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will your other children be present for birth?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

We are having a home birth, and debating whether or not my other two children (aged 3 1/2 and 2 @ the time of the birth) should be there. They are very young so I worry about them being able to handle watching me in labor, and also feel that they will probably need an attendant there since my husband and I won't be able to meet their needs - but we really were not wanting to have any family members @ the birth. My house is very small, so sending the kids to another part of it w/a grandparent is not really an option - anyone in the house, is pretty much going to be right there with me.


My son is adamant about wanting to be there, but I'm not sure he fully understands what its going to be like. Anyone have any links to some good home birth videos?

Anyone have young siblings present during a birth w/some good stories/tips/personal experiences?

post #2 of 24

If my boys want to be there, they are welcome. Last time my (then) 4 year old slept, and (then) 2 year old peeked in a few times but mostly watched a movie (labor was only intense for about 30 minutes). This time the boys will be 6, 4, and 23 months. Part of me says I should get someone to be here. I figure if my labor is long enough that I need someone to take them I can call the inlaws and have them take the boys. However once my labor kicks in gear I don't get distracted easily, I labor like I sleep, through anything! My big boys love watching videos, I'm a student midwife so they've seen lots of birth photos and videos.

post #3 of 24

My boys will be there too. I try to present birth to them as a family affair and just part of life. My older son will be 7 1/2 and the younger 3 1/2. The older one was there for his brothers birth and was mostly just bored, not worried or scared at all. I love that it is something our family can do together and I feel the kids respond even better to the new baby if they are part of the process of introducing them to the world. I will have at least one doula (maybe 2) at the birth in addition to my hubby and midwife.


post #4 of 24

We had pretty much decided not to have DD there. She'll be about 2yo and I thought she might not be able to handle it. But a friend just told me Friday that she had her daughter at her 2nd daughter's birth -- and she was about that age. She said she handled it so well and she felt like it was really the right decision. We may have a friend on standby so we can decide as things flow. Or...?

post #5 of 24

No, she'll be a little over 3 when I have the baby - I handled my pain by screaming ("vocalizing" is what my doula called it) but transition was REALLY intense for me and there was a lot of screaming and blood - I'm hoping for a waterbirth in a birth center this time but I think it would be too much for my dd and she would be too little to understand.  If she is awake and at the birth center, I'm excited about her meeting her brother/sister immediately after birth.

post #6 of 24

I'm glad you posted this thread because DH and I are wondering the same thing. DD will just have turned 3 when this baby comes. My MW has tons of childrens' books and appropriate birth videos that I can borrow to help get her prepared. Ideally, she would be present for birth. I plan to have my mother at the birth, so she would be DD's caregiver during that time, so if things became too intense or if she got bored, etc., my mom could take her to the park or even take her to her house. I guess we'll just kind of have to play it by ear. I have no idea what this birth will be like because my first was induced with pitocin and an amniotomy, so I'm not sure what my body will actually do on its own, KWIM?


Oh, and I thought I'd add, I did show DD (2.5 y/o) a few videos of water births. The moms were very calm and Jordan was pretty fascinated. Now when we ask her where babies come from, she says "they come from the mommy's ginas!" and spreads her legs and uses a sweeping motion with her arm to illustrate the direction from which they come, hahahahaha!!!!

post #7 of 24

DS will be just over 2 1/2 when this baby is born, but I definitely don't want him there while I'm in labor. For one thing, I fear that it will be too distracting for me to have him right there while I'm trying to focus on managing contractions, etc. Plus, I have no idea how he would handle seeing me in that situation. I also think it would be WAY too distracting for DH, who would be worried about DS and therefore not be able to help me as much.


My grandmother lives in the apartment attached to our house, and I'm not crazy about having her there either, so I'm planning on asking her to take DS to my mother's house once labor starts - kill 2 birds with 1 stone, so to speak. I've briefly mentioned it to her, but we need to firm up those plans at some point!

post #8 of 24

I asked both girls and both said no thank you.  They seemed squeamish.  DD2 reminded me that body fluids make her sick.  I once told her I flicked a booger at her and it was in her hair... she gagged and vomitted on my couch.  Can you say backfire?!  DD1  said maybe, but she wanted specifics.  She also reminded me that if I was in pain it would make her cry and scare her.  We don't raise our voices in this house and if she hears me yelling she will freak out.  We should probably argue more so they aren't so sensitive to raised voices! 


