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Labor & Delivery Turf Wars

Dec12

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Hi Amy,

I’ve been reading your blog, the pregnancy calendar, and advice column ever since I first found out I was pregnant. One word: LOVE! It also got me started on the cloth diapers, which I now have a monster stash of and am anxious to use when my baby arrives. (I’m even going to try CD’s when baby is a newborn thanks to your intrepid research with Baby Ike.)

So, onto my issue. I am due on Friday, eek! And, of course the new baby drama has reared its head. This baby is a first grandchild for both my parents and my husband’s parents, needless to say they (and all of the uncles, great grandmas, etc) are anxiously awaiting his arrival. My husband and I moved from the west coast to be closer to family when we found out we were going to have a baby and have been working on setting up healthy boundaries. Although now I have run into a situation where I am not sure where the line is between healthy and selfish. This is what I am hoping, desperately, that you can help me determine.

After learning a lot about the importance of bonding immediately with baby, establishing breastfeeding, my desire to have my DH and baby be very close from the get go, and avoid situations where he/me is railroaded by well-meaning, but pushy grandmas (specifically my mom) of the “ur doin’ it wrong” variety we decided to not tell anyone when we were headed to the hospital and only contact people when we were ready for visitors, perhaps the day after baby’s birth.

Over the past month, my mom has told me to tell her when I go into labor. This is when I let her know that we will call when we are ready for visitors. The first time she heard this she got real quiet and then said, well you WILL want your mom during labor. Not wanting to hurt her feelings, I hedged a bit. Then said, well if I do want you there I will let you know. And she said, oh, you will. Being a first time mom, and never been in labor before, I am not sure exactly what I will want, but have a pretty strong hunch that I will just want my husband, the midwife, and the nurse. I love her, but my mom stresses me out to no end also things can be tense between my husband and mom, and I don’t want my labor to be stalled.

Last night, talking to my dad he said, “Well, you will call when you go into labor, right?” Collecting my courage as much as possible, I said “No.” He responded with a “What? No. You have to call us.” I love my dad, and it was so hard to say no. It was also really difficult to hear him react so strongly. He let me know that he wasn’t interested in coming to the hospital and hanging out while I was in labor (although because of the previous conversation with my mom, I know for a fact that she desperately wants to be there). He said that he wants to know when I am in labor so that he can have a good idea as to when he and my mom might be asked to come visit the new baby at the hospital.

My DH and I are planning on playing visitors by ear, perhaps we will be ready to have visitors in two hours after birth, perhaps 24, perhaps not until we get settled at home. So I am not sure how much time in advance he needs since it won’t be right away. I am also worried that if we call while I am in labor, our phones will be blowing up (however, we will have them off) starting immediately, and then after while we are resting, recovering, breastfeeding, trying to bond as a new family. I am worried that if everything goes to VM that eventually they will just show up at the hospital – and the maternity ward has a pretty open door policy. (I was in L&D earlier in pregnancy because I fell while running and then a little later that evening my parents and brother showed up at my room, without me knowing they were coming.)

So, Amy, what should I do? I am so confused and feeling so much pressure – plus baby could be here any time so I need a plan quick! Argh! Am I being selfish for not calling people (my dad) before I go into labor? For wanting bonding time with baby and not accepting visitors right away? I feel so torn. I deeply feel like I want this space (this morning while journaling I equated it to a cat or dog sneaking off to give birth and then magically coming back with babies). So perhaps it is natural, but perhaps I am so self-focused that I have become selfish and am pushing everyone away.

Please help! I am desperate for an outside opinion on the matter.

Full-term, last minute baby dramz.

Call your parents when you go into labor. “Hi, just letting you know we’re headed to the hospital now! I know! We’re excited. Wish us luck and we’ll call you as soon as there’s any news!” Then turn off your phone. And then tell your nurse and midwife that you do not want any visitors, at all, no exceptions.

While I COMPLETELY understand and 100% SUPPORT your decision to want your labor and delivery to be private and shared with your husband only, and also will defend your right to keep hospital visitors at bay until you are ready TO THE DEATH…I gotta say I think the “we’re not telling anyone we’re even going to the hospital, not even our parents” bit is taking things juuuuust a little too far. Unless you were 100% convinced that your mother would show up uninvited — and although she sounds like she wants to be there, your father says they won’t just show up, correct? Perhaps at this point, they are so distressed at the idea that you won’t tell them anything that they’ll promise not to show up until you say it’s okay, just please call us when you go into labor?

You’re their child, about to have a child, and even if they aren’t sitting there in the front row of the delivery room, I can sort of see why they feel like they deserve a bit more of a heads’ up than a day-after-the-fact notification. I don’t have a daughter, but if I try to imagine one of my boys telling me that I’m not even allowed to know that he and his wife are headed to the hospital because that would be too much of an intrusion on their privacy…that does kind of sting a little.

Have they broken your trust before? Is there a reason a compromise is out of the question? Do you really think you can’t say: “Hey, I would be happy to call you guys when I go into labor, but just know that I don’t want you guys coming during labor or to have any other witnesses at the birth. I’ll call, and then I really need you guys to hold tight and wait until the baby is here and I’m settled and ready for visitors, okay? When we have information, we’ll send it, promise.”

Then you turn the phones off and block out the world until you’re ready for it. Meanwhile, your parents can pray for you or cross their fingers or reminisce together about your birth or go to the store to BUY ALL THE THINGS or whatever they want to do with the knowledge that the baby will be here soon.

And yes, maternity wards are pretty casual when it comes to visitors, but they will TOTALLY be the heavy on your behalf if you need them to be. Tell your labor nurse/midwife that you want ZERO VISITORS and NO ONE ELSE is allowed in the room, and she will make that happen. Even if your mom shows up, she’ll be kept in the waiting room until you say otherwise. They’ll even suggest she go home if that’s what you want, by saying your labor is progressing slowly and nothing is likely to happen until much later. (Even if that isn’t technically true. They’re just pretty good at shooing people away since it’s part of the job.) Same deal with your room after the birth. If the front desk knows you don’t want visitors, they won’t give your room number out, so unannounced visitors shouldn’t be able to just wander in. That sucks that happened to you after your fall, but by stressing to your nurse/midwife that absolute privacy is #1 on your birth plan, they should easily prevent it from happening again.

My nurses have always told me, when first getting me settled in my room post-birth, that I just need to let them know if I’m overwhelmed by visitors and they’ll clear the room for me, even if it’s full of people I’ve given my room number to and even invited. Sometimes you tire out before they do, and honestly all I’ve ever had to say is “okay guys, this was awesome but I think I need a nap, I JUST HAD A BABY” and boom, mass exodus. Just because people are aware you’re in labor and having a baby doesn’t mean they’re allowed to just descend en masse and there’s nothing you can do about it other than sit there in bed helplessly while they pass your newborn around from person to person.

And in my experience, even if you do get visitors…it’s not like that. Because here’s the thing: the hospital is BORING. You go in with this vision of lovely sweet private cocoon-y bonding time and then…well, it’s actually a lot of lying around and checking your phone while your husband complains about the uncomfortable sleeper sofa and wanders off in search of snacks. The nurse comes in and checks your vitals a lot. The TV doesn’t get enough channels and it’s hard to focus on reading and the baby sleeps a ton and sometimes you’re just like, “God, I’m so bored.” Visitors, rather than being an intrusion on your new family, can become a welcome distraction to the monotony. I’d actually recommend being a little less focused on the hospital visits (which are short and easily controlled/ended by a signal to the nurse) and more about what happens after you’re home. That’s when the overnight “helping” and open-ended in-law visits can be more of a pain than a help. There’s something to be said for giving everybody their baby fix when they’re not in your living room and a nurse can put an end to things at any given moment.

Personally, we called our parents when I went into labor with Noah. Everybody knew my scheduled c-section dates with Ezra and Ike. They also knew that I did not want any company during labor and the births, but we would let them know when it was okay to visit. We made no promises that it would be day one or day two or even later…just that we would, indeed, let them know. With Noah, we were especially cautious (since it’s not like we needed anyone there to care for older children) and had laid down a “no overnight guests for two weeks” rule too. They could come visit at the hospital when we said they could, and then they were to go back home while Jason and I settled in on our own.

And you know what? I wanted them there on day one. I really did. With Noah, my parents were still several hours away when I arrived in my room post-c-section and I SHOCKED myself by bursting into tears because I just wanted my mom. With Ezra, my parents couldn’t come visit at all because my dad was too sick, and I was so sad that they missed the sight of my new baby on his birthday. With Ike, my dad was gone but my mom and my in-laws were waiting patiently at our house and I again surprised myself by how badly I wanted to see them all — and for them to bring my other boys, just to fill the room with crazy, awesome chaos when Ike was just hours old. I was texting my room number to them  and a slew of friends while I was being wheeled in the hallway and ordering them to get over already, I JUST HAD A BABY OMG YOU’VE GOTTA COME SEE THIS BABY!

With each baby, I probably had no more than one or two other visitors besides family — people really are, overall, pretty respectful of that time. With Ike, I started to feel a bit poorly after my IV came out and I had to cancel a couple friends’ planned visit and cut the usual family visit short that day…and everybody understood and respected my wishes. I admit that there was some in-law dramz after Ike’s birth that drove Jason and I pretty crazy, but in the end, it happened and was annoying and maybe could have been avoided by barring them completely from the hospital…but I wouldn’t have felt very good about doing that at all, and the stress had zero effect on anything really important: breastfeeding, bonding, my recovery, etc.

So…this really may end up being one of those things that is way more important in your mind NOW, pre-baby, than it actually is post-baby. Your desire to protect your privacy in those early hours may get thoroughly trumped by a delirious postpartum desire to have people see and witness and fuss over the little miracle you delivered. Or maybe not! You may find that you still have zero desire to see anyone a full 24, 36 hours later, just like you suspect. And that’s completely not selfish and totally your right, and a good nursing staff will make sure that happens…even if you call your parents and tell them you’re going into labor. I really bet you can let go of that part of the “plan” and still have the birth and postpartum experience you’re hoping for. Especially since your labor won’t be twinged with the knowledge that feelings are being hurt. Good luck, and I promise, everything will work out and be awesome, dramz or no dramz.

(HOORAY FOR BABIES ITS SO EXCITING YAY!)

