Cloth diapers: Cute for the environment

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By Kelly Dolejsi

I’m so close to the end, and yet there’s still nothing I can do but wait. Oh, I can pre-wash the cloth diapers and drink my uterus-strengthening tea. I can swim the world’s slowest 800 meters and blend healthy strawberry-banana smoothies. I can bump into counters. But mostly, I wait.

I feel like I’ve been waiting since way back in October when I saw two lines on a little stick instead of one.

This is not how I usually work. For example, if I can’t think of the right ending for a column, I’ll still end it. I don’t keep writing indefinitely.

Or consider a ballet combination: A dance stops when the choreography does, ideally on a particular note in the music. There’s no guessing. When I perform a variation onstage, I can predict the final movement down to the exact second.

Yet, I can’t even predict on what week my pregnancy will end.

Here’s what I do know: About 90 percent of pregnancies that run their natural course last 37-42 weeks. This gives us a  range of more than a month.

Now, the probability of going into labor in week 40, the most common week, is about 35 percent (studies vary somewhat – I’m looking at “Calculating Due Dates and the Impact of Mistaken Estimates of Gestational Age,” www.transitiontoparenthood.com/ttp/birthed/duedatespaper.htm).

Zooming in even farther, the probability of a baby being born on its exalted, meaningless due date is about 5 percent.

I also read somewhere that the chance of giving birth on a Wednesday is 15 percent higher than on a weekend day.

I’m due July 2, a Friday. Is Friday a weekend day?

Numbers mean nothing, especially to a hugely pregnant woman, such as myself, who is too exhausted some days to turn the pillow she’s drooling on.

Statistics cannot compete with drool, unless they prove that once the pillow is soaked through on both sides, contractions will commence immediately.

Anyhow, Friday, I’ll be 37 weeks, or what’s called “full-term.” The past eight-and-a-half months have been practice. Conditioning. Tomorrow, the waiting season truly begins.

I’ll have my bag packed for the hospital. I’ll have copies of our birth plan prepared for our doctor, the nurses, our doula and my mom, who is flying out from New York at the end of June.

I’ll undoubtedly have purchased more cloth diapers, and need to pre-wash those.

If it weren’t for the existence of cloth diapers, I would either be much more productive or simply lie drowning on the couch. I spend an embarrassing number of hours, which I refuse to calculate, perusing cloth-diapering Web sites and reading endless commentary from cloth-diapering mothers.

I strongly suspect those planning to use disposable diapers – called “sposies” on the online cloth-diapering boards – do not get excited about buying diapers. Do disposable-diapering boards even exist?

Are there countless adorably-titled Web sites pandering to the sposies-diapering mom? Because we cloth-diaperers have our choice.

We can visit The Thrifty Mama, Thanks Mama, Mother-Ease, For Baby With Love, Baby Naturale, Fuzbaby, Bare Bebe, Tiny Tush, Beebers Butts, Punkin Butt, My Baby Pumpkin, countless of pages with the word “Fluff” in the title and even For the Monster.

In terms of brands, we’ve got FuzziBunz, Bum Genius, Bumbino, Rumparooz, Happy Heinys, Knickernappies, Smartipants, BabyKicks, Kiwi Pie, Kissaluvs, Kushies, Thirsties, Sugar Peas and Swaddlebees.

And of course, the diapers come in a plethora of prints, such as flowers, blue birds, robots and tow trucks, as well as fabrics, such as fleece, teddy-bear fur and organic bamboo.

How could a pregnant woman not get a little addicted to such a darling world? We are all about cute. Every time our babies squirm around in our distended bellies, it’s so cute. Every tiny baby sock we’ve lovingly tucked into a drawer is super cute. And obviously, anything called a “Knickernappy” is just the sweetest thing. Furthermore, in many cases, the cloth-diaper enthusiast finds herself shopping for diapers sewn by even more enthusiastic mothers, who send personal e-mails in answer to questions about leg gussets and doublers.

I doubt Huggies or Pampers, while certainly cutely-named products, can offer consumers this kind of attention.

In any case, and admitting that I have not actually used a single one of my cloth diapers to diaper anything beyond a stuffed monkey, cloth diapering has saved me.

Just thinking about dressing our baby in gumball-print Rumparooz makes me happy. Learning about how to wash and snap the diapers in place gives me something useful to focus on. And the amount of time I must wait before I can reduce my family’s environmental impact by using cloth diapers – on a baby! – passes just a little less unbearably slowly.