most likely, create a perimeter of protection? How was fatherhood honored? For surely it was. In the story it's clear to see that the "roles" of women and men were clearly different from that of the white people. I have heard that native Americans were shocked at the way white people treated their women and especially how they beat their children.
Ok, on with the story, and wondering ... how can we respect, claim, and embrace the ancient knowing and wisdsom and also respect and integrate life-saving science and technology?

Greg Brown, along with the "People of Noble People Dancers" performed a welcome home dance to the Tlingit National Anthem, "Aan Yaku 'Saani Lexi" for members of the Alaska Army National Guard's 3rd Battalion, 297th Infantry, Sunday, April 9. The unit was formally welcomed home Sunday with a Freedom Salute Ceremony at the Tlingit-Haida Community Council Building after spending one year in the war-torn country of Iraq. The Freedom Salute Ceremony honored members of the community, families and Soldiers for their support during the global war on terrorism and was attended by about 250 people.

Photo: Sgt. Eric Hamilton, JFHQ-AK Public Affairs

by Liz Cheney, Tlinget

In European cultures the man was seen as the "head of the household", the "money-maker", the "bread-winner", and hence, the "decision-maker", but this was not so, within the world of the Tlingit. We were a people that were matrilineal, our children followed their mothers' line, and there was also, in terms of society, a great emphasis put on the activities of the entire family. The division of labor was not a method of gender control, but rather a system developed from time immemorial which allowed for the fact that no matter what, the wife and her children were the center of the world. With this in mind, it is easy to understand the importance of the birth of a child, especially the first-born. These days it seems so easy to forget that when a child is born and starts it's life being initiated and named into it's family, clan, and village, there is also another change, that of the woman becoming a mother.

In my village of Kake, Alaska, there was a certain area designated for child birth, it was called the Birthing Tree, a huge old spreading hemlock tree with low sweeping branches, for privacy. It was cleaned and maintained by the women of the village, no men were allowed within the sanctum of the tree. These days it is thought of by the men to be a dirty, filthy place, where the blood of woman is spilled, but back in the old days, before the devastation of Christian oppression, men were not allowed in because the medicine of the woman was too powerful. It was believed that at times of the moon cycles and especially during birth, the power of the woman was too strong of a scent and could dilute the medicine of the men.

All through the pregnancy, the expecting mother was being continually told by her grandmothers, aunties, and mothers the role and importance of being a mother. Many of the women from around the village would come by to wish the unborn child a safe passage from the land of the ancestors. The expecting mother would spend her days listening and learning the rhythms of motherhood. She would sit quietly in places she felt drawn to and describe the beauty to her child. Whenever she worked on anything she would take the time to describe how and why she was doing it. It was believed that if she did not speak quietly to her silent observer inside and share with it beautiful songs and stories, then the child would be born with empty ears, always trying to make noise, and it would have empty eyes, unable to see beauty.

As she grew closer to her delivery time, the expecting mother would have less and less contact with her husband and the other men. About a month before she was due, she would move into the birthing area underneath the hemlock tree and start making the preparations for birth. Now, her education into the world of motherhood would increase by tenfold since there were no men around to hear the words of woman's wisdom. The aunties would come to teach her how to make it through labor, take care of her newborn, and how to perform the ceremonies necessary to insuring a good, healthy life for her child. She was also told how the child's life would affect her own, how to adjust the pattern of her life to her child's, and she was also told about the public ceremonies of introduction and naming which would come soon after birth.

When she went into labor all the women of her family and clan would come to show their support. They would sit, just outside the canopy of the tree, by a small fire, laughing, singing, calling out to the woman soon to be a mother. Their noise and happiness was to help ease the pain but also welcome the child into a family of love. Inside the tree, only the closest aunties-midwives were with the woman. When the birth was impending, the woman would squat over a shallow hole, lined with beautiful smelling cedar and soft wild cotton. She would reach out and grasp the strong stake that had been implanted a little in front of the birth cradle, facing the strength of the tree. Her aunties would move to her sides and behind her. Their strong, gentle hands helped ease the pain of labor and their quiet, soothing voices helped coax the child out into the world.

Immediately after birth, the new mother would take the child's umbilical cord, wrap it with some medicine, and bury it somewhere near the birthing area. This would insure that the child would never have to search for it's home, as itÕs umbilical would always lead it right back to the starting place. Then the word would spread throught the village that an ancestor had made it back safely. There would be much rejoicing and happiness at the prospect of a family reunion. The family members would then begin preparation for the upcoming potlatch ceremonies on behalf of their new relative.

Unlike other cultures where the newborn is immediately brought out to be introduced to it's family, in Tlingit culture things weren't so rushed. The father wouldn't be able to see the child for at least a month, or for the duration of the new mother and the child's bonding session under the tree. After birth, the tree became the first home while the child adjusted to the smell of it's mother and the fullness of the world. This time was also very important for the woman who also needed it to grow accustomed to being a mother. When she and her aunties decided that it was time to introduce the new relative to the family, it was also time for the celebration and ceremony of the potlatch.

Becoming a mother was indeed a true "rite of passage" for the Tlingit woman of long ago. Through the preparation, commitment, instruction, and initiation of childbirth, a Tlingit woman's position with her family, clan, and village changed from one of woman to mother. It was a life changing conversion honored by all the community with feasting, singing, dancing, and laughter.

Today there is not quite so much ritual to giving birth. Most of our Tlingit children are born in an Indian Health Service hospital, which is not only located in a city but also on a different island altogether. This naturally makes it kind of hard to bury the umbilical cord. The changes in our Tlingit world and the ceremonies and rites that we believed in are, from where I stand, due only to the pervasiveness of the whiteman's culture. Although I do not believe that our culture was, or is, static, I do feel that we had then, and still have, the power to control our own society without the guidance and interruption of any outside sources.

I can only hope that when it comes time to for me to have a child, the rituals and ceremonies that have lain so long ignored are once again brought forth, placed within our box of knowledge, and taught to me by my aunties.

