Continued from Part 1, found here.
Placenta Capsules: Sharing More Than Experience
By Abby Anonymous
This person said her work space was safe and there were never two placentas in the same space at the same time. I asked! She gave me her word and now her word meant nothing.
She went on to explain that she remembered distinctly putting my placenta inside the dehydrator with the tray that has a giant crack in it. It wasn’t until after delivering our placenta capsules that she removed the “paper” from the trays to begin the “cleaning” process that she noticed the post-it note with the other person’s name on it on the dehydrator with a crack now and vice versa. She asked her son if he touched it and he said he was helping.
So she does believe the placenta capsules were given to the wrong people.
Then, she apologized profusely, tried to reassure me that the other person is someone she knows well and is healthy. She said she would “make right” what happened. She seemed sincere in her tone and responses, but how can you possibly make right this situation?
When I was telling Elizabeth what happened, she stopped me here and pointed out that the terminology and processes being used by the other encapsulator were throwing up red flags. She said, Post-It notes, children playing with knobs, and just “cleaning” are not ways to keep people safe.
Elizabeth went on to say, “the client should always keep, transport, and store her own placenta and be met in her own home by a professional so a mix up like this one never has the chance to happen.”
Elizabeth is right.
Elizabeth made her view very clear, “I feel strongly that providing this service in anyone’s home other than the woman who delivered the placenta is irresponsible of a business owner. There can be serious legal repercussions for doing this anywhere other than the client’s home. We have an ethical responsibility to practice as safely as possible”
Again, I think she’s right.
Elizabeth went on to tell me, “All equipment should be kept in tip-top condition. When things wear they should be replaced. With First Coast Doulas that tray with a giant crack would have been swapped out with a brand new one just as soon as it happened. Trays with cracks are not being properly sanitized per OSHA standards. There is a difference between cleaning and sanitizing.”
She is right, again.
Back to my real life nightmare.
This encapsulator mixed up my placenta and called me TWO days after I started taking the pills!
I felt incredibly violated in a way I can’t explain. Our home was broken into once and our belongings rummaged through. I still didn’t feel as violated then as I do about this catastrophic mix up.
I told her I’d taken 12 capsules that possibly contained another person’s placenta and blood. I told her I’m a nurse. I told her I see people with contagious and infectious diseases every day. I asked her if she understood what she had done. She just sat there, quiet on the other end.
I was naive and trusted her too easily. I hung up on her again and the next several hours I spent crying and being upset. What she had done was unacceptable and made me utterly disgusted.
How do I fix this? How could I? There was no way.
When I calmed down I called her back and reached her voice mail. I left a message, but she never returned my call. For the next couple days I tried to just put it out of my mind. Then I told my husband, and he flipped out. He wanted answers as much as I did. He called and left message after message and she refused to return our calls. She wouldn’t answer text messages or emails either.
I decided to talk to my OB about what happened since she recommended her to me. My OB didn’t seem to understand the urgency of the matter or how I felt. She sort of brushed me off and suggested I keep quiet about it.
I felt sick inside, I felt gross, and I was scared.
I trusted her to help me feel better after delivering our baby, but ironically she did the opposite. I have depression that had gotten worse during pregnancy. Depression was the reason I chose to encapsulate.
I was stunned when I returned for my six week follow up visit with my OB and her information was still being handed out to patients in this very popular doctor’s office even after making such a grave mistake with the health of others.
That was the last time I visited the office and I will not be returning, ever.
I contacted an attorney. Since I have nothing in writing from this woman, no receipt for payment, and essentially no proof this happened to me I can’t really do anything about it. The damage has been done and there is not a single thing I can do about it.
I have to have protected sex with my husband and I’m being even more cautious with my children until we know for sure I haven’t contracted anything from this person who I’ve still never met.
I googled and came across the First Coast Doulas website along with others. I contacted three companies, but Elizabeth was the only one who got back in touch with me. I had read a few of their blogs and felt comfortable having a conversation by phone that led to an in person meeting where Elizabeth let me share without judgment.
Elizabeth answered questions for me that no one else was willing to answer.
Elizabeth also helped me understand that while there are things people can do to be safer, that this was in no way my own fault. She couldn’t give me definite answers about what took place with my placenta, no one could do that, but she offered insight about what may have happened, and listened to me. I am currently seeing a therapist who is helping work through this and other issues and things are getting better each day.
Elizabeth also openly shared a lot about what her process involves and she seems to be very knowledgeable about the placenta, bloodborne pathogens, and how to work safely.
To my knowledge this person is still making placenta capsules in her home kitchen. There is no record of her “business” ever being registered with the state (we checked), and she is still receiving referrals from the OB. She still has not returned my calls or emails.
I wonder if she told the other person about the unacceptable mix up. Her actions tell me that although she told me about the mix up, she still isn’t providing this service safely. According to her website she is still “picking up” placentas.
I never thought I would say this, but if we decide to have another baby and if I try to do this again I’d most definitely hire Elizabeth to handle this delicate process for me. She’s taught what I need to know to be safer, has listened without judgement, and it’s easy to see that she is the best at what she does.
Elizabeth shares what things to be mindful of when selecting someone to encapsulate your placenta:
- Always ask about their certifications and training. Don’t be afraid to check in with their certifying body to be sure the information they’ve given you is true.
- Not all trainings are created equally so look into what their standards are.
- Ask them to describe the process. If they seem to flounder or not explain things clearly there could be issues there.
- Ask to also see their certification for Bloodborne Pathogen.
- Lower price doesn’t = best deal. The market is all over the place and confuses consumers. Fees range from $0 to about $350 in our area.
- While a higher price doesn’t guarantee anything either, a business has to pay taxes, has overhead and supply fees, and the person preforming the job should be compensated well for his/her skills. If a person hasn’t taken the time to factor all of those things into the cost they are not running a business sustainably and could be cutting corners with your safety.
- Contracts and receipts are important, it tells the customer what to expect, what is expected of them, and shows they have systems in place.
Last and Most Important:
- Who takes the placenta and where is it going? Placentas should always stay with the woman who delivered it. It shouldn’t ever be transported in the encapsulator’s vehicle, go to the encapsulator’s home or “workspace”. Workspace generally means the person’s kitchen, around their spouses, curious pets, kids, and foreign germs. How many kitchens would you eat out of without seeing it? Oh and separate workspace tends to me garage or shed.