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Will your other child/ren be present at your birth?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I'm really curious to see what the consensus is on this.

 

I know I want the option- but I'm not sure what I want to do with it.

 

I am an an introvert by nature- and tend to want to be alone to deal with pain- although I didn't have an issue being with hospital personell/ midwife/ DH/ and my mother during my first birth.

 

This time I will be birthing at a birth center; it's super laid back and quiet. I will likely be the only mom there. It has the potential to be very private, which I sense I may want.

 

I have this idea that it would be good for DD to 'see' the baby being born- so have a concrete storyline of how he or she got here- and not just see Mommy and Daddy go away and come back with this new sibling, this stranger. She has said to me that she sees him as a stranger (which I totally get, he/she is, at this point) and I think being present while he comes earthside could help her feel more of a connection to him.

 

But she is very intense, vivacious, sometimes hyperactive (in a totally normal four year old way), and I can sometimes just want things quiet, MY WAY. I think it'd be difficult to not be able to secure a quiet, 'safe' feeling enviorment while I birth- to not have control over my birthing enviorment- which is pretty much how it is at home a lot of the time  :)  I think at least while I birth, I should have the right to quiet! And I don't want to be snapping or yelling at her out of frusteration when I'm in labor- she tends to get louder and more silly when she's uncomfortable or unsure- which I imagine the intensity of labor would bring out.

 

I also worry a little about the messiness/intensity of it as far as scaring her- I don't know how I could deal with my labor if she got scared/was crying/etc. and I was in the throes of it all- and couldn't really comfort her. Or maybe I could. I mean, I'm sure I could, but is that an option I want to choose?

 

Or, less optimistically, what if there are complications? How traumatic would that be?

 

I know many suggest having an alternate person available JUST for the little one, and I like that idea. DH will be there, of course, and if I can find a volunteer doula, he or she as well. My mother lives an hour from me- and then the BC is an hour more- so it'd take her a while to get there, and I think this will be a relatively quick labor.

 

What do you think? Is there an obvious answer to this?

post #2 of 16

Don't think there is an obvious answer to this at all!  But for me, we sound very similar in our preferences.  I truly worry about the presence of my DD (who will be just over 2) shutting down my labor.  I read a lot of Ina May, and believe that feeling safe and secure with the right people can cause dilation, and the opposite can prevent it.  We are homebirthing, but have decided that she will go to her grandparents until the baby is born.  She stays with them one night a week already, so it will not be a scary thing for her.  

 

DD is very involved, and wants to be doing what I'm doing, when I'm doing it.  She is fairly needy, and I don't think that will go away in labor.  In fact, I think it might get more intense.  I do worry about scaring her with blood and moaning and all that.

 

The one thing that gave me pause was that I wanted my daughter to see a natural, non-hospital birth to know that bodies are meant to work this way.  But I thought that at this age, it wouldn't really stick.  Maybe on a very deep level, but not at the level of meaning-making and memory.  Maybe if she was 5, 6, or older - especially an adolescent!  

 

I also thought about the "magically appearing baby" scenario.  To me, it's not perfect, but it's still preferable to being focused on my daughter as opposed to my labor.  The first of many balancing acts with two kids, I'm sure!

post #3 of 16

I am having a c-section this time so it's out of the question.  I will answer for last time as we were planning a homebirth so it was an option then.  DD1 was just shy of two and we arranged other care (my ILS who she adores).  She tends to be pretty high needs and I knew that i would need a lot from DH already.  She also is prone to melt downs and I knew that the stress of that was not something I needed in labor.  Also, my first labor was quite long and I wasn't sure what would happen as far as that went. 

I let her watch birthing videos with me to help her understand how the baby would come out even though she wasn't going to be there. 

post #4 of 16

I think so, yes.

