The Other Side of the Glass

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

The trailer

Monday, February 04, 2008

Just Say Yes .... to women and babies

"We live in a culture where it's okay to "medicate" yourself to oblivion but if you are okay with coping with the natural pain of childbirth you're crazy."

Nik, a commenter on this blog

We have to "Just Say No to Drugs" when we do.

I read a great post today, Epidural is not your savior, at She makes a point that I've been making for a long time ... about how woman expect to be pain free in birth and for the birthing of their baby from their body to somehow be done to them. Medicine has both obliged and created a monster. Medicine purports to be serving maternal requests and needs, but truly it is a relationship. When did it start ... that's in the history. Today, is a review of some literature that always makes me livid ....

Twenty years ago the research was clear -- epidural is dangerous for mother and baby. The need for management of fluids and oxygen were known, as were maternal and baby cardiac and spinal issues.

Not many people consider that these drugs were NEVER shown to be safe BEFORE using on women and babies, just as no drug - ether, scopalamine, demerol, bipuvicaine, fentanyl, cytotec -- was ever shown safe before doctors used them experimentally on women and babies.

Women have been trained by medical field and culture to believe that childbirth pain is horrible (thanks to pit it is) to be managed by someone or something outside themselves. In doing so women give up their power and ability to experience any pain -- the result of this mentality to use substances to get rid of every pain and for the medical person to do so is far reaching. As an ex of an OB, I am aware of the many reasons for the pushing of drugs in the medical field ... natural birthers allude to them and medical people deny it.

Here's a perfect example of the "Peer literature" that shows it has nothing to do with the real risks to the baby, to their relationship, and to their long-term addiction potential.

Bupivacaine versus bupivacaine plus fentanyl for epidural analgesia: effect on maternal satisfaction.
J D Murphy, K Henderson, M I Bowden, M Lewis, and G M Cooper, Department of Anaesthetics, Birmingham Maternity Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Medical Centre. BMJ. 1991 March 9; 302(6776): 564–567.

OBJECTIVE--To compare a combination of epidural fentanyl and bupivacaine with bupivacaine alone for epidural analgesia in labour and to evaluate factors in addition to analgesia that may influence maternal satisfaction.

"Maternal satisfaction" is the objective!?! with a drug like fentanyl?? while the field promoted controversy about home and water birth and maternal satisfaction and empowerment are ridiculed?!? Perhaps this “scientific” approach to studying the drugs used in epidural anesthesia – focused on maternal satisfaction – give us some clues as to how this cultural approval for these dangerous drugs, promoted as safe, but purportedly for physician needs and timing, has evolved into a socially accepted, safe drug. It is under the guise of “maternal request” and “informed consent” lingo and no one addresses a corresponding, rising epidemic of narcotic addiction problem in the US.

The medical field and their research are responsible for creating this growing belief in labor and birth being about maternal satisfaction, not the human baby's need -- and doing so with dangerous drugs.

Here is an example of peer literature that shows us just how little the baby is considered in the labor and birth experience.

The drug, bipuvicaine, that was known/shown dangerous in the early nineties is counteracted by another drug, fentanyl, a synthetic opiod, also NEVER shown to be safe for the mother and baby, but known to be extremely dangerous for everyone else in the world to use. WOMEN AND BABIES are being experimented on without their consent. From what we know of the epidural effects, from the 90's, we, physicians, nurses, mothers, grandmothers, fathers and anyone with half a brain cell ought to know that we must use these drugs and interventions only when absolutely necessary. The medical field promotes the use of cesarean, not because it is safer and easier for the human baby or mother.

Synergistic effect of intrathecal fentanyl and bupivacaine in spinal anesthesia for cesarean section.
Jaishri Bogra, Namita Arora, and Pratima Srivastava,BMC Anesthesiol. 2005; 5: 5.

In this study by addition of fentanyl we tried to minimize the dose of bupivacaine, thereby reducing the side effects caused by higher doses of intrathecal bupivacaine in cesarean section.

The researchers -- IN their research -- actually acknowledge the detrimental effects of epidural and are researching for dosage on live babies and women. Of course, throughout the 90's doctors experimented with drugs and doses and the researchers looked at the results. What kind of research is this? We are to believe any of the research that the obstetric field dishes us? I gave birth twice in a teaching hospital - one a planned induction with epidural. Were we research subjects? Must not be, no one ever followed up to see how we did in the long term. HA! It's appalling.

Methods: Study was performed on 120 cesarean section parturients divided into six groups, identified as B8, B10 and B 12.5 8.10 and 12.5 mg of bupivacaine mg and FB8, FB10 and FB 12.5 received a combination of 12.5 μg intrathecal fentanyl respectively. The parameters taken into consideration were visceral pain, hemodynamic stability, intraoperative sedation, intraoperative and postoperative shivering, and postoperative pain.

The year is 2005. HOW IS THIS “SCIENTIFIC STUDY” APPROVED AND ACCEPTABLE TREATMENT OF THE HUMAN NEWBORN??? One hundred twenty babies randomly placed in groups to receive different drugs. Drugs that were never, ever shown to be safe for a baby. It's OK to give birth under the influence of narcotics when we know how potentially addictive and dangerous narcotics are every day for everyone. Lord o' mercy -- do the people in charge of the "War on Drugs", drug prevention, drug treatment, and child psychology know this?!?! Being in all of those fields, I can tell you, NO, they don't. Do nurses and doctors thinks about this?

