Delivery room audience...? — The Bump
2nd Trimester

Delivery room audience...?

I'm hoping for some pointers on how to communicate with extended family members that you do not want to have an audience in the delivery room...?

My SIL is the Patroned saint of childbirth, and she allowed everyone, short of the dog, in the room while she was delivering. While I admire her nonchalance, I prefer to have only the OB (or other medical personnel) and my DH in the room. Of course, I try to communicate that politely, and I get a response to the affect of, "Well Nicki had everyone in the room, so you should consider letting your family be a part of this too." Even my own mother said something like, "Oh I can't wait to catch my new baby when it comes out!"

Am I out of line for thinking my family is being super rude? I know this is exciting for everyone, but the thought of having any extra eyes in the room makes my anxiety level skyrocket.

How do you tell your family (and in-laws) to back off, without hurting feelings or sounding like a pregzilla?

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Re: Delivery room audience...?

  • Just have your DH be direct with his family and let them know no visitor's in the delivery room, and you do the same for your family.

    When it came to pushing, my hospital had rules about how many guest could be in the room (2). 

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  • Don't be subtle, and don't worry about offending people.  Just say that you and your H have decided that the two of you and medical personnel are the only people that will be in the room, and no, you are not going to reconsider.  You have to be blunt, or they likely won't believe that you're really firm in this decision (which is most definitely YOURS!).  Also let your nurse and whatever other hospital staff is around that no one else from your family is to be allowed into L&D, and they should be able to keep them out if they try to show up without your knowledge.
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  • Tell them the only people allowed when the baby is delivered are the same ones who were there when it was conceived.
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  • image bearkatjen:

    Just have your DH be direct with his family and let them know no visitor's in the delivery room, and you do the same for your family.

    When it came to pushing, my hospital had rules about how many guest could be in the room (2). 

    This. I already told my family, and they were fine with it. DH family was in the room for his sister when she had her baby (her parents and grandparents), and I already told him he better communicate that we will not be having people in the room with us when it's time.

    I also echo PP--don't worry about offending people. When it comes down to it, this is YOUR family and if you don't start setting boundaries about how you want it now, they will try to do whatever they want and walk all over you. Don't feel bad for wanting things a certain way. 

  • Call them after the baby is born :)  Works like a charm!

  • If you weren't there or involved in the making of the baby, you shouldn't automatically get to be there at the birth of the baby. 


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  • I wouldn't even let them know you were having the baby until after its born. Then you can say things just happened so quickly oops you didn't have time to call!

    Our hospital only allows two people in the delivery room and they need to be specified ahead of time, likely to avoid situations like this.

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  • image blondie42107:
    Call them after the baby is born :)  Works like a charm!


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  • There is NOTHING wrong with you wanting there to only be the two of you. Also, to back up your decision, when DS was born there ended up being 7 medical staff, 1 student nurse and DH in the room. If there had been multiple family members, I can only imagine how packed and intense things could have gotten. Stick to your guns. Our families know that we will call them when the baby is born and we are ready for visitors. I wont even allow for people to be in the waiting room.
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  • Oh jeez, I can't even imagine my mom wanting to be there...she didn't even come back from Florida for the birth but rather waited until she was schedule to come home to see the baby (she lives there part-time).

    Anyway, I did not have this issue because I had a C-section, BUT...I did have the issue AFTER the birth. I did not want everyone and their dog in my hospital room while I was recovering. I am a private person, I knew I would be in pain, half-naked, drugged out, and not to mention totally overwhelmed, and I just wanted a few days of privacy to get my sh!t together, so to speak.

    I communicated this to DH, but he insisted that all his friends had to be there.

    DH's family were going to drive down from Buffalo to be there on the first day. I asked them politely, please wait a few days. I would like privacy. They ignored me. They were literally waiting for me in my room as I was wheeled in from surgery.

    Then there was a stream of friends and their kids, all DH's people.

    On day 2, I was having majorly bad gas pains (in my body, from the air trapped during surgery), I was in pain from the surgery itself, I was literally crying out on the bed and writhing around, and DH's family wanted to come in and sit and eat their Dunkin' Donuts. I said to DH, no, I don't want them in here watching me like a caged animal as they munch on their bagels. Can they see the baby in the nursery? DH told them I wanted them to go home (and they did), and then he came in and proceeded to tell me how horrible I was to the point that I started crying. Nice, right?