Photo credit: Thinkstock

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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87 Responses to “Labor & Delivery Turf Wars”

  1. Ang Dec 12 at 5:25 pm Reply Reply

    Congrats on the new baby! All of our family live out of town, so we didn’t have to worry about anyone just showing up during labor/delivery. But, my hubs called both sets of parents to let them know I was in labor but not to call (no cell service on L/D floor) and we would let them know when baby was here. My MIL got antsy when she hadn’t heard anything from us and called the hospital, so my L/D room phone rang as I was PUSHING!! I might have yelled at my husband to get his mother off the phone.

  2. Melanie Dec 12 at 5:49 pm Reply Reply

    We are pregnant with our first and the RN teaching our child birth classes suggested not calling certain people you don’t want to see you laboring until you’re about ready to push. That way, they can’t be mad because you didn’t call before hand, but by the time anyone gets to the hospital it would be like “oh she’s pushing you can’t go in now” and then “she’s in recovery you’ll have to wait”. That way there aren’t any hard feelings about not being there, but you have an excuse to have that private time. She also said the same thing as Amy, that the nurses in L&D are hard core about getting people out of your room if you want them to leave. I, on the other hand, require the presence of my mother to take care of me so she will be the third person to know, after myself and my husband. My in-laws live like 3 hours away so we’ll at least have that nice window after we call them.

  3. Stephanie Dec 12 at 5:53 pm Reply Reply

    Neither my parents nor my in-laws were there for the birth of our daughter, but it was merely circumstances. My in-laws live a couple thousand miles away and understandably didn’t want to fly out until they were SURE there was a baby to see. My parents were on vacation on a cruise, to Alaska. And I really wanted my mom to be there. She came the week of my due date, but I was late, so there was no baby. But she did call me all the time, and that definitely was annoying. Anyway, my point is – I agree with Amy. Please at least give your parents the courtesy of letting them know you’re in labor. They deserve that. They’re your parents. And yes, the hospital can ban anyone you want. They’re really good about that. Just DON’T give your parents or in-laws the direct number of your delivery room or they will call you – my mother-in-law called just as I was pushing. She was just nervous and anxious because I was induced and we hadn’t called her in several hours. But as soon as she heard that the baby was about to be born, she hung up the phone.

  4. Kat Dec 12 at 6:00 pm Reply Reply

    Wow, perfect timing. I am due with my first in a few months and my hubbie and I just got into a little tiff over this exact thing. I am hesitant to let everyone know when we were headed to the hospital because I don’t want visitors shoving their way into the room when I was right in the middle of the most amazing/painful/awkward experience EVER. Especially (and I hate to say this) my MIL (who grates on our nerves and can be a bit…pushy? overbearing?). He insisted that we let our parents know, and promised that we would make them wait in the waiting room until I was ready (even if that meant that they had to sit there for two days ;) I also found out that yes, we can tell the nurses before hand who is allowed in the room during the event, and they will keep everyone at bay. So: they can sit in the waiting room while the nurses run interference, and hubby and I can bond with our new baby and still be the “good guys”. The nurse I spoke with said that she does this all the time, and doesn’t mind giving suggestions to family about local restaurants and things to help them kill the time (lol)

  5. karen Dec 12 at 6:04 pm Reply Reply

    Here’s my story about not wanting anyone around during my delivery and immediately after. I didn’t want my mom around either when I delivered my daughter – she’s a NICU nurse and I figured she’d just ramble on and on during the delivery and all. So I didn’t tell her when I went into labor but alas, she phoned my husband with this “I feel like something’s up with Karen” line she uses (and she’s almost always right, weird) and he, being a terrible liar, blabbed that we were on our way to the hospital. Next thing I know, my cousin who was a high school senior is doing her homework in my room while I’m in labor and my mom shows up just when I’m about to push (and totally starts telling everyone about how she’s a NICU nurse, etc just as I predicted). Next day, several more relatives show up at the hospital to say hi, having been informed via my mom that I was in labor. The visits continued for weeks (always < 1 hour in duration). And you know what? I loved it. Loved every minute of it. They cheered me up, held the baby, kept me grounded, shared stories of the craziest places they had nursed their kids, brought me food… And now I put myself in my mom's shoes: just like Amy said, if my daughter – whom I birthed and love and cherish – decided that she didn't even want me to know that I'd gone into labor, I would be devastated.

  6. a different Amy Dec 12 at 6:23 pm Reply Reply

    I disagree: it is TOTALLY FINE to not call your parents when you go into labor, if that’s what makes sense for you. I let my mom know when we were headed to the hospital, and then got there and was 100% focused on giving birth for awhile. About 24 hours later, when I finally had a baby and a name for the baby and a chance to catch my breath, I called my mom, glowing with pride, to tell her about her first grandchild, and had her yell at me for not calling earlier. Apparently she spent the 24 hours freaking out, convinced that something had gone wrong because our phones were off and no one was calling with progress updates, which wasn’t something she’d ever mentioned expecting. I still cry sometimes when I think about how happy and proud I was before I picked up the phone and what it was like to get my mom ranting at me about how upset she was with me. Do NOT assume you can just turn off your phone and have your family accept that choice.

    Also, I loved our visitor-free hospital stay and it totally was a lovely little bonding cocoon before we had to go deal with people. I’m pregnant with my second now and I definitely would be planning to not tell anyone when I go into labor, except that my extended family is involved in the plan for taking care of my older kid when I do.

  7. Laura B. Dec 12 at 6:26 pm Reply Reply

    aaaaa I had the exact same last-minute baby drama 18 months ago!

    My mother was adamant she was going to be in the delivery room… I was equally adamant she was going to be no where near the joint. So much so that I was refusing to tell her when I was going in labour (or being induced, as it turned out). But, my husband called them and his parents earlier in the day to give them a heads up, so when our daughter was born at 10 p.m. they were only a few minutes away.

    I made them stay in the hallway for about an hour (my nurses were co-conspirators in that) and after I was showered/clean/had a gallon of juice, I was thrilled to have them there. Actually, my husband brought our daughter out to see them while I showered, I think. It’s all a bit hazy.

    All this to say, I second what Amy said! Tell them you’re in labour… then get your nurses on your side to lock that delivery room down.

    Since then, I’ve felt a little bit cruel for having kept them at bay during the day (and immediately following delivery) but I know it was absolutely the right thing for me at the time.

    I still wouldn’t have wanted my mother (or mother-in-law) anywhere near the delivery room.

  8. liv Dec 12 at 6:28 pm Reply Reply

    I felt the same exact way – I didn’t want my mom there (my mom also stresses me out), and I didn’t want my mother in law there either (who was also surprisingly pushy). I laid the boundaries with all the parents ahead of time and was prepared to use the nurses to be my heavies if necessary but thankfully the moms were respectful of the boundaries. We let them know when we were going to the hospital and they came as soon as they were invited and left as soon as I hinted I was tired. I love my mom but she creates stress and drama and I did not need to be dealing with that and the birth of our son at the same time. (Note: I am not one of those people who wants her mom when she’s sick either. I rather be left alone to wallow in my bed nest of tissues and containers of cough syrup and humidifier.) I think Amalah’s advice is spot on and definitely use the nurses to help you if you need to, they understand and don’t mind being the “bad guy” if needed.

  9. Jeannie Dec 12 at 6:40 pm Reply Reply

    Ok, I’m going to play a different card here. I didn’t want any in-laws or my own parents near the labour / delivery, and I didn’t want visits right afterwards either. I did tell people when I went into labour, but I wasn’t at all worried about them showing up unannounced. I think if you’re worried about it, then you have every right not to say anything when you go into labour. If they can’t respect your wishes to come visit when you’re ready, then you have the right not to call.

    I’d think long and hard about it, of course. To be honest, I did hurt some feelings by holding people off, but I needed it. I apologized for hurting people, but it really helped me right after birth so I am still happy with my decision to have my time alone with the baby post-birth.

    All this to say: decide what YOU want, and tell your family. If they agree to your requests, then by all means call them when you go into labour. If you don’t feel your family will respect those decisions, then you have the right not to say anything, and to call them when you are ready.

  10. MR Dec 12 at 6:45 pm Reply Reply

    It sounds like your mother fully expects to be in the room and might try to barge in. You are NOT selfish for not wanting to deal with that. However, it is a little teensy bit needlessly hurtful to tell her that in advance. Just call when you have a chance, and if that happens to be AFTER the baby is there, “so sorry! We were so busy we just didn’t have a chance.” But, Amy and the previous posters are absolutely right, labor is far more a waiting game and boring that it is NICE to have people around to talk to and distract you. You might find that to not be the case, but at this point you simply don’t know. By your own admission, you don’t know what you want, so why make a hard and fast rule here with your mom. Take it as it comes and decide then what you want. And the nurses will totally lock down the room for you. It was different that day you went in for your accident because you weren’t full on admitted. But, once you are admitted you are assigned a specific nurse and things are different. Good luck!

  11. Jenn Dec 12 at 6:50 pm Reply Reply

    I agree with Amy that if you put yourself in their shoes, you wouldn’t like to be kept out of the loop on purpose like that. Especially if, God forbid, something were to happen. But maybe there is something the asker is not telling us about her relationship with her parents?

    In our case we didn’t plan to call our parents until right before pushing, which actually worked out great because I was admitted at like 2AM (labor most often starts at ungodly hours) and then we called them around 8 or 9AM IIRC, so they were able to get their sleep instead of waiting in hard chairs all night (since I wasn’t planning on having anyone but my husband in the delivery room).

    And I agree with everyone else… visitors are GREAT. The hospital is BORING as heck. Even though I was sore and gross I looooved having visitors. You can only quietly bond with your baby for so many hours in a day!

  12. l Dec 12 at 6:55 pm Reply Reply

    This is the only time I’ve ever disagreed with Amy.. to every mom saying “if it were my kid I’d be hurt” – guess what? This is NOT ABOUT YOU!

    LW – no! Your baby, you get to do whatever you want and whatever you are comfortable with. I have a few months to go but I am doing the same thing. NO ONE will know when I am in labor. When this baby is born, they will know. I have a huge family and I refuse to be at the mercy of their every text and VM. Turning off the phone is not an option as that will cause panic (‘they aren’t answering! something must be wrong! OMG we gotta go to the hospital now!”) no matter what we might tell them to the contrary.

    I have several sibs who are nurses, which is great, but leans towards know-it-all-ness and the whole fam with “what’s happening? how’s she doing?” questions will distract my husband and stress me out. 

    Big. Fat. NO. Don’t tell them if you don’t want them to know. the bottom line is a healthy baby. Who cares when they get that news? And “i’m in labor” is not “you’re a Grandpa!” – the latter being much more important.

    Further, no one is staying for overnights until this kid is at least 2 weeks old. Mostly because, as a new mom, I do not want the judgey mcjudgersons and their “doing it wrong” advice.. nononononono!

