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preparing older sibs for homebirth

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
So, I am embarking on my first hb, and we are totally excited. I am wondering what resources any of you could recommend to help prepare my 5- and 3- year olds for the event. My previous 2 births were in hospitals, so all my ds really remembers is going to an aunt's house til the baby got there. Our house is kinda small, so they will be around just about everything, and I want it to be an awesome family experience for them. Any suggestions? We have "What Babies Need", but it doesn't really deal with the actual birth experience. Looking forward to your replies!!
post #2 of 14
I showed my 5 year old DS videos of waterbirth, he was totally into it. We found one book at the library that was about homebirth, I can't think of the name right now.
As it turns out my labor didn't kick into high gear until after I put the kids to bed, so when baby was crowning I barely remembered to yell to someone to wake up the kids.
post #3 of 14
I had a friend with a 3 children, planning her first homebirth with her 4th. She set up the birth pool, wore the clothes she might wear during the labor and acted out the labor. Make some noise, walk around, rock your hips, whatever you can come up with that might happen. See how the kids react and talk with them about it, that way they won't be shocked, scared etc. when it happens again. Most kids I've seen at births deal really well and are pretty in tune with the mama. Its amazing for them to get to witness the birth of a sibling. I'm sure it will be magical! Good luck!
post #4 of 14
I had my 6 and 3.5 yo at my last birth. We prepared them by watching a LOT of videos from YouTube that I had prescreened. I know that I labor fairly quietly with some "mooing" towards the end, so I tried to find videos like that. I also am not one to be hung up on how exactly the birth will go down (water or land, standing or squatting, I'm flexible) so I showed them a variety. We looked at some books too and did a lot of discussion. They each volunteered for different aspects of the birth itself - like fetching water or blankets, cutting the cord, etc. My kids (still, 2.5 years later) think "God puts the baby there" as far as anatomy so I did explain that there's a "pee tunnel, a poop tunnel and a baby tunnel" because they were wondering if baby would come out while I was using the bathroom. lol! We explained that my belly would squeeze the baby out of the tunnel, that it would take awhile (about 4 hours, but that's eternity when you're little!), that baby would be "slimy". I did tell them that it hurt some, but not forever and that I would need them to be quiet and probably not touch me while a squeeze was happening. They thought vernix was "baby sunscreen" because I explained it was like lotion to keep the baby's skin protected.(we live in a very sunny climate and use sunscreen frequently, lol!) Toward the end, I get a lot of "practice" bh cx and I showed them my belly sort of deforming so they could get an idea of what it would be like.

My mw was awesome at involving them in my prenatals, letting them use the doppler, pointing out body parts she'd palpate, etc. That really helped them know I was cared for and get them super excited for their sibling.

As labor began, they were very excited, but very respectful of mommy. When they were bored they went off to watch a movie, but my 6yo was taking "orders" from me on his little pad of paper, bringing me water and snacks. My 3.5 yo was laying on the floor looking thru the side of the birth pool asking if the baby was here yet. They hung out, kissed me between cx and stayed out of the way when dh joined me in the tub. They were making observations in relation to our discussions too - like "Oh mommy! You're doing that hoola hoop thing we saw on the movie". I will say that they were far less of a bother to me than I thought they would be and I remember dh trying to shush them and get them to move back when I was in labor land... I remember thinking they weren't bothering me like he thought they were, but I was unable to communicate that then.

We're going to do it all again in early January with our youngest (2.5yo) present, but we'll have someone there for him expressly. Last time we did not have anyone around for the kids since I knew my youngest at that time would be fine to follow directions etc and had some friends on call just in case. (but we didn't make the call) I don't know that my youngest will follow instructions as needed and don't want the older 2 to miss out on their part of the birth because they are needed to care for their brother.

We're all little birth junkies around here! lol!

Maybe more info than you wanted... but I hth!
post #5 of 14
I do not have any experience, I can just share what I am planning.

I have the book Hello Baby, which I really like. Well, I like the pictures, the text less so.

I will follow DS's lead (well, make sure there is someone who can, and that someone is probably going to be MIL). If he wants to be at home with us, he can be, if he wants to go out, he can. Whatever he is going to feel comfortable with doing. He will be 2 years and 10 months.

When I was labouring with DS I was very quiet and still once I got over the vomiting and got used to what a contraction actually felt like. I suspect that it will be similar again, although you never can tell. It reassures me to know DS is unlikely to see me in great distress.
post #6 of 14
The book "Welcome With Love" is wonderful and shows a lot of the details of a home birth while also being a great story. The one thing that my mom thought to mention to my dd1 that wasn't mentioned in the book was that there would probably be some blood, but it wasn't dangerous.
post #7 of 14
Even though I don't plan for 3yo DS to be around the birth, I find threads like this really interesting.

