Giving birth is the most miraculous thing you’ll ever do, but it’s also one of the most painful, uncomfortable, disgusting things you’ll ever do, too. A newborn’s arrival isn’t only thrilling for the parents, but also grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles, and other loved ones.
While it’s a time of family growth, it’s also intensely personal. It can be hard to tell your family to leave, but labor and delivery is one of those few times when you really do deserve to have things exactly how you want them. Here are a few things to consider when you’re choosing who should be in the delivery room with you.
Perhaps the most important thing to consider in the person you want holding your hand through the delivery is how well they’re going to be able to emotionally support you. Sitcoms’ tend to make delivery look like it takes about five minutes, but, in reality, it takes several hours of severe pain and pushing to bring a baby into this world. It hurts, and it’s hard. For these reasons, the attention should all be on you.
You want someone who can stay calm while also being encouraging. Someone who isn’t going to be focused on the vast amounts of bodily fluids leaking onto the table, but instead on standing beside you telling you how great you’re doing. If you’re worried about having your significant other see you in that particular position, just know both of you will get past it.
In addition to having the emotional fortitude delivery demands, it’s important your delivery room partner has the physical strength to make it through the process. They’re not going to get a comfy bed next to yours, and they’ll be expected to stay upright for quite awhile.
Furthermore, your obstetrician or midwife may have your partner help hold your legs in a particular position to make pushing easier -- particularly if you plan to have an epidural. And, this can’t be stressed enough, there will be so many bodily fluids. Some people really do have a physical reaction to blood that drops them to the floor. Even without that particular issue, it can be difficult to see such a painful thing happen to someone you love. Make sure your partner knows not to lock their knees or focus on the blood.
Most hospitals cap the delivery attendance at two people in addition to the mother but, no matter what you decide, it’s important to be clear about it. You can tell them your attendee(s) where you want them to stand, and exactly when you want them to come in.
Maybe you’d like a full house throughout the labor, maybe you don’t want anybody but your sister to know you’re at the hospital until the baby has already arrived or maybe you and your significant other don’t want to see anyone until you’re home. With that in mind, nurses are great at getting rid of unwelcome guests, particularly if you let them know when you’d like to be alone ahead of time.
For most soon-to-be mom’s, their significant other is the obvious choice for a delivery room partner. But, if your significant other isn’t around, or just isn’t who you want in the room, that’s okay! This is about you. Figure out what you want from your delivery partner. It can be your mom, your brother, your grandfather, anyone.
Decide what you’d like and what will make you most comfortable ahead of time. Talk to the loved ones you want present. Firmly inform those you don’t that they aren't welcome, and they’ll be notified when you’re receiving visitors. Make choices that’ll allow you to focus on the delivery itself, and not about hurting other people’s feelings.