Prepared for Native American Philosophy, IAIA (1996)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Water Babies

The Precocious Human Baby
by Dr. Michael Hyson

" The truth is, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit." - John 3:4-5

In the animals, there are two kinds of babies – babies that must have further development and those that are ready to go right at birth. These are called precocious. Examples are zebras, wildebeests, fish, dolphins, as opposed to others like baby opossums or kangaroo babies and… until now… the human baby. Human babies are weak, and mostly helpless at birth – IF they are born into an air/land environment and subject to their full one-gravity weight.

Now suppose we birth this same human baby into another environment, the water, and watch what happens. What we find, from the now thousands of underwater births, is that the babies swim immediately, even while they are on the umbilical cord!

They are fine underwater, eyes open and fully functional, smiling at the people above water, and with little indication of any desire to breathe (they are still getting oxygenated blood from the placenta through the umbilical).

Soon, of course, the baby is brought to the surface for its first breath and the baby usually begins a land phase of existence. Yet we know that children retain their swimming ability and a full diving response when they are raised around water from birth.

Early in this research, Igor Tscharkofsky, one of the main developers of underwater birth, had a daughter who was born prematurely. The Russian doctors thought she would likely die. Tscharkofsky took the child home and floated her in a largish tank of warm water. She soon learned to float, and breathe in the water, and even sleep there. She was out of the water for feeding and holding yet spent the majority of her time in the water for some weeks. She developed into a fine young lady who attended university.

Igor Smirnoff, Igor’s research director, has documented water babies who sleep in the water face-down and while fully asleep, periodically turn their heads to get a breath. Early explorers to Polynesia reported places where many babies, initially mistaken for coconuts, were sleeping in the lagoons. So baby life in the water was traditional there.

Now what is the point of all this? That we ARE precocious animals at birth IN THE WATER.
This phase lasts until crawling begins. Until that time, the baby has a lot of subcutaneous fat that gives them buoyancy and insulation in the water. As crawling begins, the child loses the "baby fat" and begins to learn to move on land and walk.

Tscharkofsky and Smirnoff found that the water babies developed 6 months faster over their first two years! This included walking and talking sooner than "land-locked" babies. We know that bundling a baby on a board, as some native American tribes did, delays the development of walking and leads to higher rates of dyslexia.
Now we see birth and development in water accelerates development. So, the gravity field is like a constant "bundling board" binding the newborn in the morass of a one-gravity field when its true environment is the water.

Correlative evidence abounds. According to the Aquatic Ape Theory, humans had a phase of development in the water. The theory suggests that our sub-cutaneous fat, the shape of our noses, the salt-water tears, the loss of hair, the patterns in the hair, the need for fish oils like the eicosanoic acid from fish that are needed for brain development etc. are all “marine” characteristics. One can explain much of our structure and our behavior with this theory.

Now the standard theory is that our ancestors came down from the trees and went out onto the hot, dry, savannah to scavenge meat and learn to hunt. Recently it was learned that the millions of years long drought in East Africa that was the stimulus for these developments --- never happened. Most of the genus Homo fossils extant come from riverine and forested areas. Some feel that the "savannah theory is dead".

The aquatic ape theory is now the best candidate for a description of our evolution.

One way to test this is our behaviour. I propose a simple test. How many people say “Hey, we’ve got a two week vacation coming up. Let’s get out the spears and go run around hunting on the hot, dry savannah! That would be great! "

Nah.., we say “Let’s go to the beach!”

For many years now, we have birthed our babies on land, into a dry, one-G environment.
By this we have hampered the development of our babies, depriving them of rich early experiences and the chance to swim and become strong in a buoyant environment.

What we see around us are people who have had their development thwarted by being deprived of their correct primal birth and early development environment of the water.

Let us return to our true roots. We are amphibious – born into water, and raised there and around it until we crawl and walk, and then we return to swim and dive, play and fish.

We are water creatures. When we recognize this we can restore our species to its rightful state.

This is why we are creating ocean and water birthing programs here in Hawaii. The dolphins have long been our friends and have attended human water births in the Black Sea over the last 20 years. We are reviving this practice in Hawaii where dolphin attended ocean births were practiced at least until 1937. This is a beginning of restoring our birth and rearing practices to correspond with our true nature.

7-day old died after circumcision

Exclusive by Stephen Moyes 15/02/2007

DETECTIVES are investigating the death of a seven-day-old baby after he was circumcised.

Stunned relatives at the Jewish ceremony saw the toddler experience breathing difficulties. He was taken to hospital but died eight days later. A post mortem foundthe infant died from cardiac arrest and oxygen starvation.

Police are to interview family members and the senior rabbi who performedthe operation at Golders Green Synagogue in North London. Concerns raisedby doctors treating the baby have led to the probe being led by ScotlandYard's child abuse investigators. Police and Home Office sources said the investigation was "highly unusual".

A Scotland Yard spokesman stated: "The death is being treated asunexplained at this early stage."The baby died two weeks ago at University College Hospital, Central London.

Circumcision of boys is an operation in which the foreskin is removed fromthe penis. With small babies, local anaesthetic is often sufficient andavoids the risks of a general anaesthetic. Some people believe the skin is redundant and gets in the way of hygiene. Others say it is a vital part of the male anatomy and should not be remove.

Judaism considers circumcision to be an important ritual. The operation isusually performed by a mohel - a specialist in the procedure and it srituals. Many British mohels are doctors, rabbis or both. All have received appropriate medical and religious training.

A spokesman for The United Synagogue, a membership of 35 orthodoxsynagogues in Greater London, said: "We are awaiting the results of thepolice enquiry and until then it would not be appropriate for us tocomment further."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Penn and Teller talk about circumcision

I recently was given a copy of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! Circumcision.
It was orignally on Showtime. Try to get a copy -- it's great.

You can see two clips at this links:

This episode examines the historical, religious, medical and ethical arguments associated with circumcision.!/circumcision/episode/408799/summary.html#

Documentary about Birth in America

Coming soon ....

Pregnant in America: A Nations' Miscarriage
Who's getting rich? Who is paying the price?

Check out the trailer and contribute at:

Includes interviews of doctors and midwives in Holland and in Germany.

Giving Birth while Sleeping!

