Monday, October 26, 2009

Fat Shari

Fat Shari

Disclaimer: this post contains some vivid depictions of childbirth.  It’s gross, but how do you think YOU got here?  So deal with it.

At the end of the last post, dear readers, your humble and waddling narrator was eating triple cream brie and dulce de leche ice cream (deluchy de leche, as Chiara calls it) and wondering,
“How does one grow fat preemies?”

You may know that babies get what they need, at the mother’s expense.  All those nutrients that keep the enamel on your teeth and your hair on you head go to the baby(ies) first and you get what’s left over.  And if there’s not enough left over, your hairbrush will let you know.  Moral: take your vitamins.

With Chiara, I took it a step further, consulting a nutritionist (who also does chiropractic and cranial-sacral work).  Actually, I was already seeing her.  I love the work she does and I wouldn’t call her a killjoy, (because she is reading this blog) but sheesh, it sure is a drag to know how bad sugar is for you.  Even if eating well makes you feel like you’ve swallowed rocket fuel, I do miss my Oreos.

This is the doctor who makes the nutritional supplement recommendations for me.  Turns out it’s not just the kind of supplements you take, it’s also how those supplements are manufactured.  Preservatives and heat pressing the supplements into little pills can actually kill the vitamins in the pills (this is especially true for the oils like Vitamin E) and the encasing of the pills can affect what your stomach absorbs.  All of my supplements are by the company Thorne Research, and I believe they are handmade by Amish children. 

So I leave it in Dr P’s capable hands to build me a big fat placenta like I had with Chiara.  This is the part where the post gets kind of gross.  That is, if you think that childbirth—the most natural thing on the planet—is gross.  Which it is.  Oh my gosh, childbirth is really gross.  (Come to think of it, so is poo—natural and gross, I mean.) 

In the birthing classes we took before Chiara was born, our teacher showed us two movies: one was from an episode of “Mad About You,” where Helen Hunt has her baby without any medical interventions.  It’s the typical sitcom birth scene: Hunt is on her back laboring in the most uncomfortable position known to pregnant women, Paul Reiser is trying to offer advice, Hunt does Linda Blair impersonation, baby is born.  In our class, about 30 couples, all in their mid-to-late 30’s, all first time parents, huddled in pairs, weeping and laughing at the miracle of staged birth.

Then we saw the movie of a real birth and all 60 of us gasped in horror.  The mother was pacing and moaning like she really was trying to exorcise a demon and when the baby was finally born, it was all wrinkled and gray and covered all kinds of slime.*  Terrifying, gross, and much worse than poo.

* Parenthood is one of my all time favorite movies, but it was only after Chiara was born did Matt and I realize how silly the ending is.  Dianne Wiest has her baby in a hospital, on her back, all the doctors are wearing surgical masks as if noxious gases are being emitted from the mother (insert pregnant lady/noxious gas emission joke here), and the baby that is “born” is at least five months old, covered in some kind of pink goo.  The baby is even aware enough to actually look around with a little frown on his face, like, “What the . . . “

We also saw a movie of a Cesarean birth, and you’d think live surgery would be grosser to watch, but it wasn’t. 

The teacher went on to let us know some of the other gross things about birthing babies that nobody ever tells you about. 

“After the baby is born, the mother must deliver the afterbirth, or placenta.  Sometimes your doctor or midwife will give you a tour of your placenta.  It’s quite interesting.”

Stop right there, Birthy Lady.  A tour of the placenta?  “And on your left we have . . .”

But she didn’t stop.  “If you want to bring your placenta home with you, make sure you bring a Tupperware container with you to the hospital.  Some couples choose to plant the placenta under a tree.  Others choose to cook it.  Your placenta is loaded with lots of nutrients that are very healthy for the mother to ingest to aid in her recovery.  You can find lots of recipes online to bake your placenta into lasagna, or dry it into a tea . . .” 

Nyah nyah nyah . . . I am not listening . . . I am not listening

So as soon as we got home, Matt and I added to our birth plan, right after, “NO dangerous life-threatening drugs, NO PLACENTA TOUR.”

Dr. P was on board with the placenta meal plan, too.  “It’s just an organ meat.”  Yeah, I don’t eat those, either.  “If you ever need some recipes.”  Nyah nyah nyah.

During Chiara’s birth, the NO PLACENTA TOUR line item was the only request the midwives ignored.  They were SO excited by the sheer size of it.  Apparently, all those Amish vitamins helped grow some kind of huge, record-breaking afterbirth.  Somebody even had to go find another container for the placenta because it was too big for the bedpan that was provided, and of course, we had NOT brought any Tupperware from home.

“Are you SURE you don’t want a tour of your placenta?  It’s amazing!”

Oh please leave me alone with my screaming baby and take my afterbirth with you.

Matt used to say, “We had the Barry Bonds of placentas.”  To which people would respond, “Huh?   Your placenta was on steroids?”  But what he meant was that Chiara’s placenta was so huge and intimidating that it had its own barcalounger and none of the other placentae complained because they knew that the big guy would always come through in the clutch.

Even now, Chiara’s placenta is a thing of mystical lore at St. Luke’s hospital.  If we go for a routine check-up at the pediatrician’s and are recognized, a blanket of hushed silence falls over the nurses as they whisper to each other, “That’s the little girl with the enormous placenta.”  Occasionally, a flash bulb erupts as our picture is taken.

“What’s a placenta, Mama?”

“It’s a kind of lasagna.  Hurry up, let’s go.”

So that’s what I’m aiming for with the twins.  A placenta so huge it grows two 5 pound preemies and is worthy of its own paragon example. 

(But what?  The A-Rod of Placentas?  “What?  Your placenta dated Madonna?”  The Serena Williams of Placentas?  The Tiger Woods of Placentas?)

This morning it came to me: I shall call my placenta Fat Shari, after the sting operation my brother the assistant US Attorney was involved in (on the stinger side, not the stung side).  After all, what’s more intimidating than a successful DEA sting operation on the Mexican drug cartels?

Here’s to you, Fat Shari, I say, raising my glass of strawberry tofu protein shake.

© 2010 Janine Kovac 


  1. Wow!! So what vitamin company should I trust?? What are they making you eat? The smoothie sounds good! Where'd you get the recipe? I just swore off soda, esp diet, bc it is so freaky.


  2. I love this post. When you are here, I will do my best to help you grow the Manut Bol of placentas. :)

  3. The vitamin company I use is Thorne Research, in Idaho. My twins book has a lot of advice and specific ratios of fat to protein to carbs, but I'm still in the stage where I'm trying to eat food that stays down, so I eat whatever will work for the moment, and frequently, since I usually can't eat a lot at a time. My book actually gives a thumbs up to fast food since it's a good way to pack in a lot of fat and calories, but I just can't go there -- smell of those places makes me too sick! Smoothie recipe came from my twins book:
    equal parts
    Silken tofu (I get strawberry flavor)
    Ginger ale
    Lemon sorbet
    plus a squeeze of lemon juice and freshly shaved ginger

  4. Fat Shari. Love it. Now your placenta needs a theme song.