Thursday, March 31, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
"My brother is getting married. I'm going to be Aunt Lisa.I never thought I'd be an Aunt.""Tell them I said congratulations!""Them? This has nothing to do with them! Did you hear me say AUNT LISA? I'm 41. I never thought this would happen!""Yeah, you're getting up there.""It seems like such a cool gig. I'll be the best Aunt ever!""Yeah, unlike your parenting...""He's little. I'm good with that age. It will be ok.""Until he turns 13.""Yeah, I totally suck at teen parenting, but maybe teen aunting is something at which I excel?""There's always that hope."
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Placentophagy (from 'placenta' + Greek φαγειν, to eat) is the act of mammals eating the placenta of their young after childbirth. The placenta contains high levels of prostaglandin which stimulates involution (an inward curvature or penetration, or, a shrinking or return to a former size) of the uterus, in effect cleaning the uterus out. The placenta also contains small amounts of oxytocin which eases birth stress and causes the smooth muscles around the mammary cells to contract and eject milk.
Most every mammal, with the exception of the camel, consumes the placenta at birth. Even vegetarian animals such as goats and cows, with no teeth for tearing and eating meat, will gag it down.
The first time I heard about humans consuming their placentas, I was horrified. Now, it's simply one more step in the birth process.
If you give birth at home, you can put the placenta into the fridge, or, if you feel up to it, start on it right away.
If you give birth in a hospital, prepare for shock and disgust when you tell your practitioner you want to take the placenta home with you. Some will shrug and hand it over. Some will tell you that since it came out of your body it is now considered biohazard and cannot leave the hospital. If your practitioner tells you this, remind them that the baby also came out of your body, and ask them how they plan to now care for your child throughout his or her life, as according to their rules, the child cannot leave the hospital.
One client had her placenta returned to her floating in a jar of formaldehyde. Since the FDA has never established a safe minimum amount of formaldehyde that could be put into a living human, there was no hope of consuming the placenta, and I assume the placenta was instead placed on the fireplace mantel as a curiosity.
Another client had to sign a form stating they did not intend to use their placenta as a biological weapon. I cannot tell you the number of times a hi-jacking has been attempted by a new mom with PPD, and a placenta. Oh, wait, yes I can. Zero!
But that's only because they signed the form promising not to.
So, once you have promised not to use it as a weapon ("Oh, shit! They have placentas!"), you can bring your placenta home and prepare it for consumption.
There are lots of recipes online for placenta lasagna, placenta stew, placenta helper, placenta pizza, placenta smoothies, placentaccino...
Those are just gross.
I prefer to dehydrate the placenta and cap it up, to be taken as a supplement.
If you are interested in doing this, or are plain curious as to my method, read on.
Before I dehydrate the placenta, I show all the parts of it to the parents, friends, siblings, in-laws... and explain all about this amazing organ. I then make prints from it, onto white cardstock... my placenta prints are framed and on display in my dining room, but yours can be tucked into the baby book, if you prefer.
Once your prints are done, use a sharp knife to remove the cord and membranes.
If you have a vitamix, you can probably leave these on, but I have a nice, mid-level blender and it's no match for the tough, stringy cord and membranes.
After cutting the placenta into chunks, put it in the blender and just push play.
You'll have something that looks pale pink, like spam, all the way to bright red, like tomato paste.
There's always a moment where it first 'catches', that I have to look away. It's just for 'one mississippi', and then I'm ok. But it makes me wonder how I will be able to perform brain surgery, if I'm looking away for a whole mississippi. I've tried, in fact I always try, but there's always that "Gurk! Gurk!" moment, so I have to look away.
Once it catches, and turns into meat paste, I'm good.
I then spread the placenta onto a fruit leather tray in the dehydrator. I disassemble, wash and dry the blender.
Let the placenta dry overnight, and flip it over.
This part always reminds me of flinging 'cow flops', frisbee-style, when I lived in the country.
While the new family is busy doing this:
I get busy in the kitchen.
When it's completely dry, break the placenta into pieces and put into the clean and dry blender.
And just push Play!
(You put the lid on, right?)
When I did this one, I took the lid off to get the picture and got a face full of powder. I suggest you let the dust settle down for a few minutes, because I don't think worker's comp covers Placenta Lung.
I went to Rite-Aid and asked if they sold empty capsules. They asked one another if they sold "M-T Capsules" and no one had ever heard of them. I tried explaining:
Me: "No, plain empty capsules that you fill, yourself. Just hollow, empty capsules?"
"Larry, you sure we don't have no M-T Capsules?"
"Naw, I think we stopped carrying them years ago."
Me: "No, I want capsules that have nothing in them, so I can put my own stuff in them."
"What kind of stuff? Illegal stuff?"
Me: "Powdered placenta."
"We don't got that, neither."
So I went home and grabbed the bag I'd purchased at Sunflowers, where they sure as hell know what empty capsules are.
"Here, take these now, since I have them done."
While the family retells the birth story to a visiting cousin, I'm about halfway done.
This placenta made about 150 capsules.
Every time the new mom takes a drink, she'll wash down a few, until it's gone.
I remember sitting on my bed with my daughters after my son was born, and we were all in a circle around a bowl of powdered placenta, capping it up. They were 9yrs, 5 yrs, 4 yrs and 2yrs, so I doubt they remember much, but I know I'll treasure that memory forever.