June 22, 2012 by Leah
While I was pregnant, I did a lot of reading. I knew I needed to be really vigilant about post-partum depression, because I have a history of depression and because lack of sleep is a major trigger for mental instability for me. I decided that I should probably do everything I possibly could to ease the transition from pregnancy to new parenthood, up to and including encapsulating Elias’ and my placenta. (I also ate a very nutrient-rich pregnancy diet, talked about my hopes and fears with Aaron, exercised up until the day before I went into labor, did deep relaxation and guided meditation, and got a lot of sleep.)
Ingestion of the placenta after childbirth is supposed to help with a laundry list of symptoms, from keeping up supplies of iron and micronutrients to minimizing bleeding and increasing milk production. It is also supposed to help regulate hormones and prevent night sweats. I wasn’t about to cook and eat my placenta (as we know, I never managed to force myself to love liver and placenta smells just like liver), but encapsulation didn’t look too hard.
Getting the placenta out of the hospital could have posed a challenge, but when I asked my OB about it, she was really interested in and supportive of my wish to try placenta encapsulation, and she checked with the hospital and got the ok for me to take the thing home. Once we were actually at the hospital, we discovered that it was against hospital policy for us to take the placenta because it is categorized as hazardous waste (Aaron overheard some nurses talking about this and quipped that, if that was the case, the baby must also be hazardous waste). That said, we got the placenta home and into the freezer with no difficulty.
Most people hire someone to come over and encapsulate their placentas, but a) there is no one in my area who does this (of course) and b) I wasn’t about to waste $200 on something I could do myself. (Warning: taking on this kind of project at five days post-partum is kind of a big deal. There was a lot of standing. I got light-headed. But it was fine.)
I followed these instructions and everything went well, except for a few hiccups with the Cap ‘M Quick machine (I was getting tired by that point in the proceedings, so the hiccups were definitely down to user error).
I encapsulated on the fifth day post-partum (which was also the only day I sat in bed, clutching my baby, and sobbed) and have been taking three pills a day since. I’ve barely been weepy, my milk has been abundant, I haven’t had any night sweats, my bleeding was minimal, etc. etc. I don’t know if I wrote on here before, but Aaron and I both agreed that I was more stable during pregnancy than we’d seen me, ever, and the trend seems to be continuing – even with the lack of sleep. So, though this is based on entirely unscientific means, I have to say I am a huge fan of placenta encapsulation and it’s definitely been working for me.
Here’s how the process went down:
And, here’s a cute baby picture: