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#1 of 29 Old 03-12-2010, 04:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am trying to make up my mind whether or not I want my 2.5yo present at the birth (homebirth).
I thought that learning why other moms consider or do not consider having their LOs at the birth would help.
Basically, I am trying to understand how beneficial it is for kids (and from what age)
I am also afraid that it may be distracting for me and I would worry how DS handles what is happening (as I did worry about DH when I gave birth to DS)
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#2 of 29 Old 03-12-2010, 05:34 PM
 
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I am trying to make up my mind whether or not I want my 2.5yo present at the birth (homebirth).
I thought that learning why other moms consider or do not consider having their LOs at the birth would help.
Basically, I am trying to understand how beneficial it is for kids (and from what age)
I am also afraid that it may be distracting for me and I would worry how DS handles what is happening (as I did worry about DH when I gave birth to DS)
I think that it is a personal decision and you'll have to take your child's temperment and your own into consideration. WHATEVER you chose, I highly recommend having a designated caregiver for your child -- someone who would be willing to leave the room/possibly the house and miss the birth if necessary. You don't need to be taking care of a scared or tantrumming toddler while you're in transition.
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#3 of 29 Old 03-12-2010, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If it were for me I'd birth on my own. I'd rather have DH taken care of DS somewhere preferable far enough so that I would not be aware of their presence.
It would be my choice.
But I do not want to deprive DH and DS from the experience they are "entitled" to (DH) or could benefit from (DS)
DH has no problem with either scenario but DS is too young to speak his mind. That's why I am asking about ++ and -- for kids being at birth.
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#4 of 29 Old 03-12-2010, 06:55 PM
 
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I think that it is a personal decision and you'll have to take your child's temperment and your own into consideration. WHATEVER you chose, I highly recommend having a designated caregiver for your child -- someone who would be willing to leave the room/possibly the house and miss the birth if necessary. You don't need to be taking care of a scared or tantrumming toddler while you're in transition.
I agree with Lunita. It is a personal decision and a great idea to have someone to help with your child if they are scared or not ok with being present for the birth.

My ds was almost 22 months when his sister was born at home. I went into labor in the middle of the night and when he woke up we did our normal morning routine. Dh took ds out for lunch which was nice for me, because my contractions had got a little more intense and I was able to focus on them.

When I finally got in the birthing tub ds sat and watched at the side. It was so amazing having him there to see his sister to come into the world and be right there to get to count her fingers and toes with dh and I. He is almost 5 and he still remembers being there.

I also think that it was a very positive experience for him to be there, because we didn't send him with someone and him come back and there be a new person in our house.

Some things I should add: Ds was very much a part of my pregnancy with dd. He was there with me when the midwives would come to the house for appts. He got to measure my belly and my midwife was really great in including him. We also talked to him about what it would be like when I went into labor. Letting him know that mommy might make loud noises and it might seem like I am in pain, but that I was going to be ok and it was normal. Did my almost 2 yo understand this at the time? I don't know but it seemed like good things to tell him.
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#5 of 29 Old 03-12-2010, 08:01 PM
 
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With my last HB, when the kids woke up, I had them come in and kiss me by and they went to grandma's house. I was glad I'd made the arrangements because I was surprised at how strongly i felt about no distractions, quiet, ect. I don't think the kids would have been traumatized in any way, but I wanted to be able to concentrate on the birth (and needed to be able to do that). This time around, I'm planning for the same thing.
I have a friend who lets all her kids watch each birth. Even her teenage son, which I would not be comfortable with. So obviously, we all have different comfort levels. I really was surprised at how adamant I felt about having as few people there as possible...I uninvited a dear friend and next time, I'm not even inviting my mom.

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#6 of 29 Old 03-12-2010, 10:01 PM
 
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If it were for me I'd birth on my own. I'd rather have DH taken care of DS somewhere preferable far enough so that I would not be aware of their presence.
It would be my choice.
But I do not want to deprive DH and DS from the experience they are "entitled" to (DH) or could benefit from (DS)
DH has no problem with either scenario but DS is too young to speak his mind. That's why I am asking about ++ and -- for kids being at birth.
We have some sweet memories as a result of my girls being present for their younger sisters' births. Mostly just cute anecdotes, but I do think it was nice for bonding and for the adjustment period.

I wouldn't want my dh to be the designated caregiver for my child, though. I'd want him to be free to stay with me no matter what. My parents were there for my oldest when dd#2 was born. Having the older two present at #3's birth was unplanned (the birth was precipitous so my parents didn't have time to get there) but if anything had gone wrong I would have wanted him to be able to stay with me while someone took the kids off somewhere else.
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#7 of 29 Old 03-12-2010, 10:32 PM
 
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I think that being fliexible is key. How you feel ahead of time may not be how you feel while you are in labor.