  13. Corinne Dec 12 at 7:01 pm Reply Reply

    I agree with Amy when she said that if you don’t think your parents will just show up at the hospital (or call the hospital asking for updates), it would be fine to call them. However, if you think they will show up, or blow up the phone at the hospital, I woudn’t call them. That’s just going to be something you’ll have to make a call on. First labors can be really long (well any labor can be really long) – so you might call to say you’re in labor, and then not talk to them for 2 more days, because it might take you that long to have the baby (not to scare you or anything). Are they going to be able to handle waiting that long without bothering you?

    Do not, under any circumstances, let someone tell you your decision has to be made based on what other people deserve. You are the one having the baby – and therefore you deserve a calm and peaceful birth experience.

    Also, check out this thread on delivery room dramas – it might give you a better idea what to expect (of course these are the worst stories, but better prepared then shocked on the day you have a baby) http://community.babycenter.com/post/a25798437/the_best_of_delivery_room_dramas

  14. Anon Dec 12 at 8:03 pm Reply Reply

    I’m going to say the opposite. I did not want any visitors at all and my mom guilt tripped my husband into letting her in the room. Then she came every day. Along with a million more people. Add in a special needs baby, a nicu stay and failed breast feeding. I finally kicked her out after 3weeks and 12weeks later am very bitter about the whole thing. I just kept saying nobody is listening to me, I need to be alone! While she felt “alone” did not apply to her. She hasn’t seen baby in 9?weeks since she was so pushy in the beginning. Stick to your guns, you might not want any one there and that’s ok. I wish my first few weeks had gone differently. Oh yeah, my mom is a nurse and kept saying I would need her also. Nope didn’t need her at all.

  15. IrishCream Dec 12 at 8:05 pm Reply Reply

    Argh. The internet ate my long and carefully thought out comment, so I’ll try again. Apologies if I end up double-posting. Anyway, I’m going against the grain here. It’s not selfish to want your delivery and first few hours with your baby to be on your own terms. You don’t owe anybody anything, and nobody “deserves” to know when you’re in labor, to be there during labor, or to visit immediately afterwards, except your husband, presumably.

    My mom wanted me to call her when I went into labor. I knew I would not, but I told her “we’ll see.” When I called her the morning after my daughter was born, she was so excited that she didn’t care that I hadn’t called her sooner. As an introvert, I liked the peace and quiet of the hospital, and was very happy to have that 36 hours with just our little family, and to save the visitors until I got home.
    There’s no right or wrong way to do it, and everyone’s preferences will be different. If you’re going to be stressed out by the possibility of your family showing up at the hospital against your wishes, or even just knowing that they’re thinking about you and getting impatient and considering calling you for an update, then trust your instincts and don’t do it. You can always call them halfway through if you change your mind, and that’s fine too. If you decide not to tell them you’re in labor, maybe give them the number of a friend who can run interference, so they don’t show up at the hospital after their calls go unanswered for a few hours? Good luck, and enjoy your baby!

  16. Sara Dec 12 at 8:35 pm Reply Reply

    I agree with Amy almost all the way down. You ultimately get to decide what you want. I did want my mom during labor and found it helpful to have someone to focus on the “hospital” stuff so my husband could focus on ME! Also remember though, that you are THEIR daughter and about to go through a major medical thing. If you were having your appendix out, would your parents know when you went to surgery? My dad is an amazing grandfather, but he doesn’t give two toots about the baby during birth because OMG, his daughter is going through hell. Just another perspective. Also, ditto all of the hospital is boring people. I was a total spaz and wrote this long email about visitors and rules before my first was born. I sent it to a friend and luckily she told me I sounded like an asshat. And none of that mattered after baby was born. For me there was plenty of time to be snuggly with baby and husband after visiting hours. I, like Amy, was actually trying to think of people I could make come and see my new baby :)

    Let your mom know your wishes. Turn your phone off when you don’t want to answer it. Rely on the L&D and Recovery nurses to do their jobs. Think a little bit more about what you want when you get home because that part is tougher than the hospital. And enjoy every freakin’ second of it, because it is never that way again. With my second baby I missed my older daughter so terribly. And many many congratulations! Newborns are so awesome!

  17. Also Anon Dec 12 at 9:28 pm Reply Reply

    I am also going against the grain here, and suggesting that you do whatever you feel will lead towards the most relaxing labor/delivery/post-birth experience for you and your husband. We didn’t tell anyone when I went into labor, partly because we worried my over-involved sister would show up at the hospital and hover. (And, being a nurse at that hospital, she’d be able to get right in.) I made it really clear to my mom beforehand that I had no idea what I would want since this was my first baby, but that I likely wouldn’t call her until after the baby was born. She was supportive of the fact that it was me doing all the labor/delivery work, and if things would be less stressful that way, then so be it. (She was also aware of how much my sister was driving me nuts and stressing me out by calling all the time to find out if I was in labor, and how she was trying to guilt-trip me into letting her be at the birth.)
    In the end, my husband called everyone minutes after the baby was born. Our parents were cool with it, or at least haven’t told us that they weren’t. My sister was hurt. I expected that. I feel a bit bad that she was hurt, but honestly, given our relationship at the time, I’d probably make the same choices if I had to do it all over again.
    Also, I don’t think I’d be hut if, one day, my daughter went into labor and didn’t tell me. The birth of one’s child is such a personal experience, and I am a strong believer in a new mama doing what makes sense for her and her partner.

  18. Katie Dec 12 at 9:39 pm Reply Reply

    Hate to say it but I disagree with Amy. First time! My family boundary stomps. They would show up even if univited (and there will always be one nurse/other person who will let them in).

    My advice? Register as a private patient. Stop answering the phone now so they don’t know. Don’t call until you are ready.

    I had the experience I wanted – by myself with Daddy and baby until about one month in (yes, a month). They all dealt. We sent out a she is here text and that was it.

    The lady inthe room next to me wanted what I had but didn’t get it. I know because she had family in and out the whole despite her crying and begging people to make them leave. Even the husband asked the nurses outside of my door to help them and they refused.

    Know your hospitals policies. Fight for what you want. You can always call later. Its not selfish and if anyone says it is you can answer: Yes, and please let me know when you are passing a kidney stone so I can be there to watch. Your body, your call.

    (remember too: you are the mommy. What you say goes. Don’t worry about hurting other peoples feelings if it’s contrary to what you feel is truly best).

  19. Apple Dec 12 at 9:58 pm Reply Reply

    I think it hinges on whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert.  I’m an introvert and didn’t invite anyone.  I had to get Pitocin after my water broke and my dad showed up while we were waiting for the contractions to start.  It was so sweet and I’m touched but I felt like I had to entertain when all I wanted to do was nap (it was 12 hours or so after my water broke), and I actually felt bad that nothing was going on, like a poor hostess.  I finally talked him into going home and am so glad.  It was just wearing me out.  I do think you should let your parents know, but then, as Amy said, turn off the phones.

  20. Charity Dec 12 at 10:26 pm Reply Reply

    We didn’t alert either set of grandparents during my first labor and delivery, and no one freaked out. I just wanted that to be a special time for me and my husband (especially since I knew with subsequent pregnancies I would need help caring for the older child, so no surprise deliveries!) Also, labor and delivery can be stressful and time consuming. I didn’t want the grandmas to be worrying if it took all day. They would be sitting by the phone on pins and needles! We did call them right after delivery, even before we moved to recovery. Do whatever feels right for YOU, everyone else needs to adjust to your preferences on this one.

  21. Hi, I'm Natalie. Dec 12 at 10:27 pm Reply Reply

    I rarely do this, but… DON’T tell them if you don’t want to – they are adults and can deal with it. I was also concerned about bonding time, annoying requests for visitors, etc. and warned both sets of first-time grandparents that they would know when we darn well felt like telling them. After my daughter was born, I also told them that they were NOT welcome to visit Every. Single. Day. They were a bit whiny at first, but the boundaries were important for us. It’s paid off in the long run. (I went into labour at about noon on a Monday, went to the hospital at about 2am on Tuesday (5cm!), and my daughter was born at 6am. We called my mom at about 8am because I needed someone while my husband went home to take care of the dog, but she left as soon as he got back. We called my in-laws at about noon on her birthday – they visited around dinner… and my grandmother came with my parents sometime later that day. We had no visitors on Wednesday, the day we took her home. It was Just. Right.)

  22. EW Dec 12 at 10:34 pm Reply Reply

    Stick to your guns.  I didn’t want anyone but my husband in the room with me for either of my kids (and would agree with IrishCream that this may be an introvert/extrovert thing).  My mom fortunately was okay with this, but even if she hadn’t been, it would have been really hard for me to have her there.  The next day, I was recovered and ready for visitors, and my parents were thrilled to see each grandbaby then.

  23. Kimm Dec 12 at 11:14 pm Reply Reply

    I could have totally written this post. And I caved and told them when Dr. said we were inducing that night. They drove 9 hours and got there about 1 hour after baby was born, just when I got moved to my room. And my mom began to critique things, like I knew she would, and when they stayed with us for the next 3 days, it was bad. I KNEW I wouldn’t be able to hold my tongue when I was feeling so tired and physically sore, I hurt her feelings and she cried which made me cry, and my poor husband had to deal with the drama. ANYWAY. I would be in the “NO WAY do you tell them” camp. Call them when baby is here. They can have hurt feelings for a bit, they will get over it when they see the baby.

  24. heidikins Dec 13 at 12:01 am Reply Reply

    This is topically unrelated, but I think the underlying issue is the same. I am getting married in 5 weeks and over the last few months have had a TON of people telling me how I should have my wedding, how the reception should be, how/where the honeymoon should be planned, how it all should be. The thing is, it’s not about them or their preferences. It’s about me and my soon-to-be-husband. I’m sure they mean well and are trying to be supportive and helpful, but again, it’s not about them.

    This is the same thing, the birth of your child is not, and should not be about your parents and worrying about whether your mother will barge in, or pester you with calls, or guilt trip you after the fact. It’s about expanding your little family, you, your husband, and your baby. Do what you want, do what you prefer, do what makes you happy. And if that means your husband sends a text 10 minutes before the baby is born (or even 10 minutes after the baby is born) that says “On the way to the hospital! Turning phone off, will update later!” then fine. Do it that way. If your Mom has hurt feelings that’s too bad, but the LAST thing you should have to worry about when you are GIVING BIRTH (or getting married) is how to best spare a pushy, overbearing mother’s feelings.

    xox

  25. Jen Dec 13 at 1:16 am Reply Reply

    I had that conversation many times with my parents. And I was always super non-committal and subject-changey because I suspected I’d want my mom NOT there, but also didn’t want to hear the “I told you so” in case I did.

