Who did (will) you invite to the birth? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-12-2010, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DH and I are expecting our first in April, and are planning to deliver at a freestanding birth center. We have been discussing who to invite to join us, and at this point, I think we are both leaning towards no one but us. The people who may or may not be invited are my mother, his mother, and my best friend. We love all of these people very much, and of course want them to join us in our joy, but the more we (I) think about it, the more we (I) like the idea of the labor and birth being attended only by me, DH, and the midwives. I say "I" because I'm the one with the stronger feelings. DH is on the fence, but is also feeling like we should go it alone. The moms and my friend are supportive of the type of labor and delivery we are planning (freestanding birth center of course means med/intervention free) but only my best friend really knows what it means, since she has had two home births. MIL also had an incredibly traumatic labor that I am worried will impact her ability to remain calm in my presence when I am laboring.

I am concerned that having anyone there other than DH and the midwives will be distracting for both me and DH, and since I already suspect that I will want to labor with as much privacy as possible, it seems unfair to make them all just sit in a waiting area for hours until the baby is born. Then, to add insult to injury, I am insisting on at least one hour of skin to skin with me, and so NO ONE will be holding the baby but me for at least an hour. That might be hard to take, especially after you've been sitting in a waiting area twiddling your thumbs for hours when there was basically nothing for you to but wait it out. Did I mention the birth center is an hour away and we plan to leave as soon as I am rested and we are medically cleared - probably around 6 hours or so after the birth. I'm thinking it would be best to just invite them to join us in our home when we arrive, and keep the birth and the hours afterwards just for us.

I'd love to hear what other people have done and whether it worked, or didn't, and why. Also, how do I tell the moms that we love them, but they are not welcome at the birth of their first grandchild? I'm not worried about telling my friend, I know she will understand. Thanks in advance.

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Old 02-12-2010, 06:24 PM
 
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are you willing to stand in front of those people nude?

a birth is a really private event and its great to have support but sometimes its better to limit your support to the most supportive (obviously which would be your DH)

I had my mother at my first. I dont regret it and wish she were at my second... but XH was far from supportive. And mom has seen me nude (and I have seen her nude) a few times in adulthood... due to medical problems and such. (For example I took care of her for a while through both cancers which included going into the bathroom while she was bathing to make sure she wasnt getting too warm)

If my MIL wants to attend this one... that's fine. Since its a home birth she will be given the job of keeping the kids occupied. She wont actually be there with me during the birth but that's an important job too and she will be able to see baby shortly after birth.

I wouldn't feel comfortable with her right next to me though... as much as I love the woman the thought of her seeing me nude just does not appeal to me.


Are they asking to be there? If so just let them know that you would feel more comfortable going through the labor and birth alone and they are free to come visit x-amount-of-time after the birth (my own choice would be immediately after everything is cleaned up but you may feel differently)

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Old 02-12-2010, 06:25 PM
 
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It was only me, dh, and my doula, along w m/w and nurses for my first. My fam and friends understood and didn't seem upset. We didn't even call family until I was nearly ready to push. That meant less waiting for everyone. Is that an option for you? Just don't call until it's nearly done.

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Old 02-12-2010, 06:33 PM
 
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It will just be DH and I... if he can't be there (he's in the army and might be away depending on when the little Miss decides to come) then I have a friend that will be there.
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:41 PM
 
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Our birth class instructor actually does recommend that somebody be there other than just your partner. That could be a doula, family member, or friend. But her point is that frequently the midwives aren't in there with you all the time, and you very likely need your partner to be WITH you. So another person is great for getting things that need getting, running errands that need running, heating up food and heating pads and getting drinks, etc.

But a lot of that will just depend on what your midwives are like. I know that it's very possible that the midwife at my birth could be dealing with more than one mom in labor at the same time (they call in back-up if both moms are close to the same place in labor, but if they're spaced out then the midwife just goes between rooms). Therefore I definitely want someone to be able to do all the grunt work and gofer stuff that I will not want my DH to be doing.

