Tuesday, August 21, 2007

my big dilemma

So here’s my big dilemma, I am really struggling with this one…

Now that we are approaching having a date for the delivery – we will have to tell people the date once it’s scheduled.

J and I both feel like we’d really like some time with the new babies alone, before anyone else is around. We went through so much to get here, I think those first few hours and days will be very emotional for us. It’s a huge turning point for us – finally the end of that long and painful journey to have a live, healthy baby. It was a journey that we travelled just the two of us, so sad and emotional and painful at times. And we were in it together – even though other people knew about it, they didn’t experience it like we did. And these first moments with our new babies, they are something that we both feel like we don’t want to share.

But as soon as my mom knows the date, she will book herself a ticket. I don’t think I can tell her not to. She wouldn’t understand. If we were waiting to just go into labor, it might be different – although she’s already said that she would get on a plane as soon as she heard I was in labor. And since we will have a date scheduled ahead of time, there’s no avoiding it.

She can’t be in the room for the actual birth – they only allow 1 support person in the OR, and we don’t plan on asking for more. But she’ll want to be waiting right outside the door and be in the recovery room so she can see the babies as soon as they come out of the OR – we won’t have any time with the babies alone, except for the few minutes we get in the OR before they take us all to recovery.

I had hoped that her trip to Switzerland might solve things – she leaves for Switzerland on the 30th to go see my sister and her new baby. I had said that she didn’t need to come here first, because she’s coming here straight from switz on her way back. But she said “oh no, I gotta get my hands on those babies”. She said she was coming here first, even if it was only for a day. And it’s not about coming to help us – it’s about getting her hands on the babies. She never asked whether I wanted her to come for the birth – it’s just always been a fact in her mind, that she would be here. Because she must see the babies immediately – like she has to be first.

And don’t get me wrong – my mother is an amazing, generous, wonderful person – practically saintly. But she’s very, I don’t know .... Forceful? Stubborn? Opinionated? Determined? Controlling? None of those words are quite right. She tends to not really understand why I would ever feel differently about something than she does – because of course she’s always right. Wanting or believing or feeling something different equates to disagreeing with her. And she does not like to be disagreed with. The only problem with the fact that my mother is practically a saint is that… well… she knows it. And she expects to be treated as such – she expect that you will always agree with her and always want what she wants.

She will be a huge help when she is here for a few weeks in October. It’s just those first few days, or even hours. We feel like those are moments we don’t want to share. We really want that special bonding time alone. We know that handling two babies will be hard, and we really want to accept the help that both our mothers are offering, we just want a tiny bit of time alone with them first.

I just don’t know what to do. I don’t know that there’s any way I could say something to her without irrevocably hurting her feelings. So what do I do? Do we just suck it up and know that we will have a few days alone with the babies after she leaves for Switzerland? Is it as simple as just telling her that while we will love to have her here, it will be important to us to have some time alone with the babies the first few days? Would she respect that? Or not understand it? or dismiss it? Can I just tell her what day we would like her to arrive? I guess maybe I could take that approach – and if we are having the surgery on the 24th, just tell her that we’d like her to be here on the 26th. But she might just say no – that she wants to be here on the 24th. Then what do I do. Oh boy… it stresses me out.

J has offered to have the conversation with her – but I don’t think that would work. She would just end up pissed off at him, and then I’d have to hear about it forever.

We have a little time – since the hospital won’t actually ‘officially’ book the c-section until 2 weeks in advance, we won’t officially have a date until then (even though the doc said we could book any day we wanted). So we can wait to say anything until it’s actually booked.

At my baby shower – my friend brought her 6 week old baby. My mother was not at all interested in sharing the baby with anyone else. She did not offer to let anyone else hold the baby, and you could tell from the look on her face that she was not interested in letting that baby go. Another friend finally just asked her outright if she could hold the baby – and of course my mother couldn’t say no then, that would have been rude. I fear this is how she will be with my babies. I fear that J will hardly get to hold his own babies because my mother will be hogging them. I have been joking that it’s a good thing we’re having two – because otherwise we would never get to hold our own baby while my mother was around, and at least since there’s two there will be one for her to hold and one for everybody else. I joke about it – but really I’m afraid this is what will happen.

