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Blessings In A Hospital Room On Thanksgiving Day

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.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Redneck Gravy November 23, 2011, 6:58 pm

    I’m a bit confused – your inlaws drove 1.5 hours to get your older child and then home (3 hours roundtrip) and later that same day you wanted them to bring your older child back (another 3 hour roundtrip) and you were hurt that MIL did not want to do this?

    The SIL was not selfish IMO, she didn’t want to add another 3 hour drive to her 4 hour drive the day before (assuming she would have the same 4 hour drive back to her home the next day). That is a lot of driving over a 3 day period.

    While it would have been gracious for someone to offer, it was not rude for them to refuse. I also chalk it up to new mommy hormones & holiday sentimentality.

  • shari November 23, 2011, 7:12 pm

    I dont’ think the SIL was being selfish, a four hour trip can be quite harsh if you’re not used to driving that far and if she was helping the MIL with the older brother and holiday celebrations she could well have been worn out.
    I’m thinking your husband should have gone and picked him up instead.

  • Redneck Gravy November 23, 2011, 7:27 pm

    Sorry, I misread “the day after Thanksgiving” you wanted them to bring your son back to the hospital.

    They picked him up Thanksgiving morning. Sorry, my goof.

  • Cobbs November 23, 2011, 7:57 pm

    The arrangements for caring for the boy were made and agreed to. She and her husband decided the boy would not be there, not the husband’s parents. Changing her mind and expecting others to drop their plans was selfish.

  • Annie November 23, 2011, 7:57 pm

    NotThumper, it seems like a pretty big thing to me to have MIL, after kindly watching the kid on an unexpected birth, to turn right around the next day on demand and drive three hours to drop him off. The mom doesn’t “deserve” to see him when she made arrangements to not do so (by having someone else take him), just because she had a sudden fit of emotion.

  • Toni November 23, 2011, 8:04 pm

    Good Lord, what drama. So you missed one Thanksgiving meal, but had a beautiful new baby to enjoy alone for a few precious hours with your husband. And, your older son was with his grandparents and didn’t miss a single thing that he will remember.

  • Toni November 23, 2011, 8:05 pm

    …unless, of course, you were so devastated by this travesty that you reminded him (and everyone else) how slighted you felt–forever.

  • kudeebee November 23, 2011, 8:40 pm

    OP–I can understand you wanting to see your older child and have him meet the new baby. You are perfectly within your rights to want that.

    However, if you wanted that to happen on the spur of the moment, you should have found someone to care for him in your home so it would have been a quick trip to and from the hospital. Or had someone care for him during the day so your husband could go get him and bring him up for visits and then stayed at home with him at night.

    The ILs had already traveled 3 hours round trip to pick up your son and take him to their home the day before Thanksgiving. To expect them to come back the day after is a bit much. Were they going to leave older son with you or were they going to be expected to take him back to their home and bring him back again the next day? Also, I can;t blame sisterinlaw for not wanting to ride in the car for 3 hours when they evidently were going to be going through your city and seeing you the next day. I don’t believe she was selfish for wanting to enjoy her holiday break and spending time with your son and the ils.

    Many people don’t have visitors in the hospital. When our dd was born, we did not live close to family, so no family was there. A few friends stopped by for short visits, but that was it. Also, I find it hard to believe that the hospital did not have a turkey dinner. Focus on the good parts of that stay–your time with dh and the baby to bond and enjoy the baby before the craziness of life with two children began, the fact that older child got to be spoiled by the ils, etc.

  • Lynne November 23, 2011, 9:34 pm

    I’m with threepenny on this one. I can understand wanting your son to be able to meet his sibling in the hospital — but having arranged for him to stay with family 1.5 hours away, not at all a realistic expectation that the family would be willing to turn around and drive him back to you.

  • Stacey Frith-Smith November 23, 2011, 9:48 pm

    I am guessing that this is one of those things that goes either way. The heart can have strong feelings about what it wants when it comes to family and holidays. Giving birth is exhausting, exhilarating, emotional, and creates a whole new reality! Given that, I can certainly understand a new mom who wanted her little family to be reunited, notwithstanding some inconvenience to others. I can equally understand how a SIL, or even a loving MIL, would not like to make such a trek after the stress of preparing for a large holiday and overcoming the logistics and schedule interruptions needed to merely assemble with goodwill and conviviality. This is one of those unfortunate instances where a passionate desire was not granted, but no ill will was truly intended. Best for all concerned, as Admin said, to focus on the blessing of the birth and the joy of family, and to accept that others have their place in its concerns and the allocation of time, energy and resources. Hopefully they will all recover their equilibrium and BE THANKFUL for one another and for the great blessing of family.

