Baby Xavier came 2 weeks early on April 7 after 19 hours of labor including 5.5 hours of pushing. He was almost a home birth... 18 hours of labor were spent at home until my home midwife proposed a transfer to a great nearby hospital known for their excellent midwives' clinic. Xavier was asynclitic and we were worried I wouldn't have any strength left to stay natural, so to be safe we left. Fortuitously, a run down three flights of stairs from our apartment to street level between contractions shifted baby's position, so by the time we got to the hospital he was ready! A 2nd degree tear and a hell of a couple of pushes more and he joyously joined us in the breathing world. [In the process, I somehow lost a ton of blood, became severely anemic, and they kept me in the hospital for a few days. All was well, though, and my partner and I were overjoyed to be joined by our son. Weighing 9lbs5oz, I was pretty happy he came early. He is a hearty eater, latched without problems, and has since gained 4 lbs!
I'm so thankful that we planned for a homebirth so that I was able to labor in the comfort of my home, practicing my own management techniques for the intense sensations of childbirth, and relaxing outside the hospital environment. I'm grateful to my midwife for knowing when to make the call for transfer. And mostly, I am so so so happy that I spent so much time preparing emotionally, physically, and spiritually for this experience. I drew on some serious forces of strength I didn't know I could access to be able to push for almost 6 hours WITHOUT ANY PAIN MEDS!!! And I actually look back on the experience longingly and fondly -- oxytocin is my new drug of choice.
A few months back, I asked you all advice on what to do with the placenta. While some of you thought I was crazy, others of you gave me some wonderful suggestions. I ended up encapsulating it, which has been wonderful in avoiding post partum depression or moodiness, and in raising my dangerously low iron levels after blood loss. It's also been some pretty powerful medicine. I thought you might be interested in how we ended up preparing it, so I've put together this photo essay:
ETA: I've updated some of the directions to make the process clearer. Also, most people advise keeping very centered and grounded during the process. The idea is that the placenta absorbs the energy around it, though not everyone is a believer in energetics!
1. Placenta: The Tree of Life
2. Steaming the placenta over LOW heat, with lemon, ginger, and cayenne. Rinse excess blood before steaming. Can also be steamed with jalapeno instead of cayenne. Steam for 15 minutes, turn and steam other side until no juice comes out.
3. After Steaming. Remove umbilical cord and membrane. (Membrane keeps it held together during steaming.)
4. Cutting into very thin slices for dehydration... The thinner the better!
5. Ready for dehydration - Bake in oven on lowest setting for 7-10 hours
6. After dehydration
7. Ready for mortar and pestle
8. The capsules for the powdered placenta - scoop powdered placenta into each capsule by using capsule itself or an envelope
9. The placenta being ground by hand into strong medicine
10. Ready for consumption: 2 pills 3x a day for 4 weeks, then as needed. Keep capsules in cool, dry place in a dark jar. Some people recommend drinking a bit of white wine with every dose. When the mother feels she doesn't need to take the capsules anymore, she can keep the remaining ones for homeopathic use every time the child undergoes a separation from her.