And then don’t even get me started about how she’s going to tell us exactly how to do everything…. Because of course she’s the expert on babies.


Stephanie said...

If you figure out the best way to deal with your mom, please let me know. I am facing the same situation although I still have 7 months to figure it out. It is such a touchy situation. good luck.

The Dunn Family said...

I was worried about the same thing before my twins were born. They were going to be my mom's first grandkids and she just wanted to be there every second. I told her upfront that we would want some alone time once we got home. The hospital was such a blur that it didn't really matter what I said. We didn't even get to see the babies for the first 12 hour as they were in the NICU for observation.

This i promise, you and your husband will have AMPLE time alone with those babies. Once I gave birth I never realized how much I could love two people and that's when I realized that I was that person for my mom once. I was the little baby they placed in her arms. This birth is almost as huge for our parents as it is for us. My suggestion would be embrace her love, let her be a part of it, as she'll only be there for a day before she heads out. Her baby is having two babies, and she is just excited.

And I said the same thing, Thank god there is two of them! Cause else me and DH would never have one to hold!

Jaimie said...

Oh, do I wish I had the answer for this! My mom wants to be in the damn delivery room! I told her no and I meant it. She wants to wait in the waiting room and I told her there wasn't much point because we have no idea how long it will be and it will be HOURS before we have any visitors. She seemed to think we would let her back with in the hour. I told her that we were going to be tired and that it was OUR time to bond with our baby. I told her wouldn't allow any visitors until after we moved from L&D to our room.

I can't use words as nice as what you did about my mom. My mom wants to be the first person to see the baby besides us. She knows that my husband's family lives right here in town and is affraid they will beat her to the baby!!! It isn't about the baby either it is about her seeing him first. I have had to be very forceful with her and she still doesn't listen. She gets terribly hurt feelings and I am sorry, but this time isn't about her and what she wants. It is about our family unit. This is time you/we will only have once and never again. It is so important that we get to take in every second of it. It doesn't mean we don't love our mothers and that they aren't wonderful people. It just isn't about them.

We spend so much time trying to please everyone. You really need to do what you think is best for you, your husband, and your babies. That might be having Grandma there right away and maybe not. For me, my mom makes me incredibly stressed and frustrated this then upsets my husband. I don't want to hurt her feelings, but I can't sacrifice myself and husband for her feelings either.

Bea said...

Can you just say, "Better book your flight for date X," and gloss over the whole date-of-caesar issue? (ie let her assume it's date X without actually saying?) These things often get changed at the last minute anyway. You could ring her on the day and say, "Oh, looks like it's going to be today, but we'll see you in two days' time..."


Heather said...

My sister had twins almost 6 years ago. I had already had my son by that time and had had a c section. She said it bugged her that everyone saw my son before I did. Sure, I saw him for the few seconds when he was born but not again for over an hour because of the surgery. Her c section was going to be with general with her asleep because of a previous back surgery. She told me flat out that whenever it was time to have the babies they simply did not plan to tell anyone until after the boys were born because they wanted a few hours to themselves first and that's exactly what they did! I accidentally found out the date she was going to have the babies and mentioned it to her to let her know I knew. She was going to use the same pediatrician that I used and the ped let it slip the date she was having the boys. So, I respected her wishes and DID NOT GO to the hospital until I got the call. I think my parents and her in laws were surprised the way it happened but everyone understood perfectly. My sister said she was so glad she had mentioned to me that they wanted the time alone because that kept me from mentioning the date to my mom once the ped spilled the beans! I really think you should just be honest with your mom. If that doesn't work, then I think you should lie. I know that sounds awful but if you want the first few hours or day to yourself then you deserve it. Surely your mom will understand. Eventually!

Somewhat Ordinary said...

