Friday, February 3, 2012

Operation Afterpain Take-Down - Current Plans (39w3d)

I've mentioned before on this blog that with both our previous births, I had problems with severe afterpains - even with our first birth, when afterpains are supposed to be either absent or almost unnoticeable (ha!!!). Both times the afterpains have prevented me from holding or breastfeeding the baby until the first window had passed, and both have made my postpartum extremely difficult.

Our second time through was actually better than our first - for one thing, I was expecting the afterpains (they're supposed to get worse with each baby), and for another, I utilized placenta medicine. I did not know at the time that placenta medicine would help with afterpains, but by golly it was amazing! Wow!

But they were still a problem.

This time around, my midwives and doula are fully on board with the need to work with this problem, and we have worked out the following plan:

* Warning: The following contains a discussion of placenta medicine, so be forewarned. :)

(1) Advil

As soon as baby and placenta are out - four Advil. This didn't help much last time, but we're going to do it anyway! But since we need to start attacking this beast before that point, we will be also doing....

(2) Afterpains Tincture

Purchased from a new and lovely herb shop in Mesa, AZ - Worts & Cunning Apothecary - it is an herbal tincture containing various herbs such as cramp bark, cohoshes, etc. It can be taken as soon as baby is born, and has a good report from other mothers who have used it.

(3) Homeopathic Arnica

Worth a shot!

(4) Placenta Medicine

As I mentioned, placenta medicine (that is, actually eating the placenta) does wonderful, astounding, amazing things! Not only does it help with postpartum moods, energy, and blood loss (for articles containing studies on these subjects, look here), but it did amazing things for my afterpains. Although the afterpains from a second birth are supposed to be worse than a first birth - and I can attest that this is true - I started feeling better immediately after my first placenta smoothie, and the afterpains cleared up much more quickly than with my first birth (within a week or two compared to six or more weeks). For my experience with that, read more here.

Last time, after the initial smoothie or two, I did the ever-popular placenta encapsulation, in which the placenta is dried, pulverized, and put into gel caps - which completely removes the "eww, yuck!" factor. Good stuff. But this time, I'm going to switch it up a bit. My plan is simply to cut the placenta into smoothie-sized pieces, and use all of them up making smoothies over the first couple of days postpartum (the pills usually last for a month or two of daily dosages).

The reason? Simply that, in looking at the animal kingdom, the rest of mammalian species eat their placentas immediately after birth, and eat them completely. They don't eat a little bit at a time for two months afterwards. They don't save any placenta for menopause (a common practice for leftover placenta pills). They certainly don't cook their placentas (which is why I have always embraced raw placenta medicine, rather than the cooked method used by Traditional Chinese Medicine). My guess is that the best results will come from sticking as close to nature as possible - though I will definitely use the smoothie method, as eating a raw placenta plain is a bit too much for me!

(For those interested in placenta medicine, though, I would still totally recommend the pills! They work wonders, and they are great for working with the squeamish nature of this practice. Completely on board with placenta encapsulation!!)

Thoughts, anyone?

I'll let you all know how it turns out!

No signs of labor yet - and this baby has now - or rather, as of tomorrow morning, will have - won the official "longest pregnancy" award - both of our previous births were on or around 39+3. Fun stuff! I'm hoping for another week, but I'm not counting on it.

I'm afraid that I am just not going to get in all the pre-baby blogging that I wanted to - for one thing, I'm still nesting like crazy, and for another, nights (my usual blogging time) are also the times when I am still the most nauseated and least likely to settle down to anything serious. I have several topics waiting for each blog, but I guess they'll just have to wait. C'est la vie!

Have a wonderful weekend, all!

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