Blessings In A Hospital Room On Thanksgiving Day

by admin on November 23, 2011

My youngest son was born the day before Thanksgiving, 2 years ago.  He was 3 weeks early; we hadn’t expected him to come just then!  But nature has its way.  When I went into labor, we had a friend come and stay with my oldest until my parents-in-law could come and get him, which they did the next morning.  They took him to their home, which is 1.5 hours away.

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law were also at my parents-in-law’s house for the holiday.  My husband and I spent Thanksgiving alone, in a hospital room, with our newborn.

The day after Thanksgiving, new mommy hormones and holiday sentimentality made me want my oldest child back so that he could meet his new brother.  I called my mother-in-law and asked her to bring him, and she said that my sister-in-law flat-out refused to come to our city that day, because she had driven 4 hours from the next state for this visit, and as she was going home on Saturday, we could darn well wait for them to visit then.  Apparently, they all had to visit together.

My poor mother-in-law!  She was really torn between her daughters-in-law.  I tried not to cry and make her feel worse.  In the end, she didn’t bring my son up, and my husband and I and our new baby went home on Saturday without a single family member having visited us in the hospital.  We never did get any turkey or stuffing that year!

Whenever I hear new mothers complaining about too many people visiting them in the hospital, I almost wish they knew what it felt like to have the opposite problem! 1109-11

Your sister-in-law didn’t earn any brownie points with the family with that display of selfishness.

My second child was born two days before Thanksgiving (Happy Birthday N!) and no family visited either.  But the hospital served a spectacular Thanksgiving dinner I didn’t have to cook.  A local church youth group had even made these cute turkey decorations for each food tray.   Twenty three years from now you won’t care about missing the food or the family as you reflect back on a special day when a new little man entered your life and blessed it beyond imagination.  Trust me.

{ 97 comments… read them below or add one }

anonymous November 23, 2011 at 5:40 am

I agree that years down the line, the family thing will be a blip and the memory of having your son will be a warm, glowing orb of a memory.

That said, wow. My default assumption (I know, one should never assume) is that they’d make the trek out to visit you on Thanksgiving Day and bring you some plates of food. What my family would probably do is cook the meal and then immediately pack up as much of it as possible, picnic-style, and bring it to the hospital and have a very different sort of giving of thanks!

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AMC November 23, 2011 at 9:50 am

I’m so sorry that happened to you, OP. What a horrible and selfish way to treat family, especially after one of them just gave birth!

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MyFamily November 23, 2011 at 9:51 am

I really dislike the sentiment, “you think it is bad to have too many visitors, then try having no visitors, it is worse!” That is unfair to those, like myself, who did have rude visitors. There is a happy medium and I didnt get that until the birth of my 3rd child. Just because the OP had a bad experience with one extreme, doesn’t mean the other extreme is better.

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threepenny November 23, 2011 at 10:01 am

I’m sorry; I don’t see how not wishing to make a three-hour round trip drive to visit someone one would be seeing shortly thereafter is “selfish”… especially after one has already driven four hours one way to make a visit to family. The SIL was not responsible for the OP’s child; the MIL was. I guess I am missing something here, as I don’t see how the SIL is the “bad guy” in this scenario.

If anything, I find it a tad odd that the OP is bewailing her lack of turkey and stuffing when a child was just born to her. To me, this post kind of sings “I gave birth; everyone must therefore bow to my desires.” Others, of course, will most likely disagree, but… that is my take on things.

Admin, though, I do think your gentle reminder that turkey and stuffing do not trump the more important things in life is spot on.

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Lucy November 23, 2011 at 10:03 am

Sorry, but the OP said it herself: New mommy hormones and holiday sentimentality.

Also, as admin herself pointed out: Twenty-three years from now, OP won’t miss the turkey and stuffing.

OP is being kind selfish, too. I don’t blame the sister-in-law at all for not wanting to drive another three hours round trip on her holiday, new baby or not, after having driven half the day the day before. That’s a lot of driving over a relatively short holiday weekend; I don’t travel over Thanksgiving because it’s not long enough for me to actually relax and recover from my work schedule. Also, the rest of the family was probably even less mentally prepared for the baby event than the OP.

