Introducing ‘Mammazine: call me mum!’

Mammazine Issue 1

If you liked Motherhood: In My Kitchen, you’re going to love this! And if you’re new to The Motherhood Project’s books, then I hope you will take a leap and try this one!!

Mammazine: call me mum! – is just what you need this winter! Chuck it beside the bed on on the coffee table – read snippets, grab a pen and add to it, and read some food for thought!

Meet some prem babies, and learn more about milk sharing. Plan your winter meals and make some fabulous hearty breakfasts for your family! Learn about what the world of autism means for mothers, and find some old-fashioned tips for battling colds. There are also articles on parenting styles, placenta’s, baby showers, peaceful mealtimes and behaviour in young kids, plus poems, recipes, birth stories, puzzles and more!

There is a focus on gentle attachment parenting – meeting your needs and those of your children to create happy families! The theme of the book is becoming a mother – capturing that amazing transition!!!!

Preorders are now open – secure your copy at http://felt.co.nz/shop/motherhood !

The book looks gorgeous – it is filled with lovely photos donated by the photographers who participated in National Family Photo Day. There will be a limited number of copies printed, so dont delay – grab your copy!

PLUS you’ll be contributing towards our Child Cancer Foundation fundraiser – $5 from the sale of every book is donated!!!!

Yay!!!!!!! Its been awhile coming but its worth it!!!!!
(it was late getting to the printers because I kept adding to it!!! Estimated dispatch date is 15 June)

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The wonderful placenta……

 

touchofgracedoula.blogspot.com

 

This amazing story from http://blog.placentabenefits.info/index.php/2012/04/heating-placenta-to-revive-unresponsive-babies/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+JodiSelander+%28Placenta+Blog%29

“It is believed in Ayurvedic medicine that if a baby is born appearing lifeless, the placenta can be warmed to restore life in the child. The practice of warming an attached (unclamped and uncut) placenta in hot water or by massage is thought
to restore the jeeva, or life force, that is stored in the placenta. Babies should remain attached to the placenta as long as possible to allow the life force to flow into the newborn. This practice has been used for centuries in
India, Bangladesh, and Burma.

 

Robin Lim, midwife at the Bumi Sehat Birth Center in Indonesia, recalls her experience with this method when a baby’s heart rate soared during birth, then stopped;

“We immediately began performing CPR while administering oxygen, to no avail. There was no sign of life, yet death did not feel close. Thirteen minutes later, when the placenta was born, I asked the nurse to quickly bring me a bowl of hot water. We placed the placenta, still connected by its cord to the baby, into warm water, the baby’s grandfather added Tirtha, holy water from the family temple, and, instantly, the baby shuddered and took a breath. The baby is perfectly healthy and his name is Tirtha.”

 

 

Source: Placenta: The Forgotten Chakra

 

Medline Plus - http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/images/ency/fullsize/19681.jpg

 

The placenta has been used in different ways…. check out this teddy made from placenta:

Image from http://www.inhabitots.com/doing-it-for-the-kids-design-exhibition-placenta-teddy-bear/

 

Cord burning is an Indonesian ritual where a candle is used to burn the umbilical cord until it breaks. It is buried with the placenta and some flowers in a ceramic jar.

Other cultures burn the placenta in a ceremonial way too.

 

Placenta Capsules

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you dont take your placenta, what happens to it? According to whats on the internet, he hospital may use it in research, burn it as a biohazard….. or otherwise dispose of it. I’ve seen a few comments about it being used in cosmetics. I’m not sure. I dont even want to think about it – its hardly a fitting way to celebrate such an amazing organ!

umbilical heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So…

  • turn it into a teddy bear
  • encapsulate it
  • cut it into small pieces, freeze, and then add these pieces to smoothies, eat them as is, cook them as stirfry or pizza etc
  • cook it – lasagne, maybe? Google recipes for jerky and stew.
  • bury it and plant a tree
  • burn it
  • make a placenta print/art
  • have a look at it and find the ‘tree of life’

 

And that ends our fabulous week of celebration for the very humble, yet very amazing PLACENTA!

Planting a Placenta

It can nourish another life, or it’s a beautiful way to return these remains to Mother Earth… however you look at it, ‘planting the placenta’ is a lovely low-key way to celebrate your baby and take that ice cream container out of your freezer 🙂

Pohutukawa Tree
Pohutukawa Tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s part of many cultures, but even for someone unbelieving, burying the placenta and then planting something over it, its a link to the past, the present and the future.

Obviously the first thing you need to do is have on your birth plan that you’d like to keep the placenta. Ask your midwife if you need to provide anything. Our local hospital had no problem providing us with the placenta in a plastic dish and wrapped in a brown paper bag. For our home births, I just had an ice cream container at the ready, pre labelled, of course!

