Setting boundaries for birth

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a set of birth preferences for medical intervention during my labour and delivery. My husband and I also have set some boundaries with family and friends.

During labour, we really don’t want anyone with us except our doula. I’ve also decided that I may not let anyone know when I’ve gone into labour or headed to the hospital. My family can be quite overwhelming when there is excitement happening (translation: my dad will send 20 text messages in 5 minutes). I don’t want family distracting us and nagging for updates.

My MIL mentioned that she was willing to come and sit in the waiting room in Labour and Delivery to provide support to my husband. She didn’t realize we have a doula (which is a whole other topic), but my husband declined her offer.

I’ve always wanted my labour experience to be a special moment between my husband and I. Even before we started trying to conceive, I never envisioned having a friend or even my own mother there.

As for visitation after birth, we aren’t sure if we will allow visitors at the hospital. If all goes well, we hope to be discharged within 24 hours. We’ d like to take that time as a family to bond with our son, get started comfortably with breastfeeding and prepare for coming home.

Right now, we’ve told local family and friends that we will let them know when they can come meet the baby, but that it may not be until we are settled at home. My husband is a bit worried that a few people may just show up. I agree with him that if we aren’t allowing his parents to see the baby right away that we shouldn’t allow anyone else to either. I just hope that people respect our wishes and we will be communicating them to the nursing staff.

If we change our minds, we change our minds. If baby is doing well and I’m feeling comfortable breastfeeding, we may call up family to come by for a quick visit. But for now, we’d like our privacy to enjoy the first day of our son’s life with him.

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22 thoughts on “Setting boundaries for birth

  1. We spent the first two hours alone, and my husband was the only one in the delivery room, it was lovely. After that I didn’t mind sharing her a bit. It was after I got home that I wanted everyone to leave me alone.

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  2. I think it makes sense and you can always play it by ear the day of and see how you feel. My DH actually didn’t want anyone in the hospital visiting us but because I am having a c-section and will be there for 48-72 hours to me it seemed like overkill not to have at least our parents visit at some point during that time. So we agreed we’d have our parents and siblings (if they want/are available) drop in, just not immediately.

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  3. My plans and preferences around visitors and breastfeeding are similar to yours. I just need my private time with DW to take it all in and process the event before having to entertain guests. I don’t think it’s wrong to want to enjoy the first few days alone with your baby- from baby’s perspective, too many guests/noises/smells/lights/ being passed around might be stressful too. So far, baby only knows you- and from the inside, not even yet from the outside. Especially if hubby’s family is not pro-breastfeeding, it might be tough to establish and feel good about a routine with baby B. Hospital stays aren’t like they used to be. My mom and my MIL said their natural vaginal non-complicated births had a mandatory 1 week hospital stay- so a visit at the hospital by family and friends had a very different context. They were probably bored, people probably didn’t show up the first day, and baby was “protected” in a nursery room where no one was handling him/her.

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    • I’ve been reading Ina May Gaskin’s guide to Breastfeeding. One fascinating thing I’ve learned is how many of our modern day birthing practises are actually related to the 1950-1960s when things were so different. We really need Western society to reevaluate how things should be done now based on new research and birth preferences.

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  4. I was very much like you in terms of visitors. We told our parents it would just be the two of us for the birth. Then we said immediate family only at the hospital. The only visitors we had were my parents, her parents and my brother. I did end up allowing my mom to pop in while I was in labor because I’d been having some complications and she was really worried. Plus, honestly at that point I kind of wanted my mom which is REALLY weird for me. She only stayed for an hour or so and then she left. I think it’s really important to set boundaries like this.

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  5. Here in Finland, you are allowed (generally) only 1 support person. These days a doula is also allowed. My first deliver only hubby and the midwife was there. And at the last second another midwife came in to help. Hubby’s parents came to visit for a short bit later that day (or was it the next). And then one friend visited. It was nice to have her there. with our daughter, we had a doula and two midwives the whole time (i think). No grandparents came to visit this time (MIL was out of the country), and only 1 friend plus hubby with our son came to visit. while ti was nice to have it so low key, it would have been nice to have maybe 1-2 others come visit. I was in the hospital 3 days each time.

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  6. We have been round and round on this topic as well! I would like to do the same as you and perhaps have no hospital visitors. I certainly don’t want anyone else in there for delivery but my husband. The thought of people waiting in a waiting room gives me anxiety!

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  7. Not to freak you out, but my delivery room was a bloody mess. Quite literally. And I lost a “normal” amount of blood. It would have been so awkward and gross to have visitors come to that room. At bare minimum, I’d say no visitors til you’ve moved over to the recovery side and are settled in your new room.

    I don’t think you’ll regret limiting visitors as you can always change your mind and call people to come over (and they’ll show up in a flash). There’s greater potential to be overwhelmed with visitors and wish you had limited them.

    We had only family visit in the first week. My sisters at the hospital. My parents the next day at home. And hubby’s parents the following two days. So not everyone came at the same time. That was nice.

    So excited for you! 🙂

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  8. I think it’s good that you’re on the same page. Not sure if it’s like this in Canada, but in the states if you allow visitors while you’re in labor they could end up in the “delivery room” by “accident” bc it’s all the same room….which to me would be a nightmare. I think we’ve decided to do what youre going to, and not even tell people until after she’s here….so it can be just us. John’s parents want to be in the waiting room, but I think that will make me really anxious.

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  9. I sort of had a feeling I’d end up having a c-section. I didn’t hope for it, but I felt it coming. Anyway- I didn’t want anyone there either. Especially during, or immediately after birth. I didn’t want my husband worrying about his family on the lobby, I wanted his full attention. Selfish? Maybe. I don’t care. My mother was so worried that I would go into labor and not tell her. I did have a c-section, 1st thing in the morning, scheduled the day before, so we knew. I had gestational diabetes and Oliver was breech most of my pregnancy. Anyway, he was born at 8:01 am, I let my mom come around 2, and other family came around 5. The next day, we had zero visitors. The 3rd day I went home. It worked out fine that way for us. I totally get it. This is your day, your baby and your plan! Good for you!

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  10. At our hospital you are only allowed 2 during labour (hubby and doula) and for 2 hours before birth. There’s also no waiting room, just the regular old hospital annex. We were like you. Labour was a private event for just the two of us. We had my Mom as a second in case I had a long labour but only so she could spell my husband if he needed to fuel up. Luckily my labour was relatively short so we didn’t need her.

    I was the opposite though with regard to visitors. I wanted them all to come to the hospital!! I wanted to get those initial visits out of the way in a neutral area where they had a finite amount of time to stay, no one could expect me or hubby to wait on them and the nurses would shoo them out for breastfeeding. I was also flying so high on adrenalin and oxytocin and that hormonal mess that I wanted to show off my babe ASAP! And then when we finally got home on day 3 (normal, vaginal birth but baby lost 8.5% birth weight when the cutoff is 8% so we had to stay) I didn’t let anyone come over at all. We really enjoyed our bonding at home at that point.

    Another perk of the hospital – no one expected me to look my best, I let the hospital feed me and do my laundry and there was tons of breastfeeding help. I know this sounds crazy but it was kind of awesome.

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