I had thought I wanted my children to be there for the birth of their siblings, but they weren't, and it was for the best. When DD1 was born, DS1 (who was 21 months) was asleep across the hallway, which was perfect. I purposely asked DH to take DS1 out of the house because he was distracting me and I found it difficult to labor with him around.

When DD2 was born, DS1 (3.5) and DD2 (21 months) were present for my early labor. I loved having my children home with me. But when labor became more intense, I ended up sequestering myself. It was unconscious, but I must've needed to be alone. As the labor continued, my kids started to feed off the energy in the house and just got crazy (running around the house, refusing to calm down). Eventually my mom took the kids to her house, and only then did I start laboring intensively.

Although I wanted to have my kids present for my birth, my labors didn't progress until I was alone. In my case, I was so glad that I had several support people there so that they could help with the kids while DH supported me during labor.

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#8 of 29 Old 03-12-2010, 11:45 PM
 
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We had planned for my MIL to be Dd1's support person for our hb. I don't have early labor. I just have intense quick labors. We stressed the importance to Dd1 that if she was around me during labor that she could help by being very quiet. Maybe between the contractions she could help by bringing me something to eat or drink. We made sure that she knew that I would be making loud noises during labor and it was important not to disturb me. She had just turned 3.

Flashforward to Dd2's birthday. I woke up in hard labor at 3:30am. Dd1 was asleep. Dd2 was born at 7:17am. I think Dd1 was only awake for about 45 minutes or so of my labor. She woke up and Grandma took her into her room to play. Once I started swearing our midwives went in and told them they should come out now because I was pushing.

I wasn't really aware of her much when I was pushing at all. She just kept quiet and sat on Grandma's lap. It was perfect.

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#9 of 29 Old 03-13-2010, 09:48 AM
 
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With my last birth I had both of my children there a 6 year old and a almost 3 year old. I knew that my doula would be there to help with the children if need be but my birth was so fast and in the early morning hours the kids stayed sleeping and didn't wake up until they heard the baby crying. They were so thrilled and we all climbed in bed together and snuggled the rest of the day!

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#10 of 29 Old 03-13-2010, 09:54 AM
 
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No experience yet, but our plan is that PIL's will come when i'm in labour and be there for DD. She will be allowed to come and go as she pleases so long as i am labouring ok (i had a long prodomal labour which DD could easily have been around for and a short sharp active phase which was over so fast (89mins) that i don't think i noticed WHO was there!). If it gets too much for me or her then PIL's will take her out to the local park or whatever. I'd love it if she could see a birth and welcome her new sibling with us, but only if that's a positive thing for us all at the time.
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#11 of 29 Old 03-13-2010, 11:03 AM
 
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.. I was glad I'd made the arrangements because I was surprised at how strongly i felt about no distractions, quiet, ect... I really was surprised at how adamant I felt about having as few people there as possible...I uninvited a dear friend and next time, I'm not even inviting my mom.
I am 40 wks with my second, so I don't have experience, but I suspect that I will feel similarly. I just moved to a new town, so sending my kids to neighbors is not a possiblilty (we don't know our neighbors or have any family closer than 700 miles away).

I think I would rather have my DH take my DD away if I need that, than to have my parents or in-laws be here. (and stay at our house for at least a week )
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#12 of 29 Old 03-13-2010, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for responses.
It looks that mom who chooses to have LOs at the birth does it mostly for her comfort. I do not see how LOs could benefit from it. Bonding with the baby is questionable as it could also put off older siblings who could think that the baby hurt mom.
I think I am going to be selfish and ask my boys to go out and have fun and let me do my job without them.
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#13 of 29 Old 03-13-2010, 01:39 PM
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It sounds like you have made up your mind. But, I wanted to add something. My 3 and 6 year old were present for the birth of their sibling. They both wanted to be present. My 3 yr old really didn't like being away from me (she could, just didn't like it) for lengths of time and the 6 yr old knew exactly what she thought she would be missing. So, I prepared them and had people appointed to them in case it was overwhelming or whatever. Here was what I consider my mistake: Labor was going along, and I sent the oldest to bed (the three year old was already asleep). I told her that we would wake her up when the time got nearer. Well, during labor, my 3 yr old woke up and sat and watched me for a while, it was a nice part of labor, etc. Then she went upstairs to lay on the couch/watch a movie for a while, etc. So, she got to see nice, progressive labor, she would check on me from time to time, it was good. But, when we went to wake the six yr old I was in transition--so that child never got to see all the very manageable labor. Just the end (transition and a difficult birth). I wish I would have let her have the entire experience because it led up to the end. So, her experience/memory only revolves around the difficult part.