I think that if he were around, he would be confused and frightened. He isn't very verbal, so it would be hard to explain to him what was happening and that it was ok. He would probably be clingy and needy, and I would much rather not give birth with him wrapped around me and upset. Luckily our house is large enough that DH plans to take care of DS and keep him in other parts of the house. I'm setting up one out-of-the-way room as my birth room. It is a part of the house that DS wouldn't need to go into. And I think the remote-ness of it will make it more suitable for me to feel the quiet and peacefulness. Plus it is on a separate heating system from the rest of the house and I can make it comfortable for me without overheating or chilling the rest of the family.
post #8 of 14
Yes, before I actually had a HB and labored naturally around my 5 yo, I had NO IDEA how it would be. I read wonder happy stories about how the big sibling was standing by and planned accordingly, but truth be told DD was *so* annoying when I was in labor, asking tons of questions and MOCKING ME I was sooo glad someone could watch her for us when things got really intense. She came right back when DS was born and it was perfect.
post #9 of 14

I was really happy to have my mom there to be solely in charge of my dd (who was just shy of 4 years old when dd2 was born).  When dd woke up and was nervous about the noise, my mom could snuggle with her and take her outside to play.  I also realized once dd woke up that I didn't want her there (awake) during the labor.  Ahead of time I was open to doing whatever felt right--her being there or not--since I knew that I wouldn't be able to tell what I needed and what dd needed until I was IN labor and could see how I felt and how she was reacting.  Her voice made me feel like I had to be a MOM (instead of an insane laboring banshee orngtongue.gif), and I could almost feel my cervix closing in the 5 minutes it took my mom to get her out of the house.


However, we had my mom bring her cell phone and put it on speed dial...so once we were a couple of contractions from the baby being out, we called her and they dashed back to see Maggie born.  It was perfect.  My dd was a little nervous (mainly because she didn't like my moaning when she woke up during the labor), but Nana (my mom) held her in her arms the whole time they were watching and left the room a couple of times when Nell wanted to.  All in all, they were only there for the final 5-10 minutes of the birth, which was perfect.  I know my dd will remember it forever, and she was very proud telling all of our neighbors "I got to see my baby sister come out!"  I think it helped her make the connection that the baby really was the same as the one that had been inside me, and she got to be "part of it" without feeling left out.  That's just my dd's personality though.  She is nervous about blood and didn't like the noise, but I think she was glad she was there (given that she had my mom to be HER support person!). 

post #10 of 14

DH and I prepared our (then) 4.5yo ds for the homebirth of his sibling.  We watched videos from our MW, read books, looked at anatomy books, talked about labor.


You can feel free to watch our episode of "A Baby Story" which shows our homebirth and the prep for our homebirth:  (sure, totally self-promoting wink1.gif  )



Please let me know what you think!  We were very happy with the episode.  
Others here on MDC have told me that they found the episode helpful in preparing their children for a birth. 
post #11 of 14

We haven't actually done it yet, but so far I've watched some videos about birth, including some quite graphic homebirth ones, with DD, and we've talked about what it's going to be like and whether she'll be comfortable with the situation (she was given the option of going to grandparents' house when it happened, and wants to be home with us). I'm planning on having DW#2 be point person on corralling her if she needs coralled. DD has and is getting many chances to bond with the baby by feeling him kick and giving my belly hugs/kisses. She's very excited about the whole thing, at least so far.

post #12 of 14

I'm still trying to decide what I want to do with DD during the birth. she'll be 22 months, so I'm not sure how much I can really prepare her. we'll have to see what her maturity level is in 3 months and make the decision with that in mind. part of the problem is that I'm not sure if I want my mom there. if she comes to pick DD up then I'm pretty sure she won't leave, so that would mean having her and DD in the other room. it's not that my mom isn't supportive, it's just that I'm a really private person, and I really don't even really want the midwife there. anyone had a kid under 2 present?

post #13 of 14

My son is 8 and he was there with me for a good portion of the time, but when things got painful, he had to get out of there for a bit.  He couldn't handle seeing mommy hurting like that.  It was upsetting him.  He need a break.  Don't get me wrong.  I wouldn't say don't have a kid there, but from personal experience, my son had to be able to come and go and have some support of hos own. You could actually find that having your Mother there may be exactly what you need. 


He would go in the kitchen and play a game for a bit with my sister for a distraction and then come back in and see how I was doing.  He just couldn't handle hour after hour of it.  I would recommend having someone there just to support the children.  My sister actually wasn't sure about being at the homebirth, but she was a godsend just taking care of my son and running interference with other people.  (Like the Schhwann's man for instance.)


I had to transfer to the hospital with my midwives and that was a double godsend to have her there.  She took responsibility for my son and really supported him.  It was pretty scary for him to see Mommy racing, being hoisted into the car.  It was great for him to have a family member to lean on.  I needed my husband so he couldn't have Daddy right then. 


As for preparation, I watched some of the tons of youtube videos out there with him.  It was good for him and myself.

post #14 of 14


Originally Posted by Chavelamomela View Post

DH and I prepared our (then) 4.5yo ds for the homebirth of his sibling.  We watched videos from our MW, read books, looked at anatomy books, talked about labor.


You can feel free to watch our episode of "A Baby Story" which shows our homebirth and the prep for our homebirth:  (sure, totally self-promoting wink1.gif  )



Please let me know what you think!  We were very happy with the episode.  
Others here on MDC have told me that they found the episode helpful in preparing their children for a birth. 

Thank you so much for sharing!! I had to stop watching the Baby Story show after my first was born, because so many of the episodes/births pissed me off, lol.  It's nice to have some shameless self-promoting of homebirths without having to do some major searching of my own.  I loved the episode, and I plan on showing my daughters (6 and 4) what we'll be doing at home.  Both girls have said they want to be here for their sibling's birth, so this is great! 


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