I'm going to have my mom and my good friend there. I have told them over and over that I totally reserve the right to kick them out into the waiting area at any point, and both seem to be fine with that. I like the people I've chosen because I trust them completely, and because they had such different births. My mom had two five hour hospital births with only a shot of demerol as far as interventions go. But she had the typical hospital restrictions, too. My friend went to the same birth center as me, but labored for 52 hours after her water broke and ended up with a hospital transfer. I feel like between the two of them they'll be able to handle whatever comes up. I also really *do* feel like I can kick them out of the room if I need to.

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Old 02-12-2010, 08:50 PM
 
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FTM here.
Besides the MW and her assistant, DH, MIL, my sister and maybe DIL will be there.
I am comfy with all of these people and don't mind them seeing me at my grittiest.
We had our 36 week conference this week and everybody is on the same page as far as my wants, don't wants, etc
My advice is to only have people there if you absolutely want them. It's not something you're going to want to worry about while birthing.

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Old 02-12-2010, 09:05 PM
 
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Having been the odd person in the room at a birth, I have to say that it could be awkward for the viewers, as well as yourself. At the birth of my sister's last child last June, I was invited to be there, specifically to watch and learn because we knew I'd be in that same position before too long (and here I am!); we're really close as well and my sister/brother-in-law wanted to share that with me. However, my brother-in-law and mother were there as well (my mom has attended all of my sister's deliveries by sister's request), and while I didn't mind being there for the labouring and getting to pick the nurses' brains about what was going on, when my sister started pushing and went into "business" mode, it was awkward and I felt like I was invading. I basically stuck myself in a corner out of the way and observed.

For my own delivery in a couple months (intended homebirth), I was just planning on having my husband and mom there (mom will be delivering, unless something comes up and we end up at the hospital). However, there was apparently a conversation about a tradeoff (I totally don't remember), so my sister is insisting that I promised her she could be there as well. I'm actually not even totally comfortable with that for a variety of reasons. However, my mother has said that she wouldn't mind having an extra set of hands and I think having someone extra might reassure my husband, so it looks like that's the way we'll go. To me, the birth of a child is something special and wonderful, but does it really need to be shared with a ton of people, or doesn't that make it lose a little bit of the specialness? If you're trying to figure out who to have/not to have, maybe ask yourself, "will this person benefit from being present through labour and delivery? If so, is that benefit something it's my responsibility to give them?" If you have more than the necessary people there, are you comfortable with the fact that your labour is probably going to turn into a performance, which may affect your mindset and concentration during? Are you comfortable with having other people see you in immense pain and whatever else may happen, knowing that it will probably influence their view of you in the future?
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:11 PM
 
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With my first it was DH, my mom, my sis, bro, great aunt, cousin and pregnant friend LOL

Second just husband and MIL

third just husband and best friend

Since both first and second were hospital labors I was not nude so I didn't feel shy about people being there. Third was a UC homebirth and I knew I would be nude and also knew I didn't need anyone freaking out about me needing to go to the hospital since no one was at all supportive about my decision. My DH was born at home and my friend is a huge HB advocate plus both have seen me naked already so I was comfortable with them there.

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Old 02-12-2010, 09:14 PM
 
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For my first two births, Dh and my midwives (and their assistant/nurses)... This time probably my children will be invited as well, but the thought of even having my mom there makes me shudder.

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Old 02-12-2010, 09:27 PM
 
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Introverts recharge by being alone, extroverts recharge by surrounding themselves with people they love. I am an introvert, so the idea of having anyone other than DH with me during labor sounds so incredibly draining. I am lucky to have a midwife who understands that, and who only makes her presence known when i ask for her. It's a big reason I chose out of hospital birth with my kids - I know being 'watched' would take me out of my labor-land, and even having my inlaws know i was IN labor (Dh called them when things got intense to let them know they would have a grandchild soon) was weirdly pressuring.

