Thursday, April 6, 2017

My Experience with Placenta Encapsulation

Yep, you read that right. After giving birth to Ethan I saved my placenta, had it dehydrated and encapsulated (by a certified doula) and have been taking placenta pills (AKA my happy pills) since welcoming our third child into this world. 

In order to understand why I made this decision, let me give you a little bit of backstory...

When I was pregnant for Ethan, I wondered and worried about many things, but one of my main concerns about life with three children was my metal health (hello, tiny circus). You see, about six months after I gave birth to Arabella in 2013, I experienced postpartum depression. My PPD was not in the form of sadness like the depression I was familiar with, but it was in the form of rage. Anything and everything would set me off, and I would take this out on my husband. At one point things got so bad that Keith and I ended up in marriage counseling, and through this counseling (which I highly's really nice talking to an unbiased professional) we discovered the PPD. I knew that I didn't want to go on medication to alleviate this problem (there's nothing wrong with taking medication AT ALL, I just personally did not want to) so I began researching essential oils. Between the new oils, a change in diet and the addition of exercise, and working on my relationship with God, my relationship with my husband improved and I began to heal from postpartum depression. 

PPD is an incredibly confusing and, if I'm being honest, an embarrassing thing to experience because nobody really talks about it. People only fill you in on the joys of motherhood and not the hardship that can come with it. SO, all of that to say, I was a little worried that I would get PPD again after giving birth to Ethan, so I began researching how to minimize this risk.

And it was there that I found placenta encapsulation and the plethora of benefits ingestion the placenta could provide. 

I hired Sam at Sacred Bee Doula (I highly recommend her!) for $250 and all I had to do was bring a small cooler to the hospital when I went into labor. I informed my nurses that I wanted to keep my placenta, they handled the packaging into the cooler, and then Sam picked it up the day I had Ethan. She dehydrated and encapsulated it for me, and then delivered it to my house two days later. Each placenta creates a different number of capsules, and mine made 150. 

Now for the good part! 

Below is a list of all the wonderful things I experienced through placenta encapsulation:

1. Postpartum cramping immediately subsided. Okay mommas, you know what I'm talking about. You go through labor and have a sweet angel, and yet every time said angel nurses your insides feel like they will explode. Again. This pain is caused by suckling, where the uterus is contracting down to it's normal pre-pregnancy size. While this is normal, it hurts like hell. Apparently the more kids you have the more the cramping hurts, and I can absolutely attest to this. I was miserable those first days at home...until I started taking my placenta pills. Immediately, the cramping subsided. 

2. So. Much. Energy. This sounds crazy to even type, but I somewhat avoided the whole "mom zombie" stage of having a newborn. The placenta pills gave me so much energy that I didn't have to drink any caffeine to function like a normal human being. I now drink green tea beverages on days where I'm dragging, but otherwise I've stayed away from soda and coffee. 

3. An abundance of breastmilk. During the first three months I was pumping 1-2 times a day, and I was able to get anywhere from 4-6 oz out of each breast. (Seriously, I felt like I was a liquid-gold-pumping-maching) I only take the pills now as needed, and my supply is much lower, but I still get 1-3 oz.

4. Postpartum bleeding decreased. This may be TMI, but once I started taking the placenta pills, I didn't need to wear that flattering mommy diaper that they send you home from the hospital in. 

5. Balanced Hormones. This!!!!! This was what I hoped and prayed for, and I credit my God and these pills for the quality of life I've experienced this time around. While I am still riding the postpartum rollercoaster, my highs are high, but my lows are not low. I feel very balanced and of sound mind, and this is such an incredible blessing!

3 weeks postpartum and feeling great
I know it sounds gross and people can be freaked out when you talk about your placenta, but the five wonderful things I experienced far outweigh the weird looks and comments I've received. The only negative side effect I experienced was headaches, and this was because my dosage level was too high, so I took less the next day and the headaches were gone. If you decided to encapsulate your placenta, I will say DRINK UP! Lots and lots of water is required to ensure you do not become dehydrated. 

The pills are small and look like herbs
The whole purpose of writing this post is to share my wonderful experience with placenta encapsulation with the hope that other moms (new or seasoned) will be able to kick PPD's butt and be a functioning human being during those wonderful, yet very exhausting, first few months. Overall I am very thankful in my decision to encapsulate my placenta, and am a bit disappointed that I only have 26 pills left (that I am saving for hard days).

E and Me -- 4.5 months postpartum and just immensely thankful
**First picture taken by Bump Meet Baby Studio.
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