  • Molly November 23, 2011, 10:00 pm

    I don’t think anyone here is being unreasonable. It’s reasonable that the OP would want to see both of her babies on Thanksgiving. It’s also reasonable that the SIL wouldn’t want to make the long trip to and from the hospital. I don’t quite get why the husband couldn’t drive out, get his son and bring him back, though. Seems like the most obvious solution.

  • emotoko November 23, 2011, 10:30 pm

    I am amazed and, quite frankly appalled at the people who are chastising the OP for being “selfish.” Seriously? She just gave birth, and if nothing else wanted her other child to share the joy. How horrible of her. The MIL was stuck between a rock and a hard place due to the actual selfish person in this scenario, the SIL. Yes, I understand not wanting to make another three hour round trip on a holiday weekend, but to prevent anyone else from going to visit the little bundle of joy and the eleated parents is rude, disrespectful, and just plain smacks of EB. The SIL was basically saying “My holiday is WAY more important than the new life you just brought into this world.”
    I think the OP was gracious to not make a stink about it, which, honestly, I wouldn’t have blamed her if she did. The MIL should have found some way to get her grandson to the hospital, despite her entitled other DIL’s protests.

  • Ashley November 24, 2011, 1:01 am

    I was also confused at how the SIL was being selfish for not wanting to drive all that time just because OP had a mommy whim. In my opinion that was pretty unreasonable of the OP.

  • mutuelle November 24, 2011, 4:01 am

    that’s really selfish from them. i am really sorry…

  • wolfgirl November 24, 2011, 6:16 am

    I agreee that the lack of turkey and stuffing is not a grievous injury. Also that the SIL certainly did not have to make that drive if she did not wish to. BUT she was totally out of order to twist the MIL’s arm to not make that journey either. Whilst normally it’s very rude to leave a guest, a new gradnshild (who is the guests nephew!) counts as extenuating circumstances in this situation I feel. She forced her mother to chose beetween herslf, and her brother and his newborn child, surely this is fairly selfish?! Add into the mix the other young shild seperated from his parents and going thorugh the anxiety that can come with having a new sibling arrive (will mommy shill love me as much etc? Why have I been sent to stay with granny?). She is essentially saying, ‘no, Mother, you cannot go see your new grandchild and your son and DIL, nor can my nephew go see his new sibling and his Mom and Dad, and my brother must remain alone in the hopsital on a holiday because this holiday visit is all about MEEE!’

    Surely the choice to visit or not was down to the MIL and FIL, the SIL was free to either accompany them or not, she should not have been asserting her needs for a family holiday over those of her brother (and SIL) and her nephew, who were in a worse situation as they were seperated from their respective loved ones? They could always have worked out that the FIL would stay home with the SIL, whilst MIL and nephew made the trip, or something, surely? I’d be annoyed with my sis to say the least if she acted like that!

    So to summarsie, I don’t think the SIL was wrong not to visit. I DO think she was wrong to try to coerce the MIL into not visiting, on the basis of her own needs/comfort, at the expense of her brother.

  • Jojo November 24, 2011, 7:55 am

    Seems to me that SIL’s got a bit of a bad rap. We only have MIL’s word for it that SIL was being so difficult. A 3 hour trip is an awful lot to factor in when guests are staying, particularly when MIL knows perfectly well that a new mother needs rest- regardless of what her hormones are telling her.
    And why shouldn’t MIL spend time with her grandson and the son she seldom sees? Yes, of course OP wants her tiny baby to be accepted by the whole family and cooed over but the firstborn also needs to know that his family aren’t all going to ignore him in favour of the new baby. A bit of spoiling by granny has probably helped him more then missing a day with his new sibling.
    In my family, as in anonymous’s they’d have just moved Thanksgiving picnic style and I’m fairly sure the new mother wouldn’t have seen her new baby for the rest of the week, what with the abundance of aunties and grandparents present!
    What about OP’s own parents, it doesn’t seem they were particularly involved either? Why should DH’s family should all the blame for leaving OP ‘alone’? DH’s family probably figured that the family would need a well deserved break after a long labour with an early baby, there are, after all, lots of risks when a baby is born before term.
    What really is important is that OP’s early baby was born healthy!

  • Kathryn November 24, 2011, 8:19 am

    Woah, NotThumper, that’s a bit entitled!

    I would be sad that MIL couldn’t come with the son, I would be particularly annoyed that it was SIL who prevented the trip, when she wasn’t even required to visit. But a 3hr round trip is a long time to be driving for a short visit. OP, I hope that you can look past those busy few days and see the bigger picture.