    And then, 3 weeks early, my water broke and I had 10 hard, fast hours of labour, then ZOMG a baby! It was crazy, and while I knew I could’ve called my mom, I felt I didn’t want her there until afterward, and when we called to say “hey, you’re a grandma!” the next day, she was SO THRILLED, she didn’t care we hadn’t called.

    It’s so hard and such a stressful thing, not knowing how you’ll feel with your first. Try not to worry, do what feels right in the moment, and remember that everyone will be so overwhelmed by the presence of your delicious new baby will likely wipe their memory that “oops!” You didn’t call earlier.

  26. Joanne Dec 13 at 4:43 am Reply Reply

    I have to disagree with Amy here. There’s something about babies, especially first grandbabies that make people go batshit crazy. I’ve seen multiple examples with my family and friends of people stomping all over carefully established boundaries. The only way to make sure they don’t come is to make sure they don’t know. And don’t count on the hospital staff to keep people out, some of them are good about it but some are very, very bad.

    If you change your mind at any point and decide you want somebody there I’m sure your husband can call them and they’ll drive all night/lowcrawl thru battlezones/break down doors to be there in record time, trust me.

  27. anna Dec 13 at 6:43 am Reply Reply

    My bf’s sister has a blood disorder that made everyone very worried about the labour. The whole family is generally very boundary respecting but my bf was so worried the whole time and any texts he got from her husband were so appreciated. I’m not really trying to give any advice, just suggesting it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You could, for example, select the sanest member of the extended family, and have your partner text that person with how things are going every now and then (even just “no news yet! still at the hospital’). Obviously that would only work if you’ve already got the hospital room on lock down and explained in painstaking detail that it’s nothing personal, you just think you want to be alone and you’ll let them know the MINUTE that changes.

  28. Ashley Dec 13 at 7:31 am Reply Reply

    Amy is usually spot on but not this time! My mom tried to insist I call her the second labor started so she would be able to drive the 5 hours and make it for the delivery. No way! My mom makes me insane and also makes everything about her. No way did I want that, especially since she disagreed with our natural unmediated labor plans. I was in labor for 2 days and that plan went to hell. I was scared to death when I was being hooked up to do I called her. All she did was make me feel worse b/c she didn’t really understand what was going on and thought I was refusing treatment that put my daughter in danger. She tried to say she would come on up but I got some sense and told her to wait until our planned day. I KNOW that if she had been in town she would have been in the hospital in my face refusing to leave. Nurses are not guards. They have other patients to take care of so there is no gaurentee that they will keep people out. Plus what if you are in labor for a long time? They will be calling your husband out of the room with their concerns or just come on in to check on you. Sounds like if you give your mom an inch she will take a mile. So what if you hurt her feelings? This is about YOU and YOUR CHILD, not her. She will get over it and survive. We didn’t have any visitors in the hospital which was wonderful. After such a long labor and rough delivery plus my daughter bring on a light bed we needed peace and quiet. My mom did come up the day we got home from the hospital since my husband couldn’t take any time off. It was an awful 2 weeks with her undermining everything I did. Her being there vastly contributed to my PPD and breastfeeding failure. Stand up for yourself or you will regret it. Good luck and congratulations on the baby!

  29. Kimberly Dec 13 at 7:51 am Reply Reply

    Amalah’s advice is spot on. We told our parents that we would call them when they could come to the hospital. I knew they wanted to be present at the hospital when the baby was born, but I didn’t want them hanging out for the entire labor. (The waiting room had no TV and I worried my father would go stir-crazy). We timed things well and they came an hour before the baby arrived, maybe less. What I failed to do regrettably was send my husband out to tell them, We have a baby! right away because I was in a lot of pain and I passed out, so they were all a little nervous because the nurses were evading their questions about whether the baby arrived.

    My husband and I were adamant about our privacy and I too wanted to establish breastfeeding and bonding. In the end, I was so happy to see them. I wanted to show off my new baby and Amy’s right, the hospital is boring and the nursing staff will invoke Nurse Ratchett if you want.

    Great column Amy and I hope the poster takes your advice.

  30. Olivia Dec 13 at 8:27 am Reply Reply

    Compromise if that will keep the peace, but I think it’s okay not to call. I have a friend who didn’t call until after her babies were born because just knowing her mother was pacing the waiting room would have driven her nuts. I called my mother (she lives several states away), and then proceeded to have a 36 hr labor. Poor woman was up all night and the next day waiting for that final call wondering if everything was okay (husband did call her a couple times to let her know the progress). Next time, I don’t think I’ll call so she doesn’t worry if it’s another long labor.

  31. Jenn Dec 13 at 8:35 am Reply Reply

    Like you, I didn’t want to call my parents AT ALL. My mother and I have a rocky relationship and I was terrified she’d drive over and show up at the hospital during labor/delivery. My husband told me the same thing Amy did, that we had to at least let them know. We compromised by calling them when I was almost fully dilated which just so happened to be 11pm. It worked out because they stayed home to “sleep” and then came the next day.

    If you know you’re a private person stick to your guns. Other than the one visit in the hospital I asked that we receive no visits longer than an hour and absolutely no (moms) were allowed to stay with us. For me? It was perfect. I would have gone crazy otherwise. Well-meaning friends visiting for an hour at a time was about all I could take. You’ll be a wild bag of hormones!

  32. Betsy Dec 13 at 9:05 am Reply Reply

    Sorry, I’m another in favor of not calling! With my son born in 2008, I was admitting into the hospital at midnight Sunday night and delivered at 1pm the following afternoon. We called both sets of parents a cpouple of hours later. At that point they were just so thrilled to have a new grandson that nobody was upset with us. Everyone visited later that evening and that was it, no drama. My two sisters did the same thing – called with the big announcement within a few hours of birth. I have several freind who called when they went into labor but didn’t want the parents to show up – and the results were stressed out parents who couldn’t eat/sleep/function and want constant updates. If it ends up being a long labor, I’m not sure your doing anyone any favors.

  33. Nancy Dec 13 at 9:13 am Reply Reply

    I agree with Amy. I had a c section that did not go well. And it was a great thing that my parents were at the hospital. They turned out to be a huge help with my poor husband as he was going back and forth between the new baby and me in surgery. Not to be depressing or negative, but it was wonderful to have family there when things did not go well.

  34. Sarah Dec 13 at 9:48 am Reply Reply

    I had the same feelings leading up to my delivery! I think there’s a mama bear instinct that overtakes some of us and we just want to protect that special initial time with our babies. There’s nothing wrong with that feeling! Looking back, I think I let it go a bit far, though, and one of my friends gave me really good advice: protect your time, but also acknowledge the gift that these people are to your baby. They love him/her so much already and are so excited for his/her arrival! No, it’s not about them, it’s about you, your husband and your baby and becoming a new family unit. But if you can trust your nurses and the maternity wing to be the bouncers for you, I think it’s important to include your parents by letting them know when you are going into labor. I regret taking too hard a line with my mom (for the same reasons you stated) before the birth of my daughter. I still wanted my privacy, but my mother was much more sensitive to my wishes than I thought she’d be. Unless there’s a high level of dysfunction going on in your family, I’m willing to bet they’ll impress you in the end.

  35. Myriam Dec 13 at 9:56 am Reply Reply

    I knew beforehand that I didn’t want any hospital visits before or after the birth of my daughter, and told that to everybody a few months in advance. I explain I wanted time to focus on our new family, and benefit from the nurse being there to help us. I’va been told that when you have a lot of visitors, the nurses don’t come as often to check on you and the baby. However, when my water broke, I called my parents and posted on Facebook that we were going to the hospital. After the birth, my husband called both sets of parents and aksed them to spread the news. I found that made them feel special, annoncing the birth of their grand-daughter! I had them call my hospital room to chat. I think there were a little sad not to see her right away, but very respectful of my wishes. Do whatever you feel is right, but don’t be afraid to change your mind. I would call them to let them know, and avoid the whole “paranoia” of “why is nobody answering their damn cell phones” when you expecting anyday now, but I would “jokingly” threathen them that if they do show up before you tell them it’s ok, you’ll have to them turn around but the nurses at the hospital.

  36. Allison Dec 13 at 10:44 am Reply Reply

    I have to say that I disagree with Amy. Only you know how you are going to feel about the prospect of having specific people waiting around in the hospital. And I’ve heard some crazy stories about family members who are wildly disrespectful of mom and dad’s wishes during the birth — i.e., barging in while mom is pushing or getting stitched up, holding the baby before mom gets a chance to do so, etc. So I don’t think it’s always safe to say, “oh, call when you’re in labor and it will be fine” because some prospective grandparents cannot be relied upon to behave rationally after receiving that news. Your birth, your baby, your rules. If you have a nagging suspicion that things won’t go well if you call with the news that you’re in labor, I think you need to respect that feeling. Announce the news when you feel comfortable, accept visitors when you’re ready, and try not to feel guilty about it. (All of that having been said, we informed immediate family when my water broke and we were headed to the hospital, but we knew we could 100% count on them to respect our wishes, which they did, and no one showed up until the morning after our daughter was born.) Good luck whatever you decide — it sounds like a stressful time and my heart goes out to you!

  37. Becki Dec 13 at 10:55 am Reply Reply

    I agree with Amy. I think that they are all coming from a good place and while they may seem pushy, it’s all the excitement of watching their baby have a baby. Let the hospital do their job to protect your boundaries so you don’t have to be the bad guy, and leave clear instructions that people aren’t to be allowed in the room until you are ready. That being said, when I went in to labor (2 y.o. daughter) I had everyone in the room. I had my mom, my sister, my mother in law and my husband. And it was an awesome, empowering experience. All the strong women that raised us and that would play a part in my daughter’s life were there on the day she was born and saw her come into the world. They all were there rooting for me and my husband and helping to crack jokes to ease the tension. My mom was giving a play by play to the grandpas to be in the waiting room, and they could hear my daughter’s first cry over the phone. My daughter was born in a room filled with laughter, music and happiness, surrounded by those that love her most. It was a beautiful, special experience that really brough the families closer together.

  38. Joy Dec 13 at 10:57 am Reply Reply

    I’m also in favor of Don’t Call.  For my first baby I was in labor for 20 hours and afterward I was exhausted, and people kept showing up when I was trying to sleep, and I felt weepy but didn’t want to be confrontational about making them leave…
    For the second baby, labor was 3 hours, and afterward I felt great.  I was happy to have visitors and show off the baby.

