Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Placenta Picture Frame as a Keepsake?

Amanda Cotton is an artist who has found an innovative way to honor the human placenta: by creating a picture frame. Imagine using raw materials provided by your body to hold and treasure a beautiful keepsake such as a photograph of your newborn.

I think this is an interesting concept, especially because you can keep it forever, and I love that people are continuing to think of ways to honor the placenta instead of discarding it as waste material.

Personally, I loved ingesting my placenta so much that I would find it hard to make a picture frame from it and miss the benefits of its consumption. I felt so much more balanced this last time around when I took my placenta and I never plan to do a postpartum period without my placenta again. It was so helpful and I had an absolutely blissful babymoon.

To learn more of Amanda's work: http://www.amandacotton.co.uk/placenta-/433778_placenta-photo-frame-.html.

What do you think? Creepy or cool?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Friday, October 4, 2013

Life in the Womb

http://www.buzzfeed.com/personhoodusa/top-10-mind-blowing-images-of-human-life-in-the-wo-drqv

These are amazing images of life in the womb at different stages of gestation. Very eye opening that there is indeed a real life growing in the womb. I loved this!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Placenta Eating Mammal



So this video is probably too much for most people and if you feel that way, then don't feel as though you need to watch it, but the point is that amongst mammals, placenta eating is normal and any effort to normalize the use of the placenta, whether amongst animals or humans, is a beneficial thing.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Two Studies of The Effects of Placental Weight

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16578997

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK32815/

These are two studies that examined the effects of placental weight on various factors. It makes for some interesting reading. One thing is certain: the placenta is beginning to receive more attention and research as scientists discover all the amazing aspects of it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Another Benefit of Placenta Encapsulation

Something I noticed during my postpartum that I think may be tied to placenta encapsulation is this...

When taking the placenta capsules (and it wouldn't happen on the days I forgot or after I stopped taking them) is that I would feel and notice sensations with much more heightened awareness. Textures on my hands and feet and tongue were more pronounced. My sense like taste and smell were heightened. I also had many moments of this pure blissful feeling where I would just take a deep breath and everything felt absolutely perfect in my life even though consciously I was aware of some continued struggles.

Is this a result of placenta encapsulation? I can't say conclusively, but in my experience, it sure felt like it. I have never heard anyone else describe this from placenta encapsulation, but for me, it could have been. I did not have these sensations after my first two births and I didn't encapsulate after those either.

I am so curious to see what my experience will be like next time around. In the meantime, has anyone else experienced this? Weigh in below!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Life Impact?


Do you agree with this? I used to really buy into this, especially around the time of my second birth. Now that I've had my third birth, even though it was as natural and beautiful as my second, I am more excited about the baby than the birth and honestly, I don't know that it will really matter when I am old and gray how I gave birth. I had some pain around how I gave birth to my son, but I believe we can heal. And I did heal and you know what I realized? I still get to keep the baby. So for women who don't get the birth they envision, they can heal and they get to keep the baby! So will it really matter when our kids are grown and gone and we're cuddling our grandchildren? I'll have to let you know when I get there.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

25 Children's Books Depicting Breastfeeding

http://www.mothering.com/community/a/25-childrens-books-that-depict-breastfeeding

I am posting this mainly so I have a reference later on and I also thought others could use this info. I know I want it to be perfectly natural to my children to be around breastfeeding and to accept that this is how babies are fed and introducing them to books that do that is important.




It's interesting... when baby number three got here, my son did not remember me feeding my daughter and my daughter did not remember breastfeeding so they were both like, "that's how the baby eats?" And I said "yep" and that's all we had to talk about it: they just accepted what is.

Friday, September 6, 2013

My Birth Story

I love reading a good birth story and while this blog is mostly about placentas, I do post things about birth. I thought to share my recent birth experience for those interested. I hope you enjoy!


