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homebirth with siblings

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I am planning the home birth of my 4th child. That said, there are 3 siblings (8,5 and 2)! We have a small house and I definitely need for someone to take them out during what will most likely be the hours of labor before the baby comes. They would be bored around here for that long.

I really don't want to exclude them, but have leaned toward the thought that it might be fine with them to come and see the new baby instead of being present. I also have considered that this is my husband's first home birth- he's not the papa of my oldest two and our last child was born in the hospital. I'd really like for him to have a beautiful experience and be able to be totally present - and totally with me. I am a little nervous after a relatively difficult birth of #3.

On the other hand, I think it will have a huge positive impact on them to see a healthy natural birth and understand the difference between that reality and the overly medicalized childbirth that is so often portrayed in the media. Can I be a teacher while doing this work? Maybe that is the question..

Anyone have any thoughts on this situation? Am i wrong to exclude the kids? Can i plan it so it is up to them at the time and they can choose? Anybody ever birth with a ring of family that big around them? Thanks mamas and love to you and your babes!
post #2 of 11
I am planning to have #4 at home with the siblings, as well. This will be my first HB, so I'm not sure how long I will labor, so I have planned to have lots of new and quiet activities for the children. If they get bored or I need them out of the room for a while, I bought several new games for them to play and new craft supplies and playdough that they will not see until I'm in labor. I think it's wonderful to include the children in the birth of their new sibling! Congratulations, and good luck!
post #3 of 11
I am planning my first home birth. I have two children at home who I will be sending over to a friend's house until after the birth. In fact it wasnt' until I came to the realization that homebirth did not have to equal being surrounded by your children as you delivered that I was even willing to consider it. During delivery I need to be able to focus deep within myself without having outside demands being placed on me. I find that my kids have a radar that detects emotional unavailability and they tend to respond by becoming more demanding. They will have lots of fun with their friends and will be able to see the new baby soon enough. The fact that we are even having a home birth is "education" beyond what most kids receive.
post #4 of 11
I'm hoping for my 1st homebirth 3rd birth kids will be almost 6 and 3, so I've been thinking similar thing- I want them there but am thinking logistics

It seems like there are too many factors to have an exact plan. It might be the middle of the night and they sleep through most of it, they might be at a play date, it might be a rainy day so they can play outside to leave the house, you might have a very quick birth or very long labor, and the kids might change their minds and want to leave or want to participate mid labor.
Is there someone who could be at your house w/ them, are there friends/family who could be on call to come pick them up mid labor if kids want to leave?
My recommendation- come up with many different plans for different times of day and situations!

I'm hoping to have my mom, who lives down the road, be with them so they can sleep, eat, go outside, take walks, play w/ their toys and also come check in on me or stay w/ me the whole time as they want. I need my dh w/ me and not getting milk from the fridge, helping put shoes on, helping dd on the potty, etc,etc,etc. My only though now- what if one wants to go to gramma's house and one wants to stay for the birth?
post #5 of 11
#3 was born at home. My water broke late at night before bed so we called the MW to warn her and we called our best friends (a couple) and warned them. I woke up at 3 a.m. in actual labor and dh called MW and friends. Friends came over at 5 a.m. and they woke up the older kids and took them downstairs to the playroom. They brought them up about 30 minutes after #3 was born. It was perfect for us and I plan to do the same thing at this time.

We did show them some natural birth videos before the birth, just in case, but they were 4 and 2 at the time and too young to learn anything. Now that they will be 6, 5 and 2, I still don't want them there.
post #6 of 11
My kids will only be barely 3 and barely 2 when this baby is born at home. I don't really think that they will learn much from witnessing the birth, and I worry more about them being worried/upset or whatever might make laboring harder for me.

I will have several people on call in the event that I am laboring during the day, so that they can come hang with our kids. I would love to have the kids be downstairs, or at the park just behind my house while I birth, then have them come in and meet their new sib right after the birth.
post #7 of 11
Well, for whatever it's worth, for the birth of my third child, I planned to have my kids there with a caretaker, in case they felt uncomfortable or I needed a break from them. I thought as you did that witnessing a natural birth would be really positive for them.

As it happened, though, I went into labor at 7pm and they were asleep by the time I gave birth around 1 am.
post #8 of 11
When my third was born, my boys were almost 3 and 4.5. They were really excited to be there.. they watched birth videos and read books, they pretended to be pregnant/midwives themselves, they talked to my midwife about how they wanted to participate, etc.

I had a long early labor (48 hours) and both nights at bedtime, they made my husband and I swear up and down that we would wake them up *before* the baby came.

