Me and My Placenta

11 Mar

by Roger White

Viewer warning: For those of you with weak stomachs, strong senses of ick, or those curmudgeonly few who are simply hard of smiling, this column may offend, disgust, bother, or downright nauseate. But it’s all true! And in my ever-vigilant quest for truth, justice, and the Appian Way, this seeker of genuine morsels of weird shall not be censored. Unless, of course, my editor nixed this whole idea—in which case you’re not reading this. Hmm. So if a columnist writes an article in the forest and nobody reads it, did he really write anything? Woah. Slow down, man, I think I’m gonna hurl.

So anyway, I read in my local newspaper here that some people, I don’t know how many so don’t start screaming yet, are keeping their leftover placentas in the freezer for later use. No sirree, I did not slip and hit my head on the wet kitchen floor caused by the dog licking at pools of Diet Pepsi, which was spilled by my daughter, who was playing spaghetti games with our emotionally challenged cat at the dinner table. I am not deranged; this statement is true because I read it in the paper. And as we all know, if it’s in the newspaper, it must be true.

First off, I have no earthly idea why the adjective “leftover” was stuck in front of the noun “placenta,” and I also cannot possibly conceive what sort of “later use” they may be referring to.

So let’s read on, shall we? “Our clients are more and more asking to take their placentas home because it’s a part of their body, and it’s theirs,” the owner of a local birthing center said. I’d like to insert here that as a card-carrying AARP member, I am unashamed to say that I recently had hemorrhoid surgery, and though it was my body, and those were my parts, I laid absolutely no claim to them when all was said and done. The birthing center woman goes on to say that there are dozens of uses for the placentas, including eating them.

The article notes that although most medical groups do not endorse dining on human placenta, folks who cart their placentas home swear by the nutritional value of this spongy treat—particularly encapsulated placenta, which is, as we are all aware, dried, cured, and crammed into tiny little capsules like so many cold and flu pills.

Sometimes, I get lucky and this column practically writes itself, know what I mean?

Dozens of other uses for the placenta? Let’s not go there. Oh, what the heck, I have some more space to fill. Well, for starters, how about an indoor Frisbee? Except good luck ever getting the thing away from the cat once he snags it and high-tails it under the kitchen table. If your neighborhood softball team is thinking of ways of going green, it could make a nifty organic catcher’s mitt. All right, that’s enough. It’s almost lunch time.

Now, as positively grossed out as you may be (and it’s perfectly okay if you are because I still have goose pimples and the jimmy-leg as I’m writing this—ewwww), this sort of thing is nothing new. In fact, folks have been toting home and putting to use all manner of body parts from surgery that were originally destined for that big bio-hazard dump site near Amarillo that nobody wants to talk about. Don’t ask. I can’t talk about it.

For example, a guy in Scranton, Pennsylvania, finally relented to his wife’s wishes and had that delicate operation performed that many boys have done when they are first born. You know. A little off the top, in what the Jewish faith call the practice of Brit milah, or the bris. In keeping with our take-home trend discussed above, this guy now has a nice patio umbrella for his hamster, Rodney.

A housewife in Scottsdale who suffered through years of chronic gallstones now fashions wonderful necklaces and sells them out of her roadside trailer. She uses a strong lacquer finish, so the smell is generally neutral. Yes.

I had a couple more paragraphs here on facial hair and toenails, but my editor keeps hitting me in the back of the head with these sharp, tiny little objects. Cut it out, man!

Well, I warned you at the beginning, didn’t I? I gave second, third, and even fourth thoughts about this one, but who am I to put a lamp shade on the truth? Speaking of lamp shades, this one has an odd texture about it. Oh, MY—

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat daschund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit


9 Responses to “Me and My Placenta”

  1. Catherine C March 11, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    It’s amazing what medical providers will offer to box up and send home with you.

  2. leila March 11, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    Moms could walk around the maternal unit and ask who is not taking their placentas home. Collect them, put them in a “to-go” box, and freeze them for later. Nutritious meals for a week!

  3. sandy March 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    Are you sure that umbrella isn’t for a muskrat named Rodney? And just in case you were wondering? My freezer is safe of all human bio-hazardous materials.

  4. Pam March 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    I’m not that weak in the stomach, working for the trauma institute as I do, however, you are to be congratulated for causing me to nearly lose my lunch. This is absolutely your most disgusting column yet! (In case you’re keeping track).

  5. Margie March 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    There certainly is no end to what some people want to take home from the hospital. I was a bit put off when they insisted I take my first baby home. I knew from the get-go that she was going to be a handfull…

  6. KAT March 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    Gross, but hilarious ( and sadly, probably true)

  7. Joann March 11, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

    I kept my daughter’s placenta and buried it in what was to be a tulip garden. Then I took a picture of her amongst the flowers.

  8. BB March 23, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    I recently had an internal organ chopped up and sucked out a 1/2 inch slit near my right hip. Never once did I entertain the thought of asking the doctor if I could take it home with me – but my husband did. Thank goodness he wasn’t the one with me prior to the surgery or I’m sure he would have asked. If for some strange reason my doctor had agreed, I think that bag would have “accidentally” flown out the window on the lower deck of IH-35.

  9. quirkyculture March 24, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    Love your observation of ‘leftover placenta’. Just to alert you,that daughter you took to Six Flags may one day give birth, and when that day comes, know that you will not want to open her freezer. Ever. Also, beware of these phrases: home birth, water birth, midwife and doula. These are all code for Placenta Stored in Freezer.

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