The Birth of Olesia Elizabeth

The birth journey of my third child begins shortly after my second. The birth of my daughter was amazing and perfect and I wouldn’t have changed a single thing. However, now having felt as though I conquered natural birth, I wanted to experience it differently. With the birth of my daughter, it had been in the winter and it had been dark out. For my next birth, I wanted to be outside in the light of either the sun or the moon. I wanted to feel the breeze.

Over the next four years, God began arranging things in my life to allow me to have a birth according to my vision. We moved across the country to sunny Arizona. We lived two years holed up in a tiny 800 square foot apartment with two kids until God brought the perfect house with the backyard I had been dreaming of. I planted plants to fill the backyard with life. We bought a cheap hot tub that I planned to give birth in. We hung beautiful wind chimes and patio lights. It was all coming together, though I wasn’t even pregnant.

Finally, in May of 2012, we began trying for a baby. On October 3rd, my husband’s birthday, we found out little Raspberry was on the way. We nicknamed the baby Raspberry because that was the size of the baby when we found out we were expecting.

As thrilled as I was to be having a baby and as sure as I was that this was the Lord’s timing, I struggled with emotions during this pregnancy. For two years prior to conceiving, I felt the Lord calling us to have more children. I continued to delay conception because I wanted my husband to have a good job first. I wanted to be in a stable situation because I believed you don’t bring children into the world unless you can afford them. I continued to say no to God. Finally, I felt Him saying to me, “Look, you’re going to have to trust me to provide for these kids for the rest of their lives. These are my kids, my responsibility.” I told God okay; I would do it.

When the baby was officially on the way, however, I continued to struggle with the joy of having a baby, balanced with the struggle of a meager income. My husband was working 80-100 hours a week. The bills were piling up. I was stuck on the couch with nausea.

In January, once the holidays had passed, I began a huge job search for my husband. I spent hours every day applying him everywhere. I balanced that with beginning to knit for the baby.
At the very end of January, I got a cold that stuffed up my nose. One night, I awoke in a panic attack, my adrenaline flowing. I had issues with not being able to breathe. I had experienced this after I had my daughter, but eventually it subsided. Now it was back. I thought it would go away, yet it didn’t. I didn’t feel right lying my head down. Every time I did lie down, my head would feel stuffed up andcrazy and I would have to sit up. If I did lay down, my body would jolt awake just as I was about to sleep. I got to the point of sleeping only 1-2 hours a day. I would sit up on the couch to sleep with the T.V. on. I would have to go outside often to not feel claustrophobic. I would pace my house and take frequent walks because I couldn’t relax. I was exhausted, though it got to the point that I got all day anxiety and couldn’t even sit on the couch.

One night, I had a panic attack that didn’t end. It went all night long. My husband and I were driving up and down the street trying to calm me. I was vomiting. The next day, I decided I was never going to experience that again. Luckily, we had a midwife appointment that morning. I broke down crying while there. My midwife got me in to see the O.B. she collaborates with. He prescribed things for anxiety and to help me sleep. It was a blessing. I had been so against medication of any kind, even Tylenol, but I felt God saying to me, “Don’t limit the ways in which I choose to help you. It was no accident that you live in this time and this country in a city with available pharmacies and that you got in to see the doctor today.” I felt humbled.

Things slowly got better. I began sleeping again. I started being able to sit on the couch. I started being able to connect with life again. I began to prepare for the baby and feel excited. I wanted to have a 3D ultrasound so I could connect with the baby. It was a magical experience at 34 weeks and started the debate of whether we were having a boy or girl. It would remain a surprise just as we had the first two times.