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Old 02-12-2010, 09:47 PM
 
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I had my best friend, my mom and my sister in addition to my husband. I reserved the right to kick them out Although I was confident I wanted my mom and my best friend there. My sister I was so-so on but when I was in "labor land" I didn't care. She was the photographer and my DH, mom and BF labor support. With my second birth, I thought I might just want my DH, but wanted my BF and my Mom to be there. My sister was to watch my DD until my IL's arrived. I ended up wanting the strength of them in the room. This time around, my best friend has moved across the country We'll see, I'm going to a free standing birth center, and I'm again thinking I might want just DH, but we'll see when we get closer! My one thing on this, was that I told DH it was going to be what *I* wanted. I apologized but said I didn't care what he wanted, my body, my birth, my decision. Best of luck figuring out what you want!

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Old 02-12-2010, 10:34 PM
 
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I'm an extrovert so I like being surrounded by people BUT labor was a very different thing. And each labor demanded something different. For my first, my dh, my mom, and MY BEST FRIEND AND HIS WIFE were there. It was totally unplanned. They had planned on coming to the hospital and waiting. But when I started to contract fast, my mom was sleeping. My dh was there and my best friend ended up hanging out with us. He was funny and laughing helped so much. It was totally beautiful to have his wife and him there, and they've been extra close to my son. It worked. For my second it was my mom and my dh. My mom was horrible this time around. She was so scared of me being in pain (I was on pit with no epidural) that she her anxiety effected me. My third was dh and I and about a dozen nurses. I would have been happy with just dh and I. I like the solitude even though that's normally my thing.

This time we will be a free standing birth center. My mom is coming to watch over my three kids who may or may not choice to watch the birth. I also invited my midwife's apprentice whom I really like. I suspect that it will end up being mostly my dh and i and likely my ds who really wants to see his new sibling born. That sounds good to me. But I reserved the right to kick everyone out if need be including my midwife

Basically I'd say keep your options open. You may find you want more support. Perhaps having one of those people who doesn't mind waiting might work out well for you? Good luck!

Mama to Umberto 12, Camille, 9, Piper 7, Rowena 2, and Jude Therese Prenatal DS diagnosis due December 23.

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Old 02-13-2010, 03:40 AM
 
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Introverts recharge by being alone, extroverts recharge by surrounding themselves with people they love. I am an introvert, so the idea of having anyone other than DH with me during labor sounds so incredibly draining. I am lucky to have a midwife who understands that, and who only makes her presence known when i ask for her. It's a big reason I chose out of hospital birth with my kids - I know being 'watched' would take me out of my labor-land, and even having my inlaws know i was IN labor (Dh called them when things got intense to let them know they would have a grandchild soon) was weirdly pressuring.
Well, I am an extrovert, but when I was in labour, I didn't want anyone extra around and even kicked my dh out of the room a few times! I had a doula who was great (and I think the fact that supporting me is her job and I didn't have a big emotional connection with her helped in that I wasn't worried about how she was doing). So at most, it was me, dh, the doula, the nurse (in hospital so the nurse is always around) and the doc/midwife popping in and out. This time we will also have my good friend who will be watching dd (depending on time of day I'd love to have my dd there for the birth).

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Old 02-13-2010, 04:15 AM
 
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I would say definitely not to worry about offending your family members by not inviting them. I would just not even mention it to them that they aren't invited - I think it is normally assumed unless they are told otherwise. If they are asking to be there, I'd just say that you think you'll be more comfortable with just DH for the first one - we'll see about the second. Labor is really private/personal and no one (besides your DH of course) really should feel like you are under an obligation to have them there. Just do what you think you will feel most comfortable with - everyone will be happy once baby is here!

