This Baby Rocks a 'Placenta Bag' & His Mom Doesn't Care If People Hate It

Lotus birth
Nick Vanessa Fisher/Facebook

When you see a photo of Nick and Vanessa Fisher's newborn baby, the first thing you notice might not be his precious lips or perfect cheeks. That's because in addition to his tiny mittens and socks, this newborn is rocking an unexpected accessory: a placenta bag

  • Fisher's newborn is her second child, and she wanted a natural labor this time around.

    You might recognize the mom from the viral breech "baby flipping" video she posted a few months ago. The mom from Texas wanted everything about her second birth to be different from her first, so she opted to stay away from the hospital -- even when her baby was weeks late. When she had her first baby, Jordan, she had an ob-gyn deliver him, and she was less than pleased with the experience.

    "In the birthing classes I had taken, I was told to 'listen to your body,' but in labor I was unable to do so; I felt confined to my hospital bed," she tells CafeMom. "When I was ready to push, I informed my nurse, who insisted that I wasn't. I felt uncomfortable and disregarded. But what I learned that day was that the hospital didn't offer me anything that I couldn't provide for myself in another setting."

    More from CafeMom: A Doctor Just 'Flipped' This Pregnant Mom's Bump & the Video Is Insane

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  • Fisher and her husband, Nick, decided on a lotus birth for their second baby, Ashton.

    A lotus birth occurs when parents opt not to have a baby's umbilical cord cut and the newborn remains attached to his or her placenta until it naturally falls off days later. Fisher first became interested in the idea during her initial research on cord blood options.

    "I found that there were mothers who left the cord attached for several minutes or hours after birth to allow for the placenta to stop pulsating," she says. "This would ensure that there was time for a full placental blood transfer to baby. Taking that idea a step further was the lotus birth. The idea really resonated with me because I was already set on embracing a very natural approach to this pregnancy, and cutting out any unnecessary medical interference was important to me."

  • The couple added this to their birth plan early in their pregnancy, although Fisher admits Nick was surprised by the idea at first.

    "In my mind, I imagine the baby spending 10 months in utero only knowing his mother giving him life, his placenta offering him nourishment, and the umbilical cord connecting him to both," she says. "After birth, the baby normally is taken from the womb and separated from his cord and placenta -- a series of events that I imagine could be emotionally traumatic for baby. A gradual separation from the umbilical cord and placenta seems more emotionally considerate of baby."

    This means that the family treats baby Ashton's unsevered umbilical cord the same way new parents would treat a snipped one. The only difference is that his placenta is still around for the time being. "I believe that in the time that the cord is naturally detaching and the placenta is completing its job providing nutrients and blood to baby, [the] baby has time to establish a new bond and dependency on the father," she says.

    More from CafeMom: This Is What It Looks Like to Be 'Postpartum & Pregnant' at the Same Time

  • Ashton rocks a stylish handmade placenta bag for as long as his umbilical cord is attached.

    At four days old, Ashton's umbilical cord had yet to fall off, so he's still sporting his umbilical cord by his side, but Fisher explains that it doesn't require much additional care. "Keeping the placenta and cord attached hasn't been hard," she says. "It has been a bit more maintenance but well worth it for my child's well-being."

    Fisher says that with Ashton attached to a short cord, wherever he goes the placenta must too as they wait for it to break. "Outside of the initial washing, drying, and curing of the placenta, there isn't much maintenance required," she says. "As for the part of the cord that's attached to the naval, the same care is needed as would be if it were cut. Swaddling becomes more difficult as it dries because the cord begins to harden. Again, all of these nuisances are very trivial in the larger scheme of things."

    When it comes to bathing, Fisher's midwives recommended that the new parents wait 10 days before washing Ashton, and that's been helpful in their goal of keeping the placenta as dry as possible. "All the other tasks associated with caring for a newborn baby, we tend to as usual," she says.

  • Fisher cured the placenta to help with smell for the time it's still attached to Ashton.

    After Ashton was born, they washed the placenta with water from an herbal bath Fisher took after having him. She shared a photo of inside the "fashion bag" that her cousin made for Ashton and showed that they covered the placenta in astringent herbs including yarrow, witch-hazel, lavender, and rosemary as well as sea salt to cure it. "The herbs masked any odor. But make sure you like the smell of the herbs you choose because my husband didn't," Fisher joked on Facebook.  

    Once Ashton's placenta finally does detach, the Fishers plan to bury it.

  • Not everyone is down for the idea -- including Vanessa's older son.

    "The placenta is definitely unattractive," she says. "The placenta being attached requires that they be even more careful with the baby. My son decided he wouldn't even hold the baby until the placenta was done away with."

    Some members of her family definitely weren't fond of the idea either, but she thinks most of the reluctance stemmed from the fact that this process is unfamiliar to many. "I didn't find anyone's objections valid enough to reconsider my decision," she says. "Unorthodox is difficult for people to conceptualize. Whether the cord is cut or not, it detaches naturally. An old saying, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' comes to mind when I think of this. There was absolutely no flaw in the way that God designed any part of the process from conception, to delivery, to breastfeeding -- all of it was beautifully orchestrated."

  • Fisher is happy knowing they are doing what they feel is in the best interest of their newborn.

    Recent studies have shown that babies may benefit from delayed cord clamping for seconds or minutes to allow for them to receive extra blood from the placenta. However, there is little readily available on the benefits of lotus births and some doctors even warn that it can be dangerous. "Risks center around a concern for infection in the placenta, which can spread to the baby," Dr. William Schweizer, an ob-gyn and clinical associate professor at New York University Langone Medical Center, told Live Science. "The placenta is dead tissue, and because of this, the blood in it is prone to bacterial overgrowth."

    Despite reading opinions online about lotus births being "unsanitary" or "uncivilized," Fisher hopes to empower other women to research for themselves. "Lotus births should be considered by new parents because of the health benefits a baby receives from a complete placental blood transfer," she wrote. "It creates a more fluid transition for a newborn baby. It encourages bonding and may result in a more peaceful and serene infant because they avoid a traumatic experience at birth."