I explained to her what would happen while I was standing in the shower the other day...  side note I always have and audience.  Anyway she wanted to know what was going to happen and I explained it to her.  She wanted to know how I felt after the baby came which of course made me cry because thats exactly what I did both times, and of course she started crying.  She said it's best shes not there but she'll come in once our baby gets here.  So... I guess no kids with me.  I'm sad about it, I want them there.  But I can't force them.  DD2 is so calming to me and DD1 is so strong by my side.  Oh well.  See now I'm crying just thinking about them not wanting to be there.  I hope they change their minds.  I won't bring it up again.  It's not fair if I badger them.

post #9 of 24

My Mom's presence is most important to me when laboring/birthing.. she's essentially my partner in these moments of life. We do hospital births and since Home is not super close DH and the boys will be staying in a pretty nice spot right down the road; Same place (same hospital) as our last birth and they visited often in the 30hrs stayed! That was the first time me and Joseph had been apart an overnight ~he was 2wks shy of 3 and a nursling~ I definitely was glad he was w/ his Daddy, but nervous just because of course lol... it turned out well. This February will be the first time Loki and l do an overnight apart ~he'll be 2.5~ and I'm feeling more than fine as he is super obsessed w/ DH for real! 


I think it's super important for everyone to be taken care of and in the company of the best possible person(s) for their overall experience....

no matter your dynamics or where you plan on giving birth. Gotta say subsequent births sure are something to strategize! orngtongue.gif

post #10 of 24
Nope. I need to focus on labor and giving birth and I know if DD is there, I will be thinking about her. What is she doing? What is she thinking? I just want to be able to give 100% of my focus to labor.
post #11 of 24

I'm hoping to go with a flexible plan that lets them be there if that's what we all want in the moment.


When DS #2 was born, DS #1 was 2 yrs, 8 months. We had watched some youtube videos of some calm homebirths and also some videos of kittens being born :)  My dearest friend was in charge of being his "special person" during the birth and her instructions were to follow his lead. He had woken up in the middle of the night with the commotion of the midwives arriving and setting up their stuff and so he witnessed some of my active labor...he would go back and forth between snuggling in next to me as I was leaning over the pool to playing in his room. After he would witness a contraction, I'd smile at him and remind him that I was "just being a mama lion."


However, in the end, it was me who decided that he shouldn't be there for the birth. I had a very intense pushing stage...lots of yelling which would have been scary for him. When his brother was born, DS #1 was happily playing at the playground with his "special person."


I hope to go with that exact same plan for this birth.

post #12 of 24

Frogautumn- I love your mama lion idea.  What a lovely way to reassure your son!  We play growly bears around here a lot-- I can see something similar working to comfort my DD. 


I'm really conflicted about this issue.  She'll be almost 4 when the baby is born.  I neither want to scare DD nor do I want to exclude her.  She's very affectionate and I can picture her feeling good about making me feel good.  Also, we've never spent a night apart and I'm anxious about her feeling like I've left her and now I have a new baby.  On the other hand, I'm a private person and spend most of my time craving personal space these days.  Having DD and my sister (her caregiver) in the room in addition to DH, the midwife, doula, and hospital staff might make me totally lose it. 


At this point, I'm planning to have her take the course at the hospital so she'll be on the list that allows her to be in the room during labor and birth and then play it by ear as things get closer and depending on her wishes.  I think I'm going to start bringing her to my midwife appts and my anatomy scan and see how she does in those contexts as an initial test. 



post #13 of 24

My kids won't be around for labor. I am open to the idea of them being there for pushing, but I don't know yet if I'm willing to allow that. I know they all really want to be there to see the birth, and boy would I love for them to be able to see a birth irl, but I am going to have to do what's best for me in that moment, of course, and I have never before wanted them around while birthing. So we'll just have to see. In any case I want them in the room immediately after so that they can at least see what a brand new baby looks like and see the placenta and everything. 

post #14 of 24

They will be 11, 10, 8, and 4

post #15 of 24

My kids are 10,9,7. The oldest immediately asked if he could be there when the baby comes. (right after interpreting the preg test aloud) I said yes. I don't mind whatsoever if they are present. But, being the age they are- I can assume they will each decide how much is enough, etc. They also have eachother to help them: talking, eating, comforting, praying. Not to mention they're at home with all their own stuff, which is way better for coping than a slow waiting or delivery room at hospital. Dh, midwife, her assistant will also be here.


