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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Joining Team Hippie

If you asked anyone who knows Jeromy and I fairly well to describe us, chances are, they would NOT use the word "hippies."  In fact, I'd bet a lot of money that nothing in their description would even be in that neighborhood.  "Kinda liberal" maybe, but "granola" or "tree-hugging"  I mean, we take our reusable bags to the grocery store, but we drive there in a (smallish) SUV.  We have more than one TV in our house.  And--maybe most importantly-- we both insist on taking showers every day. Hippie disqualification.

The truth is, though, that we do have some secret hippie tendencies, and I think we are leaning even more in that direction now that we have a baby on board.  You might have guessed this if you read the post where I talked about reading Raising Baby Green.  We've been pretty firmly on the organic food wagon for a while, but now there's the whole world of non-toxic toys and organic baby clothes to think about, too.  (Organic baby clothes are pretty expensive, though, so I'm planning to just wash all of Doctor's little outfits in vinegar a few times, which is supposed to strip a lot of the chemicals.  And no, I don't have a scientific study to back that up.) 

There are a couple of pretty big decisions we've made recently that might place us on Team Hippie.  Both of these choices have already gotten some strong reactions from people (positive and negative), so maybe I'm asking for it by advertising them to an even wider audience, but here goes. 

First, I never thought I'd say this, but I'm going to TRY to give birth without any medication.  Key word being "try."  As my mom pointed out the other day, I'm a little less than excellent with pain.  And Jeromy can tell you that the last time I had some kind of 24-hour flu (about a week before our wedding) I kept insisting that having even a sheet over me made my skin hurt unbearably, and that I was almost definitely dying.  So it's entirely possible that when I'm actually in the delivery room, I'll start slapping anyone who dares to come near me without a big fat epidural needle.  We'll see.  I certainly don't think epidurals are bad and evil; I just think they're kind of scary and have some potential risks and downsides.

So, as I've mentioned before, one step that we're taking to help with the no-medication/no-Rebecca-punching-people plan is hiring a doula.  Well, actually, several doulas.  We signed up with a doula collective, which means that the specific doula we have at the labor will depend on who is "on call" when it happens. I've tried to explain to a few people exactly what a doula does, and I'm sure I'm not doing the best job of it, but this is what my understanding is.  Basically, a doula's purpose is to help make the labor as comfortable as possible for the mother, and to take some of the pressure off the father in terms of coaching, decision-making, etc. They come to the hospital with their secret earth mother birthing wisdom, and bring magical doula tools with them, like heat packs and a birthing ball.  Which I think is just one of the big exercise balls, but still, it's supposed to help.  When we went to the "Meet the Doulas Night" back in December, they had a couple who had recently delivered with a doula there as guest speakers.  When the mom described the doula rubbing her back (to counter the pressure of her contractions) for NINE HOURS, I was ready to write a big fat check then and there.  Jeromy can rub my back for about four minutes before his hands get tired.  He'd be in the corner whimpering in pain by the time they got me hooked up to the monitors.  Hence, the doulas are going to be our new BFFs. 

The other hippie decision we've made is to try to use cloth diapers.  I know it sounds a little crazy, and it's something else that I never thought I'd go for.  Cloth diapers have come a long way since the white squares that had to be origami-folded around your baby and pinned, though.  They now basically look and work like cloth versions of regular diapers.  Again, I'm totally NOT judging people who use disposable diapers; I'm sure we will be using them when we're not at home.  But from what I've read, there are some advantages to cloth diapers--fewer rashes and "blow-outs" (eww), easier potty-training, etc.  Plus, it actually ends up being quite a bit cheaper in the long run.  And look how cute they are!
This one is from a brand called Fuzzibunz...
...probably because they are, you know,  fuzzy on the inside
We are still making some other decisions that will probably earn us hippie demerits.  I'm going to give birth in a hospital, where they have lots of nice beeping machines (-10 points).  Our son will be circumcised and vaccinated (-15 points).  We do not plan to have him sleeping in the bed with us (-5 points).  But are we are on our way to earning our Hippie Parents badge?  I think we could be...  

 After waiting for me to finish getting settled in bed with my poufy comforter and body pillow: "Look how much space you're taking up already!  Pretty soon I'm going to need a co-sleeper just for my butt so I don't fall off the bed."
This is a co-sleeper, for those of you who don't know what one looks like....just imagine Jeromy's backside instead of the baby. 


  1. i'm sure you already know this and are going to hate me for saying it but - you know those are diaper covers, right? you still need to use the plain ol' cloth diapers under them.
    that out of the way, good for you! everyone should make the decisions that are best for them. i don't think there are many people who don't try to go as long and far as possible in labor without drugs and i've heard great things about doulas. good luck with the cloth diapering, we considered it but it's just such a big investment to start up. but if you stick with it and do it for multiple children it totally pays off in the end, i'm just a sucker for convenience but am totally using diaper covers on our disposables (to help with blowouts and because they're so damn cute!)

  2. I know that some of them out there are just covers, but the ones I bought are supposed to be all-in-ones; it's hard to tell in the picture, but there is an absorbent insert underneath the fleece insert. Hopefully it works the way it is supposed to!

  3. rebecca, have you looked into a diaper service? that's what were doing -- cloth pre-folds with wool covers. it's nice not to have to worry about washing the diapers myself... today they carted off more than 90 (that's one week).


  4. I would have responded ten seconds earlier, but I was busy wiping a tiny little tear from the corner of my eye--I'm so happy :) Way to go semi-hippy Smiths!

  5. Having a baby definitely had me channeling my hidden inner hippie. 10 years ago I'd have laughed in your face if you'd told me I would deliver a baby sans medication in a birthing center of all places. But children have a way of changing you - you learn really quickly to never say never! It's both a humbling and an empowering experience.

  6. haha- I hear you!!
    My friends keep saying they dont know who I am anymore. Being preggo really brought the hippy out in me!