The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Category: pregnancy

And now the road to fame is paved with placenta.

Oh for the love of Pete, my placenta and I have been mentioned in a real life magazine.

pregnancy and newborn magazine cover feb 2012

Swear to God, my placenta and I are quoted in this issue!

I hope this doesn’t count as part of my 15 minutes of fame because my placenta is totally hogging the spotlight.

And also, I’m not sure why they put that slightly bloated pretty lady on the cover when they could have had a picture of a fashion plate like moi:

(Photo removed by Iris due to extreme case of blogger remorse.)

 

Holy CRAP. That picture was taken just a few hours before my sweet 9 pound 11 ounce Mini-Me burst onto the scene in 2002. It’s no wonder my belly looks like a Shar Pei today.

Actually, I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of the Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine article, The postdelivery party favor: Getting to know the amazing placenta. The author, Mary Seckman, contacted me for an interview last summer after reading about my own placenta horror story and the “Placenta Keeper Plus” I created for my good friend Mama Cloud as a semi-gag baby shower gift. If that post doesn’t shout “Ask me anything! I have no sense of shame or decorum,” I don’t know what does. Jayzus.

And speaking of newborns, Mama Cloud’s little bundle of love is about to celebrate his first birthday next month! Can you believe it? My how time flies.

Mama Cloud's beautiful newborn son in the crook of my hairy arm 11 months ago. Makes my nipples tingle just looking at him.

{Sigh.} What an angel. Newborns are BEST! (Except for that whole sleep deprivation and bloody raw nipples part.) Hey, know what else is pretty cool? Having a child who is finally old enough to get your humor and snicker when he hears you sing “Chuck Chuck, bo buck, banana fanna….” Yeah. That just happened and we totally bonded over it.

In other exciting news: there is a contest to find the Top 25 Funny (Blogging) Moms!

What do you think? Do I belong on this list? My fate is in your hands. This contest is running until March 21st and you can vote for all of your favorite funny mom bloggers once every 24 hours until then. (Pick me! Please pick me!)

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’d like to be on this list. Making people laugh is what I absolutely LIVE for. Well that, and my children. Fine, my husband too. Whatevs, the point is: if I have ever made you laugh, or chuckle, or smile, or leak into your Poise Pad even a little, then perhaps you would spare two clicks for The Bearded Iris? (Click the thumbs up symbol once you get there.)

Perhaps you’d even tell a friend? Look. I just showed you my naked belly AND outed myself as a recovering scrunchie wearer. It’s the least you can do.

Thank you kindly for the support!

with love and placenta prints,

-Iris

A Full Circle Sausage Moment

read me in the powder roomChildbirth stories: they aren’t for the faint of heart…or stomach. But like most challenges in life, the end product can make the humiliation sting just a little bit less. And by end product, I mean baby, and by humiliation, of course I mean poop. You can read about my first, far from idyllic birth experience, In the Powder Room today. Bring some wet-wipes.

shit happens - a really crappy childbirth story

And as an extra special bonus like a good meaty placenta, my friend Glen, aka “The Regular Guy,” and I have teamed up to present a “he said/she said” take on childbirth. Glen has written a delightfully funny piece titled “Childbirth is not for ladies.” Do yourself a favor and read his column today too. He absolutely slays me every week.

fondly and with a firmly ingrained aversion to sausage,

-Iris

Placenta Crafts and More!

“It’s 2:00 AM. Do you know where your placenta is?”

I’m imagining a deep, slow, and serious tone for the voiceover… maybe James Earl Jones, or a Don LaFontaine impersonator.

Details. Anyhooo.

I’m getting ahead of myself, as usual. Let me back up a bit.

Pregnant women have a lot on their minds these days. In our information-overload society, they are bombarded with choices. Vaginal birth or planned caesarean? Hospital birth or home birth? Circumcision or intact? Cloth diapers or disposables? OMG, should I be teaching my baby to read?