 

We are planning a home birth.  A close friend has offered to help DS in whatever way we deem necessary.  I intend to have him stay in the house with us, but if he becomes too upset or scared then she is prepared to take him to her house (she's mother to his best friend and he plays there frequently).  I would really love him to be there, but not if it's not best for him.  We plan on doing some prior work with him (reading, watching birth videos, discussing noises and sights that are normal for birth, etc.).  Hopefully it will work out!

post #5 of 16

DS1 was only 15 months old last time, and had never been away from both of us. Since we were having a home birth we asked a friend to come over for him, so that DH could focus on me. In the end I had a night time birth and DS1 slept through the whole thing. I was in labor when he went down for the night and when he got up the next morning he had a baby brother.

 

We're planning on asking the same friend to come over again, as the boys adore her. I hope to have another overnight birth, as it was so nice to not have to think about DS1's reaction last time. This time he'll be a few weeks shy of 3 and DS2 will be 20 months, so having the baby while they sleep would be perfect. However we've already decided that we'll set up the birth pool in the kitchen, and if its a daytime birth we'll just have the boys play upstairs with our friend, while we labor downstairs, although I do think about letting them watch once I get to crowning, if they are awake and interested.

post #6 of 16
Honestly, it won't bother me one way or the other and I would doubt if the hospital policy would allow her to be there, but who knows. Right now we don't have a plan (something I need to talk to DH about) but I was going with the plan that she wouldn't be at the birth. If I was going to have her there, definitely she would have an adult that was responsible for her only and could take her in and out of the room I was in as needed and keep her occupied/fed/etc. as needed. I think it would be a neat thing for her to experience, but I also think she might get scared and I don't want to scare her.
post #7 of 16

Since I'm pregnant with my first, this isn't an issue for me yet, but I thought maybe I could offer a slightly different perspective: when my younger sister was born, I was in the room.  

(A little background: I was my mom's first kid, and the labor was nothing like she had hoped. I was 10 days late, and after 56 hours of labor they ended up doing a c-section.  She had really wanted a natural, unmedicated birth, so I think she felt pretty defeated.  When it came time to have my sister, she decided to do a homebirth with a midwife.)  

I was almost three at the time, and even now I still remember it fairly well, considering how young I was.  And of course, every child is different, but for those of you worrying that it might traumatize your child, I can say it definitely did not traumatize me.  It was definitely intense, and at times perhaps a little uncomfortable (I think I may have closed my eyes, since I mainly remember sounds), but I think it was good for me to feel included.  OtherMother, I think you're right about having someone there exclusively for your daughter.  I don't even remember who it was, actually, but I was sitting on someone's lap the whole time, so I felt like I had my own safe place in the room.  

The most important thing for me, in the long run, was the way it affected my own views toward childbirth. I've never been "freaked out" by the idea; on the contrary, I've always been really fascinated by it, and am considering training to become a doula in part because of that experience.  Like you said, pastormama, it taught me, at a very young age, that childbirth is something that our bodies are made to do.  Now, as my own labor experience gets nearer, I'm nowhere near as nervous as I think I would be if I hadn't had that experience.  

So again, obviously, your kids may not respond the way I did, so take this all with a grain of salt, but I thought it might be helpful for you guys to hear the point of view of a kid who did witness - and survived! - her mother giving birth.  

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

thank you, eepeepee!! that does give me hope. we will likely include her, because I really don't see how I could EX-clude her from this birth- I think it might set the stage for feeling excluded in other areas, especially as an only child with a new baby sibling coming into the world.

 

but I need to find her her "person". there is a seperate room for families, so she can always hang there and relax/eat/read/play if things get to be too much.

post #9 of 16

I'm planning for my DD to be there, but she is a bit older, 8, closer to 9 in May. I'm doing a lot of prep talking with her to ingrain it into her head that it is really important for a mama in labor to be able to do her thing, even if it hurts and everyone is there to help mama. Also that she will need to be able to take care of herself (as in, if you are hungry, just go eat something, don't bother to ask), and if its bedtime, she'll have to put herself to bed. There won't be anyone there just for her, so that's my approach. I am also going to ask the neighbors if she can come over if for some reason it is not working well for her/us. I'm really looking forward to her being there, although I very much understand where you moms with younger kiddos are coming from, I am not sure I would have wanted her there if this was happening if she was under 5 (just knowing her), and I would have been torn for the same reasons.

