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

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hyper-Masculine Idea of Fatherhood

I am very much enjoying the "break" from editing due to the emails, calls, and plans to go east to spend time with and film a father's group, all compliments of the trailer. I am very, very much appreciating the commenters and posters on lists talking about the film. I am finding it very helpful in preparing for the next phase.

crabgrass Says:

what really got to me was the way that the trailer was so focused on triggering the “protect” aspect of fatherhood/masculinity. there was a way that it was really working to appeal to this hyper-masculine idea of fatherhood. I don’t think the entire film will be more expansive, because I think that the baseline rationale for the film is that fathers need to be empowered (as manly men!) to step in and protect their wives and babies from the abuse of the medical system.
problematic, yet interesting.

What really "gets to me" about the film is how rich and giving it is -- every one has sees and experiences it their different triggers and see that that is what it's about. Based on who they are and "where they are".

I hope you'll go to my blog, and and read about why the film is for men and about men.

It is not at all about being manly men .. and it will expand beyond what one can imagine, beyond feminism. It has for me. It will look at what happens when men are able to heal their own primal wounding as baby boys -- born "under the influence of drugs" as were their mothers, "he cut me so bad" stories, separated and treated harshly by strangers, often women -- like the baby in the film who was brutalized by four strange women.

Most adult men --and only part of the male babies now - ere not breastfed, were brought to their mother on a schedule and cried in the nursery, and most often, their penis mutilated. This was often done by causing an erection. This is the story of most men over 25. Only episeotomy, breastfeeding and rooming in has truly changed significantly, Many babies are not circumcised, but there are still subjected to cord clamping before the placenta is birthed, and this suctioning for "meconium risk" that is now routine, despite the research showing there is no reason. NO reason. It makes no difference on meconium aspiration syndrome. 30% of all babies are born surgically. Circumcision is still done in a majority of cases.

There is a whole psychological phenomenon to be unfolded ... how it is that historically men whose innate need is to protect, yet they have taken us to war repeatedly, raped and pilfered, and until recently it was rarely a woman who would abuse a child sexually.

The men in the film were so the opposite of the hyper-masculine, manly men. They were vulnerable, tearful, speaking of their feelings that men rarely access -- helplessness, powerlessness, guilt, and shame. ALL of it related to THEIR experience of their babies births. ALL of them embracing their earliest parts in order to be better men, and one the ways they do so is to support their partner's biological and physiological needs in birth.

Most women, varied by many comments around the web, are totally unaware of their partners need to have their story heard, to have their perspective of the experience of birthing their child heard, felt, and acknowledged. Honored. It is not just women who experience the birth of their baby. And, when they can figure that out, they can "be with" their baby to tell his or her perspective of their birth. The baby has a story. The baby girl, and the baby boy. It starts there. It changes there.

The film is about healing the masculine, and doing so by being embraced as also wounded, by women. Women and men need to work together to heal the wounding of the feminine and the masculine.

It's about the phenomenon of how men - a Marine deployed to Iraq three times - can be giant in the world and yet be brought to his knees by a family physician and an obstetric nurse.

It is about the inner healing that creates gentle protectors -- it's about a man seeing his baby for the first time and what that means to him and to his baby and the baby-mama.

The father who pounded on the glass is one of those. His story, in full, is about how he gently, and powerfully, protected his daughter ... he was watching a circumcision when he pounded on the glass. When a LD deliver nurse insisted that he leave his wife and go to wait in the waiting room and he refused, and she began to push his chest, a 6'4" man, he simply, "Oh, no, I am not going anywhere" and their doctor happen to come by at that moment to "ok it." It is not a hyper-masculine perspective encouraging him and other fathers to fight for peace in the hospital. It is about the caregivers, mostly WOMEN not violating the man, usurping his power, and ignoring his wishes and plans for his family. It is about the caregivers honoring birth, protecting the father's experience so he can be present with his partner and baby.

You leave me with a pondering of how "protection" is equated with hyper-masculine and the "manly man.'  When I am talkin' about women, mostly women, betrayers of women in the hyper-masculine, wounded masculine, overpowering, disempowering male-dominated system, acting like hyper-masculine women, manly women. For the pay check. Because they believe that they can achieve equality through work, career, and income. We're talking mothering here. Mothering the mother. Mothering the father. Fathering the mother. Fathering the father.  Creating it.

