Pregnancy Journal: What Not To Say

From 5 Minutes for Parenting

By Kelly

My husband is a rock during childbirth.

Not only is he great in stressful situations – particularly useful when I started bleeding profusely after the birth of our first daughter; he held the gauze and the light for the midwife while she stitched me back together – but he doesn’t leave my side from the moment I enter the hospital to the moment I waddle through our front door.

(I still remember him towering over the L&D nurse in California who told him he couldn’t, technically, stay the night with me, as it was against hospital policy to let men stay in the rooms. I believe he might have said something like, “I’d like to see you try and kick me out, little woman.” Chuck Norris could have learned a lot from Corey at that moment.)

But I doubt my experience is typical – at least, not to hear my girlfriends tell it. They lean in and pass along stories of horror, in which husbands ask if they can go get a bite to eat during transition or pass out when beholding the placenta or offer helpful suggestions like, “You don’t need drugs, honey. Just use all that breathing!”

A few days ago, a blogging friend sent me a copy of a Facebook thread, in which the author – who is days away from being a first-time daddy – asked for help compiling a list of Things Not To Say To Your Wife While She’s In Labor. The suggestions, from both men and women, were hysterical.

“Here, babe, can you hold my sandwich?”

“Wait! Don’t push! I forgot the camera in the car!”

“This hangnail really hurts. Does it look infected to you, honey?”

“This is taking forever! Do you care if I fire up a movie?”

“Man, that looks like it hurts.”

Or my personal favorite:

“That nurse is hot.”

How about you? Do you have some words that a L&D Dad should keep to himself? Or maybe you have a personal tale of wisdom to share? Now’s your chance.

Kelly is due in May with her fourth child. To be fair, her husband isn’t perfect. He once called his wife a moose when he was feeling amorous. You can read more about her family at Love Well.

30 Responses to Pregnancy Journal: What Not To Say
  1. Anitra
    February 24, 2010 | 9:51 am

    “Ew, what’s the doctor doing down there?”

    My husband wisely DIDN’T say this when the doctor gave me an episiotomy. (He told me later, when the delivery was over.) I was in so much pain that I didn’t feel it, but if he had made comments, I would have freaked out (more than I already was).

  2. Kara
    February 24, 2010 | 11:27 am

    When I was in labor with #2 I was going natural and during transition my husband kept patting my hand and saying “it’s ok”. I was thinking “No, it is NOT ok!!!” and finally yelled at him to shut up lol.

  3. Vanderbilt Wife
    February 24, 2010 | 11:35 am

    After nearly getting sick in the bathroom after the birth of our daughter (and refusing to cut the cord), my husband declared that heads should only come out of necks. Well, that’s nice dear, but WAS I SUPPOSED TO LEAVE HER IN THERE FOREVER?


  4. Kelly
    February 24, 2010 | 11:38 am

    I feel compelled to add that my own father, when my mother was in labor with me, went home to TAKE A NAP when it became apparent that I was going to be a long time coming.

    He has never lived that down.

  5. Mary
    February 24, 2010 | 12:06 pm

    My mother-in-law likes to tell the story of her first labour. They got into the car to head to the hospital. Drove two blocks. Then my father-in-law decided he was “too sweaty” to go, gets out of the car, WALKS home and changes his undershirt.

    She always ends the story with “It’s a good thing you are cute!”

  6. gretchen from lifenut
    February 24, 2010 | 12:08 pm

    Don’t tell your wife if she poos during pushing. I told him in advance I didn’t want to know and he just smiled. Good guy.

    When I was being induced with our first (10 days overdue) they used refrigerated prostaglandin gel which was kept in a fat syringe. Because it was refrigerated, it wouldn’t come out of the syringe, so the doctor had my husband hold the tube in his armpit for 15 minutes to warm it up. He was such a good sport through ALL of my deliveries, actually.

  7. Kristen
    February 24, 2010 | 1:12 pm

    I thankfully, have not labored.
    During my c-sec, my husband tried to give me a play by play, and I told him if he wanted to live, to be quite and just let me listen for the baby.

    My girlfriend who was induced 2 wks later gave birth about 10-15 minutes before another girlfriend and I arrived. Her poor husband was wandering the halls saying over and over, “There was no sheet, there was SUPPOSED to be a sheet”
    Poor guy was traumatized! LOL This time I think he is planning on taking his own sheet 🙂

  8. Lynne
    February 24, 2010 | 1:15 pm

    After following the ambulance to the hospital my husband parked in the parking garage and finally found me in the labor triage room. He ran in huffing and puffing and said his stomach hurt because he just ran all the way from the parking garage. Meanwhile I was already 9 centimeters dilated and was just told it was too late for an epidural. Good thing the nurse said to him what I was thinking!