    Later that day, I was finally able to get out of bed and sit in the chair, so I thought I would really work on BFing DD (I have inverted nipples, so it's a chore). I asked DH to please make sure we had a few hours of quiet time so I could work on this with the baby. He called his mom and asked her not to come over that evening. A half hour later, she shows up, saying she was "worried." Are you f'ing serious? So she sat in the room and watched me. Needless to say, I stopped trying to BF. I don't need my MIL staring at my boobs.

    It went on like this the whole stay.

    Finally we were released, and ONE PERSON came over to see the baby for a short time -- this was the ONLY person who was polite and decent enough to respect my wishes and wait until I was home and feeling decent for company. ONE PERSON.

    I can't even imagine how hard it would have been to fight people off during the delivery had that been an option.

    One thing you could do (and it may even be true) is to say that they limit the number of people allowed in the delivery room. My hopsital allowed the mom and one helper (usually DH), PLUS a doula if you had one. The doula was the only exception for more than two people.

    Good luck -- I hope your family is more considerate than mine.

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  • image blondie42107:
    Call them after the baby is born : nbsp;Works like a charm!

    This. I cannot fathom having an audience.... Or why people think this is normal. It's possibly the most vulnerable situation of your entire life ... And it's not pretty. Again, I can't even wrap my head around why anyone thinks this is a good idea.
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  • Definitely don't feel bad at all for wanting only DH in the delivery room.  It is an extremely personal decision and one only you can make!  I had my DH and both my parents with me during labor and I would wait to see how I felt at delivery to see if they'd stay.  I had a great epidural and everything went pretty smooth, so I was fine with them staying in there with me.  They were very respectful and stayed out of the way.  My dad cut the cord, as DH is too squeemish.  It was perfect for us, but you have to make sure the environment is as peaceful and supportive for you as you can. 
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  • theyre being rude by expecting it. its up to you and your DH who you want present. I wanted a very intimate experience with just my DH, and myself (and the doc and nurses). my family was totally understanding of this, but my MIL couldnt get past it. she couldnt understand why i wouldnt let her come in. so i told her aside from the doctors i didnt want anyone there for the birth that wasn't present during the conception. obvi that left just me and DH! lol. 

    i ended up with a scheduled c-section and couldnt have anyone but us anyway so it worked out without argument.  

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  • I'm pretty much going to laugh while saying "not a chance" if anyone asks about being in the room. Husband will be up by my head but that's absolutely it - while "magical" in it's own way childbirth is gross and I do not need anyone extra around for it.

  • If they won't back down try something along the lines of "well if you let me see your vagina, then you can see mine...ok?" Maybe then they will realize how ridiculous they are being!! HAHA!
  • Stories like this always make me so grateful for my family -- they would never dream of assuming they'd be in the delivery room (but would be there if I asked them to be).


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  • I would just tell them flat out that this is a personal moment for you and your dh.  WHen they had their children it was either just them or them and the father so why should it be any different for you.

    In regards to your mom saying "my" baby i had a similar situation with my mother saying "our" baby.  I stopped that dead in its tracks.  I said you mean "my" baby or "ours" in terms of dh and I.  I was not going to deal with that for the rest of my pregnancy or life of my child. 

    I understand that families are excited but they need to remember that this is your child and they need to respect your decisions. If you let them make these decisions for you now then its going to be a long 18 years.

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  • I agree you'll just have to be blunt and direct. My nightmare story: With DS I ended up with an emergency csection. They whisked baby and DH to the recovery room while they stitched me. When I got there, the entire family was in the recovery room and everyone had held my baby before I ever SAW him!! Still pisses me off. We had specifically asked them not to come. So, this time I'm telling the nurses/security to not let them in. I had thought I could trust them last time!
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  • About a month and half before delivery I always send out an email to very close friends and family with information on visiting policies, directions, our facebook/photo sharing wishes, and information people who want to come visit would need to know.

    You could do this and include in your visiting policy that you and DH will be the only ones attending and participating in the birth and you would love to for everyone to come visit at such and such time/date/place to celebrate the new baby.

    That way you don't have to deal with any non sense and it's there in writing for them and when they can come see you in the hospital or at home so they know.

    You don't have to explain yourself, it is not odd in anyway that you want it to be between you and DH only.  You will I"m guessing have to tell your mom/sister/ and dad as soon as possible since they seem to expect it. I also wouldn't call them until you are out of triage at the hospital so you and DH are already set up in the delivery room when they arrive.