    I feel like it is easier to decide you would like visitors and call them at that point than to try and make people leave when they come before you are ready for visitors.  Also, you can’t rely on the nurses to keep people out of your room, necessarily – all the (nice, well-meaning) people who visited after my first baby just barged right in.

  39. Ladotyk Dec 13 at 11:00 am Reply Reply

    Like a lot of commenters, I was very nervous that my MIL (a former NICU nurse) would should up before I was ready and try to take over. I got really worked up about it and made my husband promise to run interference, but then…everything was fine. I was glad to have them there and they were incredibly respectful. I hope things go as well for you. congratulations!

  40. Ness Dec 13 at 11:22 am Reply Reply

    I think one of the greatest pieces of advice I received was a calling tree, so my husband only had to make a few calls to the grandmas to alert them. They had the responsiblity of notifying the remaining most important parties-siblings, grandpas (we both have divorced parents), some local extended family, and my BFF’s. And I can’t believe that there are actually hospitals that allow just anyone to walk into an L&D room without your permission-some are so small and that is such a private experience, there is no way anyone besides my hubby, dr’s and nurses are going in there. My water broke at 2AM, but no contractions until like 6AM. He called later in the morning when we were sure we weren’t going back home and he had a moment and then called again when DS was delivered, but the family stayed in the waiting room until we were moved into my room. Maybe it was a hospital policy, but I welcomed the gatekeepers. I think in the end you might regret not giving the grandparents a hospital visit, but it’s certainly up to you as to when they get it. I knew I would feel guilty, so I was clear on my boundaries. If you really think you’ll have some that won’t respect those boundaries and nurses that can’t help keep them at bay, then you should put a plan in motion that respects your wishes. And no one says if you decide against visitors that you can’t call them later if you end up wanting them around.

  41. Michele Dec 13 at 11:30 am Reply Reply

    This is one of the very few times when I’ve disagreed with Amalah. I didn’t tell anyone when I went into labor because I had been warned by my childbirth instructor that people will call nonstop. (And I had friends who did tell friends and family, and those friends and family, even the ones who had given birth before and knew better, called every 20 minutes to see what was going on. This happened to a friend who was in labor for 60 hours! And her sister posted about it on Facebook while it was happening! Argh!) It was also really important to me to just have my husband, the midwife, and the nurse with me while giving birth. We had a few friends visit afterwards and in retrospect I think that was a mistake — my baby ended up with elevated bilirubin levels, probably in part because I was too shy to try to figure out breastfeeding in front of friends’ husbands and didn’t do it often enough. So we ended up having to stay in the hospital an extra day when we were all dying to go home. My MIL’s feelings were hurt, but she got to meet the baby when he was 4 days old and seems to have gotten over it. (He’s 2 now.) I would handle the birth the same way the second time around. I would consider not having any visitors at all so I can focus on breastfeeding and resting so I can get home as quickly as possible. Anyway, sorry this is so long, obviously your question resonated with me — but if your family stresses you out and you want to just focus on your husband and the baby, go with those feelings. You are about to do something difficult and wonderful and you need to give yourself the best chance for a relatively stress-free birth experience. Be honest and firm with your family members. They may be hurt but they will get over it after they meet the baby. And if they keep bringing it up, see Amalah’s many wonderful columns about setting boundaries with family.

  42. Mama Bub Dec 13 at 12:29 pm Reply Reply

    Our hospital had an open door policy with visitors, too, BUT if you tell them you don’t want visitors, they’ll keep them out. Let the nurses be your gatekeeper.

  43. aj Dec 13 at 1:16 pm Reply Reply

    I totally agree with Amy on this one. Unless you have a very strained relationship with your parents, my bottom line is this…they are your PARENTS. They at least deserve to know that the child they love is in labor. I’ve had 3 children and my mom and husband were by my side through each one, which I loved. But when I read your letter I kept thinking about how I’d feel from the other side…if it were one of my children having this AMAZING life experience and not even letting me know so I could pray and send my good thoughts their way. Do you have to have your parents there if you don’t *think* you’ll desire it? Absolutely not. But at least give them the courtesy of knowing their daughter is about to give birth. They deserve that much.

  44. Elizabeth Dec 13 at 1:39 pm Reply Reply

    I think that so much of this is a personal choice based on your unique circumstances. I would have loved for my parents to be nearby (in the waiting room!) when my son was born, but since he decided to arrive 8 weeks early and they live 7 hours away, all I could do was call them to tell them that I was in labor and then kept them as updated as I could by phone until he arrived, and then it was such a relief when my mom arrived a few hours after his birth (with dad close behind on a late flight). My in-laws, on the flip side, tried to be over-involved starting 3 hours into labor due to my MIL’s love of drama and emergencies and tense situations to the point that I had to ask the nurses to not even let her in the L&D wing. I didn’t even have to see them until the day after our son arrived, and that, too, was a relief. Don’t even get me started on when my MIL inadvertantly sent me an email intended for one of her friends where she told the friend that our son “just might make it”, when he was actually a very healthy and hearty preemie with just a few preemie issues. All that said, this time around, I will have some ground rules for parents and L&D, but basically think, for my family, it’s important to just keep everyone informed about the status of their grandchild-to-be so that no one goes crazy worrying or creating overdramatic scenarios!

  45. Hillary Dec 13 at 1:46 pm Reply Reply

    Just wanted to echo that if you’re speaking to your parents pretty consistently, they will notice that you haven’t called and will get suspicious and then worried and then will probably just show up at the hospital. I’m all for full disclosure – you’ll call when you go into labor, and you’ll call when the baby is born, and they SHOULD NOT PANIC IN THE MEANTIME! Good luck!

  46. IrishCream Dec 13 at 2:15 pm Reply Reply

    It’s wonderful that there are so many grown-ups out there who are close enough to their families that they feel they owe it their parents to share personal news and events. It is my dearest wish that my daughter will feel the same about me when she’s an adult–I’ll know I’ve done my job well. Unfortunately not all parents do a great job nurturing that closeness over the years. Personality, addiction, mental health issues, whatever…there are parents who don’t fulfill their obligations to their children, and in turn aren’t owed anything by those children. I have no idea if that applies to the OP’s family or not, and am obviously writing this from my own perspective, but the assumption that parents deserve to be a part of their adult children’s lives in ways that feel intrusive rubs me the wrong way. Just wanted to add a gentle reminder that some of us have learned the hard way over many, many years that we can’t respect our parents’ choices or even trust them. Anything that we share with them is out of our own free will, not because we owe them anything.

  47. Shera Dec 13 at 2:18 pm Reply Reply

    We did not call family until my daughter was 2 hours old. I had a drug-free natural birth and didn’t want any distractions. Even if no one was going to be barging down the door, I didn’t want to think about family ‘waiting’ for me to deliver. We had the most amazing labor, birth, and bonding time. All my husband and I did for those first few hours was hold and love her. We hadn’t even gotten her weighed by the time we called family. As soon as we did, my parents piled in the car and drove the 6 hours to see us. For us, this worked perfectly. Only my mother-in-law said anything about us not telling her sooner and she quickly got over that (seconds later). What’s to be upset about once the baby is here?
    Please do whatever you feel best for your own birth.

  48. Erin Dec 13 at 2:32 pm Reply Reply

    My husband and I told both sets of parents that we didn’t want visitors at the hospital, please give us some time as a family and visit a couple days later when we were settled at the house. The policy in L&D helped this, we were only allowed two support people in the room (I only allowed my husband) and the maternity ward is locked so visitors can be restricted (you can tell the front desk to tell any visitors that we’re sleeping or that we were not accepting visitors). I didn’t think I had to limit visitors since we discussed it with both sets of parents. Well, my parents arrived the next day after my c-section after three days of a failed induction. I wasn’t thrilled and my blood pressure spiked while they were there (I was being monitored every couple hours). They didn’t stay long and since I was still out of it, I didn’t say anything. We discussed it later and told them we were disappointed that they didn’t respect our wishes and we hoped that it doesn’t happen again. Best of luck!

  49. kiki Dec 13 at 2:33 pm Reply Reply

    Oh, Amy, you don’t know how close I’ve come to writing you about this exact same issue. Sadly, it is probably why will only have one child – that was never our plan for our family, but given my bad experience with baby #1, this is sort of what we’ve fallen into.

    Both mothers are steamrollers, but I care less about his mom, as I know she’ll forgive anything once the baby arrives. My mother, on the other hand, will have you know that she is a CLINICAL TEACHING PROFESSOR of medicine. And she knows EVERYTHING. She is also pretty anti-c-section and pretty good at making me feel like a failure. So I decided before the birth of baby #1 that, just in case my own doctor felt that a c-section was necessary and she didn’t, I didn’t want her in the room. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life listening to her tell me I “caved in” and had an unnecessary c-section.

    So, at 34 weeks, I asked her to please come after the baby was born, but not for the birth. She FREAKED. I spent the last six weeks of my pregnancy listening to her tell me how the nurses wouldn’t pay attention to me, how terrified I’d be in labor, how she wouldn’t be able to bond with the grandchild and love it, and how (no shit!) the baby would die in childbirth because she wasn’t there to avert some tragedy, how I clearly wasn’t ready to be a parent because I couldn’t put the baby first and let her be there, etc. I listened to this EVERY DAY, patiently holding my ground.

    In the end, I got my way. And, whaddya know? She loves the baby. But I look back on that period as one of the darkest in my whole life.

    So, sadly, no more babies for us. I can’t go back to the place, and I can’t see another way out.

  50. Chris Dec 13 at 2:44 pm Reply Reply

    I just had my first baby in September, and I wish I could have kept people away from the hospital. My husband’s dad, step-mom and step sister waited in the waiting room for 8 hours until 2am when he was born, and I felt immense pressure to let them in to see him right away since they had waited so long, when all I wanted to do was bond with the baby and rest after a long labor. My husband’s mom and sister insisted on driving 2 hours in the middle of the night with our two young nephews to be there when my son was born, which made me feel pressured to HURRY UP ALREADY because they had come a long way and had two little boys they needed to get to bed. They ended up starting the journey home before he was born because it was so late and then turned around when they got the call he had arrived, so then we had to let them in the room as well, at 3am after a 24-hour labor. I motioned to the nurse to come back in 10 minutes and kick them out so we could be alone. I was exhausted and overwhelmed and so stressed out that I had to worry about everyone else when I was trying to deliver my baby. It was just so much pressure having everyone there anxious to meet him IMMEDIATELY. Next time, I’m going to be adamant about not letting people be at the hospital until we want visitors, or being firm in that if they want to be there, I won’t feel pressured to let them in until we are ready and too bad if that’s a long time – you didn’t have to come to the hospital.

