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Who was at the birth?

In a comment to the recent thread on Seeking Suggestions for natural hospital birth, Leslie says:

I'd love to hear what other uMamas think of who should be present at their births...

Who was at your child(ren)'s birth? In retrospect, did it work well for you? What would have you changed?


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Only those who were at the conception. No tickets should be sold to this event.

I agree with keeping it small...my husband was all I needed for support, and all I could honestly focus on. My son came out with the cord around his neck and there was a flurry of activity immediately after he hit the atmosphere. Plans like having him laid on me while my husband cut the cord went out the window, and in retrospect I was glad my parents weren't there to A) worry and B) get in the way, unintentionally. They did come in as soon as everything was a-ok.
The one thing I would change is that we would have asked the nurses to communicate with our parents who were waiting (for the three hours I spent pushing) in the waiting room and worrying. HIPAA prevents the nurses or doctors from telling them anything w/out our permission, which we didn't know. The unknown was causing my mother-in-law to get pretty anxiety ridden, poor thing!
There's nothing more wonderful than sharing that moment with your partner, though. He was amazing!

My mom and the baby's dads (former husband and husband) were at the first two births, and my dad came in and out of the room until things started to really roll. My sister who has worked in labor and delivery as well as neonatal intensive care was also in the room when my second child was induced--there were some problems and it really gave me piece of mind that she would be there to look for any problems. she is also a certified lactations specialist, so I am very lucky.

When my third child was born, my husband and sister were there. My mom wanted to be there, but there was no one else to watch my three-year-old. I really wanted my sister to be there again, just in case there were any problems.

In short, I guess my sister functioned as a doula and then, I had one to two other people in the room while giving birth. Prior to intense labor, other members of my family dropped by or called to check in.

My husband and my friend, who also happens to be a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital that was delivering. My friend acted as a doula, which I HIGHLY recommend. She showed my husband exactly where to apply pressure, rub, and what not to touch. Other than that she stood back and let my hubby be my moral support. It was great for both of us. While wary at first of the idea of my friend attending the birth, later my husband expressed his grattitude to her. She helped just enough while not being intrusive on his role.

Just my husband and I...plus the nurse, the resident, the on call OB, and a guy studying to become a Paramedic. (We were at a teaching hospital). In hindsight, it sounds like a crowd, but the experience is so intense it really did only feel like the two of us, with coaching by the nurse and physicians. We were asked ahead of time if the student could be present during part of the birth, strictly to observe, and that was fine with me. I ended up putting him to work though! He got me ice chips and popsicles and kept me cool by fanning me--it was so damn hot in there! And when it was over he scooted right out of the room--after he hugged me, in tears--he was pretty moved by the experience. I'm glad he got to be part of our amazing birth--evidently he was at the hospital for several hours that night and lots of mamas were in labor, but we were the only ones to give birth during his visit.

Since it was our first time to experience birth I wanted it to be just the two of us. I was worried about having a mom or girlfriend take over the role my husband played. I was happy it was just the two of us when we were suprised by a breech at home. Thanks to our three midwives and one more for guidance I was able to push out my baby boy and get the home birth I wanted. Next time I don't think I will be inviting anyone. Too distracting for me. With midwives we have all the support we could want.

My first -- the birth ended up being at 4 a.m. , not exactly prime time for visitors -- was just my husband and me. the second was much better attended, with my sister-in-law as doula, my friend larissa, and my mom all joining in. it was great for #2, as my husband was distracted with our older son and got a little freaked out at the pain stuff (i went without meds for the whole labor, up until the c-section was deemed the only option).

i like several people there, within limits obviously (any of my in-laws would mess with my birthing vibe, for instance...), as long as they're supportive of your wishes and you feel comfortable around them. of course, i'm the sort of person who showered in the common area at the gym instead of the individual stalls b/c it was quicker ;)

i think it's most important that your birth attendees are good communicators (and will understand when you decide all of the sudden you don't want to be touched any more!) and know you well enough to tell when you just need encouragement, and when you really mean what you say. however many people like that are in your life, well, bring 'em along!

If only the people who were there during conception were there, it would have been just me and the fertility nurse! ;) I had my best friend who was my coach and took the childbirth class with me, and my doula, who was a student at Birthing Way school of midwifery, and had to attend 5 births for her school. My mom almost made it. When my water broke at 6am, I called her and she got a plane ticket, made it from Boston to Minneapolis, and when she got her connecting plane, they had a flat tire, and had to put them up for the night. She would have made it to the hospital about 30 minutes prior to delivery, and she still laments about it. I wish she had been there. I have 2 brothers with 3 kids each, and my sisters-in-law would have died before letting her attend their births! I am hoping that she will make it to the next one. It's probably different when you use a sperm donor and do it yourself. There is a lot to be said about surrounding yourself with women only at your delivery. That's how they did it in biblical times!

At my first child's birth I had a doula (highly recommend), both grandmothers (they pushed themselves into the room uninvited, UGH!), the nurse and doctor.

