Tuesday, August 24, 2010


ok, placentas can be a bit intimidating. first there is the weirdness of an inanimate slab of meat hung by umbilical cord coming out of you. second there is all the blood and veins surrounding it, and then there is the question of what to do with it. so many options! but for me, the fascination factor overpowers the grossness factors, and after letting sparrow's placenta go to waste in my doula's freezer for about two years before i think she finally threw it away (i JUST couldn't decide how to enjoy it!), i went turbo with golden's and cooked it up with onions and garlic and ate the whole thing in two sittings! this time, i wanted to try dehydrating/encapsulating the nutritive mystery meat for a more spread-out release of the benefits (not to mention more user-friendly consumption).

now let me just observe that people are uncomfortable with placenta consumption because, presumably, of where it comes from. it comes out of a...crazy...kind of place. you want to eat that?? i'd like to remind everyone that the BABY came out of that same place, and we don't hesitate to kiss and smell and coo over it, even though it has not been sanitized by cooking, and has far less nutritional benefits. for that matter, YOU came out of that place. if you think eating placenta is gross, i think you're gross. 

on the night of august 22, the placenta was on the verge of turning 3 days old. now or never, i decided. at midnight i entered the kitchen prepared for a late-night tussle with the steak of my son's in-utero provision. i know i am supposed to start going to bed early, but...that's just going to have to start tomorrow! i recalled from golden's placenta that the process of dealing with the membranes can be very time-consuming, bloody, and frustrating. however, was in for several nice surprises and two nasty surprises.

the online tutorial i was using came from the cafe mom website, from a cindy collins. most grateful to her and to the internet. here is the approximate process:

step 1:  prep the prep area. get out all supplies. cover counter with newspaper (or paper bags) to help minimize cleanup.
the iced tea and dark chocolate are for personal fortification, prior to beginning. for some, a glass of vodka may be more appropriate?
2. rinse placenta in colander in sink and stab while rinsing to "bleed." (nice surprise #1: LOTS LESS BLOOD when you bleed/rinse beforehand! hello! why didn't the "cook it up like liver" tutorial tell me this last go-around? AVOID excessive trauma by adhering to step #2!)

3. sever cord at base (i used kitchen shears. i love them.)

4. "wrap placenta membrane fetal side around placenta into a ball." er... what? fetal side? ball? hm... my placenta's membranes seemed to be somehow already cut and partially separated from the placenta anyways, so this step was a no-go for me. i ended up cutting off the excess membrane and dealing with a partially-membraned organism, hoping for the best. (nice surprise #2: not having to remove all the membranes from the meat this time! that was the worst, remembering the last experience...)

5. place fresh lemon and fresh ginger in steaming water and steam placenta 15 mins. each side. huh. i had no lemon and no ginger. i did, however, have limes. the ginger is optional anyways. ...right? (nasty surprise #1: my steamer! it has a big skewer with a metal ring coming out the middle! i had to cut a slit thru the middle of the placenta in order to stab the skewer/ring through it. the worst was not realized until post-steaming: the placenta had shrunk and tightened to an astonishing degree, becoming stuck onto the skewer! in fact, i could not turn it over after 15 minutes; i had to steam it on one side for 30 mins. instead. then let it cool a bit before i wrestled it off the skewer.)

12:24 AM--what's cooking in mom's kitchen

6. slice thinly and dehydrate. set oven (toaster oven) to lowest temperature. should take 6-8 hours. (no... mine took about 34. the 6-8 hours must have been for a professional dehydrator only.)

7. have fun cleaning the utensils! (nasty surprise #2: steaming a placenta creates some majorly adhesive residue! i will never, never put a placenta into that type of leaf-folding steamer again. ever. nope.)

8. grind to powder in food processor. (yet to be done. the pieces are looking like beef jerky right about now, being stored for the time when i have time...)

9. fill empty capsules with placenta powder. take 3 capsules twice daily for 1st week and 2 capsules twice daily for 2nd week. store in freezer! (storage tip from my doula friend, not online.)

10. enjoy feeling like SUPERWOMAN.

Monday, August 16, 2010

golden's 2nd birthday

august 7th was a saturday, a beautiful day on which we celebrated the 2nd anniversary of our sunny golden child's arrival in our family!

sparrow and i had been plotting special birthday things and looking forward to them for quite some time. she had gotten five dollars out of her piggy bank to buy a special gift for her sister: a princess accessory set with a tiara, a necklace, earrings, and fancy heeled slippers. the night before the birthday, she got to stay up extra late with me to wrap it in a special way. it was going to be golden's breakfast gift. (in germany we have a tradition of giving gifts to the birthday person at breakfast time.)

golden and sparrow almost had the same joy when she opened it! we had had a rare "fancy" breakfast of pancakes (instead of the usual joe's o's cereal) and then sparrow got the gift out of the closet and presented it to the little one. oh what joy! i think golden wore those huge cinderella slippers for most of the day! we had gotten sparrow's out of storage too, so they traipsed about the house together clacking their plastic heels.

i decided to have a little toenail-painting session with the princesses as i took a break from cupcake baking (box mix!) and cleaning/getting ready for the party we were having that afternoon.  i have tried to stay away from nail polish because i think it is not good to give young children too much "grown-up" stuff to become vain over, on a regular basis. but every once in awhile, it is ok to do something rare and special, even if it involves breathing in fumes. they were so tickled! we chose a nice sparkly blue and boy, were they proud of their toes! i did mine too, of course.

