Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Placenta

It's been nearly four weeks since Jedi was born. My goodness, how the time flies. Of course, it helps when there is a lot going on: family in town, Mother's Day celebrations, more family in town, Bug's birthday party (that we had two weeks late), Memorial day, and Hubby's birthday (today).

May is SUCH a busy month. But, I am proud to say that I have (mostly) kept it together! I have only cried a couple of times since the birth. Which is a significant improvement on how often I cried during pregnancy! I think I can give credit to my placenta capsules (lovingly called 'placenta pills' in our home). Yep, I am officially one of -those- ladies that eats her placenta! And now I'm going to tell you how I prepared it (sparing you pictures, because I didn't get any. You're welcome.)

After the cord was cut, I briefly examined the placenta for completeness, then it was plopped into a Tupperware with a lid and put into the fridge. I wasn't sure when I would get to it, so it needed to be treated like any other piece of meat for planned consumption. I was able to prepare the placenta that evening. I prepared the placenta using the raw method, rather than the Traditional Chinese medicine method, which steams the placenta prior to dehydrating.

First, I placed the placenta in a colander in the sink. I then spent at least fifteen minutes rinsing the dang thing. I removed as many blood clots as I could (many of them were between the size of a large grape and a small lime). On the baby side, the placenta is smooth (covered by the membranes) and has beautiful, visible veins that form what is referred to as the 'tree of life'. I used a sharp knife to pierce the veins, so I could remove the clotted blood from those as well.

I then moved the placenta to a cutting board and used the sharp knife to cut away the majority of the membranes and the cord. Then I sliced the placenta into very thin strips (like jerky). This was somewhat difficult, as the placenta is both tough and jiggly. The maternal side is lumpy looking, rough yet soft and somewhat gritty (I believe this depends on age and calcification of the placenta). It compares more to organ meat than muscle meat...which makes perfect sense, because the placenta is an organ, not a muscle! I learned after the fact that it would have been easier to use meat scissors to do all that work. However, I was able to slice the placenta completely using the knife, and place all the strips on trays of our dehydrator.

Once the strips were all placed, I turned on the dehydrator and let it do its work. The house smelled like very warm (cooking?) birth, which didn't bother me, and I heard no complaints from anyone else.

Approximately 12 hours later, the placenta was thoroughly dry. (I determined 'thoroughly dry' as being dry enough to snap a slice in half easily.) The slices looked like petrified smears of meconium, but I went ahead and put them in our blender. We have a cheap blender, but pulsing it on grate worked well...although it was noisy, it only took a few minutes. I assume a fancy food processor would do an even better job!

Once I had my placenta turned into a powder, I was able to fill my capsules. I had ordered an encapsulator that would fill 24 capsules at one time, and size 00 capsules. Separate capsules, place into appropriate side of encapsulator, pour in placenta dust, scrape to fill, tamp down, add more powder, level off, push on capsule tops, push out completed capsules. Repeat.

I was able to fill 124 capsules. I didn't have a glass jar or anything fancy to store them in, so I put them in a freezer ziplock bag. I also actually keep them in the freezer. Although this isn't necessary (unless you plan to preserve the capsules for use years down the road), I figured it wouldn't hurt. Especially since I am only storing mine in a plastic bag!

For the first couple of days, I didn't know how many capsules a day I should have been taking. After a bit more research, I found that for my size capsules, I should be taking about 6 a day for the first two weeks, then as many as I wanted thereafter. I recently have moved to 4 a day (and they will only last me one more week at that rate...sad face).

I feel like they have been very beneficial. The Hubs has even said he wants me to encapsulate and consume the placenta with all future births! (And he was really squeamish about the whole thing before!) My mood has definitely been improved...especially noticeable has been the lack of breakdowns and tears typically present in the early postpartum period. I also feel like my engorgement didn't last as long as it has before. And I believe my lochia has been tapering off more quickly.

Of course, this is my personal, anecdotal experience. I would encourage you to do your own research on placentophagy. At first I thought it was weird. Then I though I might like to try it. Then I thought I would do it, but keep it on the down low, so as to not squick anyone out. But now, I have actually done it, and I'll talk about it with no reservations! So there you go!

I ate my placenta (well, almost...I still have a few capsules left!) and I am proud of it!

3 comments:

Emma said...

Woo hoo! You go girl! Not sure if I could prepare them myself, but I am willing to take the pills! My next birth :). And thank you for the description of the preparation- fascinating.

Char said...

You go girl! I've been doing a lot of research about consuming the placenta...and I think I'll do it...with our next whenever that is. That's awesome that you were able to do it yourself without having to pay so much $$.

Michelle Collett said...

Fascinating! I think I might do that next time. :)