August 13, 2015 by Heather
If you happened to be reading my blog when Parker was born, you know that my postpartum experience/recovery was no walk in the park (is it ever?). My body had been through some serious trauma — 30 hours of labor followed by a cesarean — which did not help anything, and my mind was not at all prepared for what those early days (months) of motherhood would hold. My body hurt much longer than it should have, many tears were shed, and I eventually ended up on an antidepressant — months later, a little too late if you ask me now.
When we found out we were pregnant with baby number two, I immediately started thinking about those post-baby days with Parker and began to dread the possibility of repeating them. I did a little research about ways to help with postpartum recovery and mental health and wound up reading a lot about Placenta Encapsulation. I also had a close friend who encapsulated hers with her fourth baby (did not with the previous three) and had nothing but good things to say about it.
So I decided to go for it. Surprisingly, Andrew (ever the skeptic) was all about it, mostly because he too was dreading a miserable postpartum repeat.
I met with a Placenta Encapsulation Specialist when I was about 20 weeks along. She answered all of my questions and told me more about the process and benefits. I would periodically email her even more questions and she was very helpful and patient with my own skepticism.
Flash forward to the big day and me lying on the operating table repeatedly reminding the nurses to “Keep the placenta!!!” I had already discussed it with my doctor during previous appointments and he was on board. During my c-section there was even a lively discussion about the best way to cook placenta. I think they decided grilling would be the best option. I made sure they knew this was not my reason for keeping it.
Heather, the “Placenta Lady,” came and picked up my placenta before I was even back in the recovery room. She had a special cooler and came in and checked on me before she left with it. (Note here: some hospitals are apparently stingy with placentas, so check before you decide to encapsulate/take yours). Over the next day she went through the encapsulation process and then returned to the hospital with my pills before we left.
SO — have I noticed a difference? Have they helped? I would say definitely yes, they have helped. I am careful to give all credence to the placenta, because the fact that this is my second baby makes things a little easier, but my recovery after Parker and my recovery this time around have been like night and day.
My milk came in faster and has seemed to regulate much more smoothly this time around. My postpartum swelling went down much faster. My recovery from the surgery has been, compared to last time, a breeze. I mean, praise Jesus for those couple weeks of pain pills, but still. I have felt so much better this time, and I know a lot of that is because I did not labor beforehand.
For me, the main thing I hoped the pills would help was my state of mind. The placenta is FULL of hormones, so when it is taken from your body, your hormone levels pretty much bottom-out, hence the baby blues/I hate my life. By slowly reintroducing it, those hormones stay much more balanced. Makes sense, right?
And it has certainly worked for me. The baby blues did not come anywhere near me this time around, which was a welcomed miracle. I have memories of sobbing while holding Parker, and truthfully, I still feel kind of guilty about how I felt towards him and my new “mom” status in those early months. It wasn’t a good place to be in.
While my hormones have still been a little wacky (mostly in the form of weird bodily functions, aka no armpit hair), I have felt so good. I have felt so good, and that is saying a lot for someone who is predisposed to be somewhat of a hot mess most of the time, new baby or not.
Oliver is four weeks old today, and I’m about halfway through my jar of pills. I’m actually tapering off of them this week and plan to put the rest in the freezer to take later when he is weaning off breast milk and my hormones go bizerk again.
If you live in the area and are interested in learning more about Placenta Encapsulation, here is a link to the website of the girl who did mine. She also offers doula services and other childbirth related things. I highly recommend her services.
So, that is my experience with a somewhat odd thing that some people are really grossed out by (even my doctor). It has been so positive, and I am so grateful that I did it.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or any sort of health professional. This is just an account of my personal experience with placenta encapsulation. I was not compensated in anyway for this review. Just a happy customer.