    Good luck! Don’t let people know if you don’t want to, and call them when you’re ready. It’s totally your right to decide.

  51. Wallydraigle Dec 13 at 3:57 pm Reply Reply

    I agree with Amy, too–assuming you have a healthy, loving relationship with your parents and that they respect even the boundaries they don’t like.
    .
    I am not a typically affectionate person. I just moved halfway across the country from most of my family a year ago, and while I’m not happy about that aspect of the move, I can’t say I really MISS them. I love them dearly, and I would love it if they lived here, but I only get a twinge of sadness once every few months.
    .
    That said, when I had my babies, I really, really, really wanted my Mommy. Especially during the first birth. It very much surprised me. I’m not saying you WILL change your mind; as we can see here in the comments, many people do not want anyone until well after they’ve had the baby. But there’s a good chance you will change your mind.
    .
    If you can be sure that your mom will respect your boundaries, I do encourage you to let her know that you are in labor. It wouldn’t hurt to have her ready to come if you end up wanting her to, you know? And trust me, if that I WANT MY MOMMY feeling comes on, you want her there NOW, not hours later.

  52. Nerwal Dec 13 at 4:22 pm Reply Reply

    I do not agree with Amy on this. Like “l” said, this is not about them. I have a daughter, and a long time from now would love to have her want or need me there when she has a baby, but if she doesn’t, I’d like to think that she has her reasons and that I would respect them and not take it personally. They are grown-up adult people and if you think for a minute they will stress you out, don’t call. You know the relationship you have with your mother and MIL, and you should do what’s right for you without worrying about them. Good luck!

  53. Nerwal Dec 13 at 4:25 pm Reply Reply

    And, also, I did not have the “I want my mommy” feeling after having my twins, even though they are my first children/birth – I didn’t think I would and I didn’t. Not everyone gets that way. 

  54. Kathryn Dec 13 at 5:01 pm Reply Reply

    I don’t agree with Amy on this one. Both of our moms are overbearing, to say the least so I made it clear from 4-5 months that they would be called after the baby was here. I knew having them there would stress me out, and I didn’t want to have to worry about someone else while in labor. For our DS #2′s birth, DS #1 stayed w/ FIL & SMIL and we didn’t tell our moms again. Both births were planned (induction & c-section). If we do it again I won’t tell them again. If you tell them you won’t call before the baby’s here but end up calling beforehand that’s okay and will probably make them happy, but if you say you’ll call beforehand & don’t it may lead to hurt feelings. Good luck!

  55. tasterspoon Dec 13 at 6:11 pm Reply Reply

    I have not read all the responses, so apologies if I echo/contradict anyone.

    My relationship with my mother is fraught – for no good reason, we stress each other out, and I would NOT have wanted her there during labor, audibly WORRYING and SIGHING and GIVING ADVICE and TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE I DON’T KNOW and GETTING OFFENDED. Though honestly, during my all-night labor there was little for a spectator to do or interfere with – I slept when I could – and when push came to shove (ha ha) I don’t think I would have cared who (besides my husband) was on the business end.
    I DID want her there the first day, just because, I don’t know, full circle, my last chance to be somebody’s baby instead of somebody’s mommy, something like that, and my mom was so afraid of being in the way at the hospital that she instead went to my house to clean and I was oddly hurt.
    It would be sweet if you let them know when you’re going into labor, lets them know they’re in the inner circle, BUT perhaps make a special request that would interfere with them coming to help with labor. Like, “we’re headed to the hospital, and oh, I forgot to prepare XYZ, can you put together my [bag of snacks/announcement list/special camera equipment], you’re the only ones who can do it because no one else knows!” Maybe that would do the trick.

  56. Rachael Dec 13 at 6:13 pm Reply Reply

    We had a very strained relationship with my in-laws at the time my first was born–and they lived next door!  We told the hospital we had a no-visitor policy and not to give out our room number (phone number) to anyone.  Well, after a failed induction and emergency c-section, including a baby in ICU who had to be medically transported across town while I recovered from the c-section, my father-in-law showed up at the hospital against our wishes…luckily, the baby was in a different hospital b/c I was extremely upset he was trying to track him down behind our backs.  
    ANYWHO…do what makes you comfortable.  Some parents will respect your requests…while others just don’t .  You can tell the hospital (I believe most, if not all, have this policy due to domestic violence situations) that you are a private patient and don’t want any information given out about your room….that way you can decide who has your contact info and when.  Good luck!

  57. Felicity Dec 13 at 7:31 pm Reply Reply

    My sister had her first baby on 22nd Nov. (First grandbaby on our side, 3rd on my BIL’s) and she told us all in advance that she would not be telling anyone until after the birth. We all got a phonecall about an hour and a half after my nephew was born about 6pm. We went into visit the following afternoon. We all fully respected that (including my sister’s MIL who is just a little overbearing) and wouldn’t have possibly had it any other way. I will do exactly the same if I am ever blessed with children.
    Do what is right for YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND. If that means not phoning until after, then don’t. And if you get any crap for it, just be honest and say that it was because they couldn’t be trusted to respect your wishes.
    Congratulations and all the best for the future.

  58. Chelsea Dec 13 at 11:07 pm Reply Reply

    Whenever I think about isolating ourselves, I try to remember how special the becoming a grandparent is, too. As new parents, we think about our NEW ISOLATIONIST FAMILY UNIT I AM AN ISLAND and tend not to think about what a gigantic deal it is to our parents.

    I tried to not worry my mom by not answering the phone after the initial “I’m at the hospital, not sure what’s going on” but she was off the wall anxious. I was in too much pain (I had a non-OB emergency that resulted in baby and nonsense) to respond, and my husband had no news. Eventually, I gave consent for my mom to be able to talk to the nurses and doctors about my condition over the phone. This worked well for us.

  59. B Dec 13 at 11:09 pm Reply Reply

    I think it is situational on the phone call. We had decided during my pregnancy that it would only be the two of us and the medical personnel in the delivery room.
    The hospital where we delivered has a strict visitor policy and has someone on duty who lets visitors in and out- 4 visitors while laboring, 2 visitors while delivering and no children unless they are the siblings of the new baby.
    Fortunately for me, my mom is a nurse, but feels strongly that delivery of a baby is a private moment for the parents and had no desire to be there for delivery. And my ILs are very squeamish and would not have wanted to be present for the delivery. However, I also did not want anyone in the waiting room- knowing that it could be 24 hours for labor, that despite not allowing them in the room, I would still feel pressured knowing they were out there, waiting. I didn’t want hubby to be wandering in and out, updating waiting room folks, I wanted him to be able to focus on me and our baby. He was calling/texting updates as necessary. I communicated this to all parents. Approximately 2 weeks before baby was due, my MIL asks for directions to the hospital where we will be delivering, because they’ll want to wait for baby to be born. I tried to dissuade them. No dice. Next day, I talk to MIL on the phone and explain that I have asked my own parents not to come until baby is born, that hubby and I have discussed it and we want everyone to come until baby is born because we want to bond and start nursing, etc. MIL says okay, seems to accept this.
    My OB decides to induce, so we tell the parents, call/text with updates and the induction fails, we are headed for a c-section this evening. Hubby calls ILs, who brightly say, okay, we’ll wait an hour and then we’ll come to the hospital. I freak the eff out. I’ve been in the hospital 24 hours at this point, laboring for 12 hours, my induction has failed, I’m going to the OR and my ILs are doing the very thing I asked them not to do. Hubby just looks at me and shrugs because he has a hard time telling his parents no. So I tell him to call them back and tell them not to come. I tell him to tell them we don’t know how long it will take, how long I will be in recovery, I want to nurse the baby first, and as it is 6PM already, visiting hours end at 9 and they might drive 1.5 hours and not be able to see the baby. My nurse overhears this and says, “oh they’ll let them come see you.” I looked her dead in the eye and snapped- “They live 1.5 hours away. They can come first thing in the morning and stay all day if they want. But they do not need to come tonight.” Somehow hubby talked them into staying home. Good thing too b/c my OB was delivering another baby, so it was an hour before we left for the OR and she wasn’t born until 8:25 PM. I didn’t see her in recovery until after 9:30 PM and then she didn’t come to the room until after 1 AM. Honestly, I’d have been really pissed if they’d been there and gotten to see her in the nursery before I held her and tried to nurse her.
    We did get fussed at for a bit because we didn’t call soon enough for everyone’s liking (but no cell service in OR or recovery to call). Apparently, my FIL called the hospital, but all they would tell him was that I was in recovery or wherever, but nothing else. And for all the fuss my ILs made about seeing the baby right away, they didn’t show up until after lunch time the next day. I kind of wish my parents could have been there earlier the next day (they live 8 hours away), so they could have seen her sooner, but that’s my only regret. My mom worked as a night on call nurse at the time, so she was up anyway and I was on the phone with her at 2 AM describing the wonder of my baby to her. It is a really sweet memory.
    Any future babies’ arrivals will likely be of the scheduled variety, but most likely my parents will come in and stay with oldest child(ren) and bring them to the hospital for the first visits.
    All that to say- stick to your guns and have the delivery and visitors you want. Enlist the nurses (and you can remind them, as I did, what your wishes are), you can opt out of the hospital directory if you like so if anyone calls the hospital will give out limited or no information. You can tell them that you will call when you go to the hospital, text with updates and you won’t be answering calls. (Also, I shut both mine and hubby’s Facebook walls down- I wanted announcements about baby to come from us only. I meant to let my sister access my wall and announce as though it were from me, but I forgot and didn’t get around to it.)

  60. Liz Dec 13 at 11:50 pm Reply Reply

    If they can’t be trusted not to come if you don’t want them at the hospital, don’t call.

  61. Kmac Dec 14 at 9:02 am Reply Reply

    It seems like comments are pretty evenly divided, and the determining factor seems to be the relationship you have with your parents. My first thought upon reading the question was that of course it’s absolutely your right to have no one there, but to not even call your parents to let them know? That seems hurtful and selfish. But I guess I’m coming from the place where I have such a good relationship with my parents, and know that even if I hadn’t wanted them there (which I did, and they were great), they would’ve respected those boundaries.

    I guess, in the end, you just have to do what you and your husband feel you can live with.

