The Placenta in the Freezer

My body is amazing. Not only has it grown two tiny humans, it also grew an entire new organ which supplied them with the nutrients they needed to survive.

I was terrified of giving birth to my first son. I have a very low pain threshold and at the time only had two close friends who had given birth, both of which swore by getting an epidural ASAP. When the time came I did not hesitate, the cool numbing ice cocktail spread through my spinal column before my Pitocin drip to induce labor had even begun. I had also heard that Pitocin induced contractions were horrible, so I chose not to feel those either.

I have no knowledge what happened with my placenta the first time around. After my first son was yanked out of me I didn’t even look below the sheet that separated my vision from the war zone below my waist. All I cared about was that my son was alive, and my epidural was still working.

Less than three years later I was pregnant again. Because of my harrowing childbirth experience (PROMS, Induction, forcep delivery, jaundice), I was determined to enter my second labor from a place of excitement and love, rather than fear. I watched The Business of Being Born, I hired a doula, and I had a solid birth plan which included hanging onto my placenta. I wasn’t sold on the idea of consuming my placenta, but my doula showed up ready with a cooler and after my son was born she suggested that I freeze it in case it could help me with postpartum. She hadn’t given me any crap when I got my epidural during my transition phase of labor, and I felt like I owed her one. “Why not?” I thought, “If it worked for Chrissy Teigen, why not me?”

Thus after the birth of my beautiful 9 1/2 lb baby boy my placenta was transported home to my freezer by my Father. And there it remained undisturbed for months. I never got around to turning it into pills, but I was so proud of its size, and of the baby it nourished, that I didn’t want to throw it away. Besides, I thought throwing a human organ in the trash was probably a health violation. I made a new plan to eventually bury it under a tree in our backyard.

Fast forward a few months later. I was finally ready to clear up some space in our freezer and lay it to rest. Only when I opened the door, it was gone. I immediately knew what had happened. My Dad had recently gone on a fishing trip to Cabo. After his trip, he temporarily kept his fish in our freezer before heading back home to Northern California. I messaged him, “Dad! You stole my placenta.”

“No I didn’t. I only brought the fish home. I didn’t touch it,” he replied.

“Liar!” I thought. I let it go though because I was busy trying to keep my children alive and a missing organ was not at the top of my To Do List.

I pushed it out of my mind, but low and behold, a week later I received the following message: “Oh darling daughter Rose. You told me I took your placenta and I didn’t believe you because I only remember putting tuna into my cooler. Unfortunately, I didn’t empty the cooler and put the fish away and when I looked at the fish in our freezer here, I only saw tuna in my air sealed packages. Today I found your placenta. Sandy (my Step-mom) started defrosting the package, as the package is defrosting I don’t know what it is or where the package came from. (Although the color is similar to the White Bonita, Sandy thought it was a fish). Took me awhile, after arguing with Sandy she thinks it is some kind of stomach and that it came from the cooler, that I brought something besides fish from Mexico and I’m arguing we never used zip lock bags!!! I tell her again, I never put anything in the cooler exept tuna in sealed packages!!! The placenta was partially defrosted when my brain remembered you told me I took it, the light went on, I put the package back in the freezer and I’m writing to tell you “yes” you were right, dense Dad took your placenta.”

Charlie’s former food and oxygen supplier and waste filtration system is now back in my freezer after its brief vacation in Norcal. Let me know if you would like to attend its burial one of these days.

Mom, writer, yogi, beach bum, former expat from the SGV

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