Postpartum Hospital Visits Are The Worst

145576629__1383939549_142.196.167.223I read a blog post today about hospital postpartum visits and whether or not they are an intrusion. Personally, I hated them.

I wonder if it’s because I ended up with c-sections both times. The first time – I was so taken aback by the whole emergency c-section situation that I felt like I was in a daze. I wasn’t expecting to be in a hospital. I wasn’t expecting to be recovering from major surgery. I wasn’t expecting every step I took to be excruciatingly painful. I had no interest in visitors, besides my mom and my husband.

I remember getting messages from friends saying things like, “When can we visit?” All I could think was, “Are you serious?” I could barely walk. I hadn’t showered in days. There was blood dripping down my legs every time I got up. Visitors? No thanks. I mean, what if they had to use the bathroom? It was like a horror show in there. There was no way I wanted any of my friends around me at that time.

The second birth was not as traumatic. It was a c-section again, but I knew it was coming so I was more prepared. My husband spent most of the day in the hospital with me and my family dropped in periodically. I had already moved to a place where I didn’t have any friends, so the whole “dropping by” thing wasn’t really an option. You know what? I was glad about that. There is just so much going on after you have a baby. Nurses are in and out constantly pestering you about breastfeeding. You have to remember when you last took your meds. Oh- and there is a brand new human for you to pay attention to. Maybe I’m just not a great multi-tasker. I can only entertain so many people at once.

I’m sure it changes from person to person, so I’m not telling you to NOT visit your friends who have had babies, I’m just reminding you that you should definitely clarify that it’s something they want – and not just before the baby is born. Always make sure that it’s cool if you pop in before you show up. I think the movies have led us all to believe that woman has baby, sleeps a little and presto! Everything is back to normal. Maybe this is true for some people – but not everyone.

(photo: Getty Images)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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    • Carinn Jade

      I had similar experiences for myself. I was full-on (irrationally) ANGRY at anyone who wanted to come after my first. With my second, I left after the mandatory 24 hour observation period so no one even had the chance to get there. But you know what? My SIL had a baby on Wednesday and I badgered them to visit before they even left the labor and delivery room (and I did — visit them – with permission – before they even got moved up to maternity). I’m the worst!!!!!!

    • Cee

      I usually call after a person is out of the hospital and tell them whatever they want is cool with me. I get it. It is exhausting and everyone staring at you while you just want to be comfortable and take care of your baby is annoying.

      I’ve only had one minor surgery in my life and the number of people watching me walk to the bathroom during visiting was nerve wrecking. So yea, I don’t do hospital visits unless the mother herself has explicitly said she would like me to visit.

      I don’t mind waiting days, weeks, or months or anything. Its their body, their baby, so I play by their rules. I would just get very annoyed if anyone posted the stuff from STFUParents post like the one today. Its very presumptuous, passive aggressive and/or narcissistic.

    • alice

      I can’t imagine how ragey it must make new moms to have people *loitering* around their room. ugh.

      I only visit immediate family members or really close friends, and I stick the following three main rules:

      1. Bring multiple delicious food things for Mom and Dad to eat, or put in their hospital fridge, or throw away because who cares
      2. Don’t stay longer than 10 minutes
      3. Call first, derr

      I have no idea how I’ll feel after popping out a kid, but one of my friends better be smart enough to show up with a Jr.Beef Sauce & Cheese…just in case.

      • Sam Inoue

        Totally! I was raised to bring food when someone has a baby and not bug the crap out of them.

      • KarenMS

        The loitering was the worst. My baby was in the NICU and all I wanted to do was visit her and then lie in bed staring at the tv/pump. But people kept coming. And some of the people (grandparents) were allowed in the NICU so I’d have to escort them down to see her and then they’d stay after to sit and stare at me. It was such a helpless feeling because I just couldn’t bring myself to kick anyone out.

    • kay

      It’s never occurred to me to visit someone in the hospital postpartum. Like, my parents came, and my brother did (because he had a weirdly long layover that put him in town the day after my baby was born-dumb luck! We were supposed to get lunch, but then I had my baby a few days early instead). But everyone else was all “let us know when you’re out!”

      also, my parents bought me a costco thing of cookies. delicious cookies.

    • Sam Inoue

      I’m super private, And also kinda shy. I didn’t have anyone visit except my husband and other kid. My MIL raged like I was personally slapping her since I didn’t want her help. Ugh I hate that she excepted me to want that, when my step mother volunteered to visit and help I almost let her, but I changed my mind and that was my own (sort of) mom.

    • LocalMom29

      After my second c-section, the priest from the new church I had recently started going to came to visit and give the baby a blessing (I guess word had gotten out through a few of my church friends). I was alone in my room and nursing my son when I heard a knock on the door. I said, “Just a second,” which I guess he heard as “Come in,” and before I knew it there was an elderly man standing in front of topless old me. I don’t know which one of us was more embarrassed as I tried to cover up. I pretty much felt like shit after both kids and visitors were difficult because I felt like I had to be “up” for them. But then after my second I spent a week in the psych ward, where I could only see my husband for 15 minutes per day, so that made the awkward maternity ward visits seem like a piece of cake.

