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New Baby Information {Family Portfolios}: How to Communicate Expectations for Baby’s Birthday Week

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Family, as we all know and love, can be very, VERY difficult to deal with sometimes… Mine is no exception. The first grandbabies in a family too are an especially exciting, confusing and chaotic time for both your parents and in-laws. Tensions can run high (higher than they did when planning your wedding believe it or not!, Really your wedding planning family battles are just training sessions for pregnancy and delivering grandbabies… since sometimes that is really all a son-in-law is for…. Giving them grandbabies) and the more you can prevent the better!

Disclaimer: I am writing this post at 9 Months pregnant, so the hormones are flying and it may not be my most eloquent article…. Beware some caddy tangents, unfiltered and just plain sarcastic commentary…

I think it is really important to have communication about your Labor & Delivery expectations with family. There are a lot of unknowns and assumptions from grandparents about their first grandbaby…. (still some with the second) but you should make it very clear with everyone WHO will be in the delivery room, when you want visitors and how family is going to be involved for the few days you spend in the hospital. Everyone is really excited and anxious to meet this little person, not just you, so they might get a little presumptuous about their “rights” to that hospital room…

Family also wanted to come in and visit while I was in between contractions in the delivery room, while suffering through my hours of labor, (Why on earth?) probably so that they could feel like part of the team and because they care about me and wanted to be helpful and make sure I was okay…. Not what I wanted them to do at all, so we had to communicate that in the hospital (which I should have done better before) This Nesting Assignment (refer back to the 9 Month Nesting Musts Post) is a two-page informational “newsletter” we’ll call it, for the family.

How to make Family Portfolios…

Information distributed to family members with “need to know” details about Labor, Delivery and the first few days you’re home…

*Also, I’m using this super fun CIRCUS font because, after all, this whole bit is a real circus act! Enjoy!

Communicating Labor Plans

What exactly will happen in the first stage of labor? If your water breaks right now, what are you going to do and who are you going to call? Are you driving yourself to the hospital? Who are you going to call to take you to the hospital? Who are you going to drop your first kiddo off with on the way and/or who will come over in the middle of the night so you don’t have to wake him/her up? All of these details should be at least thought of before labor, and if you have not written it down yet, DO IT, because as mentioned before on this blog, that Pregnancy Brain might kick in and you’ll forget something out the door!


Building a LABOR PLAN:

Mine is very articulate because my Yearling kid {his name is Cash} drop-off is contingent on who also has my niece in the family, and then my husband works far away so he can’t come home from work to get me easily….  I then break it down by wee morning hours and middle of the day/evening hours based on who is available in my family to do what. I pretty much have the same, one person (who is retired and answers her phone the most) as my go-to for hospital transportation.

PHONE TREE: I then have a built in phone tree that she will also start when I am admitted into the hospital so that everyone knows “it’s happening!” With the first kid that was a main question from all family members… which honestly confused me as to why this was so hard to understand for each of them, or that it was such a sensitive concern… I was asked repeatedly beginning around 7 months, “Well how are we all going to know when it’s happening? I want to be there.” I was shocked that they truly thought I would go all through delivery and his birth without any of them knowing, but I guess they were really concerned that we would just keep our first child a secret (?) Not sure where that came from, but I guess the point is that I’m sure your family also has a hidden angst that they are not sharing or that really concerns them, which you should try to dig out and communicate about. I had ALWAYS planned to have the phone tree started by the person who took me in to the hospital, either my husband, or a cab driver if needed, but unless your family is told, or in my case given a written piece of paper, they will think you’re keeping it a secret… and cutting them out of the loop.

Caddy Tangent: AND, when I gave a copy of the phone tree to my Go-To Delegated driver for the first baby (and only this person since only they would need it), when another family member saw it, they were super offended that they didn’t get one too! Even though it said that they were the first one to be called….

Unfiltered Commentary: YOUR mother, DOES NOT want a call from the delegated person…. She will want YOU to call her between or even during contractions. How dare you, after all, try to delegate a call to her that would come from a calm, educated, has their whit about them person?… She really does want to hear your own voice in screaming agony, probably short fused and snappy to any of her ridiculously invasive questions about your cervix, rather than receive the news that her daughter is in labor from anyone else… I’m sure I’ll understand when my first grandkid is due… not now.

Hospital CRITERIA: At the top of mine I also put all the steps I needed to do/prove when I thought I was in labor and all the numbers I was supposed to call. Really important: I included the “requirements” for contractions before even going into the hospital. That way I wouldn’t rush in before the math was right. For the first baby I counted/timed with a stop watch until the contractions met this criteria before calling the hospital night nurse… she asked, “Are you 5-1-1?” and it made it so much more convincing to have my little tracking card there to prove I was, and had been tracking for 2 hours before I called!

