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Placenta What?

Encapsulation.

Everybody’s doing it.

I’m not going to do a placenta promo in this post.  I’ve gone placenta fan-girl on this blog often enough to lose followers.

Besides, this magical place called the world wide web has plenty of information on placenta encapsulation.

No, today I’m giving a shout out to our community’s only certified placenta encapsulation specialist.

Kellyann Battista is a busy, busy bee!

A few months ago, my sister gave birth to her second child.  Kellyann arrived at my sister’s home the day after she gave birth to do the deed.

Now, let’s pause a moment and think about the deed.  A stranger is going to come into your home to steam, dry, grind, and encapsulate your placenta.

Awkward could be an understatement.

Truly it takes a special person to enter anyone’s postpartum space.  But guess what?  Kellyann makes such an occasion a delight.  Here is what my sister had to say:

Kellyann was professional, flexible, and thoughtful.  She brought me a cup of Mother’s Milk Tea and gave me a sweet card to congratulate me on Emmett’s birth.  She was very quiet and did her work without asking for anything from us.  She let us be lazy and focused inward while she did everything.  She brought all her own tools and appliances to prepare the placenta, took out all her trash, and cleaned up everything.

Are you thinking about encapsulation?  What you need to know:

  • Contact Kellyann early so get a space on her calendar.
  • Birth location doesn’t matter.  With the exception of Spartanburg Regional (It can be hit or miss there), hospitals accommodate families keeping their placentas.  They package it up in a very tightly sealed plastic container.
  • You’ll receive a very professional labeled bottle containing your capsules with complete instructions for use.
  • You won’t have to clean up anything.  You don’t even have to be at home while she works.
  • You can request flavored capsules so you can avoid any psychological heebie-jeebies about what you’re swallowing.  :)

Did you encapsulate your placenta?  What were your reasons for doing so?

 

 

A day in the life

I love when other moms post their “day in the life” so here’s mine in all its mundane glory.

6:30am:  Made coffee and my husband’s lunch.  Kissed him good-bye and went back to bed where two little girls had slipped under the covers.

7:30am:  Out of bed, drank coffee, and fed the kids.  Perused facebook while the coffee took effect.

8am:  2nd coffee enabled me to answer emails.  Broke up a fight.  Dealt with a melt-down from Norah over I-can’t-remember-what.  I think it had to do with loom bands.

8:45am:  Out the door.  We did our Latin lesson in the car and I ate my breakfast.

9:30am:  Balcony seats at the Brooks Center to see a musical, “The Monster Who Ate My Peas.”

10:45am:  Back in the car.  We listened to a Lyrical Life Sciences song about digestion which turned into a discussion about the Pacific Northwest myth about raven stealing the sun which turned into a discussion about the reproductive system which led to listening to Rita Dove read her poetry.  That’s how we roll.

11:20am:  Met my mother-in-law in Easley so she could take the kids to lunch while I provided a new mama with 2 hours of postpartum care.

2pm:  Heading back home with the girls.  They told me all about fractions which Nana taught them in her craft room today.  Norah showed me how much she crocheted.  Is that really the past-tense of crochet?  I defined the words optimism and pessimism based on Norah’s not-great attitude which led to a discussion about their derivation from the Latin words, pessime and optime.

2:30-4:30pm:  I ate lunch.  Norah practiced violin and read her new book.  Cedar played with her babies.  Then the girls went outside to blow bubbles.  I made a meal to take to a postpartum mom.  Talked to another postpartum mom about her perineum.  Answered more emails.  P.S.  If you send me an email asking lots of questions that require I spend 15 minutes crafting a careful response, please follow-up with a “thank you.”  I’m shocked by the number of strangers who email me things like, “I want to be a doula…will you answer these 17 questions?” and then never reply.  Common courtesy, friends!

5pm:  Dropped meal off.  The girls sang their history songs in the car.

5:45pm:  The girls and I met Scott at Panera for dinner.  He took the girls home and I headed to an Upstate BirthNetwork meeting.  Answered a phone call about a funky umbilical cord and texted with a tired doula.

9pm-10pm:  Stood too long in the cold parking lot talking with my favorite childbirth educator.

10pm-10:45pm:  Cried on the phone with my mother about all the mistakes I’m making with my kids.

11:30pm:  Home in bed blogging with a mug of peppermint tea.

And now I’m laughing that I’m really going to post this “day in the life” on my blog!  Yeah, I pretty much “road-schooled” the kids today.  Tomorrow we’ll get to stay home almost all day and surely there will be math and spelling.

Newest Blooper

Did you know we really boil water at homebirths?  It’s true.

We boil water to steep herbs for postpartum care and to heat up the tub if needed.

Last week, I attended a homebirth in my childhood home.  It was my sister’s 2nd birth there.  I’m pretty comfortable in that home.

At 5am, I went downstairs to start water boiling.  I knew Noelle would get in the tub soon and sometimes the hot water runs out.  I was on top of it!

There were 3 large stockpots on the stove.  I checked one and it was water.  I checked another–water.  I didn’t check the third.  I turned the burners on high and walked away.

A little while later, it smelled like the house was on fire.  I ran into the kitchen and promptly busted it–sliding in a puddle of water in my socks.  A pot was smoking.  I grabbed it (burned my fingers) and took it outside.  Apparently, my mother was soaking lima beans for the vegetable soup Noelle requested to eat after her birth.

