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Placenta Tree (or, not for the squeamish)

September 12, 2010

The night that LM was born, my brother GB brought pizza and M&Ms over for dinner for me and DH so we didn’t have to go out or cook anything.  Afterwards, we sat in the nursery and I told GB how the birth went, while DH threw in editorial comments from his perspective.  While I think I will sit down and tell LM’s birth story in the next few posts, I’ll jump to the end now, as I told it to GB.  “So, they arrived at 7, LM was born at 8, and they were gone by 12.”  And DH chimes in: “Oh and Phred left the placenta in the freezer.”  I stared at him, waiting for him to laugh….or something.  Then I realized he was serious and I had not given the placenta a second thought after I delivered it.  I was a bit preoccupied, but (after going to look in the freezer and give it a poke through two ziploc bags) suddenly I had a placenta on my hands.  What to do?

Well, we put the offer on our current house when LM was ten days old and moved two months later.  I was sad to move from the house where she was born, but we still own it and it’s only about 2 miles away.  I wanted to create some sentimental attachment to the new house, so we decided that when we started planting trees on the property, we would bury the placenta under one of the trees and that would be LM’s special tree.  We moved in July, in the desert, so standing outdoors and digging holes hasn’t been at the top of the list of things to do, but it finally dropped out of the 100’s so we got to work.

Although it was a Shamal Ash that I could see out the window of our old house while I was giving birth to LM, we decided to use a Mulga Acacia for LM’s placenta tree and placed it right next to where the back patio will eventually go.  When DH finished digging the three foot deep hole, I pulled the placenta out of the freezer to thaw.  This is a bit gross, I admit, but I felt attached to the icky, slippery blob, since that is what connected me to LM and helped her grow from a zygote to the amazing baby she is.  So I decided to take it one step further, and use some of DH’s 12×16 watercolor paper to make some awesome modern art.

Mommy side on the left, Baby side on the right

I have the urge to go to the store for frames (since I actually made two prints) right now…this will be a fantastic conversation piece that I can use to disgust unsuspecting visitors.  On to the actual planting: I felt like we should do something more ceremonial to dedicate the tree, like sing or light a candle.  However, while it is not in the 100’s, it is still in the high 90’s, and there are mosquitos because it is Monsoon season, so we weren’t going to jack around outside any longer than necessary.  We are pragmatic people.  So I chucked the placenta blob in the bottom of the hole, took a picture in between swinging the shovel at the chickens to keep them from jumping in the hole to eat it (did not see that coming), and then covered it with dirt.

I swear it looked much bigger in the freezer

We then plunked the root ball of the tree on top of it, and DH commenced filling in around the tree and packing down the dirt.  Instead of doing a spirit dance or hanging a sign, I will honor the tree when LM is old enough to start asking about her birth, where babies come from, etc. and I can tell her about her placenta tree.

I haven’t had the courage to ask any of my mama friends if they kept or did anything with their placentas, or if they just throw them away at the hospital.  I’ve since discovered that there are much weirder options than planting a tree.  Honestly, if Lisa and Phred had chucked my placenta without saying anything, I probably never would have asked about it.  But, once it was in the freezer, I couldn’t throw it away myself.  Now that it is finally out, 4 1/2 months later, I have more space for that bag of frozen honeydew.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 14, 2010 8:17 pm

    Next time, if I can afford to, I want to get my placenta encapsulated. But I have no choice but to birth at the hospital (diabetes), so I will have to take a cooler and ice with me and have someone run it home and freeze it.

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