As much as I hate to admit it, I felt conflicted about the pregnancy from the majority of the time. However, I was working on a special project for my kids. I was making belly casts with a special verse of it for each of them. I began praying about which verse should be for which child. For this baby I got, Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart.” Shortly after receiving this verse (about a week or two), our pastor gave a sermon on being anointed; what it was, the significance. We got an alter call to go forward if we wanted to be anointed. I definitely wanted to. The whole sermon had been about being “set apart.” Once up at the front, I told God no funny business. I wanted to get through the whole process in a composed manner. I didn’t want to show emotion in front of the whole church. God told me too bad. All the sudden, I felt God. My entire body down to my toes got warm and tingly. It didn’t hurt at all, but was definitely a distinct sensation. I felt God say to me, “This is love. This is only a small tiny part of what I feel for this child and I’m letting you feel it.” I broke down and sobbed. I felt as though I was up front there for the baby. God loves His children and sets them apart. I needed to experience this during this pregnancy. It was what I needed to make peace with my feelings and uncertainties.

We nested for weeks with every imaginable project. I finished my knitting and sewing a blanket for the baby. We organized every nook and cranny of the house. We got out all the baby stuff, sold things around the house we didn’t need, did yard work, and readied the birthing supplies. It took weekend after weekend for several months.

Finally, around 39 weeks, I was nearing a finish. I could no longer sleep well, though 39 weeks was pretty good I knew comfort-wise. The only thing we didn’t have done was the hot tub. My husband had been trying to get the heater element to work for weeks. It just wasn’t coming along.
I decided I was going to have to go into labor soon though because the temperature was starting to get into the 110’s. I wanted my due date because it was a break from some clouds and chance of rain (which is rare in the desert) and it was supposed to be around 90 degrees F. I got my wish.
At 40 weeks, exactly on my due date, I awoke at 8:00 a.m. with mild contractions. I knew right away labor would be kicking in at some point soon as these were different from what I had been feeling. Throughout the day, the contractions slowed just as they had done with my last birth. I figured they would pick up again at night. I spent the day cleaning bathrooms, dusting, doing laundry, and vacuuming. My husband came home for an hour in the middle of his work day just to clean the kitchen.

That night around 12:00 a.m., I was still up dusting and running around to finish preparing things while my husband worked feverishly to fix that darn hot tub and fill it. Finally, at 1:00 a.m., I laid down in the bed determined to sleep. I wasn’t contracting much. Well, 1:00 a.m. seems to be a good time for me because labor began to pick up again just as it had at the same time with my daughter. By 2:00 a.m., I had had enough strong contractions that I was no longer comfortable lying down. And by enough, I mean about four. I came out into the living room and tried out different positions. I leaned over the back of the couch, tried hands and knees, the birthing ball, and finally I settled on leaning over the island counter in the kitchen because it was the perfect height for comfort. We put a purple towel on the floor so it wasn’t so hard on my feet and there I labored, standing as I had during my second birth. I called my husband each time a wave came so he could push on my back. I did not have back labor, but the pushing helped numb the front pain, providing a counter-balance. The waves were very low this time, unlike how they’d been with my daughter and I wasn’t as prepared to handle the sensation there. The waves were also stronger quicker and stronger than even my strongest wave had been with my last labor. I complained the whole time that I didn’t want to do this; that I wanted to be done.

Several nights before labor, I was complaining to my husband about labor. “Who would sign up for this?” I complained. “What a dumb design by God! Why would anyone agree to go through this event that they didn’t know when it would begin or how long it would be, but they knew it would cause pain and change their life forever.” Who would agree to that?”

God replied to me in His gentle, quiet voice, “I did.” I stopped, frozen into silence.

“God, what do you mean?” He gave me a verse.

“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken form me. Yet not as I will, but you will.” Mathew 26:38-40

I was reminded that what Jesus suffered was far worse than what I was going to go through. I often overlook His sacrifice because I mean He’s God! But He was also completely human. And He didn’t feel ready for what He was going to go through either. He wanted more time just like I did. He was so nervous, He was sweating blood. Then He chose to surrender. He went willingly. He was beaten nearly to the point of death, mocked, ridiculed, and drug through the streets until His very life was taken. I sat there quietly just to absorb that. Jesus wasn’t asking me to do anything He hadn’t already done. He had done more.

