My Pre and Post-Natal Essentials

If you are ever planning on having kids, read this post.
If you are in the middle of having kids, read this post.
If pregnancy is something you’re doing or planning on doing, read this post.

If none of the above apply, skiddadle. You’ll regret ever having read anything you’re about to read. I promise.

Today I’m going to talk about some things that are going to make you go, “EW” and not in the cool Jimmy Fallon/Channing Tatum way.

I’ve had some hesitation concerning this post (you’ll see why in a bit), but I feel like I really need to share with you what I’ve found to work for me in hopes that it might help someone else.

First, I downloaded a contraction timing app on my phone. This was a lifesaver! Miss Alice was such a stinker when it came to contractions! I contracted for WEEKS before she was born, and my contraction timer was the best tool I had. When I felt one come on, all I had to do was hit the “start” button. When it stopped, I hit the “stop” button. The app did all the figuring for me -how long they lasted, how far apart they were… that meant I didn’t have to THINK in the middle of the night when I was woken up by contractions. I didn’t need a timer or clock or anything. I highly recommend this app to any pregnant woman with a smart phone! They also have breastfeeding apps where you can keep track of feedings (and which side you’re using, if you know what I mean). I downloaded a couple but I haven’t needed them as yet.

Second, beginning in my second trimester, I rubbed my belly down with massage oil after every shower. I’m not here to try and fool you into thinking I was fighting stretch marks.
By now it surprises me that most of the world still believes stretch marks can somehow be controlled or contended with.
If you go along with that line of thinking, allow me to enlighten you: if you’re going to get stretch marks, you’re going to get them. Period. And you’ll be delighted to find that they aren’t the end of the world -and in the end you won’t mind them much at all. I rubbed my belly down simply because it felt good. It helped my skin not to itch so much as it grew, grew, grew and I could not live without my massage oil.
The brand I used was infused with ginger and peppermint which really helped with my bouts of nausea.

I highly recommend a video streaming software of SOME kind. You’re going to have a lot of downtime at the end of pregnancy and the start of your baby’s life. I am very much a worrier, and I can’t calm down enough to be a good nursing mother… my milk won’t come in well, and it won’t come OUT well because I’m constantly fussing and stressing over “are they getting enough?” “am I making enough?” “are they pooping too much? not enough?”
You get the idea.
If I have a movie to focus on while my little one is suckling, I stop focusing and stressing on my child and I let myself get lost in a movie. It also keeps me from stressing about what isn’t getting done while I’m sitting on the couch all day. If I’m lost in a good plot, I don’t WANT to get up and it makes a relaxed environment for Baby to eat as much they’d like at their own little will.  I have never made enough milk for my babies.  This time?  I have more than enough.  More on that later…

Fourth, take advantage of live-in help and give the first week entirely to baby.
I talked it over with my husband, and we agreed that we’d let the first week of Alice’s life be completely Alice’s. We wouldn’t try to schedule her or try and fit her into our lives… we would listen to her cues and go with them.
I am not a scheduling mother. I will never be a scheduling mother.
I am all for ROUTINE, but scheduling goes against the grain of my personality. I’d be miserable. I realize some of you ARE GREAT schedulers. So feel free to disregard this post-natal essential.  Actually, feel free to disregard them all for crying out loud.  I’m not your Mom.


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On our way home from the hospital, my husband stopped at Wal-Mart. I sat in the car with our sleeping baby and he went in with a list I’d given him.
He then proceeded to call me five or ninety times with questions that would have made you crack up had you been listening in.
“Where do they keep the Depends?”
“They are by the pads…” I’d say.
“What are Tucks pads? Where are they?”
“They’re wet wipes for hemorrhoids… you’ll find them by the ointments. Make SURE you get medicated ointment -not just the pain relieving kind, but the HEALING kind.”
At check out, my husband was weighed down with an inflatable doughnut, hemorrhoid ointment, Tucks pads, Preparation-H pads, Depends, newborn diapers, pacifiers, baby wipes… and he was such a sport about it all.
I used every little BIT of everything he got me, but the best thing BY FAR was the Depends. They had their own absorbent layer, and they kept everything IN PLACE. They were the best. I’ll never attempt to have a baby without them. The hospital gives you mesh granny panties, but the Depends are really SO much better.

