Very rarely is a mother more catered to and fussed over than on the day(s) she labors and gives birth. She is the star of the show and the center of attention, so there are things she just shouldn't have to ask for when she's in labor.
My labor with my older son was a textbook example of everything that shouldn't happen during labor. Between faulty monitors, rude nurses, and multiple shift changes, it was like I was experiencing the power of Murphy's Law in my delivery room. At one point, while I was laboring hard, (I'm talking in transition with no epidural, hard) a maintenance man came in to fix the call button on my bed. During my active labor, you guys. Obviously, that's not conducive to a pleasant labor experience and never should never have been allowed to happen. It never even crossed my mind to request that no stranger-maintenance-men be allowed to come to my bedside while I was sweaty and naked and screaming through contractions. However, you can bet your you-know-what that's exactly what I requested for my next labor. Live and learn, my friends.
After having been through a difficult labor and delivery, I feel like the ideal candidate to put forth a list of things no woman should ever have to ask for during labor. May your labor(s) be better than mine, dear reader.
You know why animals give birth in dens and caves? Because it's quiet. There are no chitter chattering partners, no beeping monitors and fluid pumps, and there are no doctors or midwives wanting to check your cervix every hour or talk to your husband about Monday Night Football.
Women need peace and quiet to labor (and if they don't and prefer loud music instead, best believe they will tell you) and we shouldn't have to ask for it. It should be a given.
Of course, this is personal preference. I know many women who wouldn't want to just be touched randomly (even by their partner), especially when they're in physical pain.
However, I really didn't want to have to ask to be messages. Instead, I wanted someone to start massaging me and if I didn't feel particularly into it for whatever reason, I would tell them to stop.
Mother. Freakin'. Ice. Chips.
Between breathing and moaning and yelling obscenities, a girl can get parched. Ice chips should be available and preferably held to her mouth. Don't make a laboring woman get her own ice chips. Just don't.
The TV To Be Turned Off
Come on, man. If you're watching television while another woman is laboring, instead of focusing on said woman, you deserve a kick in the pants.
Her Partner To Wake Up
I've heard so many women talk about their partners sleeping through parts of labor that it's become kind of cliché. I know the urge to sleep during her downtime is big, but if she's not sleeping you shouldn't be either.
Actually, if you are at a teaching hospital you actually should ask for this if you are uncomfortable with medical students observing.
However, you really shouldn't have to ask for the maintenance man to be excluded from your birth experience.
Birth team, be liberal with your praise and encouragement. Especially with first-time moms, the feeling that you're doing it wrong can be super prevalent. Mom shouldn't have to ask if she's doing it right or if she's doing a good job.
Her Partner Or Birth Team's Help
If you're there to support, support. Don't make her ask for someone to do something. Be there and anticipate her needs. Ask her what she needs, don't make her ask you.
A Ride To The Hospital Or Birth Center
Partners, don't make her ask you to take her to the hospital. Just get in the car when she says it's time. Don't argue. Don't ask if she's sure. Don't start Googling to make sure her sureness is, in fact, a certainty. Just go.