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Old 02-13-2010, 02:16 PM
 
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I'm an extrovert so I like being surrounded by people BUT labor was a very different thing.
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Well, I am an extrovert, but when I was in labour, I didn't want anyone extra around and even kicked my dh out of the room a few times!
I didn't mean to say x=y for everyone, just that for me, being an introvert made the decision easy.

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Old 02-13-2010, 02:44 PM
 
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This is my first, and we're planning HB.

It will definitely be my DH, midwife and apprentice. It's likely that they will also bring along an assistant, but I think it depends on her availability when I actually go into labor.

I have also invited my mom, sister, and dad to be in the house, although not necessarily in the room when I give birth. They all live out of town, so there's a chance that none of them will be able to make it if I deliver earlier than expected. I don't think my dad will be able to come due to work responsibilities, but if he was able to, he would likely only be around for the beginning stages and come back to help once the little one is born. We have a nice room set up in the basement with a couch, TV, and such, so I expect he would find his way down there for the most part. My sister is my designated photographer, and my mom is just there for support. I reserve the right to boot out either or both of them. We have enough space that they could easily make themselves scarce if I feel like I need more privacy. If we were still living in the one bedroom apartment we were in last year, I don't think I would have invited anyone "extra" just because there was nowhere to escape to if I needed to be alone.
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Old 02-13-2010, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for all the responses! At this point, I think we are leaning towards just not telling anyone anything and calling people when the baby arrives, or if during labor I decide I want someone other than DH there we can call that person then. We are still keeping our options open though, since it will be another month and a half before labor starts (hopefully!).

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Old 02-13-2010, 03:12 PM
 
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I'm basically sitting here waiting to go into labour (4 days overdue). My plan is to have my best friend come and be my additional support person. I think that a woman can have a totally different vibe from your DH and especially if they've already given birth themselves they can be very helpful. Having said that, she knows that I will tell her when I don't need her any more and probably she won't be there for the actual birth.

One thing to think about it is, will it help your dh to have someone else around? If it is someone they like and trust they might benefit from being able to take breaks and getting some emotional support themselves. If it's someone they don't feel comfortable with then I think you have to take that into account.

If I were you (and obviously I'm not!) I would ask my best friend to be on 'stand by' to be there if you decide you would like someone else around but explain that you think you will be alright with just DH. No best friend would be offended by that. Personally I would leave the mothers out of it, but that's just me.
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Old 02-13-2010, 03:16 PM
 
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I didn't mean to say x=y for everyone, just that for me, being an introvert made the decision easy.
I know! I was just pointing out that labor is such a funny thing. It's always surprised me how each one was so different in so many ways including who I wanted around, etc. I feel a bit bummed this time because I feel like I'd like to have a lot of people around esp. afterwards but I don't know anyone here But I am also aware that I might end up not wanting anyone but dh.

I am glad that it's just going to be my midwife and her assistant and not four nurses, two doctors, etc. When I had my daughters, it felt like when it came time to push, I'd push the baby out, come out of laborland to like seven new people who were all being loud, etc. Argh.

Mama to Umberto 12, Camille, 9, Piper 7, Rowena 2, and Jude Therese Prenatal DS diagnosis due December 23.

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Old 02-13-2010, 03:54 PM
 
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Introverts recharge by being alone, extroverts recharge by surrounding themselves with people they love. I am an introvert, so the idea of having anyone other than DH with me during labor sounds so incredibly draining.
I think this is true as a general rule, but all bets are off in labor. I'm very extroverted, but I did NOT want anyone at my birth. I was upset that MIL was in the waiting room while I was in labor. (I'd told DH not to call her because I didn't want anyone to come, but he did anyway.) This time, it will be me, DH, the midwives and maybe my sister at my home birth. If my sister is there, she'll be taking care of DD, not in the room with me.

Edit: Oops! I see you already responded to this. lol
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Old 02-13-2010, 07:42 PM
 
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At my dd's homebirth, I invited my sister- she is a photographer and I wanted her to take photos, and my dad. My birth wasn't long or complicated, but I went into labor at 10pm at night and after 18 hours, my dh needed a nap and it was so nice to have my sister by my side, feeding me popsicles, walking with me, helping me into the shower...