Probably the last thing a woman who has just given birth needs to be thinking about is “What the hell do I do with my placenta?” 

I didn’t even know what the fark a placenta was the first time I had a baby nearly twelve years ago. I was young(er) and clueless. Didn’t do any research whatsoever. Just assumed that women had been having babies for thousands of years…what else did I need to know? (Have you met my triplets? Denial, Avoidance, and Procrastination?)

As a fancy-free first-timer, I can assure you that I spent more time and energy decorating my baby’s nursery than I did actually contemplating a birth plan or any postpartum details. The good news? My nursery was super cute, like Oh-my-God! The bad news? Holy shit – childbirth is hard and painful! Who knew?

Der.

My second time around on the Birth-o-Rama ride I actually did bring home my placenta in a Ziploc freezer bag. I just had no idea what to do with it.

So I stuck it in a bucket on my back porch for a few days and forgot about it while I was bonding with Mini-Me and icing my hoo-hoo.

Lord have mercy, you do not want to know how that story ended. Trust me.

But the young girls today are much more educated and conscientious than I was in my breeding years. Or at least my friend Mama Cloud is. I knew she was planning a home birth and so I assumed she’d also have some pretty spectacular plans for her placenta. 

I didn’t know what… the things people do with their placentas these days are pretty incredible. For instance, among other things, she could:

Dang. I must have missed the session on Placenta Crafts at Mommy College. Fuckin’ A.

Regardless of her choice, I knew she’d need a way to store that placenta until she was able to do whatever it was she was going to do with it. So, I designed a special gift for her baby shower that I thought would be practical AND funny.

Practical. Yes.

Funny, pretty much only to me. (And hopefully to you too, my twisted readers.)

Yes, I learned a valuable life lesson that day about gag gifts, and baby showers where you don’t know anyone but the mama-to-be, and ladies who take their placentas very seriously. Oh well. Live and learn.

I probably started off on the wrong foot by giving her a card with this on the front:

 But Mama Cloud had read and enjoyed the post I wrote about my favorite childbirth terms, so I knew (well, I hoped) she would appreciate the humor. She did. Well she said she did anyway…to my face at least.

Next up, the unveiling of my special, personal, handmade gift! I mean, what’s more personal than a storage system for your placenta?

Mama Cloud and I were the only ones laughing. Oh well. Luckily for me, she absolutely LOVED my gift and it sure came in handy! Would you like to see a close up of it?

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce:

The Placenta Keeper Plus:
For All Her Afterbirth Storage Needs

Just in case you can’t read the fine print on the back, let me spell it out for you…

Congratulations on choosing:

Placenta Keeper Plus

Exclusively distributed by The Bearded Iris
for all your afterbirth storage needs.

  • Air tight seal prevents spoilage.
  • Matching lids help you keep all your post-partum souvenirs organized!
  • Highly visible labels prevent your oh-so-helpful-hubby from accidentally defrosting your placenta for stew meat.
  • A variety of sizes to accommodate any placenta…small, medium, or large!
  • Ecnomical! Why pay pricey cord blood bank fees?!
  • Semi transparent containers give your placenta the privacy it deserves.
  • Neutral design to complement any decor.
  • Heirloom quality – a keepsake for generations to come.
  • Environmentally friendly – repurposed containers from local thrift store.

I’m so impressed with myself! And so that’s why I’m thinking I should start auditioning voiceover artists to hock my awesome product. I think I’m onto something here folks. Placenta Keeper Plus might just be my golden ticket! Remember, you saw it here first.

Sure wish I had had one of those when I brought home my placenta 8 years ago. Maybe then I could have safely frozen it until I was ready to deal with it. {Sigh} Another mothering opportunity out the window (writes the mother whose children are on their 4th hour of TV for the day so I can blog. Nice.)

Epilogue: My dear friend Mama Cloud had her Placenta Keeper Plus ready to go when she birthed her beautiful son at home. And a few minutes later when she delivered her placenta, it went right into one of those handy dandy containers and into an ice-filled cooler on the front porch. And no, I don’t know which size she used, but thanks for asking.