So, if you send your boys to go have fun, great. But don't have them come back "right before" the baby is born.

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#14 of 29 Old 03-13-2010, 03:46 PM
 
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I was weighing the same decision. *Ds will be turning three when #2 is born. *I think he would be curious and interested because so many people will be there and so much action. *And it will be another water-birth. *I didn't scream or cry at all last time. *It would have took too much energy and broke my concentration to make a fuss. *I was quietly withdrawn. *They said my face was very red. *

I'm worried about it taking so long he'll get tired and bored and want to go home. *I'll be at a birthing center.

If it was going to be a homebirth it would be a no-brainer for me. *He would be there and could come and go as he pleased.
*
Besides those few fears I have I'm one of those ridiculous SAHM's that always brings my kid with me to everything. *He's been to a Wake, he's seen a corpse. *We live rurally. *He's seen the neighbor skin a fresh deer, cut off a thigh. *I brought it home. *He saw me cook it and we ate it. *So weighing the benefits to the children really depends on the childrens lifestyle. *I don't really know if it's a benefit per se to witness all this life happening. *You know your kid. *You know weither they would find this disturbing or interesting.

Otoh, our kids are the same age. *The have better behaved times and times that they're just being a pest. *We can't count on the new baby comming when it's convenient for the toddler. *I know how it feels when ds pesters me when I try to go to the bathroom in the morning. *Makes it hard to do my business sometimes.

You can tell I've thought a lot about this lately. *I haven't made up my own mind yet. *I have 6 mos. more to think about it.
*
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#15 of 29 Old 03-13-2010, 03:56 PM
 
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#16 of 29 Old 03-13-2010, 04:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by olstep View Post
Thank you for responses.
It looks that mom who chooses to have LOs at the birth does it mostly for her comfort. I do not see how LOs could benefit from it. Bonding with the baby is questionable as it could also put off older siblings who could think that the baby hurt mom.
I think I am going to be selfish and ask my boys to go out and have fun and let me do my job without them.
or it could be both.

my daughter got a great deal from being part of her brother's birth. she remembers it, talks about it, and it helped her understand a lot about where babies come from and being comfortable with her body. We still talk about how she was in the pool with mommy.

It is totally a personal decision and every family sees value in different things. i know some mamas really value alone time. my births were like a state fair!

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#17 of 29 Old 03-13-2010, 04:13 PM
 
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My mom lives 3 mi away...I had thought I wanted dd to be there but sent her to my mom's when i was in early labor thinking we'd call her back. During transition I basically freaked and felt very afraid of the intensity, of what my body was doing, of the noises I was making..of the pain. I desperately did NOT want my dd to see me like that and managed to mutter to dh *not* to call her.... I guess my midwife tried to convince dh to call anyway thinking i would regret her "missing it". I'm SO glad dh listened to me! I just did not want her to see me in that state, that afraid, yk? even though looking back i know that it was a (somewhat) normal response on my part...i don't think any child needs to see their mom that way BUT not every birthing woman will be the way I was.... so i dunno! Just sharing my experience.... hope it helps.
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#18 of 29 Old 03-13-2010, 04:59 PM
 
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I had a HB with #2 just 3 1/2 weeks ago. My DD will be 3 in May, so roughly the same age. The original plan was for her to be present at the birth, but my mom also flew in to be her designated caregiver. DD spent most of my labor actually in the tub with me. Once the contractions started getting more intense, my MW would distract her during them so she wouldn't be all over me. When I was pushing, though, she and my mom ended up playing in her room at the other end of the house. I was a lot louder than I thought I'd be, and I am glad she wasn't in the room. I think it might have scared her a little, and she (and especially my mom) would have distracted me a lot. DH ran to get her as soon as DS was born, so she was in the room within probably 90 seconds or his birth. We have some great pictures of her leaning over the tub with the midwives. For me, at least, having her really close by but not in the room was perfect. She was welcome to be in the room, but it worked out well that she wasn't.

ETA: I don't think she knew she missed anything, btw. She was thrilled with the whole process, and still talks about the placenta. The midwives were great about showing it to her and explaining it all. I definitely think she will remember bits of the experience and benefit from it.