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  • Thanks everyone! I feel a lot better now, hearing that the majority is on my side here. I thought maybe I was just being a prude. :)


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  • When I was in labor with my daughter I caved under my mom's pressure to have her and her husband in the room while I delivered. Didnt help that my mom was talking in my ear the whole time and wouldnt let me relax :S In reality all I wanted was my husband in the room with the medical personnel of course.   When I go into labor with my son I will only have my husband in the room.  My only advice is to be strong and hold to your choice. 
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  • I agree with pp that you can't be subtle about it. If you don't think you can do that, maybe talk with your online or nurses while you're in the hospital and tell them to get everyone out of the room but the ones you want there. 
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  • Our hospital only allowed DH when DD was born, and DH again with DS because he was a csection. We had to fight to get my parents in to see DD before they moved me to a room in the middle of the night. I liked it that way though. I'd check with your hospital on their policy, but you could just say its policy not to have more than 1 person.
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  • Just make the nurse be the bad guy if you don't want to! Mine willingly volunteered. Like you, I wanted only DH in there. No one argued though.
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  • My doctor specifically told me to let the nurses know who I want in the room and they will gladly kick anyone out. My family is good though and no one has assumed that they will automatically be there. I only want DH and my mom there for the actual birthing process. My mom will probably stay up by my head as she is a bit squeamish but DH isn't so I'm sure he'll be in the thick of everything. 

    I haven't decided who I want to be there when I finally get my recovery time but I will definitely be firm. 

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  • I just flat out told my family I will let you know when I'm in labor and then you can come up to the hospital once I deliver. My hospital only allowed 2 people in the delivery room anyways and even while laboring I didn't want anyone there. DH was all I wanted, and our doula. I wouldn't have it any other way if I did it again. 

    Just let them know you want it to be just you two. And who knows how long you will be in labor. I was in L&D from 4am-10:30pm before I had L. No one needed to wait around that long.  

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  • I would just explain you don't feel comfortable being watched and would rather share the moment privately with DH. Its only fair after guys created the baby together and you want to bring it in the world that way...just the two of you.

    I had some issues with some family members wanting to be in the room when I was delivering my first and it really pissed me off how upset they were right after the birth that they could not come in the room. Our hospital has a form you fill out at check in of all those you will allow in the room during the delivery and no one else is allowed in. Those that I didn't allow in were furious and actually left the hospital when they were could not come in. They didn't even talk to me for 3 weeks and made a HUGE fuss about it to my mother during that time. I finally had to get in a fight and explain just WHY I didn't feel comfortable with them there (legs spread, bodily fluids coming out, screaming in pain, being cathed (I had a potent epi that effected my ability to move and control "bodily functions", but didn't kill the pain). They FINALLY got it and stopped with their name calling and anger. But I was never up front about telling them from the start they couldn't be there. It was a last minute decision so I suppose they had a right to be kinda mad, but to go off the handle like that just hours after I gave birth was a little much.

    So my advice, be honest and up front and avoid drama later. 


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  • Well we didn't have anyone suggest coming in the room so I never had to tell people why they couldn't... but I'd just make a joke out of it and say something like "that view is reserved for as few people as possible, everyone will get to see the baby when I'm showered", etc.
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  • I had much the same issue with alot of my family and inlaws. I simply told them that they can come in after baby has been born. because the only 3 or 6 people that need to see my lady bits are my mother, who has seen them since i was a baby, my husband, because he helped the making process, and the medical team, because they've seen enough lady bits to last a life time and that's what they do.

    My MIL was quite butthurt but after a month understood my reasoning, same with some of the other family members.

    In the end, the baby is yours, and your body is yours. i dont think it's wrong to make decisions that you feel are best for you and your child. But you have to stick to your guns.

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  • I agree that it is rude. That is a very personal time. I was shocked that my mom even asked and when she did I just said my dh is the only one if hes lucky (making it a joke) then said i'm not open like that. They are still a big part of it being able to see the baby in the hospital afterwards. Donn't cave or feel bad about it!
  • image mkanderson85:
    Just make the nurse be the bad guy if you don't want to! Mine willingly volunteered. Like you, I wanted only DH in there. No one argued though.

    I agree- the nurses had NO problem telling people they had to stay out when necessary.  Plus, the hospital I birthed at had a max capacity of 2 people in with you during labor/delivery.  I'm sure they'd bend the rules if someone wanted, but the rooms are not huge and I wouldn't want everyone squished in there crowding me!  Bottom line- birthing a baby IS a beautiful thing....but it's not a requirement to share that experience with everyone. 

    This time, DH will be there with me and SIL *might* as well.  (I've welcomed her to be there- she's had 3 c-sections and her most recent was an attempted vbac.  She has mentioned how she just really wants to be in the room to experience a vaginal delivery and at this point knows it won't happen for her.  She's thinking about it.....I'm sure she feels funny, but we're very close).