"The vast majority of Tlingit women suffer very little and some not at all, when their children are born. They have been known to give birth while sleeping." (Cited in Goldsmith, 1990, p. 2)

From the Pleasures of Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin, MA, CPM in Arizona Choices, Dec05/Jan 06, page 3-7

Newborns at birth -- A picture paints a 1000 words

IF people will only really look .... so, I have added another thousand words to point out the experience of birth for the baby and how it is logical and scientific that the baby's brain remembers the experience. The first Mom and baby were a “normal, uncomplicated” planned cesearean section birth. C-section was “maternal chose” and "planned" within two days because the baby was breech. The second mom and baby gave birth at home with HomeFirst staff in Chicago.

The obstetrician for the first mother was the only provider in an HMO serving a major bank corporation in Phoenix, Arizona. No other options were discussed for the breech presentation. Not one known technique for turning a breech baby was offered to the mother.

Look at the pictures with new eyes -- eyes for the experience of the birthing baby whose brain IS RECORDING every second of life. Who can determine the definitive time in an infant’s or child’s life when one starts to remember? Can you really dare to look at these pictures and really see the pain of this baby as the neonatalogist (big musclely arms) holds him high in the air? There is a bit of smile in the doctor’s eyes? How can this be? Does he not see the terror and anguish of this child as he is held high in a cold, noisy, bright surgical suite? I notice this a lot -- a thrashing, crying baby and parents and caregivers smiling. Can you dare to really see it and feel it yourself?

Do you really think this baby has no emotional response to this birth and can’t remember, while you looking at them will have an emotional response?? Does the doctor not think about what this baby’s only need--to be in his mother’s arms? Why does the scientific medical community not remember that the amgydala of the brain is the part of the brain that is “online” in this moment, and that we know scientifically that this baby’s brain is organizing memory around this experience?

Can anyone determine the definitive time in an infant’s or child’s life when one starts to remember? Does your newborn not remember the joy and love of her birth or early infancy or toddlerhood -- if not, why bother? Can you really dare to look at these pictures and really see the pain of this baby as the physician holds him high in the air? There is a bit of smile in the doctor’s eyes? How can this be? Does he not see the terror and anguish of this child as he is held high in a cold, noisy, bright surgical suite? Can you dare to really see it and feel it yourself?

Do you really think this baby has no emotional response to this birth and can’t remember the experience even though he has not yet put words to experience? Even though, while you looking at them you will have an emotional response and the words? He has only his body and cries to communicate. Society does not listen. Does the doctor not think about what this baby’s only need--to be in his mother’s arms?

For weeks and months before his birth this baby’s mom and dad were likely singing and playing music to him as many parents now do. Why is it that most of us in our society easily accept that babies will somehow selectively “remember” these joyful and loving womb experiences; but not the painful and terrifying? How can a reputable teacher, psychologist, nurse, or physician say that this child will not ALSO remember this obviously horrific birth experience and the experience of being separated from his mother?

Look at the ointment in the baby’s eyes as he lies in the bassinet. Any adult who has had surgery can attest to the emotion ranging from panic, to fear, to terror this creates. This newborn has not yet been held by his mother -- the one whose voice he knows as himself. They will not get to gaze in each other’s eyes; nor will he for several days now, because of the ointment. The immediate eye contact at birth is nature’s way of triggering a cascade of hormones that will facilitate nursing and bonding. Instead of being in his mother's arms and experiencing her touch that is loving as only a mother's can be, he is alone in a bassinet while his mother is being cared for on another floor. He has been scrubbed, weighed, his spine stretched to measure his height, and he has been given shots....all without warning and permission, and all within moments of his new experience of life outside the womb, all under bright lights with strangers in a noisy room. His senses are bombarded. He has experienced "torture" before he has been with his mother. She is medicated, unable to fully feel. His father, who in any other situation, would be a protective lion father, has been rendered powerless by the medical enviornment. He did manage to throw a fit to have his son reunited with his mother who was on the regular surgical recovery floor because there was no room in labor and delivery (and it was planned. Isn't that like having a reservation and not getting to go in?)

Imagine this as your first experience of the world. How does a society do this to it's young without the acknowledgement of the long term effects. How could we not see modern medical birth as the source of children's medical, social, and psychological dynamics? This little boy was literally terrified to be with anyone but his mother, father, and grandparents -- all the way up until early elementary years. Leaving his mother to go into a new enviornment FEELS like the first experience with her because it was the first exeprience and everything else is "filtered" through that experience.

It is scientifically known that eye contact between mother and baby within minutes and for the first hour of life is absolutely crucial for healthy attachment. Hospitals continue, nonetheless, to put this ointment (not drops that drain away, it is OINTMENT) in a newborns eye before he sees his mother which leads to hormone release in both of them. This is the essential element necessary for him to be able to self-attach to his mother’s breast. Look at the pain on the face of the mother as she looks at her baby. We do not see signs of oxytocin and endorphins in the relationship between mother and baby. This baby was unable to let his mother out of his sight for the first four years of his life, even with grandparents and aunts and uncles. He is five years old now, and as is often the case with children born by c-section, he is extremely active and verbally articulate.

Tell me again that birth doesn’t create the earliest experience in our physical lives and that babies don’t remember. And, I’ll say, LOOK at the pictures again. Look at your own, your children’s, your grandchildren’s with new eyes.

Look at the ones below of a mom and baby who birthed at home with HomeFirst in Chicago. Mother said the first picture was taken minutes before the birth. Not exactly our America television drama and trauma birth, eh? Her legs aren't being forced up to her ears into the worst possible position, there is not an emergency team of medical people scrambling around telling her what to do and how to do it -- "PUSH.. PUUUUSH! PUUUSSH... PUUUSSH." (Is it any wonder we have the problems we do with children pushing, pushing, pushing every boundry at home, school, and in society?)

This baby was first touched by his mom and did the self-attachment sequence described on this site. Mother's first touch is critical because it is loving and gentle -- no one can touch a baby like a mother or father does. Self-attaching at the breast completes a biologically programmed completion in the baby's brain.

