Who do you deny access to your birthing room? Who should be there while you’re delivering? Did you know that in the old days women not only labored alone, but delivered alone too. No husband, no mom, just the woman, her doctor, and nurses. Wow! How times have changed!
Today, dads are expected to be present during labor and delivery. Also present might be grandparents, in-laws, siblings, friends, doulas and other interested persons. Then you can expect your doctor/midwife, one or two nurses, and perhaps a resident, medical student or student nurse, as well as a team of providers for the baby. Sometimes that adds up to about 15 people! That is one crowded and chaotic room!
When we had Myles, I feel like EVERYONE was there at some point in time. Both mine and Adam’s immediate family were present for the full 2 days I was in labor. My mom and Adam stayed in the room with me for the majority of my labor only stepping out to grab food, use the bathroom, etc. From what I remember, my Dad and brother slept in the truck that was parked in the parking garage all night the second night. Adams parents and sister slept in the waiting room. All coming and going at random points in time. I can recall never being uncomfortable with anyone being in the room. We are pretty close with our families and the midwives always asked if I wanted anyone to step out or if anyone wanted to step out before checking my cervix. Adam was the only person in the operating room with me when Myles was born via cesarean section (hospital rules). Then after he had made his debut, our extended family and friends all came to the hospital to meet baby Myles. Thankfully it was staggered, and looking back on it now, I sometimes feel terrible because I was so doped up and tired that I don’t even remember a lot of people that were there! My grandparents, Adam’s cousins, both our siblings and parents, our best friends, the list goes on and on. We never had any issue with anyone being there and enjoyed the company. There was no one there that we didn’t consider our close family so it was never uncomfortable. I can, however, see why some choose to restrict it as you are just flat out exhausted and don’t feel like “hosting”. The great thing about our family is that there was no worry about entertaining. As a matter of fact, I slept A LOT while company was in the room!
When deciding who will be present during the birth of your child, the first thing to do is to find out what your hospital’s limitations are. Most hospitals have a limit to how many are allowed in the room at a time during labor, during delivery, and even after the baby is born. I think the majority keep it to two or three guests at a time during labor and delivery.
Talk it out with your spouse. Once you know how many people are allowed to be in your delivery room at one time, you and your partner should have a serious talk about who (if anyone) you want sharing the experience with you. Would your mom (or your partner’s) be a helpful, supportive presence or add tension to the room? Do you want visitors before the baby arrives? This decision is COMPLETELY up to you!
Now’s the time to be completely frank about what you’re comfortable with. Maybe the whole family is welcome as long as they stay near the head of the bed, or you’re totally fine with your little brother witnessing “the miracle of life” at close range. Perhaps you want your best friend in the room to tell you if everything went normal “down there” because she would know after 5 kids! Just be sure to establish the ground rules ahead of time and don’t assume your partner (or anyone else) can read your mind on where you want the guests to be allowed.
Don’t count out the possibility of a C-section. In your conversations about labor and delivery, don’t forget about the possibility of a C-section birth. Whether you know that your baby is breech or you require an emergency surgery, most hospitals allow only one person in the operating room during a C-section, so discuss ahead of time who will support you through surgery.
Children aren’t always a no-no. Surprisingly, kids may not automatically be excluded from the delivery room, especially if you’re delivering at a birth center. Not my thing, but to each their own. Some mommas want their children to witness the birth of a sibling. Make sure if this is something you are considering, you have another adult (not pregnant mom or birthing partner/coach) to take care of the child in case of an emergency.
Hiring a birth photographer? Find one who has worked with the facility where you’re delivering and is familiar with its rules. Many hospitals now welcome birth photographers, although some prohibit the use of recorders or any filming at the exact moment of birth. Make sure your photographer is aware of your wants and that they need to be aware of where the delivery team is and not accidentally come between you and your team.
Reserve the right to change your mind. If you decide at the last minute that your mother is driving you nuts and can’t be in the delivery room one more second, it’s your right to change your mind. You don’t have to be the one to hurt her feelings by kicking her out of the room; your nurse or doctor will be happy to do it for you. Simply pull your nurse aside and explain the situation to her.
I found these fun facts while looking up what others thought about guests in the delivery room on thebump.com:
98.4% of users want to share this intimate bonding experience with a spouse or partner…
“I was pretty strict about NO guests in the delivery room (besides my partner). I can’t imagine someone not intimately involved in the process of creating the child being in the room during the birth!” …while some worry that hubby could be a little clueless “My husband’s been warned that he’s out as soon as he begins comparing me to livestock or anything that happens at our ranch!”
29.5% want the experience and support of parents or in-laws…
“Beforehand, I told my mom that I wanted it to be my husband and me. But when the time came and she left the room, I wanted her back in. She’d been through this before and was so encouraging! My husband ran after her, and she started bawling when he asked her to come back.” …though they’re also known to commit some of the worst sins “I kicked my father out of the delivery room when he asked, ‘So…how exactly do contractions feel?’ while I was right in the middle of one. We laughed afterward, but at that moment, I wanted to kill him!”
9% like the comfort of siblings…
“My sister is my very best friend, and since she already has a child, she was really able to help me through it. I’ll be in the delivery room with her when she has her next one.” …but be careful: some brothers and sisters make themselves too comfortable “My sister not only took a picture of me while I was in labor, she keeps giving me copies of it for my birthday! Gee, just what I wanted.”
4.9% found laid-back, low-maintenance friends the best option
“I’m inviting my best friend because I know she won’t expect me to talk to her, but she will be there for me.”
10.2% invited someone else altogether — the latest trend: doulas and labor coaches
“I had only a doula, who massaged my head and told me exactly what was going on during my c-section. She was a dream. My husband was banned (I didn’t want him to view the birth lest it spoil our sex life). So I took care of myself, and I heartily recommend it to every future mommy.”
If someone shows up you don’t want there, have the nurse tell them that there is a two person rule and there are already two in the room. By placing the blame on hospital regulations, you’ll be able to sidestep any possible hurt feelings.
Don’t be afraid to make your wants known BEFORE the big day comes! If you know that you only want your husband there until you get to the recovery room, then let it be known that your family can visit once you arrive home.
Who do you plan on having in your room? Please share your thoughts with us!!