I have spoken with Southern Hills Hospital, the sister hospital to Sunrise Hospital. After the situation with Anne’s placenta, we were told that Southern Hills would not be releasing any more placentas under any circumstances. I am pleased to announce that that is not true! I’ve spoken with the director of Labor & Delivery at the hospital who informed me that their policy has not changed. They will continue to release placentas to women “on a case-by-case basis”, and under the following basic conditions: release of liability forms are signed, the placenta is held for 3 days for any testing should it be necessary, and that the woman and placenta are both deemed healthy. All fair and reasonable caveats. Well done, Southern Hills!
I have also been in touch with a charge nurse at Spring Valley Hospital. She was wonderful. They have a similarly reasonable policy, which she helped to create. She was actually happy to speak with me, and even invited me to come to the hospital during their next monthly in-service meeting (June 28) to speak to the entire nursing staff about placenta encapsulation and its benefits! Spring Valley gets a major thumbs-up from the Placenta Lady.
Now for some discouraging news. One of my clients was seeing an OBGYN with privileges at Valley Hospital. This OB had said she would basically “look the other way” if my client wanted to take her placenta after the birth, but was clearly not supportive of her view, and didn’t want to even talk to her about it. My client was in her office for a prenatal visit and asked the doctor if she was aware of the situation at Sunrise. She said she was, and that “everyone in Labor & Delivery was laughing about it”. She said Sunrise was not happy about being in the (negative) media spotlight, but that she agreed with their view that the placenta is their property because it was a body part and a biohazard. That’s not so shocking, for someone in the medical field to have that view. However, her parting comment as she left the room stunned my client. Regarding the risk of releasing placentas from the hospitals, she actually said “What is it going to take? Someone taking an HIV+ placenta, grinding it up and spraying it on schoolchildren?”
Let’s absorb that one a minute.
It’s taken me two weeks to even attempt to wrap my head around it. That is just so twisted as to be incomprehensible to an intelligent, reasonable person. And this is a highly-educated woman and mother. She tends to women in labor, and helps them birth their children. And this is her view of what is born from a woman’s body? From her own body? If that is true, then no wonder the hospitals are taking such an extreme position. How can women trust a person like this with the most powerful, sacred and important transition in their life? When the person “in charge” of the process views the end result in such a disgusting manner?
Besides the fact that someone could even conceive such a disturbing thought, it is discouraging to me to have that concept applied to our viewpoint in any way, shape or form. If our views are at such polar extremes, then the possibility of changing the hearts and minds of some people to see the placenta as something wholesome and healthy for women is pretty remote.
However, I am not here to change the hearts and minds of everyone. If I can change ONE woman’s idea of her body, her creation, her birth energy and products, then I have been successful. If I can help ONE more woman enjoy her postpartum experience a bit more fully, then I have been successful. So I will continue to spread the word about the true power of placenta, in the hopes that someone out there will maybe even consider the thought of using her placenta, instead of letting it go to waste.
As to my client: she is now planning a home birth, after being absolutely amazed by the time, care and attention her midwife gave her. She said she has never had any doctor spend as much time listening to her concerns, or felt that they truly cared about HER. She is looking forward to giving birth to her baby (any day now!) on her terms, in her way, with a woman in attendance who understands and respects the power a birthing woman holds.
I could not be happier for her.