Newborn baby

Who would you want in the room while giving birth? For both our boys, I…

…wanted only Alex there, with doctors and nurses checking on us now and again. I loved the experience and craved total peace and quiet. Here, seven more women share their stories:

“I’m a single mom, so I had my dad with me; he’s the calmest of my family, so I knew he’d be the one. It was an emergency C-section a month early because my blood pressure was too high. I remember him sitting next to me and stroking my hair. I said, ‘Dad, I’m not going to speak, so don’t think I’m dead. I’m just imagining I’m on a beach in St. Barth.’ I did manage to transport myself to the ocean… but I’d break out of it every 30 seconds and beg him for a Diet Sprite. I don’t even drink soda but I was the thirstiest of my life and really craving a Diet Sprite! When the baby was out, he was the first to hold her — it’s a memory I cherish.” — Alyssa

“During my C-section, my doctor told my husband to put his face close to mine and say sweet nothings, like how beautiful and strong I was (it had been a long labor). She asked him to hold a lavender handkerchief under my nose for the smell(s). She also told me to expect bright lights, music and that the doctors might talk about seemingly strange things — their vacations, golf, jokes. I was so glad for that advice!” — Abbey

“On Christmas Eve, I was having major contractions, and we were leaving for the hospital. I was on the front porch when my water broke. My legs started shaking, and I yelled ‘I need to push – NOW!’ My dad, who’s a family doctor in Arizona, was visiting with my mom and my sister. He said, ‘Looks like we’re having this baby right here.’ They got me back into the house, and my husband and my dad lay me down on an ottoman in the living room. The baby was crowning and I started pushing, with my sister holding my back up, my husband and my mom holding my legs and my dad delivering the baby, two feet from our Christmas tree. There was not a dry eye in the place. We tied the cord with dental floss and my husband cut it with a pair of sewing scissors, sanitized with Purell. We wrapped our daughter in a beach towel before heading to the hospital to get checked out. Her name? Evie, our Christmas Eve miracle.” — Jenny

“I spent my entire labor trying to figure out who to set up my OB with, and trying to convince her to do JDate, so that kept me busy. (Don’t worry, she is now married to a nice anesthesiologist without my help.) My husband was there, and quite helpful 1) turning the pages of my Us Weekly while I was on my hands and knees and 2) holding my knees to my chest while I pushed!” — Paige

“All four grandparents were in the waiting room, although my partner was the only one in the delivery room. During my three hours of pushing, my dad was pacing right outside the door, like a scene in a movie.” — Allison

“We did a home birth, and two older kids were right there. I wasn’t sure if it would be too much for them, but it was a magical experience having my husband, midwife and two — then three! — children all together at that miraculous moment. We just had to stop them from jumping in the birthing tub afterward!” — Nicole

“We were lucky to have an obstetrician who works with just one other partner in her practice, and for most births they have a policy of providing ‘four hands’ on deck — both doctors are present pretty much the whole time. They often say that they’re more like midwives than doctors. During my 12 hours of labor, which ended up in a C-section, one or both of them sat with us and chatted about movies, careers, family and amazing patient stories. I remember going in and out of sleep all night listening to my husband and doctors laughing and hanging out, and it was pretty much the most comforting feeling in the world.” — Lexi

Newborn twins

Who would you want in the room with you? Your partner? A doula? Your best friend? Is there anyone you really wouldn’t want there? I’d love to hear…

P.S. How to keep up your marriage after kids, and how do you know if you’re ready to have a baby?

(Top photo by Billy Jack Brawner; bottom photo by Kieran Dodds.)