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#19 of 29 Old 03-13-2010, 05:46 PM
 
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or it could be both.

my daughter got a great deal from being part of her brother's birth. she remembers it, talks about it, and it helped her understand a lot about where babies come from and being comfortable with her body. We still talk about how she was in the pool with mommy.

It is totally a personal decision and every family sees value in different things. i know some mamas really value alone time. my births were like a state fair!
That's kind of what I'm thinking. Lots of five year olds sometimes tell stories from when they were two and even relate details. Babies aren't born every day, well, YKWIM. It would be nice to have the true story of how little sister or brother joined the family be part of how he remembers our family story.

Dh had to leave town when ds was born. Ds was almost one week old when they met. Dh couldn't adore ds anymore if he caught him in the delivery, which was our birth plan.

In my case I'm not weighing the "bonding" factor of ds being there as heavily as I'm weighing the "life experience" factor for ds. To know exactly how, all of the sudden there's another person here. They don't need to know where babies come from at that age. I don't know if there is any real benefit. But it is a real life experience.

I just don't know if labor's going to take longer than he can handle being there, and if so, if he'd be comfortable sleeping in a strange place with that much action happening. I might ask someone else to go with us and watch him and leave if necessary so dh is free to stay and attend this birth. Last time it took four hours. The midwife said that second babies come faster.

I just don't know. Those waterbirths with the toddler in the pool and the dad there just look like such a memory. I've been debating this back and forth with myself every day.
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#20 of 29 Old 03-13-2010, 06:37 PM
 
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My DD will be 23-24 months old when this baby is born and she's not going to be there. She's not very verbal and I'd worry she'd be freaking out. DH is my only support person so there would be no one to watch her if she was. If she was older (hopefully for birth 3!) I'd have her stay. I'd love for my daughter to see birth as an empowering event without medical interventions.

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#21 of 29 Old 03-14-2010, 03:23 PM
 
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My DS was 14 months old when DD was born and he was with us the entire time. It was great having him with me during labor and we had DH, the MW and her two assistants there, so I didn't have to care for him completely. I didn't get loud until the last few minutes and pushing went so quickly, I don't think he had time to be scared. When I started pushing he went in his pack n play right next to the bed and came out immediately afterwards. He was fascinated by the process and I am so, so glad he was there. Here are a couple pictures from very shortly after the birth: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...rstmeeting.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1.../babyhaven.jpg

I plan on having DS and DD present at this birth as well. I will be birth in the jacuzzi tub in our master bath which is open to our bedroom. We share the bedroom, and they have plenty to entertain themselves. We'll be able to pull the pack n play into the bathroom for DD if it's needed as well. DS is 28 months now and DD is 14 months.

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#22 of 29 Old 09-02-2011, 03:20 PM
 
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This is exciting, I hadn't thought of letting my son be present at the birth (he will be 2.5 years), but along with a home water birth and planning to have the minimum of outside intervention, and with my love of babywearing and other 'alternative' stuff, and planning to tandem-nurse it just sounds like the natural thing to do!

Great, thanks for the ideas everyone.

I think I'll have my mum there to look after him anyway (I had previously thought I'd ask her to take him away), so that she can let him come and go as he feels (and I feel) comfortable.

The only thing is, he usually wants to nurse if he feels unsure of a situation and I'm wondering whether this might stall my labour - has anyone any experience of a nursing toddler present at the birth?

Thanks!

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#23 of 29 Old 09-02-2011, 11:47 PM
 
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My oldest son was my "birth photographer" for ds2's birth. He was nearly 4 though. Both of the boys woke up about an hour before ds3 was born, so they were both there for it. They were 7 & 3. Ds3 is 2 1/2 & will be nearly 3 when this baby is born. So far he's completely uninterested. I have been hoping to give birth quickly (& quietly) enough that none of the kids will be there, but I think ds1 would be really upset. He wants to be the first person the baby sees. Ds2 wants to be there as well, but I'm not sure how much that's because ds1 wants to be & how much he actually wants to be there.

 

I have no idea what's going to happen. Based on how fast my labour seems to go, it's quite possible it will be too quick for the kids to be there without deliberately waking them up.


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#24 of 29 Old 09-03-2011, 09:19 PM
 
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My older kids were at the birth of my fourth. They were 16yodd, 15yods, 10yods. I purposely pointed my business end away from the door and the MW kept my legs pretty well covered. My 16yodd was helping the MW so she saw it all, but the boys came in just at the end. I will never forget my mom talking about the looks on their faces. My 10yos was jumping up and down and muttering, "I'm a big brother. I'm a big brother." They have the most incredible bond with that baby.