Have you ever smelled burnt beans?  Noelle actually thought I was smoking cigarettes!!  The house smelled horrible.  I smelled worse.  I had to find new clothes in my mother’s closet and rub sweet orange oil in my hair.  It was nasty.  Worse, I had to wake up my mother and ask her to clean the kitchen floor because Noelle needed me.

For Unto Us A Child Is Born

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But there are carols
That carry phrases
Of the haunting music
Of the other world
A music wild and dangerous
As a prophet’s message

Or the fresh truth of children
Who though they come to us
From our own bodies
Are altogether new
With their small limbs
And birdlike voices

They look at us
With their clear eyes
And ask the piercing questions
God alone can answer.

–from Noel by Anne Porter

New Birth Story

I’m thrilled to share a new birth story with you!  Jenni shared her first birth a couple of years ago.  Now her husband is telling the story of their second birth.

Read on.

Focal Points for Birth

I had a beautiful focal point during my first birth.  It was a gorgeous piece of moss that my husband glued to a flat rock.  I let my eyes grow blurry and lazy as I stared at that moss.  Norah’s middle name is Moss.  I still have it sitting on a shelf in my bedroom though the moss has turned yellow.

For my second birth, I used plants and affirmation.  At my amazing blessingway, guests brought plants to surround me during my birthing time.

I see many focal points used during births.  I remember a woman who used a picture of herself sailing a boat.  That experience reminded her that she could do anything.  I’ve seen parents display their baby’s first outfit or an ultrasound photo.  Or, a couple who cut out a circle with the word, “Peace” and taped it over the clock in the hospital room.  Brady covered a wall in her home with individual affirmations.  Focal points can be fantastic reminders and affirmations during your birthing time.

But my favorite focal point ever was from Katy.  She traced a circle exactly 10 cm and used it in her affirmation.  See it here taped to her hospital bed.  It says, “Go ahead and let gO, Katy.  He’s almost here.”

affirmation

Did you use a focal point during your birthing time?

Birth Language

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”  –Rudyard Kipling

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Recently, I was asked to teach some lovely nursing students about hypnosis for childbirth.  I thought it would be an excellent time to slip in some suggestions for using positive language in the birthing room.  Regardless of whether a woman is using hypnosis for her birth, she is still in an altered state of consciousness.  Words become suggestions when we are in an altered state.  In other words, the power of language grows exponentially during our births.

Based on statements I have heard during births, I put together a hand-out for these nurses.  Here is a sampling of what I included.

General Language Suggestions

  • “You’re safe” instead of “Don’t be scared, you’re not in danger.”  When we are in an altered state of consciousness, our brain takes in only the prominent words in a statement.  So “you’re not in danger” becomes simply “Danger.”  In movies, I hear people saying, “Don’t die on me!” and think “No!  Say, live instead!”
  • “Your body is wise.”  The birthing mother is the expert on this birth.  We must never forget this nor should she.
  • “Feel your shoulders relax” instead of “Don’t tense your shoulders.”  Again.  If we speak in negatives, she might hear “tense your shoulders.”
  • For IV placement or injections, “I’m going to rub on some cold and then there might be some pressure” instead of “This will feel like a bee sting.”  No one likes a bee sting.
  • “Breathe your baby down” instead of “You’ll feel burning.”
  • “Special considerations” instead of “complications”
  • “You’ve dilated so much!” instead of “You’ve only dilated ½ cm.”
  • “When babies are in a posterior position, we can try to…” instead of “Your baby is posterior.” (distance the negatives, only personalize positives)
  • “You’ll have all the energy you need to birth your baby” instead of “I’m scared you’re going to wear yourself out.”   I hear this one all the time as a reason for women to get an epidural.  Women release a surge of adrenaline just before they begin pushing.  You’ve heard stories of what incredible feats people accomplish under the influence of adrenaline.
  • “You look so strong” instead of “You look like you’re in a lot of pain” or “What is your pain scale?”  When a perceived expert tells someone they look like they are in pain, then certainly that is going to influence pain.

Do not say:

  • “Get mad at your baby.”  I cannot tell you how much this one bothers me.  I have strong beliefs that regardless of how babies come into the world (cesarean, forceps, on the side of the freeway), they should be welcomed with joy.  Why would you tell someone to get mad at your baby?  Or get mad at all?  Anger and birth don’t mix in my book.
  • “This is going to hurt.”  Don’t assume what she will feel.  Maybe it will/maybe it won’t.  But telling her it will hurt is a guarantee that she will expect pain and likely experience it.
  • “You’re not allowed/I can’t let you.”
  • “I’m going to be your worst enemy”  I’ve actually heard a nurse say, “Think of me as the Wicked Witch.”

Avoid:

  • Mentioning numbers (dilation, stats, time) unless she specifically asks.  During an unmedicated birth, the thinking brain slows way down.  Numbers, questions requiring cognitive answers, consent forms, bright lights may keep the thinking brain engaged.
  • Telling her what she’ll feel or trying to describe what you think she’s feeling
  • Negatives (Don’t tense your jaw)
  • Speaking during pressure waves/contractions
  • Unnecessary questions.  Questions wake up the thinking brain.

When in doubt:

  • Be silent.  Or murmur how well she is doing.  Be frugal with words.
  • Give yourself an affirmation such as “I am entering a sacred space and I will use my words and my skills for healing and comfort.  These are the gifts I bring.”

What would you add?  What language have you heard in the birthing room that hindered rather than enriched.

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