  • Pam B November 24, 2011, 9:03 am

    I had a c-section to deliver my son the day before Thanksgiving 8 years ago. He was rushed to a Children’s Hospital 5 hours away. (Mostly precautionary so there wasn’t immediate danger at all – just needed a simple surgery) My husband left to go with him and so I spent Thanksgiving by myself at the hospital. My family offered to come 90 miles to vist on T-day, but I told them to wait…. Not because I am some kind of super-saint, but because there was no reason they should miss out on their celebration to sit around a boring hospital room. I think the OP was fairly selfish in this one…the husband should have gone after the son.

  • Chris November 24, 2011, 10:23 am

    I agree with Threepenny. One day without visitors is not going to kill anybody, and feeling sorry for oneself and then making the family feel upset and guilty is less than kind. New babies are such a drain on one’s resources that a quiet day spent with Hubby and Baby should be regarded as a blessing. There is a lifetime ahead of them in which to have visitors. After I had my son, I would have killed for a quiet, uninterrupted day to rest. So what if you don’t have turkey one year? If that’s the worst of your problems, you’re very lucky. Get over it and enjoy the baby.

  • Sarah Jane November 24, 2011, 11:00 am

    My son was born on Christmas morning at 7am. So I spent part of my favorite holiday in labor and most of the day in bed and on medication. We had visitors, but the visits were brief because they all needed to get to Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. I think I may have had lukewarm soup that day. I handed out and received not one Christmas present. And instead of getting to wear the expensive maternity Christmas outfit I purchased, (which I would now NEVER wear!) I was in a giant nightgown all day. Did I care? Heck no! I had a beautiful healthy baby boy, the sweetest gift I could ever receive. I was in Heaven.

    I do understand your missing your older child. I agree with NotThumper in that your husband could have made the three-hour trip to pick him up. You surely had enough help in the hospital, and you probably could have used the sleep while he was gone. Plus, if he had timed it right, I’ll bet his mother would probably have sent some food with him for all of you to celebrate as a family in the hospital.

  • ferretrick November 24, 2011, 12:42 pm

    The more I think about this story, the more irritated I get. Babies come early, I understand that. But that doesn’t mean other adults besides the parents don’t have their own lives and busy schedules. Yet LW apparently thinks everyone should drop everything and come see her right this minute. Your mother-in-law was hosting out of town guests and was busy, and your sister-in-law had just got done with a long car trip. A new baby is wonderful, but it doesn’t mean other people don’t have lives. I’m fairly certain you didn’t actually give birth to Baby Jesus and if everyone doesn’t follow the star right now, they won’t be able to find the kid.

  • Abby November 24, 2011, 12:54 pm

    I agree with those who think OP sounds like the selfish one. From what I can tell, the plan was always for the older boy to stay with his grandparents until mom was released from hospital and then they’d bring him back. 3 days of babysitting and 6 total hours (maybe- for a holiday weekend could be a lot more) in the car (2 three hour round trips) is a pretty big favor, but hey, what are grandparents for? So, I’m guessing with the early arrival the new plan was, drive the 3 hour round trip to pick up grandson wed night, have him on the holiday, and bring him home Saturday. But the OP decided on friday she wanted her son there, so she expected her husband’s extended family to rearrange their plans, at the last minute, to accommodate OP, and SIL, instead of agreeing, said she wanted to keep the plans the sameas what had already been agreed upon. I don’t think that’s so out of line- maybe MIL and SIL had plans Friday and SIL thought OP could wait 24 hours, since that was already the plan anyways.

    I think OP would do well to keep in mind her in laws were already doing them a huge favor, and be grateful she has family willing to do that and also that she has 2 healthy kids, rather than dwelling on the fact that 2 YEARS ago her SIL refused to change her plans for a non emergency just because OP said so, and that she was also forced to go without turkey and stuffing that year.

  • Mike B. November 24, 2011, 2:07 pm

    It’s worth noting that “flat-out refused” wasn’t what the SIL actually said–her response here is filtered through two interested parties. No doubt it sounded much more reasonable in person. It must have; the entire family (including the husband’s “poor” mother, father, and brother) saw the logic and stayed home.

    It must have been rough, but a last-minute eight-hour round trip on a holiday weekend is a lot to ask of even family.

  • anonymous November 24, 2011, 10:15 pm

    I don’t really blame the SIL, by the way – although I’m surprised that the MIL, who had just gotten another grandchild, wouldn’t want to come out with the OP’s son. It sounded to me from the letter that they asked the MIL to bring the son and the SIL basically said ‘no’ for her. That doesn’t sit right with me.

