Sunday, June 30, 2013

I ate my placenta.

*This post contains graphic images that may gross some people out. So, if blood and stuff bothers you or you are eating or forewarned.

     This is a post about placenta consumption. I consumed (or rather am in the process of consuming) my placenta. If you are not familiar with the placenta, I suggest you do some googling. It's pretty rad. My body made an entire organ for the purpose of nourishing Perrin in utero that is then expelled after birth. Most mammals eat the placenta after their offspring are born. It's how they "cut the cord" so to speak. For humans, we have developed lots of different ways of  dealing with the placenta after birth. Some people opt for a lotus birth where the placenta is left attached to the baby until it detaches naturally. Some people bury the placenta, either by itself or with a young tree to commemorate the beginning of a new life. Then there is always the biohazard bag and trashcan approach. But for many, many cultures consuming the placenta has been a normal part of childbirth, and there is good reason for it.
   For starters, it is chock full of vitamins and minerals (such as iron) that are super important for the mother's health postpartum. It is also full of hormones- hormones produced by the mother's body. It's basically tailor made hormone replacement therapy. These hormones have many important properties, including helping the uterus to return to it's normal size post-partum. That's why a great way to stop post-partum bleeding is to eat a piece of the placenta (unless of course, your placenta is half way stuck inside you and the cause of the bleeding...). The hormones also help with mood regulation and with milk production.
   In most of these cultures, the placenta is eaten raw or prepared as a special meal for the mother. But now there are many modern takes on placenta consumption, including placenta smoothies and placenta encapsulation. We chose to go the encapsulation route. Below is how we did it.

   First, you start with the placenta. After it was checked over by the midwives, Lia put ours in the freezer for us. I meant to get to it sooner, but ended up not being able to start the encapsulation process until day 4. Here is the placenta as Lia left it, once we thawed it out and rinsed it off. Sorry about our colander being red- I know it's not the best for contrast.

Here are the membranes, or the amniotic sac. This is what contained Perrin while he was inside.

And here is the umbilical cord. His was pretty long. 

So first we removed the membranes and the umbilical cord. I just used our kitchen shears. Then we moved to the cutting board. Here is a good pic of the maternal side. This is the part of the placenta that was attached to my uterus. This is what caused problems- a few of the nodes didn't detach properly. 

Here is the fetal side. This part was enclosed in the membranes. You can see the stump where the umbilical cord was attached. 

We basically just sliced it up into thin strips. Those strips went onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and into the oven on low heat for few hours to dehydrate. Just like making jerky...

Once it was done, we let it cool then threw it into the food processor. After processing it, I noticed it still looked a little meaty in some spots, so I threw the placenta-meal back into the oven for a little longer to make sure all the moisture was gone. I processed it again to get it as fine as possible.
Here is part of it. It made a lot more, but I didn't think to snag a picture until we were already into production.

So then it was simple. We used a encapsulation machine to fill up empty pill capsules with the powder. 

And voila! We have placenta pills! 

So there you have it. Even if you are pretty squeamish, you have to admit those are fairly benign. So yeah, not only did my body make a person, but it also made me super vitamins. It's pretty cool. Now I just pop a couple of these a few times a day.

And in case my instructions didn't make sense, here are the two blogs I consulted:

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