Who will watch my kids while I'm in labor? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 08-24-2011, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am freaking out a little.  Our whole extended family lives in the Midwest (we're in NJ).  My mother has flown out for my previous births, but she has been unsupportive and unpleasant for this pregnancy, and I don't think it's feasible for her to come for various reasons. She certainly has not volunteered. That leaves:

 

-My mil, but she can barely walk, so she can't do basic things like pick up ds at the school bus stop or follow toddler dd up the stairs at home

-My sil, but she has no vacation time at her job, so she can't come

-I have a regular college-age babysitter, but she has a full load of classes so isn't really available for extended times during the day (or night)

-I have two fairly close friends nearby, but I feel uncomfortable imposing. 

-Friend #1: has kids the same ages as mine, but they go to different schools.  She lives about a mile away from me.  She has a small car, so my kids wouldn't fit in her car with hers, so I'm not sure how school logistics would work if my kids stay with her.  One possibility is she could borrow my car (we are in the process of buying a minivan).  My babysitter might be able to help somewhat or pick the kids up from her house.

-Friend #2: lives fairly close to the hospital, but far away from me and in a different school district.  I'm not as close friends with her but I know she would help me out in a pinch.  It would be difficult for her to manage my kids' school pickups/dropoffs.  It would be difficult for my babysitter to get to her house. She does have a big enough car, though.

-Wild card: I have an old friend from high school who I'm still pretty close with.  She works from home and doesn't have kids, so she may be able to come and stay for a week and watch my kids in between times they're in school or times my babysitter can come. I haven't asked her.

 

It is fairly likely I will be induced, so I may have some time to plan....but obviously I could go into labor naturally at any time.  The best solution dh and I have come up with so far is to hire a doula, try to patch together a plan with friends/babysitter, and accept that I might be giving birth without dh if he needs to watch the kids.  I hate that thought.  Feeling so alone right now....wish I had more family support.  This stinks!


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#2 of 7 Old 08-25-2011, 01:41 AM
 
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No advice just commiseration. Although I do plan on laboring at home I have no idea who will help with the kids. I figure we will just work through it but your post made me realize what if I have to transfer for an emergency? OMG I have no idea what I would do then!


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#3 of 7 Old 08-25-2011, 09:39 AM
 
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Hi there mama.

 

It sounds like you're reluctant to ask for help, which I totally understand, and at the same time, my best advice is to dig deep and ask those around you for what you really need.

 

If your biggest need is one or two school drop-offs and pick-ups, plus a bit of babysitting before and after, that doesn't strike me as very much, and I'm sure your friends would be happy to help. You mentioned a doula, and I would also say perhaps you could hire a novice (i.e. less expensive) postpartum doula, or someone else who could be on call, who could take care of your kids while you labored and birthed. Perhaps the on call piece is the critical one, so that you're not calling on friends or paying someone before you really need them. For example, it would seem to make sense that you would wait until labor seemed imminent and then have your husband drop off your kids at a friend's house for either a play date or, if you're comfortable with an overnight somewhere else, a sleepover. And, yes, a single friend who would be willing to stay at your house for a couple of days might be even better.

 

My family is also either far away or not right for the occasion, so I commiserate on that point. Gone are the days when this was a no-brainer, right?

 

Good luck, it definitely will work out somehow. :)

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#4 of 7 Old 08-25-2011, 10:11 AM
 
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Since you aren't likely to be at the hospital for more then a day or so I would be fine with letting my kids skip school. Adding a baby to the family is a big event and I would just ask your friend(s) if they could watch them for the day and not worry about school drop offs. Maybe that would make it easier. Perhaps a combo of friend and your sitter could get it covered. Or your MIL since she wouldn't need to get to the bus, etc..


