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

Friday, February 08, 2008

Fentanyl -- More about Fentanyl

Last year I posted about epidural and how babies are non-consenting research subjects. Today I received a comment on that post and wanted to share it here. Otherwise, you might miss it. It gives me the opportunity to revisit that information.

Link to the post:

And today's comment:
Anonymous said...
I am a terminal ovarian cancer patient and my doctor prescribed a fentanyl patch for the extreme pain I suffer. It has provided excellent relief and I don't believe that it has damaged my mental or physical health in any way. However, I have read that it is not short-term, acute pain, so I would agree that it doesn't belong in obstetrics. However, I think you're going overboard to classify it as a street drug. There are people who misuse just about anything in an attempt to get high. Should we ban house paint and spray cans so teens can't "huff" them? Same with fentanyl. There's more to life than giving birth. This drug has brought much comfort for people who suffer chronic pain.
Thank you for your post, Anonymous. There are not words to express how sorry I am to know that you are terminally ill. I wish you the best. I am sure the fentanyl patch is most helpful to you. This is the appropriate use of fentanyl. Labor and birth is not.

I shared an article about a young man who died from a fentanyl and heroine overdose in my post last year. The article says that over a hundred people have died from that combination of drugs. Clearly, I am not the one to classify it as a street drug. Whether it is or not isn't the point. What is happening to babies who are born under the influence of narcotics and synthetic opiods is the point. In addition to it being known as a dangerous drug on the street, the US Defense Department classified fentanyl as a potential chemical warfare drug. They were considering it as a chemical to use to subdue crowds but decided against it after the tragic loss of many lives in the Chech Republic, I think it was., where fentanyl was responsible for many deaths when used to subdue crowds.

Why would anyone even consider administering this to a laboring woman and baby? For any reason? The reason it is used at all was to counter the effects of bupivicaine which was known to be dangerous.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opiod. The drugs -- a cocktail of drugs at the discretion of the individual anestheseologist -- are administered directly into the spine of a woman. It doesn't just numb her from the waist down -- it gets into her system. She is impaired. Her baby gets the drug and is impaired. This doesn't begin to compare with the valid use of the drug for pain for an adult, with a patch. The blood brain barrier of the newborn doesn't develop for weeks according to some research out of the University of Arizona. Unfortunately, I can't find it right now. Basically, the astrocytes that will eventually make the blood brain barrier don't develop for awhile.

Prior to the great marketing campaign in obstetrics that convinced women that epidural is safe, we knew that babies were affected by the drug that is still used in epidural -- bupivicaine. I can tell you, as can many women, we were not "numb from the waist down." We were drug impaired. Babies were limp, unresponsive, and hard to waken. My daughter could not be wakened. So, now, a decade later, thanks to fentanyl... thanks to fentanyl!?!??! ... those effects are minimized. All babies from the beginning of obstetrics have uninformed, non-consenting research subjects. Now epidural is promoted as so "safe" and so "normal" that women who want to NOT have epidural are now seen as the weirdos by women who are happy to go in, lay down, spread before strangers, and turn their bodies over to the medical conveyor belt. They are happy to be numb, unable to feel their bodies, their babies, or to even move to allow their baby more room to birth from their bodies. Pitiful. Talk about "peer pressure".

Bupvicaine and fentanyl, neither one, were ever shown to be safe before using in labor and birth. Never shown to be safe for the baby. Experimentation on women and babies in recent years in obstetrics has been to find the dosage of bupivicaine that does provides the best "maternal satisfaction." The harm to the baby during birth and for his life time is not anyone's consideration.

The research by the early 90's was clear about the detrimental effects for both. Rather than discontinue it's use, experimentation on women and babies continued. The main point of my posts is that fentanyl is used by obstetricians without ANY research to show that it was safe for the baby or mother before doing so. There is a huge difference between a fentanyl patch for a adult in pain, and a catheter in your spine allowing the drug directly into your nervous system. HUGE DIFFERENCE. An adult can choose to use it. A baby can not choose. They are dependent upon to ensure their safety and wellbeing during labor and birth. A woman who would never consider during sanctioned (prescription) or street drugs, and is admonished if she does, is given full permission to use harmful drug during this most important event. It is done without his consent and against his will. Does the human baby not have the right to labor and be born without drug? With a mother is not impaired.

bupivicaine and fentanyl to find the best amount of fentanyl to COUNTER the dangerous effects of bupivicaine. These effects have been known since late 80's and early 90's. Rather than ending the use of the bupivicaine researchers continue to study the effects on HUMANS ... human newborns.

I am sorry, I don't think we can compare the adult experience/need for pain relief with fentanyl with what is right and just for the human newborn. The "off-label" use of fentanyl in obstetrics, on laboring and birthing women and babies can not be justified. I am speaking out on behalf of the babies who cannot speak for themselves. I am outraged at the medical profession for such criminal violation of woman and babies and for violating the position they hold. They are to protect and "do no harm." I am sad that women are so incapable of trusting their own body to birth their baby and instead trust the propaganda that epidural is perfectly safe. I am outraged that they believe that the use of narcotics is dangerous and the potential for addiction applies to everyone else but them.

What kind of society is this that promotes that a woman laboring and giving birth "under the influence" is ok? Natural? Normal?

I was born by saddle block and have done intensive trauma therapy to heal it. I have given birth "under the influence" of drugs several times -- one against my will and permission, and one by choice as my ex-medical student, later to be obstetrician husband convinced me it was perfectly safe. I was thirty-seven, supposedly in the high risk category and "didn't need to go through all of that." Wasn't he sweet? That was in 1994. Ten years later I found the extensive research showing how dangerous it was for me and for my daughter. He didn't read the research. He had trusted his teachers who pass on their medical rituals.

I know how hard it is to process the violation of a birth where things were done to me, against my will. I know what is it like to feel violated and feel raped .... to not remember twenty hours and who did what to me. All because of drugs I never said yes to. I know how hard it is to have chosen to induce and use epidural and then to learn how lied to I was. In both cases I know how painful and how freeing it is to recognize and deal with the impact on myself and baby. I know the power to heal that comes from seeing that my baby experienced their birth, whether I was violated or made the decision that resulted in their wounding.

We can acknowledge that women and babies are affected by birth ... drugs, interventions, rough handling, strangers, invasions ... because now we have techniques to help us heal and integrate the early, traumatic experiences. We don't have to remain ignorant, in denial, continuing to harm babies.


Anonymous said...

11 years ago I had a scheduled induced labor for my third child. Though not really in much pain, I was encouraged to have "something" before it was "too late". Fentanyl plus other stuff knocked me out, baby almost came out unattended and was FLACID. Have regretted and worried it contibuted to current problems.

stacy said...

This post was great, thanks. If you need more info on a drug intervention then you should check out Ken he’s got great experience.

Milosmommy said...

Was given fentynal 20 minutes before delivery. Baby had slow gastric motility. That's a fentynal dude effect, but for some reason the drs had no clue how he could've had slow motility. I'm so upset about this. I let myself and my baby down. I don't know how I'm ever gonna be able to forgive myself. Its also strange that it's hard to find other mons stories about fentynal on Google. I'm sure many mons have had similar issues.

Milosmommy said...

I also told them I didn't want drugs and of course they offered them during transition. My baby directly suffered side effects from fentynal. I am so disappointed and I wish I would've known and researched about what fentynal actually was.

"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