At the 2nd and 3rd children's births (at home in a birthing tub) only my husband and midwife(s) attended with my oldest watching the last 10 minutes of each birth. This was my favourite situation and I would do it this way again...

My wife, our own Mamas and my wife's best friend.

And it was perfect!

I really loved having my older daughter (then 3 3/4) at her sister's birth last summer (at OHSU). We gave her lots of info to prepare her, and my mom was there to take care of her needs. She wrote me love notes and gave them to me between contractions, and she cut the cord. I tried to stay calm and positive for her sake, which made me truly calm and positive. She still talks about the whole thing, and thanks me for birthing both her sister and herself. And I can put things in perspective for her when she gets melodramatic over a tiny scratch!

I think the idea of having siblings at the birth is a beautiful idea, one that is much more highly practiced around the globe and an idea I will be strongly considering when I get to give my little girl a sib. Last summer though, when it was time for her to come I was very clear that I wanted it to be only her dad and our doula in the room. I was fine with family being at the hospital but I felt, and still feel, that it is much too intimate and powerful AND IMPORTANT of a time to have any kind of pressure put on the birthing parents. They (we) need to be totally free to react to their environment- which means their environment should be nothing but supportive. And, as much as your family loves you, having others there lends itself to having interferences pop up.
What's most important is being comfortable- TOTALLY comfortable; if you can do that with both grandma's looking on, that's awesome! If you want more space, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, then say so. Those that want what's best for you will understand- and if they don't, then do you really want them in your delivery room? :-) I am a totally extroverted, inclusive, confident person but for this particular event, I love cherishing that memory with only the most intimate of my family. And the doula, of course!
Best of luck in your decision!

I think I must be weird--though I understand the dad is central to the birth, I really felt closer to my mom during the birth process. I mean, she knew my pain. Also, I labored much like her and my 2 sisters, so talking with them before, clued me in as to what to expect in a way a doc or doula never could have done.

At both of our births, attendees were my mom, my husband, my husband's mom. At our second birth, our older daughter was also there.

During the labor, the room was filled with about a dozen people - my siblings, my husband's siblings, their partners. It was really festive, and I really loved how we all shared moments during the labor. It was hectic and crazy in the labor area, but it was wonderful to have all our family around us. I think that's just how our families are - really tight and wanting to be all together during those big moments.

It amazed me how close I felt to my mother during both labors and births. Just the way she would hold my hand and coach me through all my contractions really strengthened me from within. I think she and I labor (and deal with pain) similarly, and she knew exactly what I needed to get through those tough moments.

One thing I was more adamant about during our second birth was when I did and when I didn't want everyone else in the room. My husband and I agreed we wanted our moms at the birth, but not our dads or siblings. During our first birth, I actually started pushing while my father-in-law was sitting at the foot of the bed. It was awful, and he left soon after. During the second birth, my husband was more sensitive and clear to communicate when it was time for everyone to leave, except for our moms.

When my sister had her first baby she invited me in for the delivery. It was the most amazing experience and, three years later, I was much less nervous when it came time for me to deliver. For my own delivery, I had my husband, my mom, and my sister in the room. And up until I started pushing, my dad would pop in and out and say hello. I loved it. The one thing I did that I would recommend to others is talk to each person about what their role is. My husband knew he was there to support me and be by my side and focus on me. My mom was there to help my husband give me support. And my sister (works in the medical field) was there to help me communicate with the nurses and doctors (and remember what they said each time they came in the room). The one thing I really appreciated was having an extra set of ears when it came time for decisions (we ended up having to do a c-section). I did not realize how hard it would be to concentrate on getting through the labor and listening to medical information. Basically, what it boils down to for me is that I have a great relationship with my mom and sister so having them there was a totally positive experience. I think you should be completely selfish and only invite those in the room that you think would help you in some way.

I say no more than husband & one female companion (mother, sister, doula). Make sure they are people who are willing to sit in the other room if you feel you need to be by yourself.

My husband and my doula were there. I ended up with prodromal (sp?) labor. I went into the hospital on a Saturday night (2 am?) and gave birth Tuesday after lunch. It was a LONG time. Having the doula there helped when we got stressed and it helped give my husband a break too. I also felt like I had an advocate which helped tremendously.

For #1...dh, a midwife and a nurse, and I think a second nurse may have popped in at some point. He was born early in the a.m., and we actually didn't even call our parents for a few hours after he was born. Kinda nice to have him all to ourselves for awhile.

For #2...pretty much the same line-up, although we called the fams sooner, so big brother could meet baby. I definitely did not want to worry about my 2 yr old (at the time) son being present at the birth...I had visions of him asking for juice and cheerios, pushing the little up/down buttons on the electronic be, asking to "help" the midwife...

For #3...well, it worked with the first 2, so we'll stick with the same group.

Ditto Lila. No tickets sold. My husband, my doctor and the anesthesiologist (I had an epidural & I was induced so it was no where near a natural). I think a female nurse but that was it. I even had the male nurse sent out of the room.

Parents weren't invited until after the baby was born and we'd all had time together.

There's something intensely private to me about giving birth and I had no desire to share it.

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