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The Placenta Mystery
The Placenta Mystery By Mort Laitner Doc poked his head past my office door. “Got a minute?” he asked. “Sure, why don’t you sit a spell and try to stump me with one of your medical mysteries.” I replied as I turned off Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” on Pandora. “Well this mystery is different. I just received an email from a hospital pathologist. She is getting more and more requests to surrender placentas back to the parents who want to take them home. She fears these people will destroy the Biscayne Aquifer by improperly disposing of them. She imagines headlines in the Herald reading: Planted Placentas Cause Pandemic Plague. She thinks these placentas are used in Santeria rituals. She wants to know if there are any laws or regulations preventing placenta give-backs.” “Sorry Doc, I got no info on this subject. I’ll research the law and Google the issue for you and the pathologist. By the way do you have a clue as to any religion that covets placentas?” Doc nodded no. Then I continued, “How well do you know this pathologist? I deduce from her inquiry that she has her hair tightly pulled back in a bun, is a control freak and has a limited social circle.” The doctor stared at me in amazement, as if he was a child at his first magic show, and replied, “ You have described her to a tee. Your powers of deductive reasoning are unbelievable.” Doc and I laughed and as he exited my office he said, “See you later Sherlock.” I stretched, stood and pretended to hold a meerschaum pipe in my hand. Ninth grade biology--- The placenta, AKA the afterbirth, connects the fetus to the uterine wall, where it allows nutrient uptake, waste elimination and gas exchange. “Pretty important life-support system,” I thought. I remembered attending deliveries and not seeing a placenta. I guess I was too focused on the miracle of birth. As any detective worth his sodium chloride, I Googled placenta ---one million hits. I scanned, then selected, and read three articles—Why Plant a Placenta Tree?, What Can You Do With a Placenta? and How to Plant a Placenta Tree. The internet never ceased to astound me with answers to all the toughest questions. Minutes later, I phoned the good doctor, “My dear Doctor Watson, come on over at once, I solved the mystery.” As the doctor strode into my office, I stood in front of my flip chart and scribbled in earth-tone brown magic marker, Answers to your Question Planting your child’s placenta reinforces your bond with the earth. When you bring life into the world be sure to give an offering back to the Mother. See Bogart in, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madres.” Your child will love watching the tree that grows on his or her nutrients. Your child will form an unbreakable bond with nature. The physician looked astonished. “How did you solve the mystery so quickly?” “Elementary, my good fellow, I remembered that the Maori, the Navajo, the native Hawaiians and some Costa Ricans believe in giving back to Mother Earth. Especially after they have received the blessing of a child. There is a religious basis for these I-want-to-take-my-placenta-home requests. A religious practice that commemorates birth and helps enrich the soil. Mans fertilization of the planet one tree at a time. In the west, most placentas are incinerated or made into cosmetics. However, placenta-planting ceremonies are becoming all the rage.” “Well what should I tell the concerned pathologist?” Doc queried. “Tell her uptightness to relax, while some states try to regulate what parents can do with their placenta or even prohibit parents from taking it home, we in Florida have an enlightened legislature who believes its citizens should decide what to do with their placentas. Tell her that when one of these parents asks for their placenta, she should wish them well. She is privileged to be surrounded by people who understand the cycle of life. Recommend to her that she should ask one of these folks for an invitation to their placenta-planting party. It is time for her to poke her head past the pathology lab and smell the flowers and get herself back to the garden.
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