    My situation is a bit different in that I don’t have kids and don’t plan to, and if I did I’d have no more than one, max (just a personal preference, not meant as a judgment call). If I were to have a kid my MIL would be so over the moon that she’d probably drive crazy hours to come meet her new grandchild (quite likely to be her only grandchild, because my SIL/BIL aren’t planning to have kids either, so it is a little different). Same for my mom (again my sister isn’t too keen on having kids, but she admits that it’s more that they aren’t on her radar now than that she doesn’t want them ever).

  • Purslane November 24, 2011, 10:39 pm

    I wouldn’t have wanted my mother-in-law to get out on the road with my other child on Thanksgiving weekend. The older child was well take care of.

  • Cindy November 24, 2011, 10:47 pm

    So, wait. On Thanksgiving morning, when they have family in to see them for the holiday, your in-laws drove 3 hours round trip to get your son from the friend who was watching him and bring him back to their place, then the next day you wanted them to drive another 3 hours round trip to bring him back, and you ended up going home the next day anyway? You wanted them to drive 6 hours in two days because you didn’t want to wait one more day? I’m sorry but I do think that you are the one who was out of line expecting them to do that. That is a lot of driving during the biggest travel days of the year. It probably would have taken them even longer than 3 hours because they would have been so likely to hit traffic. Your sister-in-law had driven 4 hours to see them, and had to face either driving another 6 hours in a weekend they already had to travel 8 hours and come with them, or basically miss out on most of their visit by staying behind when they went to see you. If they live 4 hours away and you’re a 1.5 hours away you probably get to see the in-laws more than they do. I think it was selfish of you wanting to monopolize their time like that. She probably had to give up seeing her family for the holidays to spend it with her husband’s family, and to then spend all that time traveling or sitting back by themselves would have been a huge waste of their time.

    The timing was unfortunate, it’s too bad the baby wasn’t born at a more convenient time for everyone, but other people’s lives don’t just come to a halt because you gave birth and didn’t want to wait until the next day to have your son meet his new sibling. I agree with admin, in the grand scheme of their lives your kids waiting an extra day to meet is not going to matter, and the day your baby was born is going to seem more important than the in-laws not coming.

  • Edhla November 25, 2011, 11:33 am

    I think that your MIL had just as much right to spend Thanksgiving with her son and DIL as you had with your older son, and to expect that either the whole family would spend 3 hours on a round trip when you were going to be seeing them so soon anyway, or split up so that your MIL would spend her Thanksgiving away from the rest of the family that she had specifically invited over for the holiday, is really quite the selfish attitude.

    Like others have said, your husband could have collected your son if it was that important that you absolutely could not wait another day to see him.

    My niece was born two days after Christmas, nearly eight years ago. At the time, my sister and BIL were living 3 hours away from the rest of the family. My niece was also a week late, and we spent Christmas with sister and BIL that year (and all very nervous!) My mother was able to be with my sister when my niece was born- we returned home on Christmas night and Mum made the return trip when my sister went into labour shortly after midnight on the 27th- but even if my niece had arrived a couple of days earlier, there is absolutely no way in the world my mother would have considered driving off to spend Christmas with my sister and BIL and their newborn and leaving my father and I to spend Christmas on our own.

    We did actually discuss it. My sister recognised that it was going to be touch-and-go as far as the timing was concerned, late baby or not, and also that once she had her baby she wouldn’t much care about dinner and stockings and bon-bons and whatever, and that she could use the time with her husband and new baby before the influx of overexcited relatives. Mum recognised that I had just as much right to spend Christmas with my mother as my sister did, and that having a baby did not make my sister the High Queen of Everything and give her the right to monopolise our mother’s time.

  • Ann November 25, 2011, 12:26 pm

    I’m not quite sure how removing the other child 1.5 hours away was necessary in the first place. Dad couldn’t deal for 24 hours? He had to sit by her bedside full time instead of keeping the other little member of the family close by? I don’t get it.

    I guess not over-reacting and flexibility are key to good etiquette, not to mention good family relations.

  • Rap November 25, 2011, 12:34 pm

    Yeah, the OP’s clarification does not make her appear more sympathetic.

    So Evil Sister In Law spent four hours driving to MIL’s – and Brother InLaw is visiting as well for the holiday – for presumbly a family get together that doesn’t happen all that often if a four hour drive is involved. OP’s son was with MIL unexpectedly for the holiday, and apparently fairly young, so MIL has guests and an extra child guest as well, that she apparently had to pick up on Thanksgiving morning after a one and a half hour drive. On Friday – Black Friday, the day after a holiday where the MIL has guests staying overnight presumbly, the OP wants to see her first child.