I was born by surprise (six weeks early) on a holiday (July 4th), too, and my mother had visitors only because my parents themselves had already traveled five states for a family event and were in an area where Mom’s entire extended family was going to be in town, anyway. Had I been born where and when I ought to have been, not a single family member would have seen me in person until Christmas when I was old enough to travel to Mom’s home state.

I know everyone’s new babies are life-changing events for them, but in the grand scheme of things, they aren’t that big a deal. OP needs to grow up and get over it.

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NotThumper November 23, 2011 at 10:12 am

Poor MIL nothing! You deserved to see your son and she should have brought him, if she couldn’t then perhaps your husband could have gone to get him. From what the OP has just said about her MIL and her SIL I think I’d be thrilled that they didn’t visit.

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Rap November 23, 2011 at 10:14 am

You know, I’ll say it. There’s two sides to this. It sounds like an emergency delivery – the parents in law had already schlepped in unexpectedly to babysit the older child during a holiday where they were also having guests… and it also sounds like the mom with the newborn really isn’t taking into consideration her brother and his wife’s feelings. Look, I get wanting to bring the older kid to see the newborn… But honestly, does this in any way sound like the sister in law and her family were considered at all? Depending on how often they get the opportunity to visit the grandparents, they had made a special trip to do so, and were being asked to give it up not because new mom wanted them to visit her, but because the new mom wanted *her* son to visit her. Since when was “ditch your other guests, I’ve had a baby so bring me my son!” really a polite thing to ask? And yes, an hour and a half in one direction is a bit of a drive with winter and holiday traffic, especially when the driver (grandma) has guests at her home as well. Was the sister in law and her family even invited to the hospital? Don’t get me wrong – I would have aquiesced in a similar situation simply to avoid arguements later down the road – “I just had a baby!” always wins these fights but is this really that one sided?

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Wink-n-Smile November 23, 2011 at 10:39 am

Bad enough she said to wait until Saturday, but then she didn’t even come through then. That is really sad.

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Wink-n-Smile November 23, 2011 at 10:40 am

Did the in-laws give thanks for their new little relative?

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itsdamomma November 23, 2011 at 10:54 am

Honestly, this story makes me so mad on your behalf! I am remember exactly what those new mommy hormones feel like and having had 4 kids in 5 years – I can remember after spending a good day in the babymoon phase all I wanted after that was to get my hands on my big kids. Truth be told, after a few minutes of the bigger kids I was ready to go back to my babymoon, lol! But honestly, I would be more angry at your mother in law. And, I would try to make better arrangements if there is a next time and have your babies stay with someone closer to you. I actually always found it better to have someone watch them at our house during the day and have my husband come home at night.

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jessiebird November 23, 2011 at 10:57 am

I feel for you, OP. I am sorry you had to feel the way you did. I had a similar thing happen with the birth of my son, who was two weeks late. My parents had scheduled a vacation with two of my siblings far away from me, and despite being on my third day of induced labor, went. Then I had surgery, lost a lot of blood, and they remained on vacation. There is a lot more to the story and most people can believe some of things they said and did when they returned, while I was recovering from birth, surgery, and taking care of a newborn (and full of those hormones, indeed!) But it’s so painful, I’m scared to submit the story to this site for fear of being flamed like a couple of commenters have already judged you. I know there is probably more to your story, and even if not, I feel for your disappointment and especially, missing your older son on a big holiday when you have just celebrated your family with the birth of a new member. I hear you.

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SHOEGAL November 23, 2011 at 10:59 am

I don’t find the sister in law the criminal in this either. I can’t blame her for not wanting to drive, drive, drive – only to make another 4 hour trip driving home after spending most of the holiday in the car.

I think the OP should put her own selfish reasons aside and think about her son spending most of the holiday in the car – he’ll be looking at his new baby brother every day for years to come – another day won’t matter and neither will the stuffing or mashed potatoes or anything else about Thanksgiving. A child was born – that is celebration enough and even if it is just with your husband and new son. Perhaps later that will be a cherished memory – just having him all to yourselves.