The next day, a volunteer from a local Search and Rescue Dog Training organization came to pick it up. I bet he was awfully impressed with Mama Cloud’s professional placenta packaging! Yes indeedy, yet another thing you can do with fresh placenta is donate it to help train Search and Rescue Dogs to find missing people! Incredible! Wish I had known that when each of my three babies were born. Mama Cloud – you rock. What a cool thing to do!

I’m a little bummed I won’t be able to taste some of her encapsulated placenta or get a placenta printed thank you note, but I sure as shit am glad Mama Cloud didn’t make that thing into a teddy bear. “It puts the lotion on the placenta.” {Shudder.}

entrepreneurially yours,

-Iris Beard, Inventor of Placenta Keeper Plus

Seriously, it’s not as bad as it sounds.

My good friend Mama Cloud is pregnant with her first baby and it is an absolute joy to behold! Makes me almost want to get knocked up again. Almost.

Anyway, she’s taking a birthing class and the other day she told me that she asked her birthing instructor to tell her more about the mucus plug. She was worried she might miss it if she didn’t know what to look for. The instructor said “Don’t worry. You can’t miss it. It’s like your vaj blew its nose.” Oooh-wee, I just love a woman with a colorful arsenal of descriptions, don’t you?

Takes me right back to my own birthing class and learning all the new horrifying vocabulary words. My favorite was bloody show - the small amount of vaginal bleeding late in pregnancy that often precedes labor. Eeewwww! Sounds like a campy slasher film, doesn’t it? Did you know that you can have the bloody show and the mucus plug appear at the same time? Yessireebob. I call that the Bloody Mucus Plug Show. As in, “Hon! Pop us some popcorn and turn on the TV… it’s almost time for the Bloody Mucus Plug Show!” (Watch for it this fall on NBC.)

And linea nigra –  the line of increased pigmentation running down the abdomen from the belly button to the pubic area during pregnancy. Or as The Gatekeeper called it, The Treasure Trail. For me, it was more like The Trail of Tears. Mine was so wide, dark, and furry, I looked like a fat messed up skunk. Probably smelled like one too. Don’t worry Mama Cloud… it goes away… eventually.

"Pardon me Madame, but would you please point me to a few local hot spots?"

 

Then there’s the vernix caseosa – the whitish, cheesy, waxy substance that coats babies’ skin in late pregnancy. Mmmmm. Where’s my wine and box of Wheat Thins when I need it?

Or how about crowning - the appearance of the presenting fetal part (usually the head) at the vaginal opening during birth. Sounds so regal and elegant… totally not what it FEELS like when your ring of fire is about to rip into 8 jagged flailing pieces like that dog’s face in John Carpenter’s The Thing.

And speaking of which, the ring of fire – the burning sensation you feel when the baby’s head is passing through the vaginal opening. Nice description. Not scary or intimidating at all. Especially when you pair it with Johnny Cash singing “and it burns burns burns… the ring of FI-ire, the ring of fire.”

And lastly, perineum – the area between the giney and the hiney. You may know this region as “the taint,” as in “It ain’t your hoo-hoo, and t’ain’t your arse.” According to Urban Dictionary, also known as the vaganus. My birthing instructor used to wear a pink t-shirt that said “Support your local perineum.” Cracked me up every time. This is also the area you want to massage with oil during your pregnancy so it doesn’t end up ripping to shreds or being snipped by your episiotomy-happy OBGYN. Ah, good times. Good times.

So Mama Cloud, thanks for the appetizing stroll down memory lane. And also the future trip down Mammary Lane, as you discover the womanly art of breastfeeding (sure to be a blog-worthy experience). I love being a witness to your beautiful journey. And don’t be scared, honey, about all that stuff I said about ring-of-fire and tearing and cheesy residue and bloody mucus. Raising them is much more painful than birthing them.

nostalgically yours,

-Iris

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