      • FF4life

        I’m sorry, was it PPP? I got hit by it pretty hard after my csection but they didn’t catch it right away.

    • Marisa

      I must be the exception to this…I had a long labor and delivery, but I could NOT rest after and so appreciated the visitors (and the distraction). At one point, I had close to a dozen people packed into the room and I had more fun than I could remember having since before my pregnancy made me feel like crap for nine months…

    • Ptownsteveschick

      Us politely asking my SIL not to come to the hospital with her 5 month old son, both her parents and her husband I barely knew the day after my daughter was born after 20 hours of labor was apparently so intolerable to her that it started a tirade that officially ended her relationship with her brother(it was extremely rocky at that point anyway) Besides her, all my other visitors were awesome because I was so bored in there, and they usually brought me treats or presents.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      Well, post C section, I was unshowered, couldn’t get up without help, had a pad the size of a bathmat between my legs, hives that covered my whole body, had my breasts out constantly with everyone grabbing at them, hadn’t slept in days and was undergoing something of a nervous breakdown. I was a troll.
      If anyone had tried to visit me, I’d have eaten them and looked for a bridge to die under.

      • AugustW

        Are the hives a c-section thing? At about 5 hours post surgery, I was on the toilet and the nurse (who I will love forever and ever) was slathering anti-itch lotion on me from head to toe. It was amazeballs.

      • kate

        the hives or itching is a epidural/spinal tap side effect. I was itched raw before it dawned on me to ask for some benedryll.

      • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

        No way! See, no one at the hospital knew what it was. I was given some Benedryll and I had to keep taking it to make them stay away. I had it chalked up to stress. Four damn days of hives!

      • AugustW

        Huh. I didn’t have an epidural, but I think I may have had a spinal block or something. It was an emergency c-section, and I don’t really remember the details.

      • Angela Brown

        Itching? Sometimes. Hives? No.

    • phoenix81

      I was adamant that it only be myself and my husband at the hospital for the birth and that we would call family after and let them know when they could stop by. Not 10 minutes after giving birth to my son- my mother, father and sister walked in. My mom “had a feeling” (insert eye roll). Is it bad that what bugs me the most is that they all had Timmy’s coffee in hand yet neglected to bring me one???

      • quinn

        Everything about this story pisses me off for you.

      • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

        That is just wrong.

    • FF4life

      Omg. This.

      I hated visitors after my csection. I was exhausted and PPD hit me pretty much immediately when I woke up. The nurses weren’t enforcing the “2 visitors only” rule and I was overwhelmed, unshowered, and loopy from Percocet.

      My inlaws got the picture that It was time to leave when a nurse came in to help me walk and use the bath room for the first time and blood started pouring out onto the floor. It was quite humiliating but thankfully it got them to leave.

    • My2bits

      This is one of those things that is different for everyone. The simple solution – ask! I always ask if my friends want to be visited and I don’t pressure at all. Most people seem to enjoy short visits (I know I did), but I have had a few people say they just needed to rest. If that was the case, then great – I will bring you a meal and meet the baby in a couple weeks.

    • keelhaulrose

      My second baby was in the NICU, and they were strict about who could enter the room. If I wasn’t in there with her I was eating or sleeping. I told everyone I’d let them know when she was out and they could visit, and made the announcement after she had been home a few days when we were ready.
      But I had a few relatives my parents didn’t inform of the birth until we were ready to deal with them. I’m not sorry we waited.

    • Tiffany

      I had an emergency C-section for my first, which was horrible. My blood pressure was so low afterwards that they had a hard time finding it, and I passed out for a good hour until I could see my son. The next day, my husband invited everyone he even remotely knew to the hospital, and I’m still mad about it almost 4 years later. My second c-section was scheduled, and way easy, but I still didn’t want visitors. When someone takes a machete to your uterus, you kind of want to be left alone. At least I did.

    • Lola

      After my 2 deliveries I got a couple visitors but for the most part people were like “oh, we’ll leave you alone”. But I was on a high and bored of sitting there and wanted people to WANT to meet my new baby and see me. It made me kind of sad how anti-climactic it was. Of course, I didn’t have C-sections so that may be the difference. I’m due again in 3 weeks and my husband isn’t going to be able to stay after the delivery because he needs to be home with the kids but I’m hoping other family members will step in to at least bring food.

      • Psych Student

        I would like to gently recommend that your husband mention to family that you would like some food and visitors. Just so you’re not disappointed if there aren’t any mind readers in the family. Good luck and congratulations!

