Tuesday, November 17, 2009

my placenta journey begins

i am the oldest of 3 girls. i have 3 degrees. and i have 3 boys of my own. whatever new endeavors i explore i always seem to come full circle right back to the basics. a love for mama's, babies, birth and all the issues that encompass these things. i am not sure how or when this love story began. perhaps it was when i was 5. i camped out on the hospital floor at the feet of my mothers bed in my magenta polyester sleeping bag. hours and hours passed by as my mother's labor slowly peaked. i heard words being spoken across the room back and forth like meconium, doula, respiratory distress, and contractions that were becoming part of my vocabulary as each hour passed. i loved my mom more than anything and had this amazing confidence in her that she could do this even through the occasional yells and screams. i was as prepared as a 5 year old could be. i looked through the Bradley Method books and saw pictures of the other mothers doing the exact same things that my mom was. and soon my best friend was born. i watched her through a glass dome as the hospital took the measures needed to insure her lungs were clear. while my sister was practicing her breathing, i was busy preparing for a party. the doula and i went into the lounge area and put the final touches on the birthday cake. i made sure that everyone had a hat and my dad made sure everyone had some champagne. it was a true celebration of a new life begun and a huge accomplishment for my mother.
from that moment on i had told everyone i was going to be an obstetrician. it seemed like an admirable goal. a doctor.
ten years had passed and my parents dream of having another child had come true. i was 15 and like most teenagers the world revolved around me. my mother once again had no doubt that she was going to have a natural birth and choose a midwife to assist for baby girl number three. i watched in awe of my mother's strength, desire and love shining through with every push. i cried and like a pro cut the cord and placed a warm hat on my newest baby sister. i was inspired with out knowing and wanted to tell the world with out knowing how.
unfortunately, it was a school day and not even birth was going to get me out of playing hooky. I wanted to show everyone my baby sister so instead i asked if i could take the placenta. as i look back i have no idea what possessed me to want to take the placenta to school, but i did. i felt like a rebel, or that i had a special secret that only i knew. i remember having to take it to one class before hitting my final class, Biology where my secret would be revealed. as i pulled out the tupperware the class looked on eagerly. i mean, what was going to top dissecting a pig or cat brain like we had done in the classes previous? but i knew what i had was much more exciting. an organ that had hours before sustained life. an organ so complex that it is hard for some of the greatest scientists and doctors in the world to explain.
my teacher was ecstatic. and even offered me extra credit. some kids thought it was gross while others were amazed. i was proud that i could share with others what i truly believe is one of the most powerful, unique and unappreciated organs of them all-the placenta.

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