Check out http://www.birthtoearth.com/ – or stockists – for a very cool kit which includes everything you need to wrap the placenta – and its all biodegradable so you can bury it. This way you dont have to touch (or even look at!) the placenta – perfect for the squemish!

Ok, I have to admit that post-birth I become squimeesh. I felt rather ill and faint when my first midwife tried to show me the placenta. I understand that its not everyone’s cup of tea. So I thought the Capceco Biodegradable Placenta Capsule Birth to Earth kit was really awesome!!! Plus, it makes a much more dignified container for the placenta than the recycled ice cream container.

You need to decide where to plant your placenta and tree. If you dont own your house, consider a (really) big pot. A Marae? Family land? Maybe the beach, or a park is your ideal (you may want to check with your council if you opt for a public place!). If you own your place, the tree will make a precious addition to your garden!

And then you need to decide WHAT to plant!!!!!!! (ahhhh, the decisions!!)
I opted to plant native trees – puriri, pohutukawa, kowhai etc….) others have planted roses, or fruit trees, or just their favourite tree (I think an oak or willow or other majestic tree would be neat too!).

The final big decision, is when!! Will you do this in the days after the birth? Or later at a time convienient (in which case, you better freeze the placenta!). Many plant theirs on the baby’s first birthday (what about at the exact time of birth?). You could plant at a special ceremony, at a naming ceremony, or just any beautiful day that tickles your fancy!

I have heard about planting the tree a year after you have buried the placenta, and I have also read about ensuring there is quite a large gap between the placenta and the tree roots if you dont wait. Just something to think about! Dont forget to water your tree!!!

Planting a Placenta
Placenta + Tree = new life!!!

(Yes the placenta in this pic is the dried up one from the lotus birth. Yours may resemble something a bit more like a lump of roast meat 🙂 !!!!!)

Have you planted your placenta/s? What did you put over it?

The Calm of a Lotus Birth

Lotus birth struck me for two reasons – it is supposed to create a more calming after-birth environment (think less guests, less moving around and alot more resting!) and is supposed to be better for baby (a calmer baby, baby gets all their blood, the stump heals quicker).

And so, after a little research and talking to my midwife, I chose to lotus birth for my fourth baby!

And what, pray tell, is a lotus birth, I hear you ask?

Lotus birth is where the placenta is birthed in the third stage of labour, and left attached to the baby – i.e the umbilical cord is not cut. It eventually dries and falls of on its own.

The benefits are huge. In short, lotus birth slows the whole birth and recovery process down, which has to be calming for mum and child. Baby will recieve all the blood that is in the placenta/cord. In a spiritual sense, there is an obvious link between the world of pregnancy and that of our physical world. This transition ensures quiet, and peace, and rest.

There is less stress on the baby (i.e being passed from great-aunt to grandparent and back again!) and they were in a calm environment  because you take time to be at home (you’re hardly going to lug the babe and placenta to the supermarket, are you?!?).

I enjoyed reading on www.lotusfertility.com this: “Lotus Birth slows things down.  This is most desirable.  The time after a birth is to 
be savoured.  It is like the time after making love, after the climax, a time of 
intimacy and integration.  A mother who has just birthed her baby, after nine 
months of pregnancy, benefits greatly from quiet and rest.  The birth experience 
requires integration.” (http://www.lotusfertility.com/Lotus_Birth.html).

Isnt that so true, how birth is likened to sex. Indeed, many a person has linked between the cramps of mensturation, the cramps of orgasm, the cramps of labour, and those aftercramps post-birth. That sex is a very private and intimate act between two people and birth should also be very private and intimate (read no bright lights and no strangers LOL).

As Sarah Buckley writes, “Lotus birth, the subject of this book, gives us a further chance to ‘slow the fire drill’ after birth, as Canadian birth attendant Gloria Lemay puts it, and allows our babies the full metaphysical, as well as physical, benefit of prolonged contact with the placenta. Lotus birth, like a good midwife, also secludes mother and baby in the early hours and days, ensuring rest and keeping visitors to a minimum.” (http://www.sarahbuckley.com/leaving-well-alone-a-natural-approach-to-the-third-stage-of-labour).

And so….. based on this, I set out to prepare for a lotus birth!

Trusting your body and Mother Nature to have a baby just has to be better for both mum and child, doesnt it?

(And note, I am all for hospitals and obstetricians and everything. Without modern medicine, we would lose alot of mums and babies, without a doubt. But I feel strongly that the majority of births can be done naturally and should not be medically intervened.)