 To sum up Page 1, the LABOR PLAN, includes who takes everyone where, and who tells/calls everyone else. Include for them a PHONE TREE (put on there to call whoever is going to take over feeding your pets!) Write down, mostly to remind yourself what needs to happen for CRITERIA before you head in to avoid being sent home! I was sent home, so we were actually billed twice too!


Arrival Plan-

What exactly will happen in the first week or two of birth? I make this look a little more fun, though it does share a great deal of information and expectations from us as new parents in a colorful yet not intimidating way… though be careful… this isn’t right for all families.

Unfiltered Commentary: Your family may have that, ”how dare you try to monitor my helping you by telling me your clear expectations? I will “help” you however I want to with my grandbaby” mentality… in which case you’re just going to have to swallow that some people won’t read this and then you’ll have an awkward family moment to deal with… No matter how clear, early and sprinkled with optimism and gratitude I try to make my communications with my family, I ALWAYS offend someone, somehow, usually in a way that completely flabbergasts me… especially when I don’t find out about them being mad at me for weeks or months later.


How to build the Newsletter

A few important Text Boxes that should be covered…

Thank you: The first box that they read should truly be how gracious you are for their help, because you most certainly ARE and you most certainly NEED it, especially if you have older kiddos. If you are actively asking for help like this then you owe it to the readers to be sincerely thankful!

The Plan: Explain why they are receiving this newsletter and why it is important that they read it.

The Hospital: Outline the expectations and communication chain here so that they know what to expect.

Helping: Give 5 positive ways that they CAN help you instead of a list of “Get the heck out of my house!” rules and statements.

Dinners: I doubt you’ll feel like cooking and this is a FANTASTIC way for anybody to help you! Your husband will be the most grateful 😉

I list a few phone numbers of our favorite restaurants incase helpers don’t want to cook. Beware though, if you are asking people to bring you food and spend money on you, you absolutely MUST invite them to stay and enjoy it with you. They may not, but be prepared to have them stay. It is appropriate to offer they dine with you, get over it.

Siblings: Grandparents will want to know where the older siblings are so that they can offer to help out the sitter, and/or complain about why they weren’t elected to be the sitter while you’re in the hospital (sarcasm)

Sip & See: Schedule a specific day when you WILL have your doors open all day for visitors to roam in freely and play with the newborn. This day will alleviate a lot of pressure, trust me! When people know that there is a designated day, you’ll begin to hear comments from friends and neighbors like, “Oh we’ll just wait for that day” which is awesome and so perfect.

Family isn’t always so accommodating, but they are VIP after all. Your friends do want to come check in on you and see how you are doing as well as the newborn, and they are much more relaxed about the scheduling. The Sip & See gives you one time to have it all over with at once, not scheduling hourly visits every weeknight for a month! Serve some light refreshments, let grandma bake something or even host!

Man, that would make her day! And you just sit back and pass your poop machine around J Stock up on hand sanitizers and make sure people know NOT to come if they are sick! You might even sneak in a nap! Hey hey!

Visitors: Lay down some ground rules for visitors to follow the next few weeks after baby is home and AFTER the sip & see.

You’ll still want to be clear on your expectations.

Unfiltered Commentary: I personally absolutely HATE unexpected visitors! I cannot express enough how obnoxious it is to be in the middle of something (like the bubble bath you have been fantasizing about for 4 weeks, carefully planned for when both babies are magically sleeping at the same overlapping moment, where you can enjoy 7 minutes of bubbly bliss to yourself only to have the doorbell start chiming, repeatedly (you know, in case you couldn’t hear it or they thought it might be broken) to be followed by echoing cries first from one crib then the other, while you fumble to get a towel around your wasted bubbles and get to the door so they stop that infuriating chiming… only to be greeted with a grandparent who asks, “are you busy?” … and they didn’t even bring you food….)

 To sum up Page 2, the ARRIVAL PLAN should be a fun presentation of expectation that they are enticed to read. Presentation is key here. If you want them to read it, present it in a fun way! But be sure to get all of your expectation down on paper!

 


Hi There! I’m Kandice
Wife, WAHM and mother to 2 Hooligan boys making the most out of my Sweet & Sticky {not sure who is who yet… they change daily}
Life is what you make it and when you accept your Sweet & Sticky you can regain control of your chaotic #MomLife. Before Motherhood I was never late, preached efficiency and even color coded my closet. Life changes after 2 Toddlers {obviously} so now I’m building new Small Systems, Organizing Mom Routines and Charting Schedules that keep our Team productive. Join me for Toddler School with Cash & Wyatt.
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