 

I don't know about little ones, but there is definitely value in letting older kids attend a birth in a modest way.

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#25 of 29 Old 09-04-2011, 01:30 PM
 
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My 10yos was jumping up and down and muttering, "I'm a big brother. I'm a big brother." They have the most incredible bond with that baby.

 

I don't know about little ones, but there is definitely value in letting older kids attend a birth in a modest way.



Awww, that brought tears to my eyes!

 

My DS is 9, DD is 7 and they'll be at the birth... well, in the house somewhere. It's up to them if they come in the room for the birth. I hadn't thought of positioning myself so my privates are away from the door... that actually solves the problem of a spot for the midwife to put her supplies... there's a big windowsill there that's over a foot deep (our room is in the basement) and the kids could sit on the steps.

 

DS was at DD's birth... he was out of the room but came in right after. He said "A baby! Time for cake!" I'd bought a DQ cake for the baby's birthday and so that was the main event for him! 


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#26 of 29 Old 09-06-2011, 08:00 AM
 
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As long as you treat birth as the normal and natural process that it is, allow you child to choose whether or not they want to be present.  Have an assigned caregiver available and let your child decide if they want to witness the birth or not. 

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#27 of 29 Old 09-06-2011, 11:03 PM
 
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Comfort and safety issues aside (obviously, if the mom doesn't want the kid at the birth, the kid shouldn't be there) I personally think most kids younger than puberty are going to have a lot of trouble processing what's going on during a birth.  Even the most optimistic birth scenario involves the person they love most in the entire world bleeding quite a bit and, probably, crying out in pain.  It seems really unfair to me to put a kid through that.  

 

And god forbid they're in the middle of things if something should happen to go wrong.

 

My $0.02.

 

PS: And, because as a Dad I get to be completely unsentimental about these things, let's be honest: kids under 10 might as well be wearing a big sign on them that says "HI, I'M A DISEASE VECTOR."  At least let the new baby get a feeding or two in before exposing them to the siblings.

 

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#28 of 29 Old 09-07-2011, 10:17 PM
 
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DD1 was 21 months and was at the birth for  DD2.  It was very nice.  I did have my mother and my sister there to help her, and I needed to her to be out of the room at one point so I could get out of my mommy head and really focus on birthing.  We watched UC and homebirth youtube videos before hand and talked about how being noisy helps some mama's get the baby out, and it's hard work for a mama to push the baby out of her tummy.

 

 She asked to be there for this birth again.

 

It would have been incredibly upsetting to her to be sent away, and then to have her come back and find this baby in her home.  VERY upsetting.  Instead, she hopped into the birth pool with us and was cuddling right next to me as I latched her little sister on for the first time.

 

But then, every kid is different, and maybe for another child it would be more upsetting to be there, but I knew that wasn't the case for my daughter.


I love Edward and we love our Libby (8/07) waterbirth.jpg and 'Nana' (05/09 )h20homebirth.gif and Eowyn (11/11) waterbirth.jpg  We are having a blast bfinfant.giffemalesling.GIFfamilybed1.gifcd.gif and homeschool.gif.

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#29 of 29 Old 09-10-2011, 06:15 AM
 
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I am 36 weeks with number 3, and planning on having both older siblings in the house when I give birth. 
When we had number 2, also a home birth, our son was 18 months old, and we planned for a friend (whose wife was attending the birth) to take care of DS along with his own children. The labor hit so suddenly and moved so quickly though, that by the time we got the friends on the phone I did NOT want my little boy leaving. I felt a very strong "Mother bear" instinct and just couldn't stand the thought of him being away. Through the early labor, he was surprisingly tuned in and calm. During contractions he'd come rub my back and talk about the baby coming. He ended up putting himself to sleep on the couch for the majority of the hard labor, and then wandered into the room moments before his sister was born. He was a little worried for a minute, because I was kind of vocal, but the moment the baby came he forgot all that. He was immediately right there talking to her, and he was able to hold her as soon as we were cleaned up and dressed. :) 
Though it was not our original plan, we loved the way it worked out. He was there for it all, so it wasn't a big traumatic thing to come home to a new baby. He was as happy and proud as could be.

This time, I have a 2 year old and a 3.5  year old. A friend who sometimes babysits for them will come and take care of them here. We plan to have books, toys, pillows, etc in the den so they can play or watch a movie or whatever while we wait on the baby.

It's definitely an individual decision but for us, it was a beautiful experience to share as a family. 

 


Proud Army wife and Momma of two.
Jay-my precious boy 2/20/08 & Caroline-my beautiful HBAC baby 8/22/09 :
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