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  • You have to be as comfortable as you can be, labor is hard enough without an audience!  Thankfully our hospital limits guests to 2 people other than Daddy, so I could blame it on the policy. I did allow both of our moms into the room, but only after transition, and I had rules: stay silent & stay above my shoulder. My husband only had to shush them once :) On the other hand my best friend wanted me to coach her up to & through transition then wait with the family through pushing & delivery. I drove 3 hours, to coach her for 3 more and I felt honored to be part of the process & respected her wishes.  I believe the more uptight you are the longer & harder your labor will be. Make that a motivator as you kindly, but firmly, decline the audience. If all else fails, talk to you doctor, ask them to issue "dr's orders" and blame it on them!
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  • image drpayne:
    image blondie42107:
    Call them after the baby is born : nbsp;Works like a charm!
    This. I cannot fathom having an audience.... Or why people think this is normal. It's possibly the most vulnerable situation of your entire life ... And it's not pretty. Again, I can't even wrap my head around why anyone thinks this is a good idea.

    This is my thought exactly. Is there something people don't understand about the baby coming out of a very private area? I mean, literally ppl are staring at your hoohah. For me, other than medical personnel, only those that I have seen their hoohah's(being my hubby) will get to attend(and possibly my daughter if she wants...maybe it'll cement our "keep the boys away" talks, lol).

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  • This is one of my favorites:

    It is filled full of GREAT advice!!!

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  • If it's something you feel strongly about then like several other posters have said- be firm. Id say keep an open mind with clear boundaries!

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    I told everyone that I didnt want the circus in town when I was in labor.  I was going to let Hubby, Mom, and MIL in the room and that was it.  I was induced and they told me Id have a baby by dinner time. Well the next morning... when there was still no baby, just family members spilled over all the waiting room chairs, I felt like I had a team suffering with me. It was cool to have them there.

     Unbeknownst to me, everyone was right outside the door and got to peek in when he was born without seeing the goods. 

    I didnt care one freaking bit. I was glad to have my family because it was much harder than I thought.

    edit: Mom and MIL had strict instructions to stay at my shoulders. They got to see without seeing me 

  • I do not think it is rude or pregzilla to dictate who will and will not see MY vagina. End of story.

    And to think you will be that front and center to catch the baby? I don't think so! 

  • It's not rude to not allow them in.  Just be direct and straightforward about it, no need to beat around the bush.

    Our hospital, and I'd think most hospitals, have a front desk with secure doors that you have to sign in and be buzzed through to even get past the waiting room and into L&D.  I'd make sure your nurses know you do not want anyone in the room, and they should be able to prevent them from getting past the waiting room. 

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  • With DS, we just told everyone that we wanted it to be just me and DH. When it came time to push, my mom was the only one at the hospital (middle of the night) and we ahd already told the nurses when we checked in that we just wanted it to be me and DH. So the nurse asked if I wanted to have my mom leave. I ended up wanting her to stay and wouldn't change it for the world. I was nice that DH was able to watch down there and my mom was able to comfort me since she stayed up by my head and also manned the camera which was great. She was able to get those very first moment and got all three of us in the pictures. So after rambling, basically, If you want it to be just you and your DH/SO I would just let the nurses know when you check in before anyone gets there and they will do the ushering out when the time comes.  Who cares what they think when you tell them. It is you who will regret it if you give in and let them stay when you don't want them too.
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  • image Courtneybelle:

    My SIL is the Patroned saint of childbirth, and she allowed everyone, short of the dog, in the room while she was delivering. While I admire her nonchalance...

    Ask yourself this, why is nonchalance better than intimacy with your husband? I would be unapologetically proud of the fact that you and your husband will be the ONLY people in the room. Own it, don't apologize for it. If they want to be there that falls in the same category as wanting a million bucks. It's a nice thought, but it isn't going to happen.  If they sense that there is NO wiggle room because you are excited for that intimate moment, they too will accept it and move on. 

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  • I told everyone that I wanted a completely private L&D- I knew the Friday before that I was going to be induced and didn't tell anyone because I didn't want people sitting in the waiting room for two days, my mom trying to sneak in and drive me crazy, or being guilted into allowing people in that I didn't want. My BIL brought us dinner the night we got checked into the hospital, and my DH called everyone that night and told them we were expecting the baby the next day so we could give out of towners the chance to make it in time.  Just be clear in what you want, and if all else fails, tell your L&D nurse you don't want anyone in and they will keep people out. Limit the number of visitor passes during L&D to just your DH, that should also keep people out.
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