    MIL has multiple guests in her home, and the OP is making it very clear that SIL was NOT invited to come see the baby – the OP wants her *immediate* family to surround her. The OP’s husband *could* have gone to pick up the child but didn’t. So MIL is supposed to abandon her current guests, leaving them alone in her home, to shlep the OP’s son to her so he can see his little brother in the hospital.

    If it was a twenty minute drive, I’d understand it. A three hour round trip – presumbly longer since I imagine MIL would have liked to have seen the baby, so lets assume MIL would have stayed for two or three hours… and meanwhile, SIL and BIL who made a special trip to be there for the holiday are alone, at MIL’s house, with their visit to be with MIL somewhat ruined because the OP needed to see her son, and her husband wouldn’t go fetch him.

    Yeah, not seeing the SIL being the rude one here. At least not the only rude one.

  • Maitri November 25, 2011, 1:01 pm

    Wow, people totally did not read my further information comment.

    YES, I asked my husband to go get my older son, and he said NO.

    I had been without my oldest for two days. I had not had any visitors besides my husband. I was feeling sad and lonely and friendless because it seemed that no one cared and no one wanted to see my beautiful baby. I wanted my child to meet his brother that he’d been so excited about. Baby was born on Wednesday; I asked MIL to bring my oldest on Friday. I did not ask her to stop cooking or whatever on Thanksgiving Day and bring me my child OMGRIGHTNAO. I asked if she’d (the MIL, not the SIL – I really didn’t give a flying fig whether the SIL came or not) be able to bring him on Friday. She said no because SIL had said she would come up on Saturday, not Friday, so MIL was coming on Saturday. I was sad. I moved on.

    I am quite over it. I was over it back then and I am over it now. Admin asked for holiday stories of rudeness and I gave her one. I am not upset about it at all. Apparently I did not fully explain myself in my letter and most people missed my comment clarification.

    Folks, just because someone writes a letter to EHell describing an occasion of rudeness, does not mean that the letter writer is crying into her tea about it.

  • Abby November 25, 2011, 1:07 pm

    A lot of the commenters here are missing something- the OP did not ask SIL to make the drive. Rather, she expected SIL and her family to cool their heels alone for several hours while MIL made the trip, which is still rude, if you ask me. Well not rude maybe, but pretty self centered and entitled. SIL didn’t want MIL to go because it was cutting into her short time to visit. OP blames her SIL for making MIL feel guilty for going, but I have to wonder if MIL was grateful for the excuse not to go. I think asking MIL to make a 3+ hour last minute trip on top of the one she’d already made just so the older boy could have a short visit w as really a ballsy request if you ask me. The OP accused SIL of making it all about her, but sounds like OP expects it to be all about HER.

  • MasterofSquirrels November 25, 2011, 3:13 pm

    OP I don’t think you were rude. I think you made a reasonable request. Having someone drive your child to the hospital (yes even 1.5 hours away) to visit is reasonable. Thanksgiving is about family, and your family agreed to watch your son knowing how far away you are.

    SIL should absolutely not have dictated what your MIL does with your son. a simple “not possible” would have changed things for me. the “flat out refuse” is what makes SIL rude for me.

  • Anonny November 25, 2011, 4:27 pm

    I think a number of responses toward the OP are pretty harsh. She admitted she was feeling a little selfish and down; there’s really no need to lambaste her. There’s also no reason to assume she’s stewing, dwelling, holding a grudge or any number of other things said to her. Admin asked for holiday stories. OP thought of this one and submitted it.

    I found this particular portion of alli_wan’s response especially harsh:

    “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.)”

    “Tough noogies?” She’s “whining”? “Her Highness”? Are these really constructive responses or are they unnecessary snark? I guess I just don’t understand the need to snipe or be nasty. I would hope that those who disagree with the OP’s position/feelings could express that diplomatically.

  • drzim November 25, 2011, 10:49 pm

    As someone who has “been there, done that”, I am totally on the OP’s side. OP, I sympathize and understand.

    My second daughter was born on Thanksgiving Day. In my case, my parents drove up to get my older daughter when I went into labor (1 1/2 hour round trip). They were also hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the extended family (expecting 15, but obviously my hubby and I didn’t make it). So I’m sure they were tired from all the cooking and entertaining, as well as looking after an active 2 year old!

    The very next day, my parents came up to the hospital and brought my older daughter to meet her baby sister. It never occurred to me that I was rude or selfish for wanting my daughter back. Of course, my parents were super excited and wanted to meet their new granddaughter ASAP, so it probably never occurred to them either.