Sixth, I will never, ever give birth without Dr. Christopher’s Birth Prep Formula.

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This is a formula that is taken in the last six weeks of pregnancy. YOU MUST BE CAREFUL with it! You must follow the dosage recommendations to the letter -really. You take one a day for the first week, two a day for the second week, and so on. you’ll need two bottles to get you to the full 40 weeks of your pregnancy. I have taken this with my last two pregnancies and BOTH of them have been fast labors (and all-natural, though not always by choice). My son was born in 2 1/2 hours of labor, and my Alice was born in 3 hours.
This formula helps to prep your body for labor and delivery. If you take too much it can be very bad! I learned that my body is so sensitive that I need to take much LESS than a recommended dosage, and I don’t start taking it until week 36. But that’s just me. Every body is different, but this formula is a MUST. It will aid in delivery AND recovery.

Seventh, and the last on our list is the one I’ve hesitated talking to you about.
Because it’s weird.
And you might divorce me after reading about it.

Aside from worrying about, I have anxiety that is made much worse by certain hormonal changes -such as pregnancy. Pregnancy also brought a lot of insomnia my way, and one night I found myself online researching pregnancy-related things. The night grew later and later and the subject matter at hand was getting progressively… weirder.
At one point, I took a step back and had a “whoa, girl” moment… I was actually reading about ingesting the placenta after birth.
“I’ve officially gone to the BAD PLACE,” I said to myself, closed my web-browser and went straightway to bed.
The next day, I asked my husband for a Priesthood Blessing. When my anxiety starts to take over and send me to my BAD PLACE, I’ve found that a Priesthood Blessing is the best thing for it.
In the blessing, I was blessed to be able to differentiate between BAD PLACE worries and legitimate concerns that were being relayed to me via the Holy Ghost. As the blessing was given, I was enveloped in a feeling of peace and calm. My mind was set at ease, and I went about my Pregnant Life.
But I couldn’t shake ONE thought.
The placenta.
“No,” I told my Heavenly Father (because I know SO much better. Ha.), “I can’t research THAT anymore. It’s gross.”
But the promptings still came, as gently as ever.
“Fine,” I eventually said… and went to the computer.

Have you ever researched the benefits of the placenta? I hadn’t. In fact, a few weeks before I had pre-registered at the hospital and when they asked me if I wanted to keep my placenta, I LAUGHED. And then I scoffed.
“Ew. No.”

As it turns out, many women are keeping their placentas and having them encapsulated… in pill form. The placenta is steamed, sliced very thin, dehydrated, ground up, and then put into clear capsules.
You can definitely do this yourself. There’s step-by-step instructions online.
But WHO wants to do it themselves, especially the day after giving birth? Anyway, who wants to use a dehydrator that a placenta has been on?
It’s a much better idea to HIRE someone to do this for you.

WHY would you do this? WHY?!?!
I know that’s what you’re all asking… because honestly: it’s disgusting and crazy. But when you read about the WHY -about the BENEFITS -it doesn’t seem so crazy.
If you’ve ever experienced post-partum depression to ANY DEGREE, you know that if you could do anything to prevent it -ANYTHING including taking your placenta in pill form -you would do it.
Aside from being a sure-fire guard against post-partum depression, it also helps balance your hormones, shrink your uterus back to size (thus helping post-partum bleeding), helps your energy return, and increases your milk supply.
As I studied up on it and read about it, I felt that all-familiar reaffirming feeling that THIS was for me.
“No,” I told Heavenly Father (because I know so much better), “It’s weird and it’s gross and besides! it’s too expensive. So even if I wanted to do it, I couldn’t.”
Based on my research, I’d found that to have the placenta encapsulated, it would cost between $200 and $300 dollars. OUT of the question! It simply wasn’t going to happen, and I was relieved.
Because placentas, as I’ve mentioned before, are grody.
Still the urgings from On High came… nudging me, nudging me, nudging…
So I hopped online again, googled around to see if anyone nearby performed this, ahem, service, and found that there were a few people in the Phoenix area that did.
I emailed one and was emailed back ten minutes later.
She charged $150… cheaper than what I’d anticipated, but still too much. I hadn’t budgeted for any of this placenta-ness and I was weeks away from giving birth. She told me that despite the miles between us, we could make it work.
I hit my knees again.
“Sorry,” I said, “It’s still too much. There’s simply no money. It’s not going to happen.”
You know, I never realized just how MUCH OF A FOOL I am until I write it all out for you all to read.
Moving on.
My husband came home a few days later with a bit of news. He was getting a Christmas bonus… and it was more than enough to cover the placental fee.
The days that followed were kind of awful. I had to have a bunch of awkward conversations. It was even awkward to ask my OWN HUSBAND if I could have $150 of the Christmas bonus for my placenta.
His reaction was just what I thought it would be. He was so grossed out at first. He made me promise to never take the pills with him in the room and kissing was out of the question for three hours after a dose.
He was mostly kidding. But I didn’t blame him AT ALL.
But after I had a chance to explain the whole “balancing hormones” thing -he was on board. Anything to make The Ol’ Lady less crazy!
This pregnancy, I had been more crazy than I’d ever been before. My emotions were off the charts, and I knew something had to be done. But what? I dreaded the post-partum phase.
I have never personally experienced post-partum depression, but this go ’round I was seriously concerned with how my body would get back to “normal” after such a crazy, crazy ride.
Having taken the crazy ride with me, my husband was sympathetic. In the end, just before, during, and AFTER the baby was born he was my biggest cheerleader and took the reigns in making sure the placenta was taken care of and paid for.