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

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

So that was the pushing process. The nurse instantly scooped him up upon his exit from the womb and laid him on my tummy. Oh so cute! We just lay there together after that, and I just watched him. My sister wanted me to get him latched on to my breast, but I remembered on your website something about letting a newborn find the breast on their own. So I opted to wait for him. I don't know how long we laid there, probably 10-15 minutes or so,and then he started wriggling and rooting. He wriggled and rooted all the way up to my nipple, all on his own. And he nursed! And that was that! I was elated that he had found it himself... and a bit surprised

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Fetal Psychology

Psychology Today, October 1998
Source: Psychology Today, Sep/Oct98, Vol. 31 Issue 5, p44, 6p, 4c.
by Janet L. Hopson

Behaviorally speaking, there's little difference between a newborn baby and a 32-week-old fetus. A new wave of research suggests that the fetus can feel, dream, even enjoy The Cat in the Hat. The abortion debate may never be the same.

The scene never fails to give goose bumps: the baby, just seconds old and still dewy from the womb, is lifted into the arms of its exhausted but blissful parents. They gaze adoringly as their new child stretches and squirms, scrunches its mouth and opens its eyes. To anyone watching this tender vignette, the message is unmistakable. Birth is the beginning of it all, ground zero, the moment from which the clock starts ticking.

Not so, declares Janet DiPietro. Birth may be a grand occasion, says the Johns Hopkins University psychologist, but "it is a trivial event in development. Nothing neurologically interesting happens." Armed with highly sensitive and sophisticated monitoring gear, DiPietro and other researchers today are discovering that the real action starts weeks earlier. At 32 weeks of gestation - two months before a baby is considered fully prepared for the world, or "at term" - a fetus is behaving almost exactly as a newborn. And it continues to do so for the next 12 weeks.

Dr. DiPietro's work is cutting-edge and contributes signficantly to the field of fetal programming and prenatal psychology. She highlightsthe sentience of the gestating baby and provides evidence for the prenatal period being the most critical period of development in the history of the human being. I am, however, surprised that she would then say, "Birth may be a grand occasion, but it is a trivial event in development. Nothing interesting happens." Say, what? Just when ya think someone is brilliant -- but that is the nature of most of scientists who bring us great findings. They are single-minded, focused on their passion and piece of the puzzle -- often unable to see or fit the other pieces together to make a whole picture. Some of us, non-doctors and natural birth advocates and homebirthers, are able to see from a wider perspective and quite capable of putting pieces together. In fact, it is often the inexperienced, young researcher who has the broader scope and asks the most crucial questions that lead to deeper understandings. Listen to Candace Pert's story. "Molecules of Emotion" as a young, female researcher and her discovery of receptor sites that has lead to many advancements.

Back to my point, birth is the journey OF THE BABY'S that transforms one from total dependence upon the mother to being a separate and individual being - physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually - and, yet it is medically and scientifically trivial? And, that folks, is a problem in our society today. As we observe the manifestation of ACOG's seventy-seven years of promotion of birth as dangerous and deathly we see a society of women who are bought into believing that their bodies are dysfunctional and incapable of birthing without interventions. They now buy into the belief that birth is about the woman, about their needs and rights to pain relief - above the logical, physiological knowledge and need of the baby's to be not be born "under the influence" of drugs. Womens' perspective is that the birth is her birth and about her and her needs -- mostly about being "painfree." This is seen in home and hospital births -- the insistence on a homebirth when mother is high-risk or indications are it is not right AND the insistence on having a planned cesarean. Neither necessarily fully consider what is best for the baby. Considering the focus on the mother's experience and her need for easy, painfree birth only gifted by obstetrics and the prenatal 32 week baby being behaviorally similar to the newborn, how is it that birth for the baby, as reported by ascientist, is "trivial?"

Birth is a wondrous experience of both the completion and the beginning of the Baby. In that brief, but perhaps most defining experience of life one does the monumental task of separating from the Mother’s womb and into her arms and to her breasts, in relationship with the Father. Within seconds of this monumental, not at all trival, passage from the womb to the world, the baby's body is transitioning from being a water breathing being to being an air breathing being. Heart valves are transitioning. Every body and organ function done by the mother's body for the baby is now the baby's -- within seconds and minutes these baby previously symbiotic with the mother is now a totally, physiologically independent human. That process has no bearing on the emotions, psychology, physiology, or spiritually of the baby? And, it's not life long? HOW crazy is this thinking that birth is trival and that whatever happens it doesn't matter --- since the belief is that the brain is not functioning and recording during this experience?

From conception forward there is not moment that is not critical to the development of we are as a human. When two cells a sperm and an egg become the one and begin dividing into who one is to be, the baby never ceases to be in relationship to the Mother and the Father’s genetics, perceptions, and life experiences. Every Baby, therefore, is created and birthed in the likeness of the Mother and Father. Conception, gestation, and labor and birth, then, are the one ongoing biological and spiritual journey between three souls that continues throughout the lifetime. Some of us believe that we are unable to progress in our personal and spiritual journey until we deal with who we are at this earliest level -- until we embrace who we are as the union of the sperm and the egg. We can run away and be alienated from our parent, but we are, in essence, that sperm or egg. How they came together, how we were grown in their lives, and how we are birthed is ours. The baby can not get away from it.

A Baby’s birth belongs to this triad of Father-Baby-Mother. Their experience of birth should not be any more of a medical, legal, financial, or politically dictated event than is their conception and gestation of their little one. Birth IS the baby’s birth and she or he is the responsibility of the Mother and Father. Yes, I know fathers are absent, I acknowledge that. My perspective is one from a cellular, energetic perspective. One of the things I now know and believe strongly is that we are the union of our sperm and egg. We are connected to that genetic, ancestral history whether the parent is physically present or not.

With the birthing woman and man’s experience acknowledged, if society were to adopt the attitude that “Birth is about the Baby”, it would not only utterly and profoundly change the way our society treats babies. There would be a scientific, religious, educational, medical, and legal demand to do whatever we do with consciousness -- in vetro fertilization with sperm donor, focus of our resources on supporting mothers in harmonious and healthy gestation, we would not induce baby’s labor, nor use drugs, unless medically necessary and then we would do so with deepest regardless and awareness of how it is impacting the human baby. We would embrace birth as a defining human experience and critical time in brain development.

