I was five months pregnant again, working full-time and running after my two-year-old toddler, and this pregnancy had me nervous. With my boy, I was so pleased to be pregnant: I felt more energetic, my rosacea cleared up, my fine hair became the thick mane of my dreams, my allergies dissipated, and my usual bouts of colds were nonexistent. Pregnancy felt like my natural state, even as a 35-year-old “geriatric” mama.
But this second pregnancy! Yes, I was older: 37. Yes, this was a girl and I’d heard that girls messed more with their mama’s hormones. I still didn’t expect to feel so constantly nauseated, have hormone-induced migraines popping up left and right, deal with all the sleep issues (so much snoring and, most privately embarrassing, drooling!), and experience pregnancy-related carpal tunnel syndrome that left my right hand numb. I knew I didn’t have it as bad as so many other women, but it still felt awful compared to my first pregnancy.
What had me most worried, though, was how I was going to deal with the first few weeks after the baby was born. With my boy, I had the usual exhaustion, but I also cried several times a day, every day. I felt totally overwhelmed. It didn’t escalate to postpartum depression, but it was still disconcerting for my husband and frustrating for me as I couldn’t explain why I was crying. I was just so, so tired. I chalked it up to the wacky hormone swings that come after birth, but that explanation didn’t make me feel any better.
Five months into the second pregnancy, I found myself at a local baby fair. As I picked through the sweet baby booties at one of the booths, my husband ran after our toddler. When we caught up, my straight-laced husband handed me a card from a local placenta encapsulation provider. “Maybe you should check this out,” he said and dashed off after our son.
Maybe you had the same reaction as I did as I looked at the card. Placenta encapsulation? EATING my placenta? Gross! I couldn’t help but picture a plateful of placenta in front of me, an adult bib encircling my neck, and a steak knife in one hand and fork in the other. Of course, this is patently ridiculous, and I set that image aside as I finished reading the card and stashed it. I’d check it out later.
When I later reviewed the business website, I was intrigued by the benefits of placental encapsulation, especially the increased milk production and the hormone regulation. Hormone regulation! Yes! Testimonials also spoke about increased energy, something I knew I’d need with having a toddler and a baby. It didn’t take much more research to convince me to fill out the form and send in my check. I didn’t know how it would be, but it was worth a try.
I’ve never been shy to ask questions when it comes to my health, and I had a lot of them. I found it reassuring that the provider was happy to answer them and had thorough answers, both about the safety of the encapsulation process and the logistics (“So HOW do I get this thing to you?”). I wanted answers that were extensive, clearly knowledgeable, and reassuring. When I got that, my decision to encapsulate was easy.
When my baby was born, the good nurses at St. Luke’s saved my placenta in a bucket that we placed with ice in a cooler we’d brought to the hospital. I dashed a text off to the encapsulation provider and she was there just a few hours later, and within 36 hours, she was back with the encapsulated pills and a written explanation on how to take them. She spent a half hour with me, once again answering all my questions and making sure I felt comfortable moving forward. When she left, I felt a little nervous, I admit–I wasn’t sure what to expect–but also confident that I was doing the right thing.
So, now my baby is four months old (I had enough pills for about 3 1/2 months), and looking back, my experience with mylittle girl was so much easier than with my son. Sure, I’m an experienced mom without the anxiety of leaving the hospital with a new baby and having no idea what I was getting into. I’ve been more relaxed in general, but I also did not experience the “baby blues” in the same way. I felt like I had much more energy and milk production has been no problem.
Is this all due to the placenta pills? I can’t say for sure. Would I recommend you do it? Again, I can’t say for sure. I would recommend that you do your research and talk with the provider, who, if she’s good, will have a wealth of knowledge she’ll be eager to share.And there is one thing I’m positive about: I’d do it again.
Kelli Hallsten has two kids, three years and six months, a full-time job at one of our fine local colleges, and a husband. She met him in 2009 and they bonded over their shared love of music and adventuring to new places across the country. Their kids have kept them closer to home in recent years, but the adventures continue and her life goals include always being curious and getting sleep whenever she can. Kelli loves reading, writing, playing music, and scoring big at thrift stores.