  62. Corinne Dec 14 at 9:58 am Reply Reply

    I definitely knew I didn’t want anyone but my husband in the room, but I agree with Amy, don’t think “oh I won’t want anyone there for a full day so I can bond” I progressed too quickly and by the time I knew I was in labor, I was complete and they were rushing me to the delivery room so I didn’t get to call anyone until over an hour after the baby was born. And I didn’t get a single visitor until a full 12 hours later (in fact, my MIL, made it to the hospital in Illinois from FLORIDA a mere hour after my in town parents) and I was bored out of my mind. The baby was sleeping a ton, my husband was wiped (and yes, wandering around looking for snacks and coffee) and I was WIRED! from the whole thing. I wanted people to talk to, I wanted family to visit, I wanted people to come and tell me how adorable my baby was, because surely he was the most perfect and adorable newborn EVER.

  63. Shera Dec 14 at 10:18 am Reply Reply

    I have to say that I disagree with the commenters that equate not calling your family immediately when you go into labor as not having a good relationship with them. My husband and I love our family very much and were excited to share our new daughter with them, but, like I commented above, we wanted the labor, delivery, and first few hours to ourselves. We were immediately innundated with family after that, so those few hours on our own were very precious.

  64. RJ Dec 14 at 11:09 am Reply Reply

    Wow, OP here. Amy, thank you so much for answering my question and thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the comments. My husband and I read through everything and it was really helpful to hear everyone’s stories, especially as first timers.

    I do love my parents and they aren’t toxic, just boundary stompers (Mom), which can be kindling to the fire, especially since I have always been very independent and wanting to do things on my own, thankyouverymuch.

    I *think* what will happen at this point is that we will let them know when we are in L&D, with the caveat that our phones will be shut off and if they don’t hear anything from us for however long – to not freak out, not to call in the paratroopers, and not to imagine the worst (although I think this will be especially difficult for my Mom). But if my dad really just wants the information so he can plan his week, I will give it to him. Also, in case he can’t hold back the hurricane force that is my Mom, I will be registering as a private/no information patient. Today, I feel OK with this plan.

    I keep oscillating, perhaps because I am just waiting for these labor contractions to start any time now, and need something to think about. But the plan above seems like a good way to go. Fortunately, my sweet husband said it doesn’t matter to him what we do, he just wants to do whatever I want and considers himself the enforcer. Go DH!

    Thanks again for the advice and stories, I (and DH) truly appreciate it.

  65. Simone Dec 14 at 11:42 am Reply Reply

    One last thought with something that helped us set some expectations and boundaries with two sets of excited families–my husband drafted an email that, using extremely diplomatic wording, explained our plans and feelings and let people know how we felt about certain things (for instance, male relatives in the room when I was nursing etc). Just having it all laid out in one place and said in a way that left no room for argument seemed to help, and it gave us some peace and a sense that we would get to do what felt right to us at the time. Personally, I don’t think there’s a right way or a wrong way to involve your family after you have your baby–just do what is right for you and what you need. Because once this baby arrives, your family has been redefined and the kid is the #1 priority, whether extended family members agree or not!

  66. Emily Dec 14 at 4:07 pm Reply Reply

    I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to handle the situation, and it’s entirely up to you, as the parents. For my husand and I, we kept most of the information regarding the entire pregnancy private. We obviously shared the due date, but beyond that, we didn’t let on that we had a scheduled induction, or anything else. On the big day, we went to the hospital without calling anyone and only called once our son was born. Then we told everyone our big news, and let them know that they could come visit later that evening. For us, that worked. If our parents were offended, they didn’t give any clues to that. We had a ton of guests at the hospital, but once we were home we disconnected the phone and asked everyone to stay away for a week. We wanted that time to ourselves, and it was great. After that, we both felt ready to share our little guy with the rest of the family! At the end of the day, it’s up to you – and you only need to do what feels right to you and your husband.
    .

  67. JenVegas Dec 14 at 5:16 pm Reply Reply

    Yeah, I think Amy is spot on with this one. It’s not nice to keep your parents in the dark. Just make sure they, and the hospital staff know you don’t want any visitors. Anyone you don’t want in your room the staff will definitely keep out of your room. Seriously, call your mama. You’re going to be a mama now, you’ll want the same respect I think.

  68. Minneapolisite Dec 14 at 11:06 pm Reply Reply

    I gave birth to my first child in October. I didn’t want our families there, but I wasn’t opposed to calling my mom to let her know I was in labor… however, the “lighter” labor happened in the middle of the night and by the time it was a decent hour for making phone calls, I was in SERIOUS FOR REALZ LABOR OMG. It was a long painful labor with back labor, Pitocin, and no pain meds. Trust me, there wasn’t time to make phone calls. We called them several hours after our son was born (the first grandchild on both sides of the family). They felt like they had missed out on the excitement, but they respected that labor and delivery was NOT ABOUT THEM and they were so thrilled to be grandparents that they didn’t try to make it about them, somehow. If anyone’s parents try to turn the birth of a grandchild into a ME ME ME event, they deserve to be kept in the dark.

  69. Sarah Dec 15 at 7:29 am Reply Reply

    OP–I just saw your update and want to encourage you in your plan. You’re including them, but still getting your privacy. Sounds like the best of both worlds! And now that THAT’S done, come on out baby! :)

  70. Tracy Dec 15 at 2:21 pm Reply Reply

    I’m going to disagree with Amy only because she seems to be working on the assumption that all parents are well-meaning, if occasionally misguided, and can be trusted to do the right thing if you make them say “I promise.” And this is not true. Even well-meaning, loving, caring parents can stomp all over you and make any experience a disaster.

    I’m not speaking from personal experience. We called our parents when my water broke, and my mom was there at the birth.

    Also? Do NOT assume all nurses will be willing and able to act as guards. Some will, and that’s awesome. Some will be too busy, and some will simply think it’s “mean” to not let people wander into your room – after all, they drove all the way over here, and they’re faaaaamily! And if they know you’re there, it’s not a HIPAA violation for a nurse to decline to bar them from your room. Just sayin’.

  71. Erin Dec 17 at 2:28 pm Reply Reply

    Totally in agreement with Amy. I think there is some kind of pregnancy mama-bear instinct that makes some people want to go crawl into a closet and give birth in secret like a cat – that is exactly how I felt when I was expecting my first, and I was VERY adamant that my in-laws not rush to the hospital as soon as I had a contraction, like they wanted to do. I didn’t even really want people to VISIT for a few days… and then I had the baby and I didn’t really care about anything like that. 

    Your nurses absolutely CAN and SHOULD be enlisted as your front lines against unwanted visitors. That is part of their job and they’re happy to do it. Your husband can also run interference, and if you really need extra support you could consider a labor and/or postpartum doula too. Don’t stress, outsource.

  72. Genevieve Dec 18 at 12:09 am Reply Reply

    Grandparents can be well-meaning but not conscious of boundaries. I think with a first child, it is important to establish boundaries with grandparents so that hopefully there will be less stress/fewer hurt feelings down the road.

    As for me, my inlaws lived thousands of miles/multiple time zones away and my own Mother lives a couple of hours away (and in either cases due to work/weather) was unable to be there right away. Which was all all right. We let my inlaws and my Mom know that we were in labor about the time I was ready to push. (labor began in the middle of the night so I didn’t want to wake anyone) The second time around, my sister who was watching my first child, let our families know what was up. (I have a history of fast labor)

    Yet there was respect for our time/space that was needed after the births. If you have family with issues with boundaries, it makes sense to keep them at a slight distance so you can do what you need to do.

  73. Stephanie Dec 19 at 6:24 pm Reply Reply

    Did not read anyone elses, sorry if it echoes in here.
    So. We told NOBODY with either one of our children. My parents are HELLA PUSHY and would have come into the delivery room and watched me squeeze them outta my vag if I hadn’t put my foot firmly down. It’s caused some hurt feelings but it’s MY FAMILY, MY BABY, MY HUSBAND and we need bonding time. And hello, I just squished 9 pounds out of my vag. Give me some downtime. Once we got home and settled in I called everyone and told them to come meet their grandson. Case in point though, I just had to have half of my thyroid removed due to cancer. I specifically asked my stepmother not to be there, repeatedly, made my wishes known that I didn’t want ANYONE up there. She showed up and lurked around the waiting room for 12 hours anyway, since I didn’t have anyone to run defense for me. It depends on your family and yours sounds alot like mine. It’s your day and your family’s day, don’t be afraid to stomp your foot a little bit. They’ll get over it after the first time they hold their grandbaby.

  74. ERika Dec 21 at 3:13 am Reply Reply

    I didn’t really read responses either, so take it for what it’s worth, but much like Amy: I wanted my MOMMY. Not because of pain or anything, but at 3am when we finally made the decision to have the C-section and she was 1800 miles away from me, I called her, woke her up and cried into the phone about having to have a C. She was the sole person that I wanted to talk to at that time. And now, 2 years later, we understand each other and get each other in a better way than I could have ever imagined.

    It should be said that I sent a “ground rules” email to the family and some friends (the friends were just so my mom wouldn’t think she was being singled out!) before we got to labor b/c i was sure she would be annoying. But it turned out to be the opposite. My sister (childless) turned out to be the annoyance and my mom totally got me. It’s weird how it all shakes out in the end. Good luck! I hope baby is here and you’re all full of joy, joy, joy!!

  75. Antje Dec 28 at 3:34 am Reply Reply

    Just do whatever you feel like doing, as long as you think through how people will react and are prepared to live with that reaction.

    We hadn’t really thought this one through ahead of time, since our family is more or less reasonable about these things, but here’s what we did:  I went into labour at 2:30AM, and didn’t feel like it was worth waking anyone up at that point.  I didn’t even wake my husband until 5:30AM.  By the time it was a reasonable hour to phone people, I was in no state to be phoning anyone, and I wanted my husband to be paying complete attention to me and not getting dragged into a lengthy chat with his talkative parents.  In the moment, I felt like I just wanted to focus on the task at hand and not worry about anyone else sitting at home waiting for me to be finished already.  I’m silly that way.

    We did phone our parents within an hour of the birth and invited them to come meet their first grandchild, which they did a few hours later.  They were a bit surprised that we hadn’t phoned even when we went to the hospital, but it was not a big deal in the long run.  I wouldn’t change a thing if I had to do it all over again.

  76. Kristie Jan 01 at 3:22 pm Reply Reply

    I totally disagree with the response she gave above.
    You do what you want.  If you don’t want them there, say so.
    I didn’t want any family to come, but my hubby gave them the code.  I ended up with 12 people in my tiny room, about 6 hours after delivery.  I wanted a shower.  I didn’t want people.  So yes, the people will come anyway.  But what the people need to realize is you have nurses whose job it is is to be there to help you.  They know how you feel, they deal with it on a daily basis.  When you get home is when you would want visitors.  When you want a shower, but the baby is fussy. That is when visitors are a blessing.
    With my first, we didn’t call anyone until after she was born.  And that was because I didn’t know I was in labor.  Our families were so surprised to hear about our little girl, way after the fact.
    But most important, talk with your nurses, and they should do what you want.  You are the one paying them, your parents are not.  Enjoy the birth of your baby!

