How did it go? My DD is 25 months and I plan on having her there for the actual birth. My mother will be here to tend to her while I labor, so I guess I'm looking for some ideas to keep her busy. I know she could take her out to the park and/or pool (if the weather allows or it's not at night), but I really want her to be there for the actual birth so she can participate in welcoming her baby sister. We live in a two bedroom townhouse, so our space is limited..she will definitely be nearby the whole time. I have been trying to prep her (watching birth videos, explaining her sissy will be here soon, etc.) and she is super fascinated with it all. She understands that all of the "baby" stuff is for sissy. She is extremely empathetic (i.e. if someone is crying or upset, she tries to comfort them) so I kinda believe she will sense that mama is doing something that requires patience and understanding. Atleast, I'm hoping so lol So I guess I'm just looking for tips, advice, pros/cons of this, etc. from you mamas who've BTDT. TIA!
For those of you who have had your 2 yo at the birth..
ds was 27mo when dd was born at home. It went great! My water broke around 1:30am, so I labored (very easily) alone during the night, then things started gearing up around 6:30/7 right when everyone woke up, the MW arrived, etc. Once we got settled and I got into the pool, dh and my mom (mostly dh) took turns hanging out with ds in the next room while the other hung out with me. I don't need a lot of comfort/fuss in labor, so I was fine not having dh around. At one point, I was vocalizing during a particularly tough contraction, and I heard ds say, very matter-of-factly, "What's my mommy singing about?" It cracked me up and I came out of the contraction laughing...great moment.
He was there to see her being born, and still has vivid memories of the whole thing.
But obviously much depends on you, and your labor, and your dd...I'd be prepared to have her grandma take her to the park or to her house if she's really anxious about you, or if you can't handle her being there.
My 23-mo DD was with us for my whole labor with DS, but he managed to be born while she was napping. This worked very well for me.
I didn't spend a lot of time prepping her for the birth -- for one thing, she was a little too small to understand it, I thought. I also sort of imagined that she'd be whisked away by one of my parents if/when things got really intense.
It was GREAT having her there during labor -- I chased her around the mall for most of my labor, in fact -- because 1) she kept me moving and on my feet, and 2) focusing on her kept my focus off the contractions during the early stages when I needed to not be paying a lot of attention to them. When they started to get really hard and I had to moan and sway through them (yes, I was That Woman in Labor at the mall -- the security guards were following me at a discreet distance, just in case they had to call 911), DD would just look at DH and said matter-of-factly, "Mama belly hurt."
Having a nursing toddler made a huge difference when my labor slowed after a while in the birth pool. I realized what was wrong, so I got out of the tub and nursed her down for her nap. Wham, did those contractions come back fast -- and hard!!! I guess that whole nipple-stimulation thing works, after all.
From that point to DS' birth was less than an hour, and she was napping in my dad's car the whole time. She came back about 5 minutes after he was born, and climbed up on the bed with me to examine her new baby brother. It was wonderful. I would not have changed any of it.
ETA: to answer your question, OP, I'd recommend that your mom have a list of places that she can take your DD that might be nearby, in case she needs a break. When I was in the pushing stage I found that it helped me to really roar through the pushes, and I think that all the noise would have frightened my DD. She was totally fine with my vocalizing up to that point, though, so it's just a matter of degree -- maybe she would have been ok. There was also a lot of blood (not quite a PPH, but close), and I think that might have been scary for her. So it was good, I think, that she wasn't in the room for the actual birth. If your DD is really empathetic, you may want to keep in mind that if things get really hard for you, she might get concerned for you and be upset.
DD2 was 2 when DS was born, there ended up not being not of entertaining that needed to be done. His labor was much shorter then my others and only 4 hours long, she slept through part of it, helped fill up the tub, stayed downstairs eating breakfast and playing, she would come up and check on me sometimes. No one did anything special to entertain her, it was the same with DD1 when DD2 was born. Even though she was in the same house, she still ended up missing DS's birth, it happened so quickly that there was no time to even get the other kids to watch. They did come up right afterwards.
DD was 22 months when DS was born in our two bedroom townhouse. during early labor I went about my normal routine and tried to get caught up on laundry. DD's bedtime was right when things were really intensifying, so I tried to get her tucked in, but she still nurses before bed. I tried to sit down band nurse her, but only lasted through one contraction, so she ended up sitting on the couch watching movies. my sister ended up staying with her in the living-room until after I had birthed the placenta. she didn't get upset, even when I was being pretty loud, but she did get pretty excited when she heard her brother cry for the first time.