I had to call my mother-in-law and actually SAY the words, “Will you transport my placenta from Flagstaff to Mesa?”
Awkward. Yes.
But she is so wonderful and loving. After supporting me through labor and delivery (as my own awesome mother had), she drove home with my placenta on ice. A few hours later she called us to say, “Package delivered.”

I also had to call the hospital and feast on Humble Pie as I -the mocking, scoffing woman -said, “I’ll be needing my placenta after all.”

My placenta was delivered on a Thursday. It was processed on Friday and on my doorstep by Monday.

I’ve waited patiently to see how it works -to see if it made a significant difference. And ladies. LADIES.
I will never give birth without ensuring Placenta Encapsulation before-hand. Within a week of taking my placenta pills, I was completely back to normal, emotions-wise.
I am stunned.
I feel so much like my old self! I can think straight and clearly. I’m happy. I have energy -not like I had before, but golly. I just had a baby a few weeks ago, so I’ll take any amount of energy that comes my way!
I’m back into my jeans -albeit tightly. My bleeding and healing has gone MUCH smoother than it ever has.
So YES placenta pills sound nuts.
But NOT as nuts as placenta tacos, am I right? And I also have to say that it isn’t nuts at all: it’s a lifesaver.
I have some pills left over, and I can take them anytime I feel down, grouchy, or moody. If I freeze them, they will last indefinitely and help me through menopause. But I’m pretty sure I’m going to down them all before them.
I’m pretty sure I’ll down them all this YEAR during PMS season.

Here’s a quick sum-up for you from someone much smarter than I.
“Giving…placenta to a new mother following birth has become standard protocol among a growing number of midwives in the United States. By nourishing the blood and fluids, endocrine glands and organs, Placenta will …reduce or stop postpartum bleeding, speed up recovery, boost energy and relieve postpartum blues.” Homes, Peter. 1993. Jade Remedies, Snow Lotus Press, 352.

And HERE is the article I first read that I stepped away from and went to bed after reading.

And HERE is proof that I’m as cool as January Jones. We’re basically twinners. Apparently, lots of celebrities eat their own placentas in order to bounce back faster, but they don’t admit to it (cowards) (just kidding).

If you’re in the area and are interested, I can definitely give you the contact info for the woman I worked through. She also sent me some discount cards ($20 off!) and I’m just waiting to hand them out.

That ends my list. If you read through them all, I’m prodigious proud of you.
If you know of anyone who has struggled with post-partum depression, please pass this article on to them. I promise they would want to be aware of anything that might help them in the future.

Until next baby…


  1. Emily Foster says:

    I so wish I had known about this 5.5 years ago when I had my last child, I have been so mood, emotional, cranky and just plain crazy the last year. My second daughter started her period this last fall so the ramp up in horomones has not helped at all other than I am regular again. I wish so bad I had some to take right now so that I could feel like myself again and not so out of it. Good Job for listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and the nudgings of the Lord, it’s not always the easiest thing to do. Thank you for having the courage to write this, I am going to do some research and find out if their is a syntheic that may help me since my baby making days are over.