What about labor and birth?? Why the "black hole" or "black out?"
Every one of these fields, in their scientific literature and language refers to human birth as “pre-natal” and “post-natal. Not one, especially medicine and psychology, acknowledges the biological and scientific fact that the human baby is aware at birth and that the birth experience is a critical time in brain development. Even the most important researchers in my personal study, my academic and scientific heroes whose work provides the foundation for my work (Wirth and Nathanielsz), do not make reference to birth itself; it is pre and post. Even the Kings College of London’s Perinatal Psychiatry web page states, “The Section aims to improve knowledge and understanding about mental illness during pregnancy and postnatally.” Perinatal means the period of birth. Are they then looking at pregnancy and postpartum for answers regarding mental health? That's odd.

We need to look at our languaging -- it illuminates our beliefs and attitudes. We are looking at all sort of issues of the developing human being -- environment, toxins, nutrition, stresses during prenatal and postnatal, but not during labor and birth. First Dr. DiPeitri says the 32 week old fetus is as sentient as a newborn and then says the experience of birth isn't important. What is up with this logic? Drugs, herbs, and hormones to induce that interfere with the baby's hormonal development and initiation of labor and epidural anesthesia with fentanyl and narcotics, hurried labor, forced pushing, or surgical birth is trivial?? And the billions of neurons (most we'll have) at birth are like, what? Shut-off??

Looking at the impact of labor and birth on the baby – body, mind and soul - is a perspective whose time has come. Doctors leaving obstetrics and medicine because of malpractice issues and the United States ranking among the lowest in maternal and infant mortality. Our mental health, social, and educational systems wrangling for money for programs that apparently do not solve the problems; in fact, more children than ever are suicidal, abused, on drugs, with more physical and medical issues than ever in history. Is not time then to look at the totality of the conception through birth process?

We are culturally desensitized to the period of labor and birth. When not specified, our mind does not embrace the concept. This omission is not without a historical reason. Society is in a collective denial. Ninety percent of us of alive in the United States have been born “under the influence” of drugs -- so it is no wonder women who in any other situation would not use drugs for herself or her baby, and father’s who would in another situation be a roaring protective father stand by helpless and numb and watch others manipulate, force, and manhandle their baby.

One hundred years of birthing our babies “under the influence” of drugs, we now have a social collective “Black out” regarding what we are doing to our babies.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Septicemia --- for "uneducated homebirth advocates"

Do you know," said Arneth slowly, "it's true of your discovery as it has been of every discovery in the whole history of medicine. When we take our medical oath we undertake to lengthen life and ease suffering. We are all united in seeking new means. And every time a man has come forward with a demonstrable truth, a remedy for good, the profession seems to have done its best to crush the discoverer and hide the discovery. No quackery -- no criminality -- nothing seems to make us so furious as a discovery.
-- Ignaz Semmelweis

It's difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.
-- Upton Sinclair

So, I am waiting to see if Anna Nicole Smith's death is due to Septicemia and if the source of it will be avoided.

Studies show it takes about takes seventeen years for medical research to get fully incorporated into medical practice. This means your doctor isn't always acting on the most recent knowledge. ( in Spirit, page 106 in "Does Dr. Know best? Often, but not always. So take responsibility for the quality of your healthcare." )

In the case of infections and maternal care, it seems it might be a HUNDRED and seventeen years. When it comes to hospital birth being touted as the safest with no regard for the scientific discoveries about infections and immunity, it is alarming that labor and birth are still done in hospitals where diseased and ill people go -- and where 25% of ICU patients are there because of infection.

One of the notable in the natural birth and homebirth advocacy literature is Ignaz Semmelweis who discovered the cause of "Childbed fever" had to do with doctors not washing their hands after dissection of dead and not between vaginal checks of laboring women. He began experimenting with various cleansing agents and, from May 1847, ordered that all doctors and students working in the First Division wash their hands in chlorinated lime solution before starting ward work, and later before each vaginal examination. The mortality rate from puerperal fever in the division fell from 18% in May 1847 to less than 3% in June–November of the same year.[7]

While his results were extraordinary, he too was treated with skepticism and ridicule (see Rejection of Semmelweis).

Just as it is for those of us who challenge the medical system with new ideas, or old ideas about natural birth are treated. Just as it is for women who challenge the expertise of those who insist inducing and epidural and cesarean are safe are treated. And, just as it is for those of us who support the proliferation of literature shows us that the human brain during prenatal, labor, birth, and early infancy is programmed in the brain are disregarded by those who have the most to lose by embracing new findings.

Homebirth is safer than hospital birth for no other reason than a woman and her baby have immunity to germs in their own environment, but not the hospital's. Even though supposedly our homes are some of the germiest places, our body knows our own home germs. Our bodies are bombarded by germs in the hospitals. Children new to day care and new teachers, student nurses and doctors are repeatedly sick when they first enter the new environment and their body is building immunity. A birthing woman and baby are over-exposed and their immune systems are overwhelmed and compromised in hospitals. Hospitals are filthy. Have been and will be. My sister who was born in 1960 got staph infection during her birth. My mother, father, and older brother got it. The hospital was shut down to get it under control. How does that happen?

In January of 2005, I was at the major hospital in central IL with a grandmother and her grandson for whom she had custody. He was getting a cat scan and EEG, and they would be done on different floors. We were told we could wait by an elevator to see him between tests but were pre-warned that he would anesthetized. We waited for well over an hour in front of a set of two elevators. When we were on the elevator I was surprised to be on with an anesthetized patient on a gurney. It was very uncomfortable. As we waited for the little boy -- every opening of the door of the elevator was possibly him -- I observed that visitors (flu and cold season) were riding with patients as were many, many hospital employees. Not only that but I watched many times a man pushing two large containers onto the elevator. Finally, as he waited for the elevator, I asked him what he was carrying. He answered, "One is garbage, and one is dirty linen." I was shocked. Patients, some anesthetized (direct lines to their blood or spine -- like the little boy I was waiting for) on the same elevator as travelors from all over the hospital AND with the general public of sneezing, coughing, hacking visitors AND with garbage and dirty laundry (blood and other body fluids!!)

