Possible Pre-Term Baby

by Beth

I am throwing a surprise baby shower for my sister-in-law in mid-October. She was due on Thanksgiving, which made the shower 1 month before her due date. I have planned this shower for months and coordinated with people from another state (where we had moved from recently) to send gifts and well wishes to my house. We are also expecting some guests from another state for the shower. My sister-in-law has now been put on bed-rest due to an incompetent cervix and the baby is almost definitely coming early. Her doctor says it could be tomorrow or two weeks from now (which is very close to the shower).

Do I continue with the shower even if there's a chance she may have the baby at the same time?

Do I tell her about the surprise?

Do I call all her out of state relatives and let them know the baby is going to be early?

Do I tell the guests not to come (which I do not want to do)?

We are all so excited to show her how much we love her and the baby, but I don't want to put any stress on her.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Our Answer:

Hi Beth,

Thank you for your etiquette questions. Due to all of the complications involved in the pregnancy, the best thing might be to let the mom-to-be know about the party. No doubt she is going through a lot of emotions right now, and you don't want to trigger an unwanted melt down when everyone shows up unexpectedly. It is best to let her know about it so she can look forward to and expect the party guests.

You will also need to let the party guests know of the situation so they know what is going on before arriving.

There are 2 suggestions I have for the actual baby shower party. Since there are different levels of bed rest, you will need to find out if she is able to sit up for an extended time period or if she needs to lay down all the time.

1. This one can be done as a surprise or with her knowing about the shower. If you would like to keep it a surprise, You can arrange with the father-to-be (or someone that will be with her) for them to make her available. Everyone could meet at your place and arrive together to surprise her. You could also set up a room within her house (it would be very tricky) that they could bring her into. Have the father set up a chair or a bed so that she does not have to move very much. Keep the shower a little shorter than usual to make sure she is not pushing herself too hard.

2. The backup plan for her being in the hospital, on severe bed rest, or home with a new baby could be to start the shower at your location. Videotape the guests giving her a special message, play a game or two and eat some cake. Then carpool over to her location, bring her the gifts and some cake and a video tape for her to watch. This way she is not up for too long and the guests have a chance to see her. She could be in bed to watch the video and open her gifts.

Hope that helps. Good luck planning the shower!

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