After a beautiful waterbirth at home with baby 3, I was keen to repeat this. Unfortunately I was suffering with horrific antenatal depression and this was preventing me from enjoying my pregnancy. I was terrified that I would not bond with the baby. When I stumbled across Lotus Birth, it seemed to fit ‘right’ and I truly believed it might help. This is all seemed to fit with what I wanted. I was keen to keep the baby to myself, I naturally dislike passing my new baby to anyone else and I also didn’t want an endless stream of visitors. I knew the ‘ick’ factor of the placenta would keep people away! I really felt like the Lotus Birth would help me get over the antenatal depression.

So I talked to my midwife, who hadn’t done it but knew about it. She was happy to support it. I gathered a natural wood basket with a calico liner, a muslin wrap, some long thick ribbon, and chucked the vege strainer into my birthing kit!

After our baby was born, the placenta was scooped up with the strainer and left to drain while we got out of the pool. It was then placed onto a cloth square and liberally salted. Literally, because the midwife in attendance had also never done it and none of us knew how much salt to use. So she put on at least a cup!! She also sprinkled over lots of dried rosemary, which is supposed to help with the drying process and keep the placenta cool. It was the middle of summer so we didn’t want it cooking or decomposing!

Lotus Birth, wrapping ribbon around the cord

The placenta was then wrapped in the cloth and placed into the basket.

After the birth, as my midwife was preparing to leave, she placed the umbilical cord clamp on the kitchen table. I heard her say, ‘in case she changes her mind’ to my support crew, who all adamantly agree I would have changed my mind by that night!

Ha! I am horrifically stubborn, even more so when you tell me what I will/will not do!!!
Later that day I used the ribbon to cover the  long umblicial cord by wrapping it around it. The cord was cold and it felt horrid when I brushed against it, so I was pleased to have it covered. I had chosen a black ribbon because I thought it would hide the blood, but there was no blood and I would use white next time.

I was determined to spend a few days in bed resting. Each side I swapped for feeding, I would carefully place the basket containing the placenta to the other side of me. It wasn’t a problem. I dressed and wrapped my baby with no problems. When I finally did get up, I placed the basket on Babe’s tummy while I carried him to the lounge.

A very peaceful baby, 'between worlds' and still attached to the cord.

Each day (or two, if I was tired!) I unwrapped the placenta, placed it on a clean cloth, resalted it, and then wrapped it again. Each soiled cloth I just chucked in the wash with everything else. The smell of birth hung around for a few days but by no means was it smelly or anything offensive. And this was the middle of summer! The rosemary was quite pleasant too.

My midwife was fascinated to see the placenta and cord change, and so was I! The cord eventually dried up to be clear, showing two little blood vessels inside. It was sooo interesting! It also got quite hard and stiff, which made it a little harder for me to get the baby in and out of his bed – I was using a hammcok which was quite high. But it was no big issues, I just had to take a couple of extra moments of care 🙂

Was he calmer? He was a very placid baby, and still is.

On the 6th day after his birth, the cord detached from his naval, exactly the same time he was born!
It did it the same way as if the cord has been clamped.
This is called, ‘lotus born’ – and I think that sounds very sweet!

I think it would have been sooner if I had let it air more, I was just so worried about him getting cold that I was scared to leave his tummy uncovered!! 

The dried placenta, which was quite firm, did not smell. The dried umbilical cord, which was clear and you could see two blood veins in it!

And so, the placenta was placed into the freezer to be buried at a later date, the baby was bundled up and later had his first immersion bath, the mama celebrated surviving the first week and you know what, I loved this baby wholly. Whether it was the lotus birth, or something else, I held that child close to me and you cant imagine the relief I felt that the depression and its associated feelings had gone.

It’s Placenta Week at THE MOTHERHOOD PROJECT!

Isnt this picture amazing? It’s from birthwithoutfearblog.com – and here is another amazing image from their blog:

 

WOW WOW WOW!!!!! That is the true TREE OF LIFE there!!

The placenta is truely amazing, it is the link between you and your baby (by the very obvious umbilical cord, of course!) and feeds your baby, elminates waste from your baby, and keeps everyone alive and happy!

It’s so interesting that the word placenta comes from the latin word for ‘cake’ (since it kinda looks like one ??!?!?!?!!?) – see our post tomorrow for more on placenta and eating!!!!!!!

Fancy stuff such as immunity, nutrition, waste, blood transfer etc all occur through the placenta. It is expelled after baby is born (and isnt that the strangest feeling!!!!)

I think it is a truely amazing organ, and have dedicated a week of posts about it – so welcome to Placenta Week here at THE MOTHERHOOD PROJECT!!!!