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Jones November 23, 2011 at 11:07 am

Wait…OP asked to see her own child and was told No because her SIL couldn’t make it? Why did they all have to visit together–due to the short amount of time SIL was in the area? Were SIL and MIL joined at the hip so they wouldn’t take 3-4 hours apart at all during the entire time?

I knew that I was a little different for taking some quiet me-time when I lived out of state and came to visit family a couple times a year, but I didn’t realize a few hours of my own without a mother, MIL, sibling or other family member/friend was not doable. I thought it was par for the course to let a guest rest at home while the family goes Black Friday shopping or whatever other post-Thanksgiving activity they chose.

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Mila November 23, 2011 at 11:19 am

Honestly I think the OP was in the wrong here :/ I don’t see how it’s selfish in a bad way to not want to travel for several hours to see a baby/bring OP’s child to her on demand, when they would see them pretty soon anyway. It’s unfortunate that the birth was a surprise as you can’t be prepared then of course, but you can’t expect everyone else to drop everything they have. Having a child is a huge event in your life (if you choose it) but you really really really need to remember that it will NEVER be important in the grand scheme of things. Life goes on and sometimes that means that you can’t get everything you want on the specific days you happen to be giving birth. My advice would be to get over it and not hold it against anyone involved. I don’t think it’s fair to hold it against SIL that she couldn’t bring OP’s child to her. It shouldn’t be expected on such short notice and SIL gave her reason for it.

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ferretrick November 23, 2011 at 11:24 am

I’m not clear who is wrong in this story. If sister-in-law was merely saying that she did not want to drive another three hours that day after driving four the day before, that is perfectly reasonable. What’s not clear is if sis-in-law was merely saying she wouldn’t go, or if she was saying I’m not going, so I expect Mom and Dad not to go too and entertain me. I guess that’s what OP implies by “apparently, they all had to visit together” but I’m not clear if that was sis-in-law’s desire or mom-in-law’s. If all sister-in-law was saying was that she was not making the trip, and not trying to dictate whether others went or not, she did nothing wrong.

And I also am unclear why if it was that important to OP and hubby for oldest to meet his little brother, hubby couldn’t have climbed in the car and made the three hour trip. While it’s nice when family helps out, it is a favor not a right. Your child’s transportation is YOUR responsibility.

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alli_wan November 23, 2011 at 11:46 am

I’m with threepenny. The relatives are already doing the OP a favor taking care of her first child. They have already driven in from out of state, they are likely already preparing a holiday dinner for those who did come, and they have a child they don’t usually care for 24 hours a day underfoot (the OP’s child).

The OP on the other hand already has the two most important people in this situation with her, her new baby AND the baby’s father (her husband). While it would be nice if the older child were there, the OP who is demanding this is in no position to care for her older child (being in the hospital and all), nor is her husband (as he’s too busy caring for her and the new baby). So the OP is therefore demanding her family drop their planned holiday dinner altogether (or worse, cook it and bring it to her to be served in a hospital, which may be against the rules anyway), bring her minor child (who probably doesn’t need a long car trip to add to a stressful weekend, and may not be allowed into the hospital room anyway), and is pissy and crying because her family ‘doesn’t want the holiday to revolve around her and her baby’.

Tough noogies. If she were alone on the holiday because her husband was deployed or had divorced her, or if the baby had severe medical problems and she needed an extra shoulder to cry on, or if she had just gotten a bad diagnosis or had had an emergency hysterectomy after delivery, maybe she could legitimately cry foul. But she’s whining because she didn’t have turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving, and whining because no one came to have an audience with Her Highness and Her New Baby. No one is obligated to visit you in the hospital just because you gave birth, and maybe she should be grateful her family was able to pitch in and care for the child she already had on short notice over a holiday weekend. (After all, they could have been out of town.)

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Lily G November 23, 2011 at 11:47 am

I’m afraid I’m with the sister in law. Spending another 3 hours in the car with a small child for a 30 min tops visit seems a lot to ask after driving half the day the day before.
Your oldest won’t remember not seeing his brother in hospital. He was with people who love him. The rest of the family had an uninterrupted T Day and you had a lovely warm close T Day in hospital bonding with your unexpected newborn. Your husband could have gone to get oldest if it was that important and brought back turkey if so inclined.

Everything worked out, all is good.

