Supporting Cast

My fantasy delivery-room entourage


When I gave birth to my two daughters, I was very clear about who I wanted in the delivery room with me: my husband, my doctor, a nurse or two and the guy with the big epidural needle. That's it. Parents and in-laws were all instructed to wait patiently at home with their cameras until the messy part was over.

So a couple of years later, when I started interviewing moms for a childbirth book I was writing, I was stunned to hear the casts of characters who appeared in other people's birth stories. One woman nonchalantly told me about laboring with her (female) boss by her side. Yes, that's right: The person who signs her paycheck had the pleasure of seeing her naked and sweaty, with bodily fluids dripping every which way. I've heard stories of mothers-in-law toting pans of lasagna, 6-year-olds clutching Spiderman figures and best friends with video cameras, all gathered around the laboring woman, cheering her on like a high school pompom squad.

So it got me thinking: Maybe I had this privacy thing all wrong. Maybe modesty is overrated. But if I decided to have more of an open-door policy with my hypothetical next delivery, who would I invite to the show?

I still wouldn't want my parents there (I can just hear my mom telling me to push my hair out of my eyes while I'm trying to push a baby out of me!). My brother and I are close, but not close enough for him to see me with my feet in the stirrups. And I definitely draw the line at anyone with a camera. After some deep thought, I came up with the perfect team:

Brigit, the massage therapist from my gym My husband tried his best to ease my contractions with those tennis balls that our childbirth instructor insisted we pack, but it was more irritating than helpful. Brigit would know just what to do.

Catcher Mike Piazza While I have complete confidence in my doctor's ability to hang on to the baby so she doesn't hit the floor, it couldn't hurt to have the 12-time All-Star Major League catcher as a backup.

Chef Mario Batali Childbirth is hard work, and by the time I was finished, I was famished. But the only food my husband could find at 2 a.m. was a soggy tuna sandwich from an all-night deli. Next time, I'd love to have Molto Mario himself waiting in the maternity ward with a silver tray of braised short ribs and pumpkin ravioli. Bon appetit, baby!

Al Chumsky, C.P.A. My accountant will be sitting in the corner, facing the wall. Who better to fill out the piles of paperwork from the hospital and the insurance company, then come up with a budget for how we're going to pay for 8 million diapers, three years of preschool and a larger apartment?

Carson from "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" After delivering, you can't fit into your regular clothes. But who wants to wear those maternity pants you've been living in for months? With the perfect placement of a scarf or a few snips to those stretch-panel jeans, stylist Carson could come up with a fabulous, slimming look for my triumphant taxi ride home.