  9. Jen
    February 24, 2010 | 1:15 pm

    I too had a husband who stayed by my side the entire time throughout the birth of all three of our daughters. I feel like I must be a more needy woman than some of my friends who talk about telling their husband to go down to the cafeteria and get a snack during labor. I wanted him WITH ME the whole time. I didn’t get to take a break for a snack! Why should he? Luckily he doesn’t hold that against me.

  10. Amy from Occupation: Mommy
    February 24, 2010 | 2:25 pm

    My general pre-epidural labor feeling is that my husband should be Absolutely Silent. While I was pregnant with my first, I thought I would want him to help me with my breathing, to say encouraging and sweet things, to rub my back, etc. Well, it turned out that I wanted him to sit in his chair next to me, not say a word, not eat, not watch TV, not touch me, and not breathe too loudly. By this time around I think he knows the routine. After the epidural, though, I am fine and we can talk about whatever. But I don’t think he would say any of those lines people came up with…

  11. Erica
    February 24, 2010 | 4:23 pm

    I thankfully have a husband who is not squeamish or put off by bodily issues whatsoever (medical background). He watched the whole c-section surgery of our first born. But for #2, which was a no-meds VBAC, as I am going through transition and say that I don’t think I can do it, he pipes up with “Well, you’re the one who wanted to do it this way”. I’m glad I was otherwise occupied with birth or I might have throttled him. Thankfully with birth #3 (also a no-meds VBAC) he was wise enough just hold my hand and tell me I was doing a great job. Silly boys!

  12. Happy Geek
    February 24, 2010 | 7:28 pm

    I had two c-sections and a hubby who was too close to fainting to say anything. And by close, I mean they wisked him away at one point.
    BUT, my B-I-L (who is a wonderful guy most if the time) did ask the nurse to look at his hangnail as my sis went through ten hours of labour.

    Another friend’s husband told er that she was porbably blowing it all out of perportion, it really didn’t look that hard.

  13. Louise
    February 24, 2010 | 8:07 pm

    My husband was amazing through both my labors. In fact, the nurses at birthing center during our second birth asked if they could rent him out to women whose significant others wanted to watch tv the whole time, or weren’t even there.

    He did learn a few things during the birth of our first daughter, such as: don’t say “we’ll” get through this, when I’m the one screaming my lungs out; don’t say “I know” about anything, because you have No Idea; and sometimes, even saying the right things will be wrong, because I need to be mad at you. Oh, and there will always come a point where I look at you and really, really don’t like you because You Did This To Me.

    He’s a saint. He endured it all, including me punching him because, as I tried to explain through my tears, I needed to hit something, and it was either him or the wall, and he was closer.

  14. Minnesotamom
    February 24, 2010 | 9:02 pm

    My dad wasn’t there for either my birth or my brother’s. He “was tired” with me, so went in the hall to sleep, and didn’t make it there in time with my brother. My mom is still a little bitter. 😉

  15. Jennifer
    February 24, 2010 | 9:28 pm

    My hubby (thinking it was funny) during delivery #1: “Suck it up.”

    He’s lucky that I don’t tell that story in group gatherings anymore…and that I let him in the room for #2 and #3 =)

  16. Melodee
    February 25, 2010 | 5:35 am

    My husband missed my last birth (at home, attended by midwives) because I was in such deep denial that I was in labor. Basically, though, I recommend that men say pretty much nothing other than, Can I get you anything? 🙂

  17. edj
    February 25, 2010 | 1:36 pm

    We did natural childbirth, and we went to the classes and learned all about the breathing. My husband was GREAT while I was in labour, except for one moment. I had just finished a hard contraction, and was finding that I did better with relaxation rather than that drippy Lamaze breathing, and he looked deep in my eyes and said, “Let’s do the next one right!” Um. Fortunately another contraction hit right then, so I didn’t get to say what I was thinking! 😉

    He’s funny telling birth stories though. He says, “I could not believe how uncomfortable those fold-out chairs were! I was calling “Nurse! Can I get a morpheine drip here!””

  18. Krista
    March 4, 2010 | 12:25 am

    My husband requested a nap while I was in labor… to be fair he had taught all day, we went to the hospital at midnight, and it was then sometime the next day. But still, I was all, do I look like I’m getting a nap here?

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