during golden's nap, i let sparrow stay up and help me color the frosting for the cupcakes and put sprinkles on them. the theme was "colorful"--i had found the cutest fans and paper globes for decorations on clearance at target--they ALL cost me only about a dollar! they had deep, strong solid summer colors, so i made the cup cakes to match. we also colored the fruit dip and made the soy milk pink.

the children showed up shortly after three pm: annie and her adelin, plus baby abrina. auntie emily. auntie omi and her danielle and david. i had tried to keep it very small and very simple this year, because i have realized that children don't really care if they only have a cupcake, a $3 toy, and two friends over. we break our backs and our banks to invite 45 people, and the birthday girl ends up clinging to you because of all the strangers.

the children were quite exuberant and golden had LOTS of help blowing out candles and opening presents... thomas called from san francisco just before we sang happy birthday, so i put him on speakerphone, and he got to sing along. golden got lots of cool little presents, and i so appreciate not having a huge pileful of new toys to find a place for! she got sidewalk chalk and crayons and flower wall stickers and new sunday shoes (from me) and an art apron and craft jewels, things like that. we had such a good time! i broke my sugar fast for a day and had some cupcake and ice cream, luxurious!

golden, on your 2nd birthday--
every day we are more delighted and amazed at how much laughter and sweetness you add to our home. we feel so special that God gave you to us, and are blessed to be chosen to take care of you and love you. you love to share with others, you love to help, and you want to take care of us all. if mommy says she needs her shoes, you hurry to find them for me, and when i remind you to be sweet, you love to comply. you also love to be funny and silly, and your laugh is one of the most beautiful sounds i've ever heard. you can already pray with sincerity for others. always remember this habit and this sincerity, and God will make your heart overflow with love. you are an anointed, sparkly golden one. God has set you apart for Him, so shine! love, mommy

Thursday, August 5, 2010

pregnancy update #3

have i ever mentioned that i am overly spoiled when it comes to having good friends?

last saturday we had a little brunch at starbucks, as is tradition for the graham/kugler/schmidt group (we have been joining them there weekly if possible, and it is a great thing to look forward to... sometimes i stay for hours and hours JUST to be able to feel the air conditioning.) when we got home, i was very tired, so gave the girls their lunch and plopped into bed a little after 1 pm. just before 2 pm i was awakened by a voice at my window and the sound of gushing rain. it was mrs. kugler, saying "doris, could you come over to the apartment really fast?" i shot up, thinking it was an emergency, put on a bra and t-shirt, and rushed out the door to meet her. we got soaking wet, even with her umbrella. they are staying in our attached apartment, so it was not 20 feet to travel, and still parts of us were definitely drenched. what met my eyes when i walked in the door, but a group of my friends, sitting there smiling at me, and an apartment all beautifully decorated for a BABY SHOWER!!! i was baffled! baby shower? not expecting this! rubbing sleep out of my eyes! wow. i didn't expect any type of baby shower this time around. i have mostly what i need! but here they all were, and omi had set it all up and prepared games and brought all the special foods i love the most and beautiful tea cups...she really does have such a servant's heart and loves to bless people, it is amazing. lauren was there! and shawna, and ann came later too, and annie with her adelyn and abrina, and julia with elizabeth and hannah, mrs. graham and mrs. kugler of course. we grabbed the monitor and set it up to listen in on my sleeping girls, but they weren't sleeping for long with all that activity next door! i let them come through the living room sliding door, and you should have seen their faces when they saw that there was a Party on the other side! it was quite like going through the wardrobe into narnia! so yes, we ate treats (breaking rules on my no-sugar diet of course), talked and laughed, played baby shower games, and i even got to open presents! mrs. graham gave me a thousand baby wipes, and an embroidery book, and my girls each got a dr. seuss bag with new markers and notebooks inside! i also got one of julia's signature nursing covers! and a few swaddle wrappers, money, diapers, soft blankie, etc. etc. i am so undeserving!

thomas is gone in san francisco now, to return on the 13th. the unofficial due date is around aug. 15th, so i hope this little one holds on. my friend who is studying to be a naturopathic doctor is in town, woohoo! and she said she can be my labor companion in case it happens before husband returns. then i have good friends in the kugler and graham clan next door(s) to cover me for anything else. i had an appointment today (aug. 5th) and the nurse said i was 2 cm dilated. which really means nothing, but that explains the sharp pains that have been happening in my cervix. afterward i took the girls to ross and target for a few household things and the whole time i was contracting, feeling like labor was imminent! i had to have a little wine to relax the uterus when i got home, and it worked. don't come out yet, baby! i have not been known to give birth early, so i don't know what i'm worried about. i bet my uterus was just irritated from the heat today and from the cervical check. i should have declined it, what was i thinking?

oh and i actually had LOST 2 pounds since my last appt. two weeks ago, is that a first or what!! for me, anyways. i am back at 156 lbs where before i was at 158.8, wow, i guess that's almost 3 lbs! my exercise routine and no-sugar thing is working, YAAAAAY! actually, omi says she lost weight too when she was preggy with danielle, after she gave up sugar. it is amazing how much a little sugar can affect your poor body.

but...i have darning and mending to do, so i'm gonna "make like a baby and head out!"