The researchers continue ...

Researchers concluded, Spinal anesthesia among the neuraxial blocks in obstetric patients needs strict dose calculations because minimal dose changes, complications and side effects arise, providing impetus for this study. Here the synergistic, potentiating effect of fentanyl (an opiod) on bupivacaine (a local anesthetic) in spinal anesthesia for cesarian section is presented, fentanyl is able to reduce the dose of bupivacaine and therefore its harmful effects.

So, now we have a new generation of children raised on television, drug commercials, and the DARE program who are now giving birth. We have women so unwilling to even feel a pain and willing to do so because they believe is it so safe ... because they are alive and "baby looks fine." The research above said babies were fine WITHOUT that even being a part of their research study. Is peer research really the ultimate in informing us? Or does it serve to perpetuate the obstetric field's vice on women's bodies and souls?

And, meanwhile, even a good number of good doctors and good nurses know that women can do labor pain. They realize that their profession is barely a hundred years old and that women gave birth for eons without medical professionals present. How quickly these drugs ... morphine, cocaine, and narcotics have numbed humanity.

The natural birth field mostly promotes the ability and right of a women to move her body to birth her baby ... upright, no recreational use of narcotics during birth because of the danger to her and her baby. She is up and off her sacrum where the nerves all gather and pain is heightened. Her pelvis can up open up to 30-50% eliminating the need for interventions and the coached pushing. On her back, numb from the waist down with the interventions so aptly described in the post, Epidural is not your savior, it is an absolute miracle, a tribute to just how much the human woman's body and her baby can endure and overcome, and still manage to birth ... alive. Another blog and visitors shred the natural birth movement and women's self-empowering that comes with claiming her body and birthing at home. It is they, the medical caregivers and their peer reviewed research that has created the language of "maternal satisfaction" and now they are angry and outright undermining that when women say no thank you to drugs. Anyone who has read about and considered the natural birth movement knows the main reason women want to birth out of the hospital is to avoid the drug enforcement crew.

When a woman "knows her body works" and maybe even sees her body as her savior, she doesn't need any drugs ... and science and logic tell us that is better for baby and mother, and their relationship. The mechanics of medical birth ensure that women will need pain relief. It is criminal, I tell you ... and then there's what they do to the baby while maintaining that babies don't remember.

Oh, my ... where are the logical and scientific folks who claim that the birth experience is irrelevant at best for the babies when we know logically and scientifically that there is no time in human development from the conception experience throughout life that the human brain is not taking in and processing information. Birth is not a black out where the baby's brain is not functioning ... INTERACTING WITH THE ENVIRONMENT AND PROCESSING IT. Americans, 90% of whom were born "under the influence" of drugs are IN a BLACK OUT when it comes to the needs of the laboring and birthing newborn.

"Just say yes ... to women and babies"

I have an ongoing challenge out to anyone who can show me ONE piece of literature that shows that any drug ever used in obstetric care was shown to be safe before using on laboring and birthing baby.


Mama Raisin said...

Great blog entry (but then, they always are!)
I recently had a rant about the laid back attitude society has towards the use of drugs in birth:
The thing that amazes me most about it is that we are closely monitored throughout pregnancy and told to stay away from soft cheeses, caffeine, deli foods etc. but once we go into labour all bets are off - get those narcotics intoya!

Baby Keeper said...


I know, isn't it crazy? We advise EVERYONE not to do narcotics, it is regulated, and we know what it does to adults, but it's oddly ok for laboring baby and children (ritalin,etc). You might like this old post on my other blog:

chris said...

Hey Thanks for the great press.

Baby Keeper said...

You're very welcome.

Nik said...

I have always been much more terrified of the drugs than of the pain. IV's terrify me because you basically give doctors/nurses a free pass to your viens to inject you with any drug they want to. AAAHHHHHH!!!

I think it really stinks that we live in a culture where it's okay to "medicate" yourself to oblivion but if you are okay with coping with the natural pain of childbirth you're crazy.

The problem with us is that we are too inclined to "fix" things, even if they are not broken. It hurts? Oh, we can fix that.

Baby Keeper said...

Nik -- this is awesome quote and so appropriate that I edited my post and put it at the top.

"we live in a culture where it's okay to "medicate" yourself to oblivion but if you are okay with coping with the natural pain of childbirth you're crazy."

What's weird is our twisted mentality in this culture. It's ok to medicate oneself to oblivion, but it is NOT OK at the same time. It's like that with sex too ... for a long time, since my older kids were teens (they're 30 & 32) i have observed that television over sensitizes and DE-sensitizes children to sexuality. THey see too much too young and feel it but are supposed to not feel it or act on it. Forget the portrayal of INTIMACY ... and we do with labor and birth too. No wonder so many drugs for bi-polar disorder, even among children.

I just spent four days with my two-year old grandson who at one point imitated EVERYTHING I did. I noticed he was doing it and then had fun with it. Babies and toddlers are RECORDERS ... everything they hear and see is being recorded. I really think that the best thing people can do is turn off the television ... I digress....hmmm, my next post, perhaps?

"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