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#5 of 7 Old 08-25-2011, 09:33 PM
 
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I would be totally freaking out in your shoes, honestly -- I'm so sorry you have to worry about all of this!  With my last baby, I didn't have any super-close friends who were available, like you.  And no family anywhere nearby, and only acquaintances otherwise.  At least my older kids weren't in school yet, so that was one less worry.  But even though I had a huge list of people willing to watch my kids (with my homebirth), somehow none of them were answering their phones when I went into labor.  I spent a good hour or more on the phone leaving messages before I finally got through to anyone... people who weren't even ON my list - just last-minute ideas!  It finally got taken care of, though, and my kids were happy and taken care of until the birth was over and DH could resume the helm.

 

This time around my biggest worry has been who to ask to watch my kids while I'm in labor once more.  I live close to MIL and two SIL's, but don't feel super comfortable with any of them being in my small apartment while I'm in labor.  MIL, love her though I do, has a terrible fear of death and serious injury associated with birth (I don't know how she managed 6 kids with those fears, quite honestly!)  She would be a paranoid wreck while I'm in labor, and that would throw me off.  SIL1 is willing to watch my kids, but has never been around a birth and is only familiar with it because of what she sees on TV and what I might say in conversation around her.  Not really thrilled with the idea of her being in charge of answering my kids' questions and keeping them out of my hair while still letting them be a part of the experience, you know?  SIL2 has the same problem with never having been around a birth, but is even more compromised in that she is MUCH more medically minded than both MIL and SIL1, and so probably wouldn't be a good choice (energy-wise for me), either.  I finally remembered that there's a woman in my church who has teenagers now, but she's done several homebirths, a couple purposefully unassisted. I finally got up the courage to ask her if she could be in my house and watching my kids while I'm in labor, and she said it would be an "honor", and to consider her completely on-call.  What a relief!  I didn't realize how much this was all weighing on me until I had that particular problem settled. 

I do hope you find a good solution.  I think I agree that having the kids skip school for a day or two might make for the easiest, least-stressful solution for everyone involved.  It's often so hard to figure out how to juggle all of that, isn't it?!  I have someone to take my kids to and from school, but they're going to have to be ready a good half-hour earlier than they're used to (and they're slow in the morning!).  But, at least it will work out.


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#6 of 7 Old 08-26-2011, 06:16 PM
 
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I have a friend that just signed up with a nanny/babysitting agency in our area. She has a 4 yr old and a 1 yr old and 7 1/2 mo pregnant. I Don't know the exact details but I know she can call them and get a sitter quickly that is trained and qualified. It's like $5/hour/kid and a yearly fee,so it's not exactly the cheapest option.Just throwin it out there.

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#7 of 7 Old 08-26-2011, 07:26 PM
 
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I think go ahead and ask your friends. Let them know they are not your only option, so they can gracefully decline if its too much for them. I hear you, and have a hard time asking for help even when I really need the help. But here is my experience from the other side: 

We did this for a friend and I have to say, we were so happy! We love their son- he is like family to us. I was *honored* that they asked me. It gave me such a concrete way to help, and I really did want to help my friend. So often its hard to know what a friend needs. So, just saying. Your friends might be thrilled, rather than imposed-upon, when you ask. (It was just one child; he and DS were 2yo, and he stayed overnight with us, I took him to school with my son the next morning, then we all came home and he napped, and then his dad picked him up and took over from there, and a grandma arrived the next day, so it wasn't too long. Anyway, of course it was hard! But it was such a special and exciting thing for us).

 

College-age babysitter might be able to do AM dropoff too, probably its before her classes start in the morning- perhaps that would simplify the logistics if its a friend who works from home helping out or something.

 

I live in the same house as my parents so I have the opposite situation (lol, a little too much help sometimes, if you know what I mean). BUT, I want to have a couple of adult friends on "backup" in case my parents are out of town, etc. I am planning a HB but of course if things go differently, I also have to have people who I can just totally trust with the kids for a day or two in the case of actual emergency hospital stuff (my parents would make a beeline home if my baby was born suddenly, so I can be pretty easygoing about it- not likely to be more than 12 hours tops). So, yeah, I have a few ideas but have to actually set that up- people who are just completely calm and collected and will be able to walk into a possibly chaotic situation and make the kids feel like everything is 100% A.O.K.


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