    From the OP’s original post, I got the impression that her MIL would have made the drive willingly, if not for her SIL. Sure, it’s her “holiday” but I think a new grand baby is a special event that doesn’t happen every year and she was rude to prevent the MIL from going. The SIL didn’t even have to go.

    For those of you who have never given birth on a major holiday, missing your family celebrations, family and other children, you have no idea how it feels. I was an emotional wreck and honestly I cannot imagine how devastated I would have been if my parents had said no and didn’t bring my older daughter back to see me in the hospital. Sure, maybe the OP could have planned better and not have had her son so far away, but I can guarantee when you go into labor 3 weeks early you are not thinking very clearly.

    And lastly, I think it is very very rude to be dismissive of someone else’s pain with a “be thankful that your baby was born healthy.” Yeah, should I be thankful that after my accident that I am only blind in one eye…it could have been both eyes then I would be totally blind! You should be thankful that you can still see! Some people will never see again!

  • dman November 26, 2011, 12:27 am

    My Dd was born 6 weeks early, 2 days before Christmas. On Christmas day many family members came to visit me (in small groups) bringing us lots of special dinners. Many of them had 2-3 hour round trips & had out of town guests themselves. I appreciated everyone making the time for me & my family. I don’t think you were being selfish at all. I didn’t ask anyone to to visit, they all came because they wanted to.

  • Lynne November 26, 2011, 3:01 am

    Maitri —

    I believe that many people wrote their comments before your “additional information” showed up on the site. As you know, there is a delay between when a comment is submitted, and when it is published on the site.

    As for your comment:

    “Folks, just because someone writes a letter to EHell describing an occasion of rudeness, does not mean that the letter writer is crying into her tea about it.”

    Very true! I see that assumption made here far too often, but the more important point is that I, and many others, don’t see *any* rudeness on your in-law’s part.

    You mention that your husband also refused to make the drive — did you think that that was rude of him?

    I completely understand feeling sad/left out/lonely when you want visitors, especially when those people are far away, with others, and there is nobody there to be with you. We all have been there at some point, in some situation. However, just because your MIL wouldn’t go far out of her way to bring you company, does not mean that either she or your SIL acted rudely.

    Also, pure conjecture, since I don’t know anyone in the family or their dynamics — if the MIL did not want to drive out herself, she may well have been grateful for the SIL’s logic, or found it easier to “scapegoat” her when making her refusal to the OP.

  • Kathryn November 26, 2011, 6:34 am

    Hi Maitri,

    My comment comes up as #67. I posted it when I could only see 6 comments (or so). So even though it shows up after your comment, I made it before I could see yours.

    It could be that because of the holidays, our admin has been a little slow (understandably) to approve comments for this post. Thus, not many people saw your clarifying comment before making comments of their own.

    I understand your frustration as DH and I have been blocked from seeing MIL&FIL by SIL because it’s not convenient for her. Even though we’re not interested in seeing her; we want to see MIL&FIL. *facepalm*. She can go hang out in her room like she does ANYWAY when we’re over.

  • Enna November 26, 2011, 7:28 am

    I think the OP was right that it was to do with hormones but also the stress and strain. I don’t think SIL was wrong for insisting that MIL stayed. Never mind the SIL having to do a four hour trip back home, expecting MIL to do a 3 hour trip was a bit harsh. I don’t think this is an etiquette issue more of a logistics issue. In the grandscheme of things there were be plenty of other special holidays and birthdays to attend. Maybe OP and her family chalk this one down to experince? Why not host a party where SIL and MIL can come along and just say “sorry I really wasn’t thinking stright about thanks giving that time.”

    It can be hard to think of the best solution when a baby comes a bit earlier then expected but I would learn from it and maybe if it happens again in the future, with a family member or firend why not suggest a back up plan? I don’t have children and am not pregnant, but if I was expecting and the baby could be due around a family birthday or Christmas/New Year I’d defiantly ask a couple of firends and relations who lived nearby if they could help out. Also if it is nearby e.g. 30 mins or so max then that itsn’t too much driving and it could be done in a taxi.

  • Anonymous November 26, 2011, 3:47 pm

    I was born about 3 weeks early, on Easter Sunday. And from what I’ve heard my aunt, cousins and grandparents all found the time to go see my mother and myself in the hospital. My mom’s side of the family lived a long ways away as well, and they still managed to make it to our city. Sure, it wasn’t the Easter everyone was expecting, but that’s life, and you roll with it. The holidays are supposed to be about spending time with people you care about, and I feel that a loved one in the hospital is even more of a reason to make that effort.

