Friday, November 03, 2006

Strange Fruit: The Rosy Afterlife of Two Placentas Buried in My Front Yard - Part Two

Two glasses of merlot can change everything, especially intentions. I'm rushing like a mo fo to complete this post before the stroke of midnight in order to keep up with NaBloPoMo. I feel like a tipsy Cinderella, staring down the clock, fearing that my fancy coach/buggy will -- poof -- turn into a pumpkin and I'll end up either stranded in the sidebar or thumbin' a mystery ride to the end of this post.

I'm supposed to be blogging tonight about my strange fascination with my trio of placentas and placenta rituals the world over. So here I go.

A pretty bud from Pigtail Sprite's (we think) authentic placenta-fertilized thriving amethyst rose bush.

I left off in a tizzy last night moaning superfluously about my high-risk pregnancy with my first child, my son, The Maestro of Mouth, now 5. Let's speed up to the here and now. So, my two latest placentas from the home births of my youngest children are buried in the front yard, perpetually fertilizing the rose bushes sprouting upward, reaching toward the children's bedroom windows. Perhaps they are trying to reconnect with the babies they once nourished. Doubtful.

My husband, who you'll recall buried both placentas without my knowledge one full moon night, doesn't remember which child's placenta is buried beneath which child's bedroom window. This upset me even more than not being part of what I had hoped to be a memorable albeit freaky ritual.

I don't know if the placenta-fed rose bush stretching faster than our wildest dreams toward the window pane of 2-year-old Pigtail Sprite's room "belongs" to her. And I don't know whether the overly thorn spiked, dwarfed and not yet budding stubble of a rose branch creeping closer to the ground than to 3-year-old Moody Cheeks McGee's room "belongs" to him. It matters to me which belongs to whom, but I'll never know. "Pauvre bebe," as ma tante Claudette used to say to me in a thick French-Canadian accident whenever I was feeling bad for myself as a lanky little girl.

Moody Cheeks McGee's (we think) overly thorny placenta-fed rose bush. Thorny like his hot temper.

I often wonder while tossing a half-eaten by Pigtail Sprite Nerf football around the parched, sunburned front lawn with the boys if the state of each rose bush is indicative of the state of the placenta at full birth-maturation. Cheek's placenta was hulking, deformed and had grown dangerously old. My midwife thought it looked better suited for twins than for a single baby.

I remember walking into the bathroom just moments after delivering Cheek's placenta and nearly passing out at the gorey sight of the afterbirth sliced open on the counter near the sink. My midwife poked the bloodied, fleshy single-use organ and flipped it like an omelet with her gloved hands, the ones that had only moments before magically helped glide Cheek's out of me with a literally ass-saving perineal massage.

By my third child, maternal placenta inspection (and worship?) wasn't even a consideration for me. "Just bag it, please," I curtly told my midwife, who'd offered me a glance at the meaty mass, again heaped on my bathroom counter, halved for her close scrutiny.

Pigtail Sprite's mauve rose bush can't be stopped. It reaches her window again and again, even after persistent pruning.

The condition of the placenta upon delivery can be a window into the overall health of the pregnancy, baby and even the mother. Then there's the practical business of making sure no placenta particles are left inside your womb to rot and cause infection and painful cramps, as if you won't be gripped with afterpains anyway.

Can I just cheesily say at this point that we women rock? Think of it -- We co-create life, bring it/push it into being all on our own (without dying, in most cases) and even manage to (creatively/respectfully or not) dispose of the no longer necessary nourishing organ effortlessy conjured up in just nine months.

Hey, have you ever heard of a Lotus Birth? At least I didn't try that, not to knock those who have. I believe it's when the mother leaves the delivered placenta attached to the newborn via umbilical cord for as long as possible, maybe even until it ages/degenerates enough to fall away from the child on its own. I can imagine it's a pretty intricate and smelly endeavor but never wanted to find out for myself.


At 4:13 AM, Blogger Miz BoheMia said...

Well, the best thing for the child is to wait until the blood flow from the placenta to the child stops and then you cut it... but I didn't do that with both kids (whom I birthed sans drugs and by choice and was seen as totally weird by the hospital staff for not wanting drugs) as we decided to bank their cord blood and you have to get to that right away and I thought that far outweighed the other...

And we lived in an apartment but Loverboy, determined to keep the placenta after the 1st child, buried it in our potted plant but then after he watered it once, it overflowed and water leaked out of it... red... it was some blood... ha, ha, haaaa! So no go on that with the next baby!

Hmmm... you may have inspired me to mention that some day1 ;-P

At 10:41 AM, Blogger scribbit said...

Something about your reference to the tree reaching to the window, the burial of placentas in the yard, all reminded me of Poltergeist :) Maybe it's because it was showing this week. I can't imagine my husband touching a placenta let alone burying it.

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Little Miss said...

ouch, you brought up the afterbirth labor pains. Those were always the WORST for me. My uterus would contract like a boa constrictor every time the baby would cry or latch on--

can I just tell you how many times I begged my husband to take the crying baby away to make the cramping stop?!! Hell, if burying the placenta will ward off things like that--then I'm all in!!

At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Ismyb said...

Hey there,

Funny how things work with the placenta. Both times for me the placenta did not want to leave me. It clung to my uterus like my girls cling to me now. Having to be ripped out with my OB's hands up in my uterus! Then bleeding for months and months after. I never had the choice to see or ask for the placenta.

I love the idea that her rose is growing up to meet her being nourished by her!

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