 It is a huge deal, noisy, could-be scarey, awesome event. So, some preparing will give them a good idea of what may come. We'll need to get some videos and books. And bring them along to prenatal appts. I'm curious to see how this all works out, so excited and thankful. biggrinbounce.gif

post #16 of 24

Too many variables to say for sure. I think it would be wonderful for my DS to be there. He'll be a couple months shy of 3yo. However, it will depend on when (middle of the night or day), how I labor (vocal - he'll be scared, calm, quiet - he'd be okay), and where (if I'm in the tub, it might be hard to keep him out. lol). Plus, I'm not sure I'll even have my DH present as he is prone to distraction and nervousness so I won't have DS there if DH can't be. 

post #17 of 24
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

Nope. I need to focus on labor and giving birth and I know if DD is there, I will be thinking about her. What is she doing? What is she thinking? I just want to be able to give 100% of my focus to labor.

It's funny, for me, it would be just the opposite! If she's not here, I'm going to think about her all the time and wonder what she's doing! So DD will be home and if she wants to be with me, she will, otherwise, there is enough room for her to go play in another part of the house. I'm not sure how to prepare her, though. She will only be 18 months old and I'm not sure how to explain birth to her. I'll probably wait a few months still before I explain anything so she can understand as much as possible. For now, I only mention that there's a baby in my tummy every once in a while, whenever it seems relevant to do so. I'll talk about it more when she can feel the movements by touching my belly. I guess it's gonna be a little less abstract then.

post #18 of 24

I will be going straight to my birth center when I know I am in labor. Seriously, Contraction number 2 and I am on my way! I know myself and this is baby #4... We live a ways out of Portland and to commute to Alma water birth center -we need 45 min. aprox. So, logistics and logic + nature = DH tossing the little boys (6 & 4 yrs) in the car + me waddling to the car =off we go. For when I am there.. Ahhhhhhhhh relax and let my body get on with it. With baby #3, I labored @ home (my same apartment) with my doula (now best friend) and DH. What a joke! I can not relax here. So, I do not labor well here.

Therefore, this is easily.. get me to my birth center! Since, the little boys will be along anyway -they will be there. My in-laws will be notified to come, and if they all decide to go, well -see you later! I can safely say, this is about me and my way of getting through labor. If people are there -great!  If not - I really don't notice. I seriously go to "labor land" -I need my DH to hold my hands and my wonderful Alma water birthing tub and I'm good.

For newbies, I think there is an expectation to perform. I am so past that. I stress to everyone to do what is the right thing for you. This is your babies birth, not yours. You are the gateway- do what your body/baby needs and forget about the rest. Who is there, who's feelings will be hurt, What your mom did etc... get over it! Your baby needs you to do the very best by doing what your body needs to give birth to your little angel. Seriously, your other children have had their time.  This will be a learning experience for them no matter what.

post #19 of 24

I think it really depends on so many things! My 3 older kids were at the birth of #4 and they were 6, 4, and 17 months at the time. I had my sister there to be in charge of them so my hubby could focus on me and I could focus on birthing. I also know that my births go pretty easily and I cope with pain silently (while this was my first homebirth, all my kids have been born drug-free). We prepped them (the 6 year old kinda prepped herself by finding the book "A Child is Born") so they'd know that there would be blood and all that kind of stuff. My kids all showed an interest in being there (well, the 17 month old had no clue what was going on) and they are not squeamish in any way. Bugs, dirt, injuries all are met with curiosity and not fear or repulsion. I think, too, that the people there helped my kids be excited about what was happening instead of scared (they said things to them like, "Are you excited to meet the baby?" "Look, do you see the baby's head?" and made room for them to watch and be a part of the birth) so positive energy and positive dialogue like that can really help!


On the other hand, I just attended my SIL's twin homebirth (one breech and one in the caul--an amazing birth!!) and for her son's birth, she'd had an epidural so she didn't know how she'd do without one. Her son is rather squeamish and often fearful about things. He's also very demanding and would be difficult to manage when the focus was so very much not on him (only child for 4.5 years until the day his sisters were born). So my SIL felt that it would be best for him not to attend. I think it was the right call. Especially since she ended up being very vocal and her vocalizations, particularly during pushing, would probably have been too much for the little guy. 


For me, I loved making it a family affair, but for my SIL's family, it could have been stressful and traumatic. So I think it just depends. How do you think your kids will handle it? How will you handle it? What are you like during birthing? Do they want to be there (keep asking them all the way up until the big day so they know they can change their mind any time they want)? Is there someone who can take them somewhere out of the house if they get overwhelmed?


Ultimately, I think that if kids want to be there, are well prepared, and have someone there who can reassure them if they get worried, that it's a great experience for everyone!



post #20 of 24

For me, no. I'm generally of the frame of mind that if you weren't invited to conception, you aren't invited to the birth (midwives excepted). My mother wants to attend but she falls under this rule as well.

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