This is Alice. No, not the newborn. That’s baby Otter Wilder. Alice is the placenta still attached to him, chilling in a metal bowl next to new mumma Michelle.

UK mum Michelle Louise and her partner, Edward decided that they would keep Alice the Placenta for as long as they could. This is known as a Lotus Birth – where the umbilical cord is not clamped or cut at birth and instead continues to pump nutrients to the baby outside of the womb, until the organ dies.

Many parents are embracing a lotus birth but this is the first time we’ve heard of a family giving the placenta a name.

The placenta named Alice 

 

Alice and Otter. Two peas in a pod

Michelle welcomed Otter in September in a tranquil home water birth with no medical intervention. The pair opted out of screening tests and instead, Michelle explains, “we invested in a Doula, Yogi Oli for a non-medical and spiritual experience.”

My pregnancy and Otter’s birth was very self-guided, we wanted to come away from the medical journey of a pregnancy. 

A midwife was at our home but stayed in the kitchen, she did an examination and allowed us to continue to have a very hands-off birth. Birthing at home and free of invasive procedures and treatments has been an exceptionally empowering and beautiful experience.”

Michelle explains that during her pregnancy she became involved with the placenta, its power and its importance to Otter’s life. It didn’t feel right to cut this connection or to ingest the placenta, which is another option.

For us, the experience [a lotus birth] was a more gentle way for our son to transition into the world and gently unfold to earth side. There are a lot of health benefits too and we wanted all the nourishment and blood to go to Otter.”

Placed it in a pillowcase

Michelle was able to preserve her placenta, sorry, I mean Alice, for five days with himalayan salt, thyme and dried it with some homegrown lavender.

During the five days, Michelle was able to care for Otter and breastfeed with the placenta still attached to her son. Alice is now considered to be Otter’s first and best friend.

We washed it and placed it in a pillowcase which we changed every day. There was no odour to it. I was able to nurse Otter with it in a metal bowl.”

Once it naturally separated when Otter was five days old, the couple decided on a ritual burial and gratitude ceremony for Alice.

We gave thanks to Alice for her life, and for giving Otter everything he needed in the womb and we planted her (Alice) in our grandmother’s Acer Tree.

We still have the cord and I’d like to do some art work with it.”

Lotus birth for everyone

Michelle shares her story to encourage other parents to research their various birthing options.

I want to empower women, to encourage first-time mums to trust in their natural capability and to learn what their rights are for their labour.

You can have the birth you want, we have choices and there are many variations of normal.

If you do your research, people should respect that. A Lotus birth was a beautiful, spiritual experience and the best start in life for our little boy.”

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Author

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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