I'm planning hb #4 (baby #5--first was hosp), so I've definitely been in this situation!
Actually, I'm in the process of agonizing about it right now.
With my first hb (ds1 was 2 years old) I had a 17 yo girl from our church come stay at the house with us all day. Ds loved her (she was our regular babysitter) and she was pursuing a career in medicine, so she was excited to witness the birth. It turned out really well, although I think she was maybe a teeeeeeensy bit traumatized, LOL! Not too bad though, because she just gave birth to her own first child a couple weeks ago!
With my second, the labor started fairly slowly, then sped up, then slowed down again, and almost stopped. I was frustrated and needed to rest, so I called a friend. Our pre-arranged plan was for her to come when I needed her, and to stay at my house with the kids, but we decided she would take them to her place for awhile so I could rest (and so we could DTD and try to get things going!
). She was supposed to bring them (ages almost 4 and 21 months) back in plenty of time to welcome their sibling.
Well, I had dh call her as soon as things got serious, but there must have been some sort of breakdown in communication, because she didn't get back to my house with the kids until ds was crowning! It turned out okay, but I have to admit that it was very frustrating to me. My focus was divided--when I should have been totally focused on the baby and birth, I kept thinking (and asking) "Where are the kids? Are they back yet? Has anyone heard from them?" I knew they were safe and well-cared for, but I *needed* them there, yk?
3rd homebirth turned out great; my mother came to visit for 2 weeks, and we were able to convince the baby to come before she left!
This time, I've got a different situation. We moved from Florida to Indiana a year ago--new region, new community, new church, etc. I love the people here, and I'm extremely grateful to them for their generosity, etc., but the fact is, I don't really know anyone that well yet. My mother coming isn't an option this time, and even if she could come I'd have to have a Plan B in case baby didn't cooperate with her travel plans!
A couple of women from our church have said they'd "do anything to help!" but I get the feeling that actually staying here at my home while I'm giving birth wouldn't be a comfortable option for them. Which I guess I must respect, but it's not like I'm asking anyone to put on a pair of gloves and play midwife! I just want my children here when their new sibling is born! I don't even mean in the room watching, although if they want to, I don't mind.
I don't understand why that's so hard for other people to understand...I was telling one lady that I was pretty much ready for the baby, just needed to figure out who was going to come stay with the kids, and her response was "Oh, but wouldn't you rather someone just come and get them out of your hair for the day?? That would be SO much nicer!" Um, yeah...no thanks!
Of course, she was the same lady who, when I said I was pretty well set on diapers, responded, "Oh, but you'll want some disposable diapers for right at first! It will be so much easier!" Yeah....once again, I've thought this through; I've even done it a time or two before, and I actually *do* know what I'm doing! But maybe that's just how this one woman is...
Anyway, I have no clue what to do at this point. I just don't see a good option. My younger sister is coming the end of Feb, but she'll only be here a week. If baby comes while she's here, it should work out well, but my other babies have been early, so I really NEED to have another plan in place.
I guess my only other option is to just ask someone to come get the kids, and hope that they come back in time. Just typing that as a possibility makes me anxious.