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Labor & Delivery Turf Wars

Labor & Delivery Turf Wars

By Amalah

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

Amazon Mom

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

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 Ama...

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 [email protected].

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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Ang
Guest
Ang

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… Read more »

Melanie
Guest
Melanie

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… Read more »

Stephanie
Guest
Stephanie

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… Read more »

Kat
Guest
Kat

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… Read more »

karen
Guest
karen

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… Read more »

a different Amy
Guest
a different Amy

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… Read more »

Laura B.
Guest

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… Read more »

liv
Guest
liv

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… Read more »

Jeannie
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Jeannie

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… Read more »

MR
Guest
MR

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… Read more »

Jenn
Guest
Jenn

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… Read more »

l
Guest
l

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… Read more »

Corinne
Guest

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… Read more »

Anon
Guest
Anon

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… Read more »

IrishCream
Guest
IrishCream

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… Read more »

Sara
Guest
Sara

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… Read more »

Also Anon
Guest
Also Anon

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… Read more »

Katie
Guest
Katie

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… Read more »

Apple
Guest
Apple

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.… Read more »

Charity
Guest
Charity

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… Read more »

Hi, I'm Natalie.
Guest

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… Read more »

EW
Guest
EW

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.

Kimm
Guest
Kimm

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… Read more »

heidikins
Guest

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… Read more »

Jen
Guest

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,… Read more »

Joanne
Guest
Joanne

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… Read more »

anna
Guest
anna

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… Read more »

Ashley
Guest
Ashley

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… Read more »

Kimberly
Guest
Kimberly

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… Read more »

Olivia
Guest
Olivia

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… Read more »

Jenn
Guest
Jenn

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… Read more »

Betsy
Guest
Betsy

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… Read more »

Nancy
Guest
Nancy

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.

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

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… Read more »

Myriam
Guest
Myriam

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… Read more »

Allison
Guest
Allison

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… Read more »

Becki
Guest
Becki

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… Read more »

Joy
Guest
Joy

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… Read more »

Ladotyk
Guest
Ladotyk

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!

Ness
Guest
Ness

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… Read more »

Michele
Guest
Michele

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… Read more »

Mama Bub
Guest

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.

aj
Guest
aj

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… Read more »

Elizabeth
Guest
Elizabeth

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… Read more »

Hillary
Guest
Hillary

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!

IrishCream
Guest
IrishCream

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… Read more »

Shera
Guest
Shera

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… Read more »

Erin
Guest
Erin

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… Read more »

kiki
Guest
kiki

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… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

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… Read more »