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Susan November 23, 2011 at 12:06 pm

I think you need to give the OP a break. She was sad, but not demanding they all come and visit her. She is entitled to her own feelings.

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noph November 23, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Seconding Threepenny’s comment. Exactly what was the etiquette mistake here? The MIL pausing from cooking to get the oldest child an hour and a half away? The SIL for having a spine and declining an unplanned three hour trip during her holiday travels (or did the SIL say they would visit a few days later as a group since time and gas are not free)? The extended family/hospital not providing the OP with turkey? The sweet new baby for arriving early and unannounced?
Admin is right about what is important. Some early babies have serious complications and the family MUST rush to the hospital as the baby may not make it more than a few hours. Be thankful your child was born healthy and you had people to watch your oldest. I didn’t read any etiquette faux pas here. The OP may have been having whatever “new mommy hormones” are, but that doesn’t mean others must change their holiday plans to fit into her wants. If you wanted your oldest child with you at the hospital, you should have taken the child with you, not asked kind friends and in laws to baby sit for free.

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Louise November 23, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I don’t agree that the OP was being selfish. Accomodations could have been made to make every one happy. MIL could have driven with the son while the SIL stayed home if she rightfully didn’t want to drive 3 hours after having driven 4 hours the day before. This “everyone has to come at once to see the baby” is silly, and that sentiment is ultimately to blame for why nobody came to visit.

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gramma dishes November 23, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I also wondered why Daddy couldn’t have driven the 1-1/2 hours to go get the older child. He could have driven there late morning, spent a few minutes (and maybe had lunch) with the other family members and then driven back early afternoon during which the older child may have napped. Not too much time out of anyone’s day.

Maybe the OP should try to look at it this way. From the moment of his birth, your younger child always had to share Mommy and Daddy with big brother. That Thanksgiving may have been the only time he ever got to spend with both parents all by himself when they could concentrate solely on him. When the OP looks back on this, perhaps she might want to try to see it from that perspective — as a very special bonding time for Daddy, Mommy and new baby.

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lkb November 23, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I know what hormones can do, so I get where the OP is coming from.
However, I also understand the SIL’s point of view — she did already have a long drive on a holiday weekend. Was she staying with the MIL who relied on the SIL for transport to the hospital? That’s the way I figured it.
Could the OP or her husband have called MIL and at least talked to their eldest son? That might have helped.
I see both sides and I guess it’s something OP will just have to get past and move on. Thankfully, she will likely be too busy with the children to dwell much on it.

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Margo November 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm

I don’t think SIL was rude not to want to do a 3 hour round trip, nor for MIL not to wish to do it – after all, she’d alreadydone the 3 hour round trip on Thansksgiving morning, and if she’d come out with Elder Child she would be missing 3 hours (plus visiting time) of the visit from her other family members, who were only there for a short time.

The obvious answer would have been for OP’s husband to go & collect Elder Child, if it was so important to P the he saw his sibling that day. OP’s husband could have collected him, brought him to see his Mum and new sibling and then either taken him back home, (if Husband was going to be sleeping at home that night) or back to Grandma.

I don’t think anyone was rude in this scenario. It isn’t selfish to say you don’t want to drop everything to rush to see a new baby, however wonderful that new baby seems to his parents!

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Cat November 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm

I am confused by the comments. Who asked the sister-in-law to drive the 1.5 hours to the hospital? The OP wrote, ” I called my mother-in-law and asked her to bring him…” Sister-in-law was not even invited to come see the new baby.

From what I am reading the sister-in-law would not allow the mother-in-law to come with the elder child, playing the old game of “you like her best or you would not leave me after I made that long drive!” to show that she was in control of the family.

I would have pointed out she was my daughter-in-law so I did not need her permission, and that I wanted to see my new grandchild. Three hours drive time and a one hour visit makes a total of four hours. SIL could go to a movie, take a nap, or watch TV.