Oh, I'm sorry you have to deal with this. My situation is very different because I live next door to my parents and 2 miles from my in-laws. I've already told my mom that we will call them AFTER the baby is born and then they can come to the hospital. We haven't had this conversation with the in-laws yet, but it is coming. The way I look at it is their feelings might be hurt for a little bit, but they will get over it as soon as they see the baby. I really think you need to talk to your mom, as uncomfortable as it maybe, these are your babies and you should spend their first moments, hours, days how ever you feel best! Good luck!

Heather said...

I say try to smooth things over with mom as best as possible. Definately don't have DH talk to her. She doesn't have to love him. She'll be p*ssed at you, but she'll still love you. Maybe let her have some time with the babies before she goes to the swiss, but make sure she knows you have stuff to do with them (change them, feed them) and that you need to do it your way to "get on your feet" with them.

My mom still hasn't forgiven me for not letting her be in the delivery room (and we had lots of other people in there, so I see her point) but she's a registered nurse and gets these concerned look on her face that freak me out when she knows what stuff could possibly be wrong. We already were unsure what our DD's state would be after she was born, because she had an issue with one of her lungs. I couldn't handle labor with her stressing around me.

Good luck.

Jenny said...

I personally went through a rather unpleasant post-birth situation with my in-laws so I completely understand your concerns. My suggestion is to be as upfront and honest as possible to avoid hurt feelings. Remember that this time is really about you, not the grandparents. I'm about to have my second child and I now plan to just call the in-laws after we move to our post-birth room (my family is 800 miles away, so they will still be the first family to arrive).

Karen said...

I wish I could take Erica's ("the dunn family") very mature point of view, because I think it's the healthiest of all and I think it's the most fair and reasonable point of view.

I think if I were you, I'd pick one of two options, however. Either tell her flat out that she is not welcome to come until after the babies are born and be very, very clear as to why. Or lie to her and give her a date that is two days past when you've actually scheduled the c-section (and then just say, whoops, they had to do it earlier... which OFTEN happens anyway).

If you think your mother would respect your wishes if you were honest with her, I'd go with that option. If you think she won't respect you, then lie. Much as I hate giving that advice to anyone under most circumstances, it's what I'd probably do. Heck, I'm tempted to lie about which hospital I'm delivering at! (We've got our choice of two, and I've already told both our mothers - who are both geographically local - that we don't know WHERE we'll be delivering if it ends up an emergency delivery, which is true)

In our case, things are slightly simplified. We've made it clear that we don't want anyone at the hospital under any circumstances because with triplets, they're going straight to the NICU no matter what. Best case scenario, our babies will be 6 weeks premature. So we told everyone that we're going to need some time to learn how to navigate the NICU, figure out the NICU policies, understand what kind of state the babies' health is in, etc. We have no idea what we'll be facing when they come out, and we don't want to be entertaining anyone else while trying to work through all that. And NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE (other than health care practitioners) is going to touch my babies before me (or, uh, I guess my husband).

So in that respect, I guess we've got it a bit easier than if we were having one or two babies. Neither of our mothers is happy about it, but neither can really argue with our logic, either.

Anonymous said...

For the last year and a half, our hospital has instituted a policy of very limited visitors in order for new moms to get sufficient rest. A support person (husband, doula, midwife, etc.) is allowed at any time. Siblings and grandparents of the baby are allowed only during limited visiting hours. Everyone else is unwelcome. This is a good policy for women having vaginal deliveries, but could be lonely for women stuck longer in the hospital after a c-section. Regardless, if your hospital has such a policy, it could help limit the amount of time your mom might take from your bonding time with the babies.

I've also recently read somewhere (sorry, I just can't remember where), that the first hour after birth is extremely critical to mother-infant bonding and should be as uninterrupted as possible.

All this to say that I think you should do what you feel is right (the previous commenters have made good suggestions) to prevent your mom from muscling in on your time with the babies.

GLouise said...

Ah, what a tough situation! And as you point out, you never know when the babies may appear, so it could be a moot point anyway....I think you are able to postpone making a big "scheduled C" announcement for another week or so. :-) You definitely deserve those first few hours as a family. Thinking of you,