My dad was in the house for the last few hours of labor, he mostly ran errands, made tea for the midwives, kept everyone fed- and shoveled snow so the midwives could leave... when it came time to push, I really wanted him there- so he sat in the rocking chair while I was in the birthtub and was present for the birth. I have never in my adult life been naked in front of my dad but birth is pretty consuming- I had bought a new full coverage sports bra for the birthtub- nope- never happened. It was beautiful and amazing to have both my sister and my dad there.

I love the idea of if you are unsure- have them in the house to help- fetching towels, heating heat packs, feeding midwives, feeding pets...you can always retreat to the privacy of your room/ bathroom and if it feels right- to ask them there...

Good luck deciding!

Mj
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Old 02-14-2010, 12:18 AM
 
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I remember being in labor last time and just wanting *everyone* to get the heck out of my house. And it was only Dh, the two midwives, their assistant and my mom who was caring for my 18 month old. They weren't in the room with me, but I could *hear* them even though they were at the other end of the house. Like I could feel their vibe or something, even when they were quiet. Dh was just quietly sitting in the room with me and I wanted him OUT... but couldn't voice it.

I remember afterward thinking I was just going to make everyone go outside while I labored and give them a walkie-talkie or something to let them know if I needed them If I didn't have all these "what if" fears, I'd totally UC. I totally "get" the idea of just doing it all yourself because you don't want anyone near you (though I realize a lot of UCers just don't have a doc/midwife, but do have other people there...)

I'm normally fairly extroverted, fwiw.

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Old 02-14-2010, 02:11 AM
 
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I didn't mean to say x=y for everyone, just that for me, being an introvert made the decision easy.
Oh, I didn't think you were generalizing, I just think it's funny how I was (I would have assumed that I'd be a 'bring the party in here' kind of person cause that's how I normally am, but labour is just so unique). To the OP, I agree with PP's that it might be best to just have your dh and have your best friend "on call".

mama to two DD's, 7 and 3 (3 rounds of IVF and more FET's than I can remember)
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Old 02-14-2010, 03:33 AM
 
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Also, how do I tell the moms that we love them, but they are not welcome at the birth of their first grandchild?
Moms, we love you so much. The birth of our first child is something that we would like to keep private so that I can focus on doing the hard work of laboring. Once that baby is out and we have had some time together to bond (you determine how long that is) we can't wait to introduce you!

Feeling watched or pressured in labor is not helpful. It is ok to want some privacy or just certain people there.

Single HB mama to 2!
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Old 02-14-2010, 04:15 AM
 
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Great thread!
My first (intended HB) is still a few months away but I have been going over this A LOT. Most of me just wants the midwives and my DH.

I don't know how many people experience this, maybe it's my age (25), maybe it's because it's the first grandbaby, but BOTH of my parents alluded to being at the birth within minutes of discussing a HB. And the BOTH live about 12hours away so how they think they're going to manage this, I don't know. (I'm not saying I'm not going to labour for more than 12 hours but still....) So, I still have that to deal with. My dad, I love the guy, but he is NOT going to be at the birth. My mom....I'm waffling. Part of me wants her there, part of me doesn't. We aren't best friends, but she has been through 4 births, 2 at home and one great hospital birth. I've got time so I'm planning on waiting a while, see what my pregnant brain decides.

I also was going to have my best friend there but things have gotten a little strained between us in the last few months. She's constantly travelling so I don't see her much but I did write her a REALLY long email explaining how I've been feeling and detailing exactly what I expect from her for the birth, if she intends to be there. I want her as a substitute doula, basically, not just a spectator. Anyways, she's in India at the moment so it might take her a while to respond but she's the only other person besides my DH that I really want to be there, if she agrees with the restrictions based on her...