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Lola November 23, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I don’t see selfishness on SIL’s part, except the testy comment (if it had in fact been relayed correctly) that “we could darn well wait for them to visit then.” What I do see is poor planning and entitlement on OP’s part. Did she not foresee wanting her oldest child to meet his brother, before having her MIL make the trip to get him? Then she wants her MIL to make the 2nd trip to bring the oldest back? That’s quite an imposition even without the 1.5 hour drive each way thrown in. I’d tag it as “NEW MOMZILLA ALERT!” but it’s obvious the OP is still stewing about this perceived slight 2 years later, so it’s more like “CONSTANT ATTENTION SEEKER ALERT!”

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WildIrishRose November 23, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Yeah, I’m kind of with those who don’t blame the in-laws for making the trip. Your parents-in-law had already driven to your place to pick up your child. There’s three hours for them. I don’t know if the SIL has kids or not, but if she does, I don’t blame her for not wanting to make another long trip with your son.

I chose not to have visitors when I had babies. I was pretty sure I’d be tired and wouldn’t feel good and I also knew the hospital wouldn’t allow the new baby to be in the room with me while I had visitors (other than my husband). So I was okay with no one coming. My in-laws did stay with us when my daughter was born, and they brought my son to see me at the hospital, but then they were 20 minutes away and not an hour and a half. Also, it wasn’t a holiday (which reminds me–maybe your SIL wasn’t keen on doing additional traveling on a holiday weekend).

I’d let this go if I were you. You are blessed with two children and an extended family who obviously love and care about you and yours. Count those blessings and let the petty stuff disappear.

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claire delune November 23, 2011 at 12:41 pm

This doesn’t seem all *that* bad. It would have been nice if everyone had gotten their act together for a hospital visit, but it sounds like the baby was born on a Wednesday and the SIL and her family were planning to come meet him on Saturday–that’s not so very long! And surely the husband could have gone to pick up their elder son?

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badkitty November 23, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Part of assuming responsibility for someone else’s child is the understanding that you will return said child upon demand – not at your convenience, or at the convenience of other guests. This includes reasonable visitation (and visiting Mommy in the hospital just once is very reasonable). MIL should have simply taken the child all by herself, without SIL for company; however, I do happen to have just the sort of SIL who would NEVER allow her parents to go off to visit DH and me when she’s visiting with them (and we’ve had to cancel plans with them when they fly in to see us because she came along and demanded that they go with her instead) so I understand where MIL may not have had the ability to peacefully do what she surely knew was the right thing. Nothing to be done about it now except enjoy your beautiful boy.

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Leslie Holman-Anderson November 23, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Dearest Admin — Your response put a big fat lump in my throat! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours (and to all the other folks here!)

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ellesee November 23, 2011 at 1:43 pm

The day after Thanksgiving, new mommy hormones and holiday sentimentality made me want my oldest child back so that he could meet his new brother.

Sorry, that does not excuse OP to have all her wishes granted. I understand OP wants the family to be together, but that cannot always be the case. I agree with the admin….nevermind the food or family visits, the baby will be the most cherished memory.
I don’t think SIL is in the rude. Perhaps she could say it in a gentler tone, but for such a response I wonder if OP was being demanding on her request. I certainly understand why she doesn’t want to be driving all day. Nobody likes to be treated like a chauffer during the holidays.

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Maitri November 23, 2011 at 2:10 pm

OP here! Admin, thanks for printing my story!

A clarification: The SIL was not invited up to see the baby. I had asked MIL to bring my older son so that my immediate family could be together (and because DS1 had been super excited to meet his brother). SIL insisted that it was all about her and that SHE would not be coming to visit us, and so MIL couldn’t either. MIL, stuck in the middle, froze up and chose to do nothing.

DH did offer to go get DS1, not expecting me to agree, which I did, and then he backed out.

Was just relating a tale of rudeness on my SIL’s behalf! I’m not upset about it any more, just saw Admin’s request for holiday stories so I shared this one.

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Xtina November 23, 2011 at 2:12 pm

I’m sort of torn on this one. The SIL did react rather insensitively, demanding that everyone bend to her schedule, but at the same time, I can see how she wouldn’t want to drive that extra distance for a short hospital visit when everyone could visit the very next day. OP, I’m sorry that you didn’t get to have everyone visit you while you were in the hospital as that was undoubtedly important to you, but as the admin says, years from now it won’t be that big a deal, so try not to sweat it too much.

