Since a couple of my friends are due with babies shortly after summer time I’ve been thinking about my own experience with visitors in the hospital after giving birth. My perspective on this topic has totally changed since giving birth.
Let me preface by saying that I made it to 35 weeks. A week prior to delivering I knew my body was telling me not to go to the office anymore. I was a paralegal and I could no longer stand being a glorified paper grabber or document runner. I had gained 74 pounds the babies were head down and I was freaking exhausted. My babies seemed more important than fetching papers all day. So, I worked the last week at home which some how still included running errands for the office. Go figure. But on the first day of week 35 I had a doctor’s appointment at 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon. I got up my normal time, around 5:30 and worked the morning from home on my laptop and left for my doctor’s appointment. My point is in this is how early I woke up. I never came home from my doctor’s appointment (which I knew I had taken my diaper bag and delivery bag with me) because I was 3 cm dilated and they were sending me over to labor and delivery to be induced. Throughout the labor I tried to get rest but was not able to. I started pushing around 5:30 a.m. At that point I was already up for 24 hours and hadn’t eaten since probably around 11:00 a.m. the day before. The boys were born at 6:51 and 7:04 a.m. You know the whirlwind after the babies are out. We had one baby that was with us and one baby that went to the NICU. When I got put in my room I finally got to eat and tried to nap. Which gets me to my topic.
I couldn’t nap because my phone kept going off and the visitors started to roll in. I was very much a people pleaser so when people asked if they could come visit I said yes but I also didn’t know how difficult it would be. I was in so much pain from the episiotomy after delivering and they had given me pain medicine. I hate taking pain medicine. It makes me so nauseous. So, I fought back the waves of nausea while visitors rolled in. I think we had roughly 8 visitors the first day. I looked like I had went through war, I was nauseous, I had one baby I was trying to bond and learn how to take care of, I had one baby in the NICU I couldn’t see because I was trapped with visitors, and I hadn’t slept. Oh and you know I had a lactation consultant pressuring me about trying to nurse. I knew I didn’t want to nurse the boys and that I wanted to pump. For one I was scared of how it would feel but for two I was just plain exhausted. I didn’t even get to pump until the next day. Which in hindsight I wish I would have told everyone to wait and see the babies until we were home. Finally around 7:00 I had another round of visitors. My only request was that people keep the baby away from the air conditioning vent, which is where the comfy chair happened to be. The guests took it upon themselves to rearrange the room blocking my way to the bathroom when I felt like I was going to throw up. When I asked everyone to move the person got pissed, got up spilled coffee all over my insurance paperwork (ruining it) and I fucking lost it. I absolutely had a breakdown. At that point in the day I hadn’t slept in 38 hours, pushed out two babies, was emotional because one was in the NICU and sick to my stomach. I was in such shambles the nurse asked everyone to leave, hugged me and told me I think you should go take a shower, visit your baby in the NICU (because I hadn’t been able to because of all the visitors) and go to bed. I did what she said and it was the best thing I could have done. I needed to see my baby and hold him.
So, in retrospect I wish the time had been saved for just my husband and I and the babies. I needed time to bond with them, rest while I could and take the time under supervision to learn to pump properly. I didn’t get much time for that. Being in the hospital is a stressful time given that situation but it really should be used to rest up in my opinion, at least when you are bringing twins home. Take advantage of the nursery between bonding. Get as much sleep as possible. When the babies came home they HAD to eat every three hours. So I was up feeding babies and pumping every three hours. I got like no sleep for at least 4 months. I wish I had taken the three days in the hospital to rest and let my body heal.
Given my experience I now know that I will give a person time once they have delivered and ask if they want visitors. Ask! That’s the key word. Don’t just show up and don’t just ask what room they are in. But ask if they even want people to visit. It’s so much less stressful to have people come meet the babies in the comfort of my own home.
Also, if my husband and I ever have another baby I am going to make it crystal clear that we want visitors reserved for when we come home. I will take that time to bond with my baby and to rest. And well if that hurts someone’s feelings they are being selfish. I think my people pleasing has gone down since becoming a mother. Sometimes I need to do what is best for me and my children. Even if I am doing what is best for me at the end of the day that is doing what is best for the kid’s as well. They don’t need to have a stressed out, unhappy mother because she is too busy acquiescing to other people’s wants and desires.
Did you allow visitors after giving birth? In retrospect would you still allow visitors?