It is not surprising that hospital-acquired disease is a major concern of every patient in the hospital, but especially for birthing women, and in particular for women whose abdominal cavity is splayed open (and the elderly). This is from a friend this week, An 81 year old woman was in X Hospital to have a battery replaced in her pace maker. She contracted a serious staph infection and was put on several months of powerful antibiotics. She weighed 91 pounds. She was profoundly affected by this treatment and by other drugs they had her on at the same time. Her physician, with the consent of the children in the family who had power of attorney, diagnosed her with "failure to thrive" and had her placed in hospice. Here, she was fed large numbers of drugs, too. And never recovered any quality of life until she died soon after. Might it been dirty linen from such a sick person on the elevator? Some tracking it on them as they trolled the hospital? Poor cleaning of her room? However it was, it was at the hosptial.

What do you think her death or Anna Nicole's "cause of death" or the cause of the infection that lead to a new mom becoming a quadra-amputee because of infection? "Natural causes" or "hospital induced?" In the United States, sepsis is the leading cause of death in non-coronary ICU patients, and the tenth most common cause of death overall according to 2000 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.[1] It is a major cause of death in intensive care units worldwide, with mortality rates that range from 20% for sepsis to 40% for severe sepsis to >60% for septic shock.

The "one true cause" of "child bed fever" became known at the turn of the century to be caused by strep, and today in 2007, women are still at risk from this infection as well as others. Women are routinely tested now in the month before pregnancy (ignoring the risk between then and birth.) Antiobiotics are now known to be so misused as to be no longer effective. And, where is one most likely to catch a viral or bacterial infection? The hospital. And, it's scientifically founded to run antibiotics "in case"? So that a baby is born with antibiotics disrupting his normal flora before he is even here? What is happening to our babies' immune systems from these practices? I don't think it's my imagination that infants and young children often become ill shortly after their visit to the doctor's office for their Well-Baby Checks. Ironic? Long term health consequences?

Have you noticed the smell, and feel, and sense of the labor room when you first arrive? Have you thought of HOW MANY women have given birth in that room -- all the bloods, fluids, feces? And, wondered how dedicated to their jobs were the cleaning people? Have you noticed the traffic in and out near most labor and newborn nursery rooms? If obstetrics has advanced us so greatly, why is it that women must routinely recieve antibiotics during labor, and why do hospital caregivers, women even, perpetuate the belief that a woman's body is germy and defective?? IF, eye ointment is put in the newborn's eyes to prevent infection "because of coming through your birth canal" I heard a nurse tell a woman, why is it also done to babies born by cesarean? Why does society ignore the "germ factor" in the hospital for laboring and birth women and then create policies and procedures and interventions to the baby to prevent infection.

In case, you, the reader is new to the field of "unscientific" thinking of the natural and homebirth movement and advocates, here are links to get you updated.

From a book review Book Review by Bobby Matherne of The Cry and the Covenant by Morton Thompson, 1949. It has some gruesome tidbits about the way women were used in research.

Semmelweis was a country bumpkin from Hungary in the sophisticated milieu of Vienna and his cup of social graces was as empty as his font of empathy for his patients was full. Exactly the opposite of what the noble profession of medical doctor, surgeon and professor of medicine required. Also he had a dangerous penchant for innovation that was unwelcome in a university whose job was deemed to be that of teaching what was known of medicine as it existed at the time. Childbed fever had always existed and always will, one of his friends told him. Ignatz, or Naci, as his friends called him, rebelled at the thought that there was no hope for stemming this carnage of human life. Unanswered questions filled his thoughts: Why did the women who gave birth in the streets not die of childbed fever? Why was the rate of death in the Second Ward one-third that of the First Ward? Why was the rate in Vienna so high compared to England? To France?(1) And most importantly what was the etiology, the one true cause of childbed fever?

Most natural birth and homebirth advocates know who Semmelweis is. One of the doctors on the three different continents who came up with the "discovery" that "lying in" or "birth fever" was being caused by germs (although not yet called that.) Childbirth fever later became identified as Puerperal Fever and identified as strep. Today, it is still such a problem that women are tested for it in late pregnancy.

From Wikipedia:

In 1843, Oliver Wendell Holmes published The Contagiousness of Puerperal Fever and controversially concluded that puerperal fever was frequently carried from patient to patient by physicians and nurses and suggesting that hand-washing, clean clothing, and avoidance of autopsies by those aiding birth would prevent the spread of puerperal fever.[4] Homes stated that ". . . in my own family, I had rather that those I esteemed the most should be delivered unaided, in a stable, by the mangerside, than that they should receive the best help, in the fairest apartment, but exposed to the vapors of this pitiless disease."[5]

Holmes conclusions were ridiculed by many contemporaries, including Charles Meigs, a well-known obstetrician, who stated "Doctors are gentlemen, and gentlemen's hands are clean."[6]

In 1844, Ignaz Semmelweis was appointed assistant lecturer in the First Obstetric Division of the Vienna Hospital where medical students received their training. Working without knowledge of Holmes' essay, Ignaz Semmelweis noticed his ward’s 16% mortality rate from fever was substantially higher than the 2% mortality rate in the Second Division where midwifery students were trained. Ignaz Semmelweis also noticed that puerperal fever was rare in women who gave birth before arriving at the hospital. Semmelweis noted that doctors in First Division performed autopsies each morning on women who had died the previous day but the midwives were not required to perform such autopsies. He made the connection between the autopsies and puerperal fever after a colleague died of septicaemia after sustaining an accidental wound to the hand during an autopsy.

Semmelweis began experimenting with various cleansing agents and, from May 1847, ordered that all doctors and students working in the First Division wash their hands in chlorinated lime solution before starting ward work, and later before each vaginal examination. The mortality rate from puerperal fever in the division fell from 18% in May 1847 to less than 3% in June–November of the same year.[7]

While his results were extraordinary, he too was treated with skepticism and ridicule (see Rejection of Semmelweis).

The true mechanism of puerperal fever was not generally understood until the start of the 20th century. In 1879 Louis Pasteur showed that streptococcus was present in the blood of women with puerperal fever. By the turn of the century, the need for antiseptic techniques was widely accepted, and their practice along with the mid-century introduction of new antibiotics greatly diminished the rate of death during childbirth.