Maybe I’m just one of those types of people that is a “tank” and not much bothers me, but having visitors in the hospital or not wouldn’t really bother me either way. I had a few nice people drop in to see us when I gave birth to my son (two days before Thanksgiving, too, haha) and I appreciated them for doing so, but I would have been perfectly happy to be there by myself the whole time, too. Any alone time I had while I was there was time I could use to rest and/or get to know my new little guy. I even sent my husband home the nights I was hospitalized so at least one of us would get some good rest. Everyone else’s life should not be disrupted because I had a medical procedure, and I’ll leave it up to everyone else as to whether or not they want to see my baby (I’m happy to enjoy him myself!).

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Xtina November 23, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Sorry, meant to clarify–the SIL should have been gracious enough to “allow” the MIL to leave the house for a few hours to see the new baby instead of staying at home the whole time to entertain them.

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Stepmomster November 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm

I sympathize with OP, but there was no reason your husband couldn’t have driven and picked up your son and brought him back to the room. The birth of your child was amazing, wonderful, and precious…but I think it was presumptive that that event would take over your family’s holiday. Cooking a thanksgiving dinner takes all day, and it sounds like you would have pulled the hostess away from her own party for 4 hours in the middle of dinner; was everyone supposed to sit in the waiting room on thanksgiving for 4 hours? were they supposed to sit in your mothers house while she did this errand? My own mother would have killed me twice if I had ever thought to ask that of her, let alone my mother in law.

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Allie November 23, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I confess to being a bit confused by the story. I thought the point wasn’t that SIL didn’t want to go to the hospital. She didn’t want MIL to take the son to the hospital because she’d come to visit MIL and wanted MIL to stay home. I can understand SIL not wanting to do more driving after she’d already driven 4 hours, but I think MIL would have been within her rights to tell SIL “something’s come up unexpectedly, and you all will have to do without me because I have to drive my grandson to the hospital to meet his new brother. Make yourselves at home; I’ll be back in 4 hours.” It does seem strange that OP bemoans missing the turkey and stuffing after such a wonderful event befell her instead, but I can sort of understand that. I married into another culture and my family is all gone now, so I rarely get to enjoy a traditional turkey feast with all the fixings. I do miss it sometimes.

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immadz November 23, 2011 at 3:04 pm

To be honest, SIL is being made the bad guy here. Why did the ILs have to visit together. She had driven and needed some rest and OP’s son was in MIL’s care not hers. If MIL had wanted she could have drive down and dropped of the OP’s son or OP’s DH could have picked their son up.

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Katy November 23, 2011 at 4:07 pm

My first daughter was born in a city four hours away from our nearest relatives (except hubby’s rude, intrusive aunt who I insisted NOT be informed of the birth until I was home and rested enough to deal with her). She was also born late on a major drinking holiday, and I had several family members call to offer congratulations with an “I’m sorry, but I have a hangover and don’t want to drive four hours”. The whole time in the hospital it was me and my hubby, hubby went back to working nights after two days, I was in for a week because of an infection, and my DD was in the nursery almost full time so she could get phototherapy. Every three hours, if I wasn’t already in the nursery, I would make the trek there dragging my IV, and was pretty much alone because DH would work 10 hours, go home and sleep another 8, then come visit. At first I thought not having anyone come visit was awful, at least until my second daughter came recently.
She came on a semi-emergency basis. I was admitted to the hospital late one day for a c-section the next day when they found my amniotic fluid level was very low. DD2 had health issues after birth- she wound up on a ventilator before I was even recovered enough to go see her. To see her I had to go all the way down the hall from my room, they would only let DH or myself in, or one of our parents with one of us. To pump milk to give DD through her feeding tube I had to go all the way back to my room. My day was busy as all get-out traveling back and forth for visits, pumping, meals, etc. Visiting hours were non-existant for the maternity floor, as long as they got the new mom’s okay visitors were allowed at all hours of the day or night. And I had visitors pretty much from 7 in the morning until 8 or 9 at night, again a slightly extended stay. Recovering from surgery is tough enough without having to walk back and forth the length of a hospital about ten times per day, but all those visitors seemed to want to talk about everything, and when DD1 was visiting I spent my time cuddling her, reading to her, and trying to help her understand why she couldn’t go see the baby quite yet. By the end of the day I felt more exhausted than I had with DD1 because I realized having no visitors allowed me to nap, or read, or kick my feet up and watch TV.
In the end I’m most thankful that, even though I was discharged from the hospital twice with no baby, that eventually I got to take both of them home, and they are now both healthy and happy. That’s what matters.