    I’m very, very certain that if someone I care about ever finds themselves in the hospital on the holidays, I will go see them and I will do so happily, even if I have to drive a couple hours to get there. I am, quite frankly, astonished at the vitriol directed at the OP.

  • Melnick November 27, 2011, 5:53 am

    Whoa! I’m so surprised and disappointed at the chastising the LW is receiving! Are you people kidding me? Wild horses couldn’t stop my parents, nor my inlaws from making that drive no matter what! A 1.5 hour drive really isn’t that long at all. And when my kids have their children, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be there the moment I’m allowed in that hospital no matter the distance. And I would be devasted if no one had visited me in hospital. Those visits say that what is happening in your life is also important and valued for you by the other people who are important in your life. There is not a single person who is not aware of how important a baby is to someone and whether or not that baby particularly means something to you, if you love the parent of the child, you make the effort to share in that joy for them BECAUSE you love them. And family especially should know this above all others.

    If the SIL didn’t want to come, that’s fine, but don’t stop the MIL from going and meeting her new grandson. I think though, perhaps another solution could have been if Dad could have driven halfway and MIL halfway.

  • Rap November 27, 2011, 5:08 pm

    Anon at #89 – I think the question isn’t “would you visit relatives in the hospital at holiday time” but “would you leave your holiday guests who were not welcome to visit your sick relative alone for hours so that you could visit your sick relative”?

    And would you call your holiday guests who were not invited – and the OP makes it VERY clear that the SIL was not invited – rude for being annoyed that they drove four hours to see you and you were ditching them for a relative who, forgive me, was not dying or in trouble, but had baby hormones and sentimental feelings?

    I think there’s too many variables that we’re not privy to, to call out the SIL as the rude one here. I can see why the MIL would have been grateful for an excuse to not drive up Friday, and then Saturday, especially since the MIL had a lengthy drive and multiple guests. I don’t see how “My husband offered and when I said yes, he backed out and said NO” is the OP’s husband behaving in a classy polite fashion – especially since he was *refusing to fetch his own child for his wife who was overwhelmed with sentiment about the holiday and baby hormones* and so desperately needed to nest with both her chicks. Gotta be honest – the attitude the OP is flinging on this strongly suggests she doesn’t see that the rudeness stamp doesn’t fall on just the SIL.

    I was losing sympathy at the point the OP said her own husband wouldn’t make the effort to fetch his own child, and I completely lost sympathy when she made it clear she didn’t care whether the SIL came or not and that the SIL was NOT invited to see the baby and could sit at the MIL’s house and cool her heels whilst MIL fetched the elder child for the OP since you know, her husband who *offered* and then *backed out* when she said yes couldn’t be bothered.

    Why do I have a feeling the SIL has her own share of “rude SIL” stories about the OP?

  • AngieM November 27, 2011, 8:48 pm

    Count me on the side of the “I don’t think the SIL is that rude.”

    We don’t know how often she gets to visit with MIL but it may not be often. We don’t know if she brought grandkids for MIL to visit with as well. We just don’t know, but I do know it is rude to insist a host leave her guests to go wait on you. It was made clear by the OP that SIL was not wanted at the hospital (I’m not even sure MIL was to be there for long, as she wanted her immediate family there) To insist that MIL spend a good portion of the day to run your son home when he was coming home the next day was out of line. I understand the pregnancy hormones running through your body (I sobbed hysterically every evening after my DH left the hospital after each of my deliveries). I understand wanting to nest. But in reality, you don’t know how your son would have reacted to the hospital (my eldest had a screaming fit and had to be taken out) and it may have not been the happy reaction you were hoping for. Young kids in the hospital visiting mom with a baby are REALLY easily bored.

    SIL may have said to mom “hey, this is silly. You’re taking him back tomorrow and we’ll all visit then. My family rarely gets to see you and I’d like you to spend the day with us.” How is her need less legitimate than yours? Especially since the time spent with SIL family was likely less frequent and you weren’t really being denied your time? And, depending on how old SIL’s kids may have been (assuming she had any), why don’t they get time with Grandma instead of demanding when she ferry your child around?

    If it was that important, DH could have gotten him, because ultimately the care and transport of your children is YOUR responsibility. The fact he didn’t and you instead got annoyed with the ILs (who helped out in a time of need, regardless of personal inconvenience) begs the question of what else is going on.

    I’m not saying that you’re still upset about it. I’m glad that you’ve moved on. But apparently it still irks you enough that when the call went out for stories, this came right to the forefront of a definite “holiday rudeness”. I hope that you’ve forged a good relationship despite this “slight” because family is important and you don’t want every holiday to be difficult.