Now, in 2007 the incidence of infection is still a major risk in hospital birth, not for pregnant and birthing women and babies, but for anyone who is hospitalized. Death due to hospital-acquired disease is one of the leading causes of death.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Intracranial Hemorrhage -- My perspective

We found that 26% of asymptomatic neonates delivered vaginally had ICH at MR imaging, and this finding suggests that ICH is a fairly common consequence of a normal vaginal delivery. ICH has been thought to be unusual in full-term neonates, though the results of this study and those of the study of Whitby et al suggest otherwise.

Intracranial Hemorrhage in Asymptomatic Neonates: Prevalence on MR Images and Relationship...Looney et al. Radiology.2006; 242: 535-541

The high prevalence of ICH in our asymptomatic population is important for several reasons. Our findings indicate that vaginal birth may be inherently traumatic to the neonatal brain and can result in a spectrum of ICHs, which include subdural hematomas and subarachnoid, intraparenchymal, and germinal matrix hemorrhages.

Talk about SUBJECTIVE, biased conclusions. Vaginal birth is inherently (did Amy write it?) taumatic to the neonatal brain? It would be more informative to know how many of the babies' labors were induced, how many had epidural anesthesia, and how many of the women were in supine position. Maybe it is unusal in non-intervention births. I would bet money I don't have that there were few if any births that did not include induction, anesthesia, and supine position. I would be curious to know more about the control group that had no risks? No risks? First, doesn't the medical profession say there is no such thing? Aren't all women "at-risk" in birth, according to them? Second, if they are "no risk" why are they at the hospital? How is this determined prior to birth and two weeks of age? I could go on and on. Further, it would be enlightening, I am sure, to have a control group of babies born non-induced, no drugs, and with mothers in upright birthing positions. Now that would be a QUALITY study to determine not only the impact of a NON-INTERVENTION vaginal birth, but impact of the other interventions as well. Science is getting there.

An interesting finding is that asymptomatic babies were found to have subdural hemorrahage -- image that! - reminding me again of the unconscious, unscieintific way in which caregivers and parents DENY the baby's experience. Physicians, nurses, midwives, and parents do it -- deny the baby's experience and pain. After a vacuum extraction birth in the hospital or a thirty hour homebirth labor and four hours of pushing, I have heard doctors and midwives say, "Oh, the baby looks good," or "Baby seems fine." All irrelevant of the APGAR scores which does NOT assess or evaluate the baby's true experience and condition. Now we have some research to show the baby's experience does cause a bodily injury (DUH!) and here we have more denial .... it's attributed to vaginal birth. Jeesh. As if when they use the phrase "vaginal birth" we all collectively go "oooh, uh hum, right" like that defines something we all know and agree upon.

Now, do some research comparing vaginal birth with no induction, no epidural, and upright birth position to the groups in this study. Anyone one to volunteer for the non-intervention group and see if your baby has intracranial hemorrhage? Hey, now ... wouldn't that be a great study to look at the safety between hospital and homebirth? And, to see which interventions are most connected to brain injury?

The long-term consequences of these hemorrhages are unknown at this time, though it is likely that small subdural hemorrhages resolve quickly without substantial consequence.

Riiiiight. And they know this ... how? Because they don't know what to do with a wounded baby?? Because we believe the laboring and birthing baby is an unfeeling blob? Rather than a fully alive brain with a billion neurons taking in, recording, and imprinting every second of what is happening.

I have previously pointed out these statements of supposed "scientific fact" in science journals looking at the effects of intervention and drugs during birth and on the mother, but not looking at the birthing baby --- until it's over. Then, as long as baby is alive, "baby doesn't appear to ... blah, blah, blah." The baby pictured here was believed to be ok, even though monitored in nursery. No one -- physicians, nurses, or CNM at this babies birth even SPOKE of the bruising. Babies are believed to be "ok" as long as they are alive, even when they need medical attention. That seems so odd to me -- to deny the fact that baby is an emotional being and that the brain is recording it all.

So, the reason for the bleeds is attributed to VAGINAL BIRTH!? Who paid for this research -- that would be interesting. The statement in the study about the bleeds in baby's brain is a typical statement by medical world -- long term effects "unknown at this time" and goes on to make a sweeping statement like "it is likely small subdural hemorrhage resolve quickly without substantial consequence." What kind of science is this?? Where is the evidence of that? Lord o'f mercy --- they JUST discovered the bleeds. It is crazy-making -- literally. Because of wishful thinking or just not knowing what to do to "fix" something? Or, no one wants to deal with their feelings of guilt and remorse for harming babies for years while in denial and ignorance. (And Dr. Amy says her professional colleagues call women ignorant who support midwifery --- so "what else do they got" to protect themselves and their babies?). Over and over and over, we hear, "baby seems fine" or "baby looked ok."

Medical caregivers and parents and most of society go along with this non-science based delusional thinking (DENIAL) because of a couple of simple reasons. 1) They have been indoctrinated to believe that babies, even their own baby, are not a fully functioning human being. They believe their baby's brain is somehow not functioning during birth, although the baby was responding to voices and learning Mozart in the womb. 2) Their own experience as a baby was also denied. Most adults are not in control of their earliest prenatal experiences -- those emotions and behaviors one just can't quite figure out no matter how many years of therapy one has. Denial is another word for ignorance perhaps. Denial, obsession, avoidance, drugs -- they all mask the preverabal emotions still trying to be expressed and heard. 3) Not believing in the fully aware and engaging human being leads one to be able to do unthinkable things to a baby and to believe it doesn't matter as s/he won't remember. They all add up to Denial. And, probably more research on non-consenting and non-informed human babies.