As it turns out, I sent them downstairs with my mom at the start of active labor, and the baby was born under an hour later.. there wasn't time to call them upstairs, so they missed it. They were disappointed at first, but when they saw how bloody it was, they didn't want to come anywhere near me.

This time, we'll plan on my mom and/or sister being in charge of the kids while I'm in labor. If my husband needs to some childcare, that's fine, too.. I've never really needed his help coping with contractions. Who knows how it'll actually turn out. I'd love to have at least my oldest there (6) so he'll have some memory of it, but like a previous poster said, I think just knowing that mom has birthed her babies at home is a lot of 'education.'
post #9 of 11
I'm planning hb #4 (baby #5--first was hosp), so I've definitely been in this situation!

Actually, I'm in the process of agonizing about it right now.

With my first hb (ds1 was 2 years old) I had a 17 yo girl from our church come stay at the house with us all day. Ds loved her (she was our regular babysitter) and she was pursuing a career in medicine, so she was excited to witness the birth. It turned out really well, although I think she was maybe a teeeeeeensy bit traumatized, LOL! Not too bad though, because she just gave birth to her own first child a couple weeks ago!

With my second, the labor started fairly slowly, then sped up, then slowed down again, and almost stopped. I was frustrated and needed to rest, so I called a friend. Our pre-arranged plan was for her to come when I needed her, and to stay at my house with the kids, but we decided she would take them to her place for awhile so I could rest (and so we could DTD and try to get things going! ). She was supposed to bring them (ages almost 4 and 21 months) back in plenty of time to welcome their sibling.

Well, I had dh call her as soon as things got serious, but there must have been some sort of breakdown in communication, because she didn't get back to my house with the kids until ds was crowning! It turned out okay, but I have to admit that it was very frustrating to me. My focus was divided--when I should have been totally focused on the baby and birth, I kept thinking (and asking) "Where are the kids? Are they back yet? Has anyone heard from them?" I knew they were safe and well-cared for, but I *needed* them there, yk?

3rd homebirth turned out great; my mother came to visit for 2 weeks, and we were able to convince the baby to come before she left!

This time, I've got a different situation. We moved from Florida to Indiana a year ago--new region, new community, new church, etc. I love the people here, and I'm extremely grateful to them for their generosity, etc., but the fact is, I don't really know anyone that well yet. My mother coming isn't an option this time, and even if she could come I'd have to have a Plan B in case baby didn't cooperate with her travel plans!

A couple of women from our church have said they'd "do anything to help!" but I get the feeling that actually staying here at my home while I'm giving birth wouldn't be a comfortable option for them. Which I guess I must respect, but it's not like I'm asking anyone to put on a pair of gloves and play midwife! I just want my children here when their new sibling is born! I don't even mean in the room watching, although if they want to, I don't mind.

I don't understand why that's so hard for other people to understand...I was telling one lady that I was pretty much ready for the baby, just needed to figure out who was going to come stay with the kids, and her response was "Oh, but wouldn't you rather someone just come and get them out of your hair for the day?? That would be SO much nicer!" Um, yeah...no thanks!

Of course, she was the same lady who, when I said I was pretty well set on diapers, responded, "Oh, but you'll want some disposable diapers for right at first! It will be so much easier!" Yeah....once again, I've thought this through; I've even done it a time or two before, and I actually *do* know what I'm doing! But maybe that's just how this one woman is...

Anyway, I have no clue what to do at this point. I just don't see a good option. My younger sister is coming the end of Feb, but she'll only be here a week. If baby comes while she's here, it should work out well, but my other babies have been early, so I really NEED to have another plan in place.

I guess my only other option is to just ask someone to come get the kids, and hope that they come back in time. Just typing that as a possibility makes me anxious.
post #10 of 11
My kids, w boys, 9 +10 and my daughter, 5 were all in the house for the birth. I planned on them being there and they watched TV and had fun while I was in labor. When I began pushing they came in to watch but were laughing and said "Ewwww" and ran out of the room. The didn't want to see it when it came down to it.

I'm glad they were at home, though, because then they came right in and were a part of the whole scene.
post #11 of 11
i would suggest having an additional adult there, who's sole purpose is to be there for the kids.
That way your husband can focus on you, you can focus on birthing, and they can be involved.

my older daughters are 9 and 7 and they CHERISH that they were at their younger siblings births. (my 9 yr old was at the 7 year olds homebirth, and the now toddlers hospital birth-the 7 year old was at the toddlers birth)

it is a very precious memory for them, that comes up all the time in conversation, and from a blended family viewpoint (my older two have a different birthdad-my ex husband) I really feel like having them at the birth with my (new) husband really cemented us as a family-the five of us together-galvanized us if you will.
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