Good information for me ... thanks so much for the post.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Homebirth: A Part of the Truth

The truth is, sometimes birth hurts and sometimes it's easier, no matter where you are. We all know or have heard of women like my sister-in-law was notorious for hardly making it to the hospital. We glare on the inside with our fake smile when we hear their story, while our own is about days of labor (back in the day before ACOG put a time limit on our labor).  Many women who gave birth easily at home also listen silently to others stories because they also upset women with horrible birth stories. If they share their positive experiences it is felt by those harmed women as gloating. No one can win.

My friend, Nellie, gave birth to her daughter at home about six years ago. After viewing my video, "The Red Tent Event" that was held in Columbia, MO last year, and featured eight women who shared their stories of giving birth she shared with me how hard her daughter's birth was. One complaint about birth for first time moms is the glorification of how easy it is -- homebirth is so empowering and epidural makes birth a breeze. Both of these are wrong.

In my video, "The Red Tent Event", seven of eight women had given birth by surgery and six of them went on to give birth vaginally. I was surprised. I thought the storytellers would be the woman that Dr. Amy rants about -- the natural birthers who want to gloat to other women about how successful and great their births were. Instead, it was mostly women telling their stories of giving birth surgically and then having a vaginal birth. Like Nellie, even when the vaginal birth was challenging, painful, and long, it was preferable to surgery.

The seventh woman who gave birth by cesarean was still too terrified after seven years to give birth again.

Nellie was inspired to tell me her story of how hard and how painful it was to give birth, at home, with no drugs. She wished that people had been forthright about that. She will have another homebirth as she appreciates and honors the process. Ani De Franco's story here very much mirrors Nellie's story. Giving birth "kicks you in the butt" and builds you as a person.

My personal opinion about the difficulty of Nellie's experience of birthing her baby is that it has to do with the fact that her husband had been deployed, immediate post-911, the month before. He got to come home for the birth and several months later was to be in the first wave of guardspeople deployed to Iraq. Women need to feel safe bringing their babe into the world.

As a mother of a deployed man, I know the unimaginable, indescribable emotional roller coaster. I could not imagine giving birth and caring for a newborn in that circumstance. I am also posting Ani's song, "Self-Evident" put to images by a fan. I do so in honor of those who have made the greatest sacrifice in this country.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Conscious Cesarean Birth

When I interviewed Dr. George M. Morley, M.D., he shared with me the story of his granddaughter's recent birth. She was born by cesarean and the D.O. who attended the birth worked with Dr. Morley to allow the baby's placenta to birth before clamping and cutting the cord. Dr. Robert Oliver proposed Humanizing Cesarean Birth years ago.

Humanizing cesarean birth was poo-pooed by any physician that any woman I have known has tried to communicate to about her baby's birth. They don't want to do it. Now the UK, as usual, is promoting it ....

It is all about what I have been advocating here and on another blog that won't allow the posts about such things to stay up --- birth is not safe for the baby, at home or at the hospital, UNTIL the parents and caregivers embrace the knowledge that the baby experiences birth, feels it and remembers it, and UNTIL medical caregivers in particular acknowledge human physiology and realize that the baby needs it's full transfusion of blood, and to be at the mother's breast. No matter what happens, medically and morally responsible mother-baby care has this has it's core purpose -- making birth humane and safe for the baby. If obstetricians can do a humane cesarean surgery, anyone, including neonatal personnel can do it too --do whatever you do with the awareness and acknowledgment that birth is the baby's experience.

I would take it one step further ... prepare the medical staff and parents to communicate with the baby. In my film I'll feature a homebirth with baby who needs to be suctioned. In the hospital babies are routinely suctioned, but not in homebirths. This baby met the criteria established by the American Academy of Pediatrics (ignored by virtually every hospital including the BIG Kahuna hospitals that suctioned my grandsons under the GUISE of "meconium risk"), and that is a NON-vigorous baby who is not crying. The footage will show a midwife and baby doula preparing and talking to the baby and the pace is slowed down to accommodate the baby's needs while someone is talking TO the baby. This helps everyone in the room to slow down.

The following is from a poster, Sharon, on another blog (where homebirth and midwifery is constantly negated with false claims) highlighting what we would call a conscious Cesarean:

Notice the "pace" of the surgery and feel your own sensations ... especially if you have performed, assisted, or experienced a cesarean ...)

