While carrying Adler, I knew that breastfeeding was my only option. In my mind, it was going to be this awesome bonding experience, and I was going to be Wonder Woman, exclusively breastfeeding, being an awesome mom, working full time, DOING IT ALL. I had done all the research, thought I had all the answers, and we were ready for our little man. I labored all day, and we were so anxious to meet our baby boy. When he finally arrived, after over 12 hours of an epidural, pitocin, IV drip, and absolutely nothing to eat, labor got the best of me. I remember about an hour after he was born we giggled at just how big he was (9lbs, 13oz to be exact) and just how simply in love we were. After our family members took a quick peek at him, it was time to nurse him for the very first time. I remember the nurse helping me, and it seemed like everything was going the way I envisioned then I started dry heaving. So in my big mama debut, my OB/GYN was finishing up everything “downstairs”, Luke was doting over our little man, the nurse is trying to get Adler to latch, and my mom is holding the puke bucket over him so that in case I barfed, the baby would be safe. And they said motherhood was glorious. I was exhausted and the nurse said that it would be best to give Adler formula for overnight, and that it was most likely all the medicines I had that day making him drowsy. She promised tomorrow would be better.
I woke up ready to take on the challenge, excited to hold him again and nourish him. But it wasn’t going better, I began feeling overwhelmed and defeated, but I assured myself that my feelings were normal, and just like anything else, time would fix the problem. And temporarily, I felt like it was getting better. Adler seemed to be finally latching and getting his rhythm down, but he never seemed satisfied after nursing. And I began the uphill battle of feeling inadequate, and like the worst mom in the world.
Our struggle with breastfeeding went on for 5 long, agonizing months. Numerous calls to the La Leche League. Sobbing, sobbing, sobbing. Taking every supplement that even hinted at being a milk supply booster. More sobbing, sobbing, sobbing. And then finally deciding to throw in the towel, giving in to formula feeding, which brought in a whole new set of emotions. As much as I dreaded the failure I was feeling while breastfeeding, I still didn’t want to stop. It was this awful cycle, and my feelings of failure lasted quite awhile.
Fast forward to December 1, 2012 and a positive pregnancy test. I sat in my bathroom and cried for at least a half hour. Another baby was not in our plans, and I was definitely not ready to ride the emotional roller coaster that I knew breastfeeding was going to be. After my 2 month pity party, I knew their had to be a better way, and was determined to never experience how I felt again. I was desperate to not go through that battle again, and was willing to do ANYTHING to fix the problem. I remember typing every phrase under the sun into the google box, and there it was placenta encapsulation.
I had heard of Holly Madison and January Jones doing this very thing, and Hollywood and the what not going to town on their own thoughts of how ridiculous it was. And believe me, I was skeptical and a little grossed out too, but after seeing success after success of everything I was feeling post pregnancy solved by this little miracle, I was all in. Thankfully for me, I have world’s greatest husband, who said he was also all in, and was so all in that he would encapsulate it himself. Ladies and Gents Luke Craft, Husband of the decade. Thankfully for me, both my OB/GYN and delivering hospital were also on board.
Over the next few months while carrying Oliver, we organized our game plan and how we were going to get this accomplished. We bought a food dehydrator, pill encapsulation kit, and watched a lot of you tube videos. We brought the placenta home in a Styrofoam cooler, and then Luke cleaned off the umbilical cord and sac, cut it into strips, and dehydrated it for over 15 hours. When that was completed, he ground it up in the food processor and filled vegetable pill capsules until it was all gone.
It was less than 4 days after Oliver’s delivery before I started taking the pills. Within 48 hours after the first one, I noticed a huge difference in just about everything. I felt rested, I was healing faster, and I was pumping anywhere from 12-18 ounces, just in the morning. Originally, I had planned to start stocking a supply for my return to work at about 4 weeks. And like last time, I was really wanting to exclusively nurse Ollie; but similar to Adler, he was a lazy eater, and it ended up working out better to just pump and bottle feed my little champ. Plus, with that amount of a supply, and a wild toddler, I just didn’t have the time to nurse for 20-30 minutes then pump right after for the same amount of time, to turn around and do it all over again in another 2 hours. 12 days postpartum I returned to crossfit, and I by no means am a I crossfit warrior, I just felt that great. I had the energy to keep up with the housework, chase around Adler, and tend to baby Ollie. And by my return to work 7 weeks later, I was fitting into most of my pregnancy clothes.
Not to mention, my deep freeze could not hold all the milk I was producing and had to stock. And when my deep freeze was full, I took over the 3 drawers in the freezer at my job, and then I took over my Grandmas and a co workers deep freezer. At first we kept our decision to encapsulate my placenta pretty private. When we did share, most people were intrigued, some found it gross, and others seemed pretty neutral and just curious for how it would work. Since Ollie’s birth, I have had a couple people share their own struggles with me, and I have found myself wanting to shout out our success and share our solution because no mama should ever feel how I felt. No mother should ever feel inadequate and defeated.
Some people have told me that there was probably another solution to what my struggles were, and maybe they are right. Maybe there was medication I could have taken for the post partum blues, lack of supply, and just overall stress level. But hands down, I will swear by our choice to encapsulate my placenta, and will not think twice about doing it again in the future. One little google search saved my life, and allowed me to be the mama I wanted to be.
I’ve chosen to be open about my placenta encapsulation so that other women know that this process is amazing and our bodies truly are meant to heal and nourish themselves. I began offering the encapsulation service locally over a year ago and numerous moms have been so thankful to have theirs done right here in their community! Feel free to contact me with more questions, concerns, or if you just want to know more of the science surrounding the placenta.