    • ElleJai

      I was exhausted but happy to have dinner time visitors, and a friend stopped past during the induction (just before true labour kicked in) since she’d been in the hospital for her pregnancy fitness class and I said she could visit.

      The only people allowed to show up without asking were my mum (who was there for the birth) and my DH (who was there too, obviously).

      My stepmother doesn’t do hospitals, with good reasons but I knew that years ago, and I was begging my dad to visit. I was on the phone with one aunt (whose birthday it was) just before midnight (about an hour after birth) to let her know she had her birthday wish and to say Happy Birthday, having been distracted by labour all day lol.

      We’re all different though, and I had a quick birth with a few scratches, and so apart from dead tired I was in pretty good spirits.

      It wasn’t until I got home I proceeded to have a breakdown and ban all non-my-family visitors.

    • AugustW

      Okay, storytime.
      A friend and I were pregnant at the same time. Our mutual friends were almost all childless college students, so we were very well loved on. ;)
      Anyway, she had her baby first, and everybody visited and she really enjoyed it.
      When I went into labor….well, I kind of just didn’t tell anybody. It was a lot harder than I expected and I really didn’t want anyone around except my mother.
      I ended up with an emergency C-section, and then posted a photo on Facebook (because out of town family)…
      Anyway, my only visitors were immediate family. My c-section was totally incident free and I was actually up and out in24 hours, but I still didn’t feel up to “entertaining” my friends.
      I felt guilty about it for quite a while, but…I’m over it. ;)

    • DatNanny

      I have the kind of family that when someone gives birth, there’s no less than 20 people in the waiting room. We love babies! And reasons to celebrate. Night births come with a cooler of beer.

      I’ve come to accept that my horde of aunties will bully their way into the delivery room. Like during birth. I’ve seen it so many times. One specifically has affirmed she wants ‘the front row seat’.

      It’s so much harder when you’re the woman marrying into this family. But I want all my single brothers and male cousins married off so SORRY NO WARNING, GIRLFRIENDS OF MY RELATIVES.

    • kate

      The first time I was a post-emerg-c-section-first time-mom- wreck too. So I lied and told everyone the nurses said I couldn’t have visitors. Nurses are tough–they’ll happily take the heat for you if you ask them to join you in your subterfuge. It might have worried some friends but they forgave me rather quickly—I mean, I think I fessed up after…didn’t I?

    • Joye77

      When my son was induced early due to preeclampsia I had very few visitors. My son was whisked away to NICU and I was alone in my post partum emotional state for hours and hours. I would have loved some company.

    • Justme

      My MIL, grandmother-in-law and SIL had NO problem waltzing into our hospital room with random friends in tow with the goal to show off *their* new baby. Rage-inducing, indeed.

      I did allow my MIL in the delivery room with the caveat that I could kick anyone out at any point in time. She took this to mean that she, her daughter and her own best friend (whom I had never met up until that point) could all come and hang out in the room while I was having contractions and waiting for labor to progress.

      And then there was the fact that my MIL believed she could just “drop by” for fifteen minutes every day after she got off work, just so she could hold my daughter before heading home. I just so happened to be napping everyday at 4:00! Imagine that!

      The three most important words after having a baby are…boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.

    • Angela Brown

      My c-section was planned and nowhere near like what was described here. But yeah…it was still major surgery, I still had a catheter, I was still high on painkillers and in my pajamas without a bra and wearing mesh undies. Needless to say the visits I received from people who thought it was cool to just show up during visitng hours were less than welcome.

    • nikki753

      Right after giving birth (or adopting a new child) is one of the few times in life where you pretty much have carte blanche to call the shots without trying to make anyone happy. As long as you’re not totally mean about it, everyone should understand that it’s a hell of a time and you never know how a certain person is going to feel right then – even if they’ve already had kids. It’s okay to just flat tell people (not via mass Facebook message) that you really look forward to introducing them to the baby but that you’re sorry but you’re really just not up to it or, conversely, to call people up and beg them to come be with you while you wait until you can get out of the hospital – either for “We’re just bored and the baby’s sleeping like a champ” or “They whisked our baby to the ICU and we’re kind of freaking and need someone to be with us to make us feel better.” As long as you’re nice about it with pleases, thank yous, and the like, most people aim to please.

      Personally, huge shout-out to both my sister and brother- and sister-in-law. Huge thanks to all of them for sharing their babies with me when they still have that completely and totally brand-spankin-new baby magic. There is absolutely nothing in this world quite like a first 48-hours baby. I didn’t expect an invite but I really appreciate them letting me hold my precious niece and nephews when they were no young.

    • Meredith Gordon

      There’s no better time to have visitors than when you’ve just had your vagina stitched up. Personally, I hated every visitor and couldn’t wait for them to leave, especially our friends who brought a bottle of champagne-which i couldn’t drink since i had just…had a baby.
      xo
      Meredith badsandy.com