... I could almost choose a caesarean after reading this article! I particularly like the description of the slow delivery of the baby, allowing him/her to establish breathing whilst still half in utero and attached to the placental circulation and the mother seeing her baby emerge and seeing their sex at the same time as the delivery team. There are some lovely pictures too.
http://www3.interscience.wiley.c...78270/ HTMLSTART

The natural caesarean: a woman-centred technique
"Surgery starts with the screen up, and sterile routines observed as usual. After uterine incision, the drape is lowered and the head of the table raised to enable the mother to watch the birth.

As the fetal head enters the abdominal incision, the operative field is cleaned of blood and the partner is invited to stand to observe the birth. The principle for the surgeon is then hands-off, as the baby autoresuscitates: breathing air through the exteriorised mouth and nose, while its trunk still in utero remains attached to the placental circulation. This delay of a few minutes allows pressure from the uterus and maternal soft tissues to expel lung liquid (Figure 1), mimicking what happens at vaginal delivery. Once crying, the baby's shoulders are eased out, and the baby then frequently delivers his/her own arms with an expansive gesture.

Concurrently, the baby's torso tamponades the uterine incision, minimising bleeding.
The baby is next left supported for up to a minute, allowing the mother to observe her child. The half-delivered fetus frequently cries but if not, the obstetrician observes its breathing, colour, tone and movement to indicate wellbeing. The rest of the delivery is achieved through a combination of passive expulsion by the contracting uterus and active assistance: the baby wriggles out while its head and torso are supported by the obstetrician. This enables the mother to watch the birth and ascertain the sex of her baby at the same time as the delivery team, replicating the situation at vaginal birth.

Early skin-to-skin contact

Once the baby is finally 'born' and wellbeing again confirmed, the cord is clamped and cut in view of the parents. The anaesthetist/anaesthetic assistant clears the mother's clothing from her chest, and the midwife positions him/herself at the top of the bed beside the mother's head. Still scrubbed, the midwife receives the baby directly from the surgeon to prevent contamination (Figure 3). The woman should be warned not to reach out for her baby, as this risks touching the obstetrician. The baby is laid prone between the mother's breasts, dried with a warmed towel and kept warm with fresh towels and bubble wrap. After a plastic clamp is applied, the partner can cut the remaining cord if he wishes.

Labelling and vitamin K administration are accomplished with the baby on the mother's chest. The baby is positioned so that he/she can begin to suckle. The midwife remains near the head end to monitor the baby and reassure the parents. The baby is only weighed when surgery is finished, and given to the partner while the mother is transferred to her bed. Skin-to-skin contact is then re-established with the baby in the same position."

Amazing new research from AJOG

From the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, August 2008:

FINALLY ... someone in the US, in obstetrics is looking at the need to create a Standard of Care. This was done in Nashville, where there is an alarmingly high number of neonatal deaths. Why does it always wait that long before the system responds?

Improved outcomes, fewer cesarean deliveries, and reduced litigation: results of a new paradigm in patient safety
Steven L. Clark MDa, Michael A. Belfort MD, PhDa, Spencer L. Byrum LCDR (ret.) USCGa, Janet A. Meyers RNa and Jonathan B. Perlin MD, PhDa
aHospital Corporation of America, Nashville, TN.

Received 16 October 2007;
revised 26 November 2007;
accepted 14 February 2008.
Available online 12 May 2008.

(My comments in italics and parentheses)

In a health care delivery system with an annual delivery rate of approximately 220,000, a comprehensive redesign of patient safety process was undertaken based on the following principles:
(1) uniform processes and procedure result in an improved quality;  
(no mention of whether that is code for "practice according to evidence-based science).

(2) every member of the obstetric team should be required to halt any process that is deemed to be dangerous; 

 (woo-hooo, maybe someday they'll even include the parents as members of the team who can halt any process, OH! wait, after I reveal the information from a obstetrician about parents rights -- in my film -- they will!!)

(3) cesarean delivery is best viewed as a process alternative, not an outcome or quality endpoint; (Dang!)

(4) malpractice loss is best avoided by reduction in adverse outcomes and the development of unambiguous practice guidelines;
(Double Dang and Holy Sh--! this is getting mightily close to actually being about the BABY!) and

(5) effective peer review is essential to quality medical practice yet may be impossible to achieve at a local level in some departments.
(Whaaaat ... more PEER REVIEW? How about some effective NON-PEER review and law enforcement? How about some supervision of them foxes who are in charge of the hen house?)

Since the inception of this program, we have seen improvements in patient outcomes, a dramatic decline in litigation claims, and a reduction in the primary cesarean delivery rate.

I'll be getting the full article and reporting back ..

"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