Denial prevents otherwise intelligent and caring people from exploring their own birth experience as the root of present issues. Denial prevents them from believing that we need to change what we do to babies in birth. The end result of denial, denial, denial is more denial that prevents them from believing there are techniques to support healing of the brain at any age. So, rather than deal with one's own consequences of trauma and separation from the mother during the primal period it is easier to keep going along the path of denial ... "babies don't remember birth" .... "it just goes away" .... "baby seems ok" ...... however,

Waaaaa hhhaa wahhhh ahhhhhhh ahhh wahhh waaaaaAAAAHHH ... Shush. shush. shssh. You are ok. You're ok. Shhh.shhhhhh. Have some chocolate. Have a beer. An Advil. Shhhh. Don't you know you don't really hurt? Go buy something. Shhh. shhhh. You are ok, damn it. Then take some Zoloft or or Paxil. Or, cocaine or meth or heroin.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Safe Baby Resolution

Dear Friends, Family, and Colleagues in Making Birth Safe:

I am flying high today. I have just received exciting news from my partner, Star Newland, in Hawaii. Our Safe Baby Resolution that we co-wrote for the Hawaii State Legislature has been assigned numbers and is on it's way!

Safe Baby Resolution is now the Senate Concurrent Resolution 8. The resolution is being introduced by Hawaii Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland and Representative Josh Green, MD, Chair of the Health Committee. The complete resolution can be viewed at . Track progress on the Senate resolution, HCR33 at (Senator Oakland) and HR16 House resolution at (Representative Green). Now, the fun begins and WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!

First, some background about the Safe Baby Resolution. The resolution asks the state legislators to lead us in looking at what both our hearts and the science tell us that a human being needs from pre-conception through infancy as the foundation for a safe, healthy, and harmonious life. We are asking the legislators to study the early primal period of conception through infancy as the foundational time for health, wellness, and harmony as well as foundational time of the myriad of social and physical concerns of society. We seek to make gestation and birth gentle and safe for mothers and babies as well as for medical caregivers and society. The resolution is about all parties working together in partnership to create this foundation of personal harmony for our babies -- and, worldwide.

The Safe Baby Resolution has grown out of Star's years of tireless work in creating the Domestic Harmony Initiative that is being widely embraced at all levels in Hawaii from the grassroots to city mayors to the Governor's office. Star's self-funded initiative focuses on creating harmonious humans from the beginning of life. It is about creating domestic harmony (an ever-moving and balancing relationship), rather than seeking peace (an illusive arrival point in a chaotic world), and rather than preventing or fixing domestic violence (symptoms of lack of early harmony). Her website is

Second, an expression of my gratitude to one and all -- I am elated beyond words that our original resolution was fully accepted without much content negotiation, compromise, and revision. It is truly my dream come true. I took Star's work and I dreamed big - culminating decades of my own experiences and work, and incorporating what I have learned from many of you in the pre and perinatal psychology field and from wise babies in my practice. Thank you. I was writing the Safe Baby Resolution and support materials during the months prior to, during, and since my son's deployment to Iraq. As I grieved my baby's preparation and leaving for war and wrote, my deepest heart's desire for a more loving and harmonious world for our children had a voice and was heard. Harmony can come from chaos and pain.

SO, we need you support!! Raju Bhatt, our third partner, is our legislative liaison and lives in Texas. Raju and I am preparing for our deployment to Hawaii to support those amazing people who have stepped up to lead this country in the first serious state legislative look at the earliest period of life being critical to individual, family, social, and world harmony. Raju will lead our lobbying efforts and I will be completing support documents for the resolution -- ASAP. We need your expertise and we need your letters of support. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, professionals in birth, please watch our blog ( for assistance and addresses to send your letters of support to Hawaii.

We need hard-hitting research resources from your professional research and specialty areas -- prenatal brain development, prenatal health and consciousness, fetal programming, neurobiology, birth trauma and healing/treatment, imprinting, Doualas, fathers needs, post-partum depression, VBAC, water birth, adoption, abortion, physiological model of midwifery, induction and epidural, the impact of drugs, natural birth, interventions and separation at birth, prematurity, maternal and infant mortality, breastfeeding, adoption, maternal choice, etc, etc, etc.

As a professional in your respective field, could you please write a two page position paper on a tenet or line item of the resolution with relevant research sitings, and write a letter of support from your professional perspective? Dr. Jeane Rhodes, Associate Editor of the Journal of Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Health is completing a bibliography of research support. If you have any resources to support any tenet or line item of the resolution, PLEASE forward it to me or Dr. Rhodes at drjeane at comcas dot net.

We need and appreciate your expertise and time, and we also need financial and logistic support. This is a true grassroots effort and now reaching state legislative levels. As grassroot lobbyists, we are seeking financial support to continue the lobbying effort and to support other states to become involved. For me, Star, and Raju our work to this point truly has been a "labor of love." Each of us have been working towards this for several years without financial compensation and recently without "necessities" (like cars). We aren't a legal non-proft, but we are certainly non-profit, and we are grateful for your gifts of financial support, time, and talent to support us to now lobby for the resolution (and to grow a national effort.) We need:
  • Financial donations for printing, marketing, travel to Hawaii and expenses for lobbying, etc,
  • Someone to donate the building of a website. We have a blog ( and a yahoo group, but we really need a website. I have the web narrative completed.
  • We also need a 501c3 partner/fiscal agent -- someone with ability to support a national effort and whose goals are in total alignment with the resolution, or someone willing to do one for the resolution. In the state of MO, where I live, there is a non-profit status that permits lobbying.
  • Someone who can set up a PayPal account or other means of receiving donations on the blog until we have a website, webmaster and fiscal agent.
  • Volunteer research help, editors, outreach.
  • Please consider supporting us however you can, and consider supporting the resolution in your own community and state.

I have also been in contact with several Missouri legislators this past week towards our goal of introducing the resolution in other states and creating an national movement. Raju is introducing the resolution in Texas and India. It has been introduced in several foreign countries, including Afghanistan. In MO as well as many other states, the resolution transcends the no-win debate about doctors versus midwives and hospital versus homebirth in legalizing midwifery. Again, the Safe Baby Resolution seeks to make the primary period of human development and the foundation for life to be gentle and safe for mothers and babies as well as for medical caregivers and society. The resolution is about all parties working together in partnership to create this foundation of personal harmony for our babies -- and, worldwide.

Thanks so much for all of your support and work in this important journey we are all on together --- creating aware, safe, and gentle conception through infancy as the foundation of life for our babies. Hey, together, we just might save this planet.

Blessings to all,


"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