Tuesday, July 31, 2012

On eating my placenta

.....That got your attention, didn't it?

Well, it's true.

I did - and occasionally still do - consume my placenta. Not in the raw, bloody, chewy form - but in a simple, dehydrated, powder form (though if you're interested, I've seen many a recipe on the internet for cooking with your placenta! Extra yum!)

I haven't told too many people this, for obvious reasons. But I finally decided it didn't really matter who knew and perhaps someone reading this would find it at least interesting. I don't think it's a very controversial issue - either you think it's disgusting or you see the benefits in it. If you don't know the benefits, keep reading. I'll get there. And if you're among the people who think it's absolutely revolting, then you can say what you want to yourself and skip reading the rest of this while you try not to gag. It's okay - I understand. I get a little grossed out myself if I think about it too much.

We were first introduced to the idea during my Hypnobirthing class. A doula came in and chatted with us about the benefits of placentophagy, and then proceeded to offer her services to the class. She would come into your home and dehydrate your placenta with some special herbs and then encapsulate them for you to easily (and tastelessly!) consume. 

When we got back out to the car, Adam asked me if I wanted to do it. I was surprised - I had thought it was interesting, but hadn't really considered actually doing it until he asked me about it. It seemed just a touch too granola for me. But then we started talking about it and doing more of our own research online and I decided I wanted to try it --- only we were going to dehydrate my placenta on our own. 

As it turned out, there was no "we" in the process - Adam, fabulous as he is, did ALL the work for me. This involved placing my placenta in a ice-filled cooler as we left the birth center, putting it in the freezer until he could get to it, thawing it, cleaning it, cutting it up and blending it. When it was in pureed form, he poured it onto a flat cookie sheet with parchment paper underneath. Then he put it into our oven at the lowest temperature possible so that it would slowly dry out rather than cook. After it was dried, he cut it up into small strips and blended it in a food processor. It was now in powder form! He did all of that - and it didn't even come from his own body!

At this point we didn't have any empty capsules, so for the first two weeks I would simply throw a spoonful of powder into a berry smoothie every morning for breakfast. The powder has a pretty strong smell, so I tried not to breathe in whenever I got it out. There was also a slight earthy taste added to my shake when I used it. Once I even tried just adding water and drinking it quickly, like taking a shot. Once. Never again. Eventually I got sick of smoothies everyday so we bought empty capsules and that was a lot easier. 

So, what are the benefits of consuming your own placenta? Increased energy, increased milk supply, a mood-booster, and replenishing your iron supply after losing so much blood, to name a few. The number one reason I decided to try it was that I was worried about postpartum depression. For those of you who haven't noticed yet, I'm a pretty emotional person, so I was willing to try something that claimed it would help with baby blues. 

Did it work for me? Well, never having had a baby before this, I don't have much to compare it to. However, I really believe it did affect me - especially my milk supply. I was overproducing like crazy - to the point where poor Axton would sometimes have milk coming out his nose. It was just too much for him to handle. I stopped taking the pills for a week or so to see if it would help tone things down a notch and it really did. Things got under control and I started taking it again, just less. I also think it did help with regulating my hormones and emotions. Sometimes, on emotional days, Adam would ask me if I had taken my Placenta Pills that day and usually I had not.

I will definitely do this again with my next child - I don't want to take any chances. In my opinion, it can only help, so why not? If you struggle with milk supply or postpartum depression, I would recommend looking into this to see if it might be something you would be interested in trying.

Here is video that goes into further details about how and why placentophagy is beneficial.

And another personal account of a woman who tried placenta encapsulation after her third birth: http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2011/10/the-benefits-of-placenta-encapsulation-for-postpartum-healing.html

If you have any questions for me, I'd be happy to answer them. As always, I hope we can be mature adults and leave only kind comments!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The EYE Story

Tomorrow I leave Idaho to go visit my Dad in Minnesota. I'll write a post about that someday soon, but for now I want to tell a different story. I will be flying out of Jackson Hole, and Jackson Hole always reminds me of one thing:

The EYE Story.

Some of you know this story. Some of you might have seen pictures on Facebook. And some of you probably have no idea what I'm talking about. But I still suggest everyone read on, because it's a pretty crazy one.

So from the age of 12 on, I spent the school year with Mom in Idaho and the summer with Dad in Minnesota. The summer after I graduated from high school, my dad picked me up in Idaho and we took a road trip back to Minny. We went hiking in the mountains and then camped in Jackson Hole.