    • storylady says:

      I would be really interested to know if there was a way to get these benefits, whether synthetically or not! I’m so grateful I discovered this when I did.

  2. I have ALWAYS wondered about this! I will definitely be looking into it whenever it is that we have a little one. I love hearing success stories and knowing that stuff like this actually DOES work instead of it just being a ploy to get crazy new mom’s to do bizarre stuff! :)

  3. Wow! First of all…Thank you!! I just used ginourmous Always pads with my first baby…I had heard of using Depends but I wasn’t quite convinced I could do that. Ha. But you convinced me! (I’m pregnant right now)

    About the placenta…I had always thought that was weird because I literally thought you had to fry up your placenta and eat it like a regular piece of meat. A capsule sounds totally fine to me. (isn’t it funny how that works?) Still a little strange and makes me feel like an extremist, but I will slowly consider it now….can’t wait to hear my husband’s reaction. But he, like your husband, knows how psycho I get pregnant and post-pregnancy, so. yeah. Thanks for the info and the links!!

    • storylady says:

      It’s definitely more approachable as a pill!! I feel the same way.
      And I still used giant Always pads -I put them on the inside of my Depends for the first week or two. After that I just used the Depends by themselves. I’m officially a believer.

  4. You’re my hero. And you got me thinking. Placenta encapsulation is not that crazy in the circles I run in (on facebook) but I always thought it was a little weird for me. I never seriously considered it before, but now I think I am. I have huge issues with hormones (during and after and in normal life) and milk supply after pregnancy. I’m not pregnant yet,but there’s a good chance I’ll have a baby in the next year-ish. So I would love one of those cards, if you still have some handy in a few months…

  5. I am SOOOOOOO jealous you did it! I thought about it, ignored it, and am now one year postpartum and I’m entirely depleted and anemic, etc., and I look back and think, “Wow, you know what would’ve helped with all this — my placenta.” Good for you!

    • storylady says:

      I had never even heard of it!! I would have ignored it as well, but I think the Lord had other plans, haha.

  6. My cousin linked this article from her blog when she was about to deliver her first kid and I laughed so hard I peed a little. I respect your choice to eat your placenta, and I still think you would think this article was hilarious:,9171,1908442,00.html

  7. I just came across your blog as I was looking up Dr. Christopher’s Prep Formula.
    I would like to nicely disagree with you on the dosage for the formula. I had 8 children (all grown now), and the last 6 were born at home between 1983-1992. With the first 4 I took all 5 birth herbs individually as I was not aware of this birth prep. They were extremely helpful, and though I cannot remember the exact amounts I took, I know with the first child I did not take as many and it took me 15 hours to have him. With next child I upped how much I was taking and had her in 5 hours and 3 minutes- a huge difference!
    I came across Dr. Christopher’s Birth Prep when I had baby #7. I took the capsules as it says on the bottle and it took me 19 hours to birth her! Ridiculously long. With child #8, I began with 6 capsules for the first week and worked my way up to 12 capsules per day the last week. I had her in 6 hours and 27 minutes and could feel my body working.
    My pains never regulated with any of my 8 births. My pains jump around, even in transition, and can be 1 minute to 10/15/20 minutes apart. Was like that with all 8 children, even the first two whom I had in the hospital when I knew nothing about herbs.
    Everyone’s bodies are different, therefore, perhaps with a 1st baby use the bottle as directed, but if you don’t get good results, then you need to adjust how many you are taking. I have a friend who also got zero results when she used recommended dosage on bottle and so with her next child she upped the amount like I did and she had a much shorter labor/delivery.
    I’ve been using and studying herbs for 35 years, and I have also taken online classes through Dr. Christopher’s School of Natural Healing.
    I have daughters and daughters-in-law who have also used Dr. Christopher’s Birth Prep and they will not have babies without it. Have a daughter-in-law having her 3rd child in May and she is going to purchase the birth prep. She is having her baby in the hospital. Have a daughter having twins (her 5th and 6th children) in July and she will take the birth prep. n She is having her 5th home birth with a midwife.
    Hope this helps others.

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