I tried to surrender into my labor. I still complained, but I choose to let it happen and go with it.
“A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come, but when her baby is born, she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.” John 16:21
I realized I was getting an actual baby! I was going to get joy for my suffering.

As I labored, my husband got the hot tub working, attached a hose to the hot water heater, and filled the hot tub in between pushing on my back. Somewhere in hour 3:00 or 4:00 a.m., my husband began to insist that we call the midwife. I still didn’t believe this was it. I thought I had hours left. “I just don’t want her to get here and tell me we have hours left,” I said. “I can’t handle that.” My husband insisted this was it. Finally, after deliberating for an hour, I left him call her. She was on her way. In between a wave, I texted my photographer friend who was also going to be coming. Okay! Everyone was on their way.

Sometime after 5:00 a.m., the midwife arrived. I got in the hot tub in the backyard. It began to get light out. The sun shone on my face. The midwife’s assistant arrived. They continued to heat water in the microwave and fill the hot tub. I felt a little cold from the water, though it was warm out. My friend arrived and began snapping pictures. My husband continued pushing on my back during waves.

20 minutes later and only 30 minutes after the midwife began keeping notes, I couldn’t take the pain anymore. With my first natural birth, I didn’t want to call it pain or admit it was pain. “It’s just intense,” I said. Yeah, it’s pain. I wanted to crawl up a wall. Something fascinating happened though. I actually decided I couldn’t take the feeling anymore and I started to actively try to relax my entire vaginal area and bottom half of my body during a wave. I had been focusing on the pain and must have been clenching that area or at least not relaxing. Once I relaxed that area, it was like I rose above the pain. It was hard to do and took every ounce of my focus and many times, I faltered and succumbed to the pain again. But I kept trying. For several contractions, this is what I did. With that area relaxed, I felt no pain. Sitting in the hot tub or leaning forward was very helpful to do this. I was at the time and have been since, fascinated by being able to do this however. I chose to relax and I chose to birth my baby.

“Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the Lord. “Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?” says your God. Isaiah 66:9

Suddenly, I felt the baby drop down in a rush to crowing. My water broke, though I wasn’t aware at the time. I let out a large toot. With my daughter, I felt each sensation one at a time, first pushes in the butt, then her head moved lower, pushes in the vagina, then the ring of fire, and finally her sliding out. This time, I felt everything all at once, a head in my butt and vagina and partially sticking out and a burning sensation. I thought with one little push, the baby would just slide out, but it didn’t. I pushed, and didn’t feel anything happen. I started to feel desperate and done. I continued to bear down and push. The only way these feelings would be over was to get the baby out.

“Breathe, pant, go slowly,” my midwife and her assistant said.

I couldn’t. I had to be done. I pushed about four or five times in a rapid succession. I don’t even think I was pushing with a contraction. The first few pushes didn’t feel like they had done anything. I let out some screams with the next pushes. I had to scream because I had to muster every ounce of strength within my body to push that baby out and screaming was the only way to do it. I was surprised because I had been quiet with my daughter. Finally, the baby popped out.
I had my eyes closed because I was working so hard. I had heard my midwife ask my husband if he was catching. I was aware of where my husband was standing and where my midwife was, which was behind my husband and to the side of me. My husband responded that he couldn’t because I wouldn’t let him. I was then aware that I was holding his hand back and pushing against it with my own. “Who’s getting the baby?” I thought. I peeked my eyes open for one tiny second, to see the baby under the water right in front of me. I scooped it up into my arms and held on tight and squeezed my eyes shut again. The pictures from the birth show me crying and very emotional during this time, but I don’t remember that. All I remember was holding the baby. The birth had gone so quick, we didn’t even get the video camera set up.