La la la, having such a good time.

That  night we were staying in a little cabin, so no way could I talk to my then boyfriend in that tiny cabin with my dad. I took a little walk outside to chit chat with him. Part way through the phone conversation, I felt my eye starting to itch. Well gol darn it, I'd gotten a bug bite. This was nothing new - I was always the first - and worst - one to get bitten by mosquitoes. But when I got off the phone, I felt my eye and noticed it was just a tad swollen. I took a picture of it to see how bad it was.

Well, gee whiz, it was quite swollen! Sad.

I thought, Oh well. It will be better in the morning. 

Yeah right.

I woke up to my eye completely swollen shut!

This one is almost cute. Almost.

Oh and this one? Well, it was colder than I was anticipating so I had to wear all my clothes to keep warm.

I'll be the first to admit that I thought it was pretty funny. 

But then it got worse. And then I thought it was really funny. Except for the small voice in the back of my head that kept asking, "What if it just keeps swelling and eventually my eyelid actually BURSTS from all the pressure?" 


Did I mention that this happened the day we were supposed to go white-water rafting?
Well, it did. I was a one-eyed monster on the one day that both eyes would have been pretty handy. We decided we should probably get some medicine for me, so we picked up some Benadryl at the store. I wore my sunglasses until the very end, when I wanted to freak the cash register out. 

Now I was not only one-eyed, but pretty drowsy from the meds. But on I went! And I didn't fall out of my raft, not even once.

After white-water rafting - the Eye slowing beginning to deflate.

It took quite a few days, but eventually my eye began to heal.

And that's my eye story. Lesson learned? Talk to your boyfriend inside the cabin. Or, for heaven's sake, wear bug spray!!!

Jackson Hole, here I come!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Few Firsts

Now before you go and think that motherhood is all work and no play, I've got to share some fun times!!!!

First time meeting Grandma Kauwe:

First teddy bear:

First trip to the temple:
Axton got to hang out with Grandma Kauwe while Adam and I went into the temple.

My boys! They are mine forever and I am so lucky!

First trip to Washington DC:
We went to the Library of Congress, toured the Capitol, and checked out the Archives.

 On the metro

 Touring the capitol

First Camping Trip:
We drove 2 1/2 hours west to Rocky Gap State Park. We stayed in a hot, hot, hot cabin, swam in Lake Habeeb, and enjoyed the mountains and country.

Axton got to sleep with Mommy & Daddy and it was one of his best nights so far! He only woke up once and I don't think he would have woke up at all if Adam hadn't had to get up and chase away the raccoon digging through our cooler!

The lake....I loved swimming. I have missed it so much since leaving Hawaii.

Axton's first dip in the lake - he didn't like it too much, but then again he had just woken up.

Favorite picture ever!!!

First trip to the DC Zoo:

This was the only picture we got as I, unfortunately, forgot my camera.

Baby blessing:
In our church we give our babies a blessing, typically within the first few months of life. In the prayer, Adam officially gave him his name and prayed that he would follow the example of Jesus Christ as His personal savior, and that people who knew Axton would feel the wonderful spirit he possesses. It was such as sweet blessing and I know Axton will treasure the words his father spoke. It wasn't Axton's very first blessing, as we gave him one after he had to go to the ER, but it was his first - and only - official Baby Blessing.

Tuckered out from all the loves he gets at church

In the first week of Axton's life, some of my "baby blues" (postpartum depression) stemmed from thoughts of Axton getting older. I would not only cry, but I would honestly and sincerely and intensely mourn the day ending, thinking, "He was only two days old for one day and now that day is over and I will never get it back. Tomorrow he will be three days old and it will only last one day and then it will be over and I will never get it back." I felt an intense need to fully and completely soak up each and every breath of his, every second, because I felt it would be gone too quickly and wasted if I didn't. I would feel guilty at the end of the day when I put him down to sleep because I would think, "I didn't spend enough time with him today. I didn't hold him enough." But no amount of time would have been enough during that first week and it was so emotionally draining for me. I didn't know how to not only let him grow up, but be happy to see it happening.

I've gotten much better since then, and instead of feeling sorry that he is growing up each day, I look forward and am excited to see all the changes he will make, the things he will learn, the person he will become. I feel so lucky to be Axton's mommy! It is still a crazy thought that I am anyone's mommy at this point, but we love being a family and my life is definitely richer with my son in it. 

and I think it's safe to say he has my eyes :)