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Library Diva November 23, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Some situations just don’t have a resolution that’s fair to everyone concerned. I think this is one of them. In my own experience, people who don’t travel for the holidays never quite grasp what an inconvenience it can be for those that do. Maybe SIL should have focused on herself a little less, but I can certainly understand not wanting to drive a three-hour round trip after having just driven four hours and then having to do it again the next day. If it was a 20-minute drive, SIL is absolutely being selfish and strange. But these are substantial driving distances, and the fact of it being around a holiday makes it even more awkward. I’m sorry that things didn’t go the way OP had hoped in terms of having everybody there, and echo the admin’s advice that details like that don’t matter in the scheme of having a healthy and happy child.

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Goldie November 23, 2011 at 4:29 pm

@ Lucy: “I know everyone’s new babies are life-changing events for them, but in the grand scheme of things, they aren’t that big a deal.”

While this baby was, indeed, not big of a deal for the rest of the world, he probably was a pretty big deal for his grandma and his older brother, who were both not allowed to visit! Sorry, I think the SIL was dead wrong on this one. If she didn’t want to drive to the hospital, she didn’t have to. Though I cannot imagine a family sitting around a holiday table, pretending that it’s all business as usual and there are no close family members alone in the hospital on this holiday.

I was the only mom in my hospital room who didn’t get any visitors for three days after my oldest son was born, and I still remember it eighteen years later, just like I still remember the time my husband and my oldest son came to visit when my youngest was born (Dad knew better the second time around!)

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Aje November 23, 2011 at 4:35 pm

If I was the other woman who had just driven many hours in the car… if I was tired and wanted to visit with my parents…. and my sister in law called wanting her son…

Honestly? I know without a doubt what I would have done. I would have asked if it was okay if I went too, brought along big plates of food for the family (honestly, casseroles step aside, new parents on thanksgiving day should mean something a little bigger, yeah?) and enjoyed a close visit with my parents and nephew while we drove to hospital. Annnnd okay honestly, I probably would have invented a few turkey thanksgiving songs for the road.

Still, 23 years… not important. Most important is the family is together now.

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Louise November 23, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I’m missing something: Why does it matter that the other daughter-in-law didn’t want to make the trip? Couldn’t the mother-in-law have taken little brother herself? Even if the daughter-in-law has this thing about them all visiting together, that doesn’t mean anyone has to honour her wishes.

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hannabanna November 23, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Hhmmm, you had the absolute best holiday right there in the hospital with a husband and brand new child. Everything else pales in comparison to what you had. Turkey is just turkey, but you had a new son, and there’s hardly a woman anywhere that wouldn’t have gladly changed places with you to not be in a kitchen making a meal to being a brand new mom in a hospital with a new child.

Now, I get that you wanted your other son. I understand (truly I do, I have several kids myself). But you are putting the family to a lot of trouble hustling around like that on Thanksgiving day, when I’m sure MIL is already a little overwhelmed watching said child, having visitors, making meals, etc. So I’d ease up on all those other relatives, especially SIL. If MIL really wanted to come, she could have come without SIL, unless it was really too hard to drive so far with the grandson.

Your son’s birthday will now collide with the holiday, and you will now begin to feel that others can’t make the time to celebrate his birthday, so you will now face years of trying to keep calm about who can be there and who will be away for the holidays. Try to stay calm Everyone is so pulled in so many different ways by the holidays and adding a birthday will be difficult thing to juggle, but don’t be offended at the ones who can’t make it.

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Cat November 23, 2011 at 5:13 pm

I don’t agree with MyFamily. You can throw rude people out, but there’s not much you can do if people don’t come at all.