post #10 of 16

My DD will be 4 when this birth happens. I have asked her if she'd like to be there and she gave me a resounding YES! so that's the plan. Being a student midwife and doula, I have plenty of birth videos here at home already that she's watched even before I got pregnant this time and she LOVES to watch them. She was very caring towards me when I was throwing up every day in the beginning so I hope that caring (rubbing my back and telling me it's ok) kicks in when it comes to labor time. I want her to feel included and be there because she's very excited that there's going to be another baby(s) in the house! I think the transition will be easier too. We're still debating on whether or not to have someone here besides her and DH, but she's pretty self-sufficient and can get her own food from the fridge and operate the TV by herself so I'm sure she'll be alright if it's just us. I also want her to have the experience of watching a normal birth first-hand, and hope that will stick with her and help to empower her when the time comes.

post #11 of 16

My children have been at each of my last 4 births. We've not experienced any trouble with it as my husband is always in charge of all the littles (plus I have 2 olders that help out with the littles and the photography as well ;)  ). This time my 2 youngest will be 19 mos and 3 yrs. The one thing that has worked for me is to remind all the kids frequently that "mamas have to make a lot of noise to get the baby out". I tell them all that over & over each pregnancy and it seems to help. I am a loud birther. :) My very youngest (19 mos in May) will find comfort with her dad or big brother if she needs it. I tend to like to labor mostly alone in a corner, and my labors move quickly so for us I don't have too many worries.

 

I think watching birth videos with your children is a fantastic idea. And also just reminding them lots of times that mamas have to be loud, and there will be lots of goo and blood and that's okay! :) And if all else fails, pop in a Disney movie!! LOL

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 

Any idea where to find some good birth videos? Aside from YouTube?

 

They should have a LaborTube! Lol

post #13 of 16

I used to love Nova's "Miracle of Life" - I'm pretty sure you can get it on Netflix!

post #14 of 16
My 5 year old and I have really enjoyed watching and discussing animal birth videos.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepeepee View Post

Since I'm pregnant with my first, this isn't an issue for me yet, but I thought maybe I could offer a slightly different perspective: when my younger sister was born, I was in the room.  

(A little background: I was my mom's first kid, and the labor was nothing like she had hoped. I was 10 days late, and after 56 hours of labor they ended up doing a c-section.  She had really wanted a natural, unmedicated birth, so I think she felt pretty defeated.  When it came time to have my sister, she decided to do a homebirth with a midwife.)  

I was almost three at the time, and even now I still remember it fairly well, considering how young I was.  And of course, every child is different, but for those of you worrying that it might traumatize your child, I can say it definitely did not traumatize me.  It was definitely intense, and at times perhaps a little uncomfortable (I think I may have closed my eyes, since I mainly remember sounds), but I think it was good for me to feel included.  OtherMother, I think you're right about having someone there exclusively for your daughter.  I don't even remember who it was, actually, but I was sitting on someone's lap the whole time, so I felt like I had my own safe place in the room.  

The most important thing for me, in the long run, was the way it affected my own views toward childbirth. I've never been "freaked out" by the idea; on the contrary, I've always been really fascinated by it, and am considering training to become a doula in part because of that experience.  Like you said, pastormama, it taught me, at a very young age, that childbirth is something that our bodies are made to do.  Now, as my own labor experience gets nearer, I'm nowhere near as nervous as I think I would be if I hadn't had that experience.  

So again, obviously, your kids may not respond the way I did, so take this all with a grain of salt, but I thought it might be helpful for you guys to hear the point of view of a kid who did witness - and survived! - her mother giving birth.  

Wow, thank you for this!  It's encouraging and helpful to hear.  Very cool that you do think it helped influence your outlook on birth as a natural thing for our bodies to do.

post #16 of 16

I just found out yesterday that DD can be present at our hospital birth.  We are all very excited about this!  She will be nearing 7 at the time of the birth.  I'll be prepping her with videos and discussion.  I am certain she is mature enough to handle it and will be an awesome learning experience for her. 

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