Something I wanted to do, but “couldn’t” after G was born was encapsulate my placenta.
I say “couldn’t” because it sounded like I’d have to jump through hoops at the hospital he was born at in order to keep it. I didn’t want to deal with that and as it turned out, I wasn’t mentally or physically able to anyway.
When we were interviewing doulas, one of them raved about it. She was honest in saying she couldn’t be 100% positive that the pills really worked, but when she had taken them before her period they seemed to alleviate the premenstrual moodiness she experienced.
She was able to get Mr Boots on board with the idea after recounting her experiences with postpartum depression and not having much of an issue with it after the birth of her last child — the one she did placenta encapsulation with. So I found a midwife-in-training who was willing to pick the placenta up from the hospital and have it delivered to my home by the time I was discharged. I reminded my midwife during the last moments of L’s labor that we wanted to keep the placenta (no hoop jumping at this hospital!)
The pills were delivered in a cute little jar in a cute little gift bag. The midwife-in-training even saved part of the umbilical cord, which was an interesting added bonus (I really don’t know what to do with it). She told me she was able to make a little more than the normal amount of pills from my placenta.
But still. The instructions said to take 1-2 pills three times a day for two weeks postpartum and then as needed after that. Those suckers would run out at some point. I was
scared terrified of that despite not knowing for sure they’d help me.
To be honest I didn’t see a real need to be taking them when I was taking my Happy Pills. My original plan was to take them as I tried weaning off my Happy Pills because I was told by previous doctors to try weaning off them every three months. I knew I’d need some help during that process. But after speaking with my therapist and midwife, we’ve decided it’s best I stay on the Happy Pills for at least a year. So I didn’t take them diligently. Then I stopped. I stuck the jar in the freezer to give them a longer shelf life and forgot about them, only to be reminded of them if I was (am) having a bad day and Mr Boots asks, “Well, have you taken your $250 placenta pills?”
I considered taking the pills in lieu of increasing my Happy Pill dosage. But I was still scared of running out if they worked.
When I started having extreme anxiety before my first postpartum period, I began taking two at night. Mostly, I was feeling desperate and was worried I was going crazy. I did feel a difference when I got into bed. I could take a deep breath. I could sleep. I also noticed that my milk was coming in a lot more than usual. Or I was feeling it more than usual. I remembered with G my milk supply would tank right before my period.
I still haven’t taken my pills diligently. But since they seemed to help ease my unexplained panic and possibly boosted my milk supply in the days leading up to my period I will probably at least use them around that time of the month.
Mr Boots and I really never had to do anything with the placenta. The nurses at the hospital wrapped it up and put it on ice in the cooler we brought with us. Mr Boots took the cooler down to the lobby the next day and handed it to the midwife-in-training. Then she arrived at our house a few days later with the placenta in pill form. Easy peasy. No mess. Nothing to look at to weird us out.
The pills are big (or what I consider big), but they haven’t been difficult to swallow. They don’t taste like anything going down. I haven’t had any negative side effects that I’m aware of. I read that keeping them in the freezer prolongs shelf-life so that’s where they’re hanging out.
I honestly had high hopes for this post. I think that’s why I’ve put off writing it. I wanted to give people insight into the awesomeness (or lack thereof) of encapsulating the placenta. I wanted to write a great post about it, no matter what the outcome. But I can’t do that if I haven’t given them a real chance. I don’t even feel right writing this post, but placenta encapsulation was something I wanted to do so badly and ended up being a big-ish part of my birth wishes as a whole that I wanted to share what I could. I’ll be writing an update at some point, especially if I start taking them more consistently at That Time of the Month.