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c November 23, 2011 at 6:00 pm

The parents-in-law had a obilgation to bring her child to her after she had the baby. They assumed that responsibility if they agreed to take the older child 1 1/2 hours away from his/her mom . I don’t blame the sister-in-law for not wanting to drive but if the mom-in-law could drive 3 hours round trip to get the son, she could do the same to return at the request of her daughter-in-law who wanted her sin with her on the holiday to meet his new sibling.How would she feel if it were her requesting her child from her mom-in-law and she would not return him/her?

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Tori November 23, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Well on a similar note…Thanksgiving 2008.
4 days before said holiday my grandmother had a heart-attack. She was supposed to host Thanksgiving dinner that year( in my family the host does the turkey, ham, and one dessert then everyone else brings a dish). So of course that plan is out so my little sect of the family(mom, dad, big sis, bro-in-law, nephew, lil sis(7), and I(13)) along with grandpa and great grandma(sick grandma’s mother) are at my house having a little get together while the food is cooking(mom is an awesome cook, only 3 days notice and she has all the normal dishes done or finishing). So after the food is cooked we all make our own personal plate and cover it in foil and then make one for grandma as well. We troop over to the hospital. By this time Grandma is semi-stable and is allowed to go to the sitting room in a wheelchair attended by a nurse. We have our private waiting room for this since there are so many of us. We have our own little thanksgiving. We brought the pies and had dessert too. Then we also brought a karaoke machine because lil sis and I were really into that at the time. We all had fun.
Now to the bad part. Later one of my aunts(K) came to the hospital and pretty much chewed grandma out for not telling her the dinner at grandmas house was cancelled she and her family were waiting there at the door for 3 hours.etc. Actually grandpa called and canceled, but he did that to the oldest daughter who forgot to tell them and was at her friends house for the fiasco. Rather than apologize though K was all ‘Well you should know better than to cancel with a child’. The ‘child’ in question was about 21 at this point. Then when K realized we weren’t accepting her BS she asked why she wasn’t invited to the hospital party we had. She was but no one at her house answered the phone.

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Justine November 23, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Why didn’t the husband then meet them half way and get the son? My in-laws did not visit me after the birth of any of my kids, nor did the call me, or send flowers or a card. They just visited 2 – 3 months later. It hurt but it hurts less with time. I hope not to treat my future daughter-in-law like that.

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acr November 23, 2011 at 6:22 pm

I’m sort of agreeing with some other posters – if it was so important, why didn’t the father go pick up his son? I also wonder – realistically, how much time would they have been spending with the baby? Would they have been making a three-hour round trip to see the new parents and baby for 15-30 minutes?

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June November 23, 2011 at 6:24 pm

It might have gone over better if the MIL had gently suggested you and your husband enjoy the time alone together with the new baby. If I’m reading this correctly, you called on Friday and went home on Saturday. Presumably the older child came home then, too.

Of course, I regularly work holidays so I might be seeing this in a different light.

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Lilya November 23, 2011 at 6:49 pm

I’m not so sure about everything being forgiven and forgotten years down the line.

I was born in July, months away from any holiday. My maternal grandparents came to visit right away – although my mom telling grandpa she’d never speak to him again if he didn’t show up might have been a factor.
My paternal grandparents had already moved to the country for the summer, about an hour away from the city were we live. It was 5 or 6 days before they came to visit – grandma was too busy with her garden before. Mom didn’t take it very well.
Before anybody ask, I was the first grandchild for both set of grandparents and the child of an only child at that – said only child, however, is my dad.

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TLS November 23, 2011 at 6:56 pm

It wasn’t right or fair for OP to expect her MIL to bring her son to her. I’m sure with everything that was happening, it was furthest from her mind to add a plan to have her son nearby on Thanskgiving, but why should everything revolve around her simply because she had a new baby? Even if SIL didn’t go along, MIL now has to spend three hours on the road (plus whatever time she spent at the hospital) and SIL doesn’t get to spend time with her own mother. Her other child (as well as the rest of the family) would have met his brother soon enough after OP went home.

OP has many years of Thanksgivings with her kids to look forward to, every single one doesn’t have to be perfect. One year we ended up going to a wedding on Thanksgiving day (groom was in the military and the date got moved up by a few months). We had a moment of “but what about…?” and deicded that it was okay for things to be different every once in a while. I agree with Lucy, get over it.

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