Everyone began asking if the baby was a boy or girl. “Hold on, I’m not ready yet,” I said. I had to catch my breathe. I asked my friend with some urgency to go wake up my oldest two kids. They had wanted to be at the birth. I had assumed they would wake up before the baby came. They came out several minutes later, bleary eyed. I asked if anyone could tell by the baby’s face what gender we had. We couldn’t tell. I slowly looked and let everyone else look before saying, “It’s a girl!” It was relieving to know and exciting at the same time. I felt joy for my daughter who had really wanted a girl. I felt sadness for my son who had really wanted a brother. He turned away disappointed for a moment. He hadn’t even been prepared to come outside. It was quite a way to wake up.

We cut the cord, wrapped the baby in towels, and she went inside to get warmed up. The water was not quite warm enough.

I held the cord to the placenta without applying any traction. I just wanted to know where it was. I began pushing slightly. Finally, it came out slowly and I pulled it up out of the water cradling it in my hands. I stared at it and inspected it, amazed. Now, I encapsulate placentas for a living, so this was somewhat normal for me and not at all gross. My midwife was amazed I had “delivered” my own placenta. We put it in my designated placenta bowl. I didn’t know how much time had passed, but it all seemed so quick.

My midwife and husband helped me out of the hot tub and into the living room where the couch awaited me all nicely made up. I held the baby skin to skin before breastfeeding and then getting cleaned up. The baby got weighed (7lb 8oz), measured (19.5 inches) and assessed. She checked out just fine. After what seemed like just a short time, the midwife and her assistant left and my friend left shortly after. We were home with our new baby and it was over!

“There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

The night before, shortly before labor had picked up, I thought to myself,” Why do I do this at home? Why don’t I just go to the hospital and get an epidural like normal women? Why do I make myself do this?” As soon as the baby came and I was home and comfortable and no one was there to bother us and I had had a beautiful experience, I realized why I do this.

For the first day after the birth, I never wanted to do it again. It had been miserable. The day after that, I wanted to do it again and again. Babies are amazing, especially when they’re your own!



Thursday, August 29, 2013

Two Views on Kegels

There's been articles going around about kegel exercises and interestingly, I just had a conversation about kegels with my midwife today.

The best exercise you can do postpartum is not exactly kegels, but an exercise where you pull your belly button inward towards your spine. This is supposed to be done 500 times a day and can be broken up to not overdo it all at once. The motion is done quickly without a need to hold the position for any length of time. It can be done standing or lying down. It's basically just "sucking in your stomach". This has the benefit of also working your pelvic floor muscles and it helps bring back together the abdominal muscles that stretch during pregnancy.

Read both articles on the subject for yourself:

http://breakingmuscle.com/womens-fitness/stop-doing-kegels-real-pelvic-floor-advice-women-and-men

http://femfusionfitness.com/2012/09/kegels-are-not-bad/

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Blood Test May Be Able to Predict Postpartum Depression


Researchers say that a blood test may soon identify which pregnant women are at highest risk of developing postpartum depression, so they can seek treatment that could control their symptoms.
"Up to 20% of new mothers may experience feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, and sadness after giving birth, but doctors don’t have a reliable way of predicting which expectant moms are most vulnerable. While those with a history of mood disorders may have a slightly higher risk of feeling postpartum depression, in most cases there are few signs that foretell which women will develop the disorder in the weeks and months after they deliver.
But in a small study of 52 pregnant women described in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found changes in certain genes, which they could pick up in the blood, that distinguished women who went on to suffer from postpartum from those who did not. The genetic changes were epigenetic modifications, which means they were not permanent alterations in the women’s genomes but instead reflected differences in the way these genes were activated."