I already kind of feel like I'm going to want privacy and intimacy, so the thought of more people kind of freaks me out.
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Old 02-14-2010, 08:42 AM
 
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We are planning an unassisted home birth.

DH and our son will be there of course! (now active they are duing that time is another question - answer to be known when the actual day comes! hehe)...

But I will also have a very close friend (and my chosen birth partner) there and her sister (who will be my photographer)!

Thats all! ...House isn't very big! lol

Mummy me : > Thats Ann! and my beautiful SONS Duncanand Hamish 19/09/05 & 22/04/10!
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Old 02-14-2010, 01:18 PM
 
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I've been the "only other" in the room and it was fine. I was there to support my friend, there to reassure her that she could do it, and there to take some photos after birth. Apparently she liked how it went, because she invited me back for her second birth.

My own births have been private, but with this third birth I'm thinking of inviting my friend. I have a lot of confidence that things will go well, and I'd like to share that experience with her if I can. We'll see, though--before I invite anyone, I want to get closer to the day and see what my thoughts and feelings are.

As for holding the baby after birth...I don't think that will be an issue. It's such a sacred thing, those first moments, the first breastfeeding...I can't imagine someone getting pushy about holding the baby. At the births I attended (admittedly, only two), no one asked for the baby. It was entirely up to the mom. Even my friend's mom waited until she was asked.

If it's a moment you'd like to share, then go for it. You could always let them know ahead of time that you'll ask them to leave the room temporarily IF during the labor something starts to feel "off" about having others in the room. There's nothing wrong with that!

RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~
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Old 02-14-2010, 05:46 PM
 
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My mother was at the birth of my dd and I really regret it. It still makes me really upset.

My mother and I are not close, in fact I'm not really close to any of my family. Whild I was pregnant my mother began talking about how she was going to be at my birth, how it was only fair as her mom was at her first birth and how I got to watch the birth of my younger brother. When I told her I didn't want her there she got upset. The rest of my family told me I probably should have here there, and I felt a lot of pressure.

When the big day finally came, we (my dh and I) headed to the hospital. When the doctor checked me I was 7 cm, and the guilt started to set in. I had my husband call my mom to come because it became a now or never kind of thing, and I didn't want her to be angry with me.

She arrived when I was 9 cm and screaming in pain. The nurse kept telling me I needed to stop screaming because I was scaring the other patients. At this point my mom thought it would be a good idea to cover my mouth with her hand to try and stop my screaming. I managed to pull away from her as I couldn't breathe, but was in too much pain to ask her to leave by that point.

I only pushed for a few minutes and then a hoard of other people started coming in the room. Apparently my mom had called my aunt and uncle who were in town visiting as well as my sister who was out with her friend. And they all came in the room as I was spread eagle and being stitched up. This included my sister's friend who I HAD NEVER MET.

I hardly got to hold my own baby, and certainly wasn't able to nurse her within the first hour as everyone else was holding her and I was too shy to say anything.


I would never, and I mean in any circumstance, have her at any future births I may have

I guess it was my own stupid fault for not being more assertive.
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:16 PM
 
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As long as you have your mws there the whole time to provide labor support for you, you don't necessarily need anyone else.

Melissa crochetsmilie.gif, wife to Tom geek.gif, mom to The Baron modifiedartist.gif, the Bean superhero.gif, Little Bear diaper.gif, and Baby Beaver babyboy.gif
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Old 02-14-2010, 10:51 PM
 
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Currently I'm planning to have DH (possibly DS - not sure), my midwife, and a doula. There was originally going to be an apprentice MW as well, but she decided midwifery was too demanding of her time and dropped out of the picture. Now I'm contemplating whether I want to have a friend there or not. I'm fairly self-conscious, and I don't know if I would be comfortable naked in front of this friend. I think it's going to be weird enough with the audience I have.

Mama to Marcus (1/05) and Arianna (3/10). hbac.gif

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