  77. Erica Douglas Jan 03 at 12:24 pm Reply Reply

    Oh. Oh, wow.

    I absolutely refused to have my inlaws in the hospital, let alone the delivery room and thankfully my husband backed me up 100%. They drive him even crazier than they drive me.
    I asked inlaws if they wanted me to wait til a reasonable hour to let them know the baby arrived or to call asap and FiL said he wanted to know immediately and MiL said we could wait and not to wake her up in the night. Since they’re still (happily?) married, I wasn’t sure how we were going to wake one and not the other, but thankfully Baby arrived at 9 am. I called the inlaws about 9:30, because I was so excited to have Baby that I wanted to share my joy with everyone. MiL’s first question was, “What time did you get to the hospital and why didn’t you call us then?”
    I am calling you NOW to tell you that you have a brand-new granddaughter (after months of not revealing the baby’s gender because we didn’t know it ourselves) and you want to know what time we got there, not when the baby was born, not the baby’s name, not the baby’s gender. The time. Really? That’s what’s important?
    Anyway. I could not have done labor with inlaws down the hall in the waiting room. I am so relieved that we didn’t call them til the baby arrived and we will absolutely do it the same way if we are so blessed as to have a next time.
    My mom, on the other hand, was there every minute. If my aunts and female cousins lived less than a thousand miles away, they’d be welcome too. Even my sister-in-law (Husband’s brother’s wife) would be more welcome than MiL and FiL.
    It all comes down to personality and supportiveness. If your family will support you and encourage you, by all means, let them know. If they will stress you out in ANY WAY, SHAPE or FORM, disinvite. NO ONE needs to know when you’re in labor. Labor is such an intense time. You only want people there that you WANT.
    It is true that at the moment, you won’t care who sees you naked, but labor should be reserved for those who will HELP you, not annoy you.

  78. jess Jan 22 at 8:02 pm Reply Reply

    I think you know your family best if you think they are going to be more of a stressful burden being there dont have them there. Im going through the same thing except with sisters not my mother. I like the idea of having mum there because of the type of person she is but only you know your mum if shes over powering dont have her there it will stress you out and could have a affect on baby to =) Good luck

  79. Madelyn Apr 12 at 1:58 am Reply Reply

    I’m a little confused, only because it said she moved to the west coast to be near her family? If you have an awful relationship with your family, and truly don’t want them to ruin the experience for you, then of course you can feel free to leave them out of the loop! But if you moved specifically to be close to them, it seems like you have a good relationship?

    If it’s really important to your mom, as in it’s an emotional experience for her too, then I would let her at least be in the waiting room. She doesn’t have to come near the delivery room, but she will at least be in the vicinity if – God forbid – something were to go wrong.

    Think of all the focus you and your husband have had on this little human being you’ve carried for the past 40 weeks… for your mom and dad once, that was you! They associate the happiness and excitement of labor and delivery with you and how special your birth was for them. I think it’s only natural that, (assuming you do have a good relationship with them), they would want to at least be in the waiting room while you delivered. 

  80. April_H Aug 28 at 1:55 pm Reply Reply

    Go with your instincts!!!

    My instincts were similar to yours, my mom can be very overbearing. I had a really good, open honest talk with her with week I went I to labor and thought she would be supportive & respectful. WRONG!

    We told all the parents our expectations, and told them we will tell them when we are in labor, and we will also tell them when we are ready for visitors – it will be at LEAST an hour after the baby is born.

    My mom made everything about her. It was a nightmare. My memory of my child’s birth will forever be overwhelmed with the thought of my mother being overbearing, domineering, bossy and passive aggressive.  In hindsight, I realize it was just too much excitement for her, and I don’t think she has the capacity to handle such intense events in a respectful  manner. She needed someone else to manage the situation. She needed boundaries much like a small child or teenager would. My baby was in the NICU for 3 hours. I went to see my parents in the waiting room, told them the baby and I were about to (finally) be set up in a recovery room, and we still needed another 30 to 60 minutes. I had held my baby for all of 5 minutes after she was born and was desperate to hold her again, and finally have skin to skin, and attempt breastfeeding. 3 minutes later my mom found us in the hall, made the nurse who was pushing the bassinet stop, tried to take pictures, wouldn’t stop gushing with over-excitement, told me “you can wait one minute,” when I said “mom please,” and then pouted for a full hour because my dad got a picture and she didn’t. (I let them in to my recovery room 15 minutes later). 

     YOU know yourself and YOU know your mother. Go with your instincts.

  81. April_H Aug 28 at 2:03 pm Reply Reply

    (Sorry, one more thing).

    Things were so rocky with my mom following the baby’s birth. and I was so hormonal that for the first 2 weeks, just thinking about my mom have me intense anxiety. I felt deeply and severely betrayed, and she never recognized that she had done anything remotely wrong.  I thought I owed it to her to let her visit the baby, so I had my husband visit with her while I hid in our bedroom when she came over.  I truly believe that if we had waited to call her until we were ready for her, our relationship would be much more healthy and stable today. 

  82. Melissa Sep 05 at 2:33 pm Reply Reply

    Thank you for writing this! The question and the answer both. I am having the same sort of anxiety (I was due 9 days ago), and this was very helpful for me to read! xo

  83. Mindy Sep 10 at 12:27 pm Reply Reply

    So I need advice from all you moms out there. I am due any day now and have the unfortunate timing of in-laws. My father-in-law, brother-in-law, and uncle-in-law are all coming to stay at my place for a month while they do a job they bid on. I like my father-in-law but can barely tolerate the other two for more then a day. They are all going to be staying in the basement so far enough away from the bedroom and baby’s room. I am anxious though about their bachelor ways making my place a mess and having to babysit them while I’m learning to be a mom when the baby comes. My husband says they will help with the food and it will all be fine, but I am very skeptical and feel like I’m about to be smothered when all I wanted was just my husband, baby and I for the first little bit. Am I going to be too over bearing if I lay out house rules and how do I not blow my top if they finish my last gal of milk with out replenishing it? HELP! P.s. There are no hotels within a 30 min drive of the job, so that is why they are staying at our place. Also they are slobs at their place, and I try to keep a fairly clean place.

  84. Ann Oct 12 at 2:00 am Reply Reply

    For thousand of years mothers, grandmothers have been present for the daughters and granddaughter’s births. I was present when my niece gave birth. It was a great joy and a privilege and brought her and I close together. 
    Although I understand the need for privacy.
    There is a common thread here of selfishness. How will these mother’s feel when one day they will not be included.

  85. Shelby Oct 20 at 3:32 pm Reply Reply

    I know this is late, but I feel the same way the asker does regarding not telling anyone that we are in labor.
    I love my parents to death but my mother can be very pushy. When I moved out it was hell trying to get my social security card and other documents from her because she refused to give them to me. She’s even asked me for a copy of a key to my house. As far as our baby goes, she’s already invited herself over to stay in our guestroom for the first week or so.
    With all of what has happened in the past, I do feel like my mother would show up at the hospital if I notified her. The difference for me is that I have specifically asked to be able to roam freely, so I won’t be in my L&D room the entire time. Even if the nurses kept visitors out of the room, I would possibly run into them as I’m walking around.
    The reason this bothers me so much is that I have decided since day 1 that I wanted a completely natural labor. Both of my parents have told me they doubt that I will do it. When I am in labor I only want people who truly believe in me 100% and want for me to have a natural labor as well, which is my husband. My parents already having suggested that I get an epidural would most likely tell me to “just get some pain medication” while I’m labor, which would really upset me.
    I feel the same way about breastfeeding as well. I want time to have skin to skin contact with my baby and be able to breastfeed her as soon as she would want to. I don’t want anyone hovering over me trying to hold her or watching me trying to breastfeed for the first time, other than my husband.
    Having said all of this, I will probably end up telling my parents when I go to the hospital, not first thing when I go into labor. I will give them a chance and if they end up showing up then I’ll have to get defensive and strict with them at that time, which may end up hurting their feelings but they didn’t honor what I requested so what can they expect me to do. 
    I’ll then call them when it’s okay to come visit, which from what I’ve been thinking may be an hour to two hours after delivery. As for my mother wanting to spend the night for a week after birth, I’ve already told her that we are not looking to have any overnight guests stay with us.
    Hope this helps someone in the future. Don’t feel bad, just do what you need to do. Everyone’s parents and relationships with their parents is different and you know their personalities better than anyone else.
    This is critical time with your baby and you don’t want any additional stress! Do what your instincts tell you to do at the time and if your parents ask what your plans are in regards to informing them, just tell them you’re going to play it by ear. They’ve already had a chance to experience birthing a baby (you!) so you deserve your own experience as well. They will be able to visit with their grandchild quite frequently, it just may not be immediately.

  86. Guess What Dec 19 at 1:26 pm Reply Reply

    My daughter in-law is in the hospital right now with our new granddaughter and did not call us to say they were going. We found out after the baby was born her mother was there but we were not allowed to visit. We didn’t want to be there for the whole labor,delivery thing but would love to see our new granddaughter. They always call for help when somethng need fixing at the house. We are very hurt still haven’t heard from them today we don’t even know the babys name. We had talked about changing our retirement plan due to this new baby but if this is how it’s going to be I think we should go ahead with our orginal plans

  87. Heather Dec 23 at 8:45 pm Reply Reply

    When my oldest was born, my ex-husband and I called both of our parents; I was only 22, and scared to death, I wanted my mom there.  I was induced, and my active labor started, that was when we made the call.  My mother was there for the delivery, but my former in law’s got there about five minutes before, and due to hospital policy, could not come in because the max number of people in the room had been met.  
    My oldest son was born around 9:30 in the morning.  My former in-laws did not leave until 9:30 that night.  I tried to breastfeed my son, but between the bm he had had before he was born, the suctioning the nurses had to do before I could even hold him and the fact that my former in-laws only left the room for 20 minutes when the nurse finally insisted, my son never latched on.  

    With my daughter, we called my parents and again, my mom (who also stresses me out under most circumstances) was in the room, and this time, we did not call my ex’s parents until a few hours after she was born.  I knew they would not have followed our wishes  to stay away until we said otherwise.  

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