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2013/05/21/first-genetic-markers-that-predict-postpartum-depression/#ixzz2UKVczHZq

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Alicia Silverstone Launching Breast Milk Sharing Website

http://thekindlife.com/blog/post/kind-mama-milk-share

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/alicia-silverstone-breast-milk-share-article-1.1387340

Alicia Silverstone has more recently been noticed for some of her alternative parenting styles such as feeding her son pre-chewed food. She has recently launched a breastmilk sharing website (links above). Consider researching more about donating your breastmilk if you have extra to spare.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Women Fined For Screaming During Childbirth

Did you know that in Zimbabwe women can be fined for screaming during childbirth?! Having recently given birth myself, my first birth in which I actually did need to scream, I find this quite disturbing. I can assure that if a woman screams during childbirth, it is out of the utmost necessity. I screamed as I pushed my baby out, not because of pain, but because I needed every ounce of that strength and passion to get that baby out of my body. There's nothing wrong with screaming if that's what does the trick. And of course, all births are different, I did not scream with wither of my previous births.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/11/zimbabwe-childbirth-fines-screaming_n_3581648.html?icid=maing-grid7%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl4%7Csec3_lnk1%26pLid%3D343429

Friday, August 9, 2013

Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy? You Don't Have to Suffer

http://www.athletico.com/2012/02/08/pelvic-pain-during-pregnancy-what-is-symphysis-pubic-dysfunction/

If you are experiencing pelvic pain during your pregnancy, don't just choose to live with it! There are things you can do to alleviate your discomfort, so take action.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Breastfed Children More Intelligent

A new seven year study found a definitive link between breastfeeding and intelligence. It's true that breastfed children are more intelligent than their formula fed counterparts. For each month breastfed, an average of 1/3 of a percentage point for I.Q. was found to be higher. You can read the full report here:
http://www.azcentral.com/news/free/20130729breastfeeding-study-kids-smarter.html.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Hospital Accidentally Uses Placenta In Their Spaghetti

http://gomerblog.com/2013/06/placenta-accidentally-sent-to-hospital-cafeteria/

This story is bizarre, but since this blog is to report on all things placenta, here's an article on how a hospital got placenta mixed up with a meat shipment and ended up cooking and serving the placenta to guests in the hospital cafeteria. Not only were the guests not upset about consuming placenta, but they were upset that it tasted so good! You'll have to read it to believe it.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Amazing Pictures of the Amniotic Sac


This shows the maternal side and the fetal side as well as the sac the baby was in. You can see how the umbilical cord came out from the fetal side.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

Mother Delivers Own Baby

This mother is delivering her own baby who was carried via a gestational surrogate. Look at the sheer joy on her face. So touching!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Human Placenta









This is my placenta from my recent birth. I can't help but be proud of it!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Milk Donation

Did you know that you can donate your breastmilk? There are many babies in need and while you can donate to premature or sick babies through milk banks, there is the option of informal milk donating as well. "What is this?" you may ask. There are babies in need of milk that may be perfectly healthy, but for certain reasons, their mothers are not producing enough milk. It may be because a number of factors such a previous surgery or congenital issues. It's not that these mothers searching for milk for their babies don't try hard, they try harder than most probably. These mothers still want to give their best to their babies and often times, the babies do not tolerate formula well.

Many mothers have extra in their supply to where they could make an extra effort to pump a little to help out a baby in need or other mothers must pump for a variety of reasons and have a huge stash in their freezers. There are plenty of resources to donate this milk.

Check out:

www.milkshare.com This has multiple states, choose your state.

Eats on Feets Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/EatsOnFeetsHome?ref=br_tf You can also choose your region to join.

Human Milk for Human Babies https://www.facebook.com/hm4hb Find your local chapter

I like these options because you often get to meet the mama and baby your milk is going to and you get to know exactly how your milk has helped each baby. It's a special relationship and I've actually made some very close lasting friendships this way.

So if you have some extra time to pump or extra milk to donate, then consider these organizations. And if you want a recommendation, I do know some babies in need at the present time. Please feel free to contact me also if you'd like to donate.






Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Breastfeeding Pictures in the Victorian Era Show Women Did Breastfeed

This is a great and fascinating article showing pictures taking of women breastfeeding their babies during the Victorian era. This is surprising from an era that wasn't supportive of breastfeeding.

Read the article here:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2340465/Bizarre-pictures-reveal-unlikely-trend-photographs-breastfeeding-mothers-Victorian-era-America.html.




Thursday, July 11, 2013