  • catwhisperer November 28, 2011, 3:07 am

    When my daughter was born, three of her four grandparents were dead, and the only surviving grandparent, my father, had mental problems and didn’t know I was giving birth to his first and only grandchild. My husband’s sisters and brother were all on the east coast, and I didn’t have any siblings who were involved in my life at all.

    Daughter was born after 27 hours of labor, and except for the medical people, it was just my husband and me there. Nobody else.

    To add insult to the situation, this was during the time when HMO’s were discharging mothers from the hospital ASAP as long as the birth was a normal vaginal birth, which mine was. So my daughter was born at 7:30 PM on a Sunday, and at 7:00 AM my obstetrician regretfully informed me he was discharging me from the hospital and we’d have to leave!

    We actually didn’t leave the hospital until about 9:30 AM, because although they discharged me at 7:00 AM, the neonatal pediatrician who was supposed to discharge my daughter didn’t get to the hospital for his shift until 9:00 AM. So I got to hang out at the hospital for an extra two hours or so.

    So there we were, not 24 hours after the birth of our daughter, my husband and daughter and I sent home all by ourselves.

    And you know what? We got by. If I didn’t have doting relatives wanting to come and bond with the baby, I also didn’t have to deal with telling anyone that I was too tired or sore for company. I didn’t have to pretend to be a hostess, and I got to spend special, precious time getting to know my daughter without having to share that time with other people.

    A lot of how you accept what life throws at you is a matter of choice. You mostly get to decide how happy/unhappy you’re going to be. FWIW, there’s usually someone who has it worse than you do. As it happens, one of my co-workers who was pregnant at the same time I was found out when she was five months along that she had an inoperable brain tumor and she ended up losing her baby. Three years later, she lost her life.

  • livvy17 November 28, 2011, 10:57 am

    @Maitri –

    I think what is upsetting people is that you’ve confused an action that upset you for an actual rudeness. While I can understand your feelings at wanting your elder son back, regardless of your previous plans, it isn’t rude of people not to jump through hoops to accomodate you.

    Your MIL was already doing you a big favor by watching your older son. She was already inconvenienced more than she’d originally planned, due to the early arrival of your second child. I disagree with others who say that part of babysitting is to be at the total beck, call, and whim of the parents…an emergency is one thing, but otherwise, I think it’s rude to request additional accomodations / favors from someone who is ALREADY doing you a huge favor. Especially when it’s just to gratify your own feelings / wishes.

    It’s not rude when people don’t fulfill your every whim and wish. It may make you sad, but it’s not rude.

  • Mary November 28, 2011, 11:57 am

    My heart goes out to OP but I think this is just a one of those things that happens, especially so close the the holidays. My DD was born 2 days before Thanksgiving. she spent the first 23 hours of life in the NICU. We had a few family visitors but people were so busy getting ready for Turkey Day that most stayed only minutes and left. Thanksgiving Day I ate the hospital dinner by myself with DD asleep in bassinet beside my bed. yes, it stinks that your son was not with you but there are some situations we have no control over. I’m still a little bothered by the fact that few people came to see us and I had my thanksgiving dinner alone in a hospital room but I cannot change it and now a year later I am just grateful to have my DD happy and healthy.

  • Lucy November 28, 2011, 12:22 pm

    Melnick: Wild horses couldn’t stop my parents, nor my inlaws from making that drive no matter what! A 1.5 hour drive really isn’t that long at all.

    It’s one thing if the parents are by themselves, but it’s another if they’re towing a toddler along and have guests waiting at home, and if it’s a holiday weekend when the drive is likely to take longer. The OP and her parents/in-laws were not the only ones to consider in this situation.

  • jessiebird November 28, 2011, 11:57 pm

    OP, if I were a friend or a relative who loved you, I would have driven your son to you. It would have been a gift I would be happy to give.

    Thanksgiving comes every year. It’s a secular holiday. The day after Thanksgiving is just a day. The birth of a family member is a rarer and certainly more sacred event.

    It must be thanks to medical technology that we can treat birth as a nonevent. When women and children were regularly injured or killed in the process, a little inconvenience to others was gladly taken on to ensure the well being of mother and infant. In my husband’s culture, there is a word referring to the month after childbirth, because it is such a fragile and sacred time. New mothers are treated kindly and gently because even if they survive (which they generally do nowadays), they endured something liminal between life and death. New mothers and babies are fragile. People honor that.

    I am astonished at the vitriol directed at the OP. How was she rude to make a request? She asked and was told no. It hurt her feelings and she felt it was somewhat selfish of the SIL when the OP was in quite extenuating circumstances. As far as we know, the OP did not behave rudely. She shared her feelings here anonymously. That is not bad etiquette.

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