gDiapers

The oVerdone cApitalization sCheme aside, I have to give a pretty big thumbs up to gDiapers.

When Leslie and I learned we were pregnant (yes, I’m using that stupid “we”, though I am perfectly willing to accept that the pregnancy was pretty much all Leslie) I started to research the whole diapering thing. We (as good Seattlites) are pretty green. We reduce, reuse and recycle when we can (and when it’s not impossibly inconvenient). So neither of us was particularly interested in regular old plastic diapers. And we really weren’t interested in doing the Diaper Genie thing. Apart from the expense, and the fact that, I’m told, the genies themselves aren’t particularly durable, I was a little creeped out by the idea of all of my daughter’s pees and poops being hermetically sealed for millions of years, waiting for the sentient bee archaeologists to study.

So, we were left with two options. Biodegradable or cloth. I looked into the cloth for a while. We could buy cloth diapers and wash them ourselves, which would be pretty expensive up front (those things run about $20 a pop!) and crazy messy. The other option, which I was leaning towards for a while, is a diaper service. They provide you with a supply of fresh diapers, then pick up what you use and replace that number. So you always have on hand whatever you contract for (be it 70 or 100 or whatever, that’s up to you).

Penciling it out, that was our best option, moneywise. If I remember correctly, it was about 35¢ a poop. Of course, the downside is a hamper filled with horrifying that you have to keep near the front door (or outside the front door, if you live in a traditional house) so that the service can pick them up. And if you do live in a condo building (as we do) then you have either put the diaper pail out in the hall (yikes!) or always be there to let them in. Way too much in the logistics category to deal with, particularly with me on the road all the time.

So, biodegradable it is. And, for about 10¢ more a poop, we have gDiapers.

They’re an Australian company that has made it to the rest of the world. The system works like this: You have a cloth shell (which can be either a simple color or a fun pattern) which can survive many a cycle without requiring a wash, but when it does need to be cleaned, you just toss it in the laundry. Within that is a plastic pouch, detachable, which, similarly, can be laundered. (And, based on the design, this is required a bit more often than for the shells.) With that is the insert, a biodegradable sheath of… stuff, I guess. I have no idea what it’s really made of. But it’s soft enough to go against baby’s skin, and strong enough to stand up to whatever baby is expelling. After an “event”, you pull out the insert, take it to the toilet, tear off the sides to let all the weird stuffing out, stir it around a bit (they give you a swizzle stick for that purpose) and then flush.

That was the kicker for me. You can flush these bad boys! That’s kind of awesome, isn’t it? When was the last time you were somewhere that you didn’t have access to a toilet? (And if you were in such a place with a baby, how much damage is a soiled biodegradable diaper going to do? Just bury the stupid thing!)

Now, it hasn’t all be wine and roses (or, I guess, pee and roses). We’ve had to get used to the best method of swishing up the insert in the toilet so we don’t get a backup, but it’s been largely smooth sailing after a couple of early mishaps. We also haven’t moved on from the sMall to the mEdium or lArge gDiapers yet, so I don’t know if I’ll be as hip on these when the “events” are a bit more “momentous”, but I have high hopes!

Birth

No, this isn’t a review of the 2004 Nicole Kidman film, which, BTW, sounds super-creepy.

Actually, this is a review of the literal process of human birth. Of course, I can’t comment on the physical sensations (which my wife assures me were significant) but I can comment on how we go about a “modern” birth.

Those scare quotes around the word modern weren’t just a joke. It’s kind of amazing how primitive and unscientific the whole thing is.

Pregnancy — There are a million diet supplements out there, but many of them have too much of this, or not enough of that. Some guides tell you to avoid spicy foods. Others say to eat what you want. There’s no consistency. Ultrasound is a remarkable tool… to generate images that look like someone is trying to cook eggs in a pitch dark kitchen. Even the due date is remarkably imprecise. “Mrs. Lutz, your due date is December 3… plus or minus two weeks.” That’s a four week swing on a forty week pregnancy. Amazing.

Labor — Here the imprecision reaches ridonculous levels. “You’ll be in labor for 6 to 36 hours.” “You’ll have to push for 30 minutes to three hours.” And if you have to induce, it’s even worse. “Here’s a treatment (misoprostol) that may work immediately… or we may need to repeat it three more times before we move to treatment number two. That second one (oxytocin) we’ll give you intravenously… but we’ll have to change the dosage based on how well it works. We’ll start you on a 5. We may go as high as 36.” And this isn’t even touching on the whole “should you go natural or use drugs” craziness.

Birth — God forbid the birth itself is challenging in the slightest, because then you find out if your doctor is a fan of using the vacuum (not nearly as scary as it sounds) or the forceps (exactly as scary as it sounds).

Baby — Then, once the baby is out, the controversies really begin. Should you breastfeed? Should you breastfeed immediately? I swear, inside of six hours, we had two nurses tell us pretty much opposite ways of swaddling the baby. There are swaddling controversies.

Now, I realize that medicine is far from an exact science. But I would expect a birth to not feel like an episode of House. If there’s one medical procedure which we have plenty of empirical data to work with, you’d think that having a baby would be it. It’s happened over seven billion times, for Pete’s sake! We were in a state of the art facility, surrounded by consummate professionals, and I still felt like we were all flying by the seat of our pants. This isn’t what “modern” feels like. We are still animals, it seems, in so many ways.

I sound like I’m complaining, and I am, I guess. I thought it would be a simpler, more straightforward process. But, when all is said and done, I certainly can’t argue with the result.