Has anyone home birthed with toddlers at home? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 11-20-2001, 03:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband and I are trying to concieve our third and probably final baby. I had the first two in the hospital and would love to try and have this one at home.
I'm just not sure where I would set up a birthing pool. We co sleep so it can't be in our bedroom. I worry that if I labour at night and I'm too close to my girls, I may wake them up.I also have concerns as to how my oldest will react.
She is 2 now so she would be 3 or pretty close when baby comes.
I thought of creating a birthing room in our basement but i'm not sure how convenient or comforatable that would be. I'd love to hear from anyone who has any advise on this subject.
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#2 of 22 Old 11-20-2001, 01:02 PM
 
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HI! We are planning a homebirth for our second baby in January. Our dd will be 18 months then. Right now we are really planning what we will do. The one thing I am worried about is if the baby comes in the middle of the night. dd sleeps with us, but that is no problem, I just think I will put her on a mat in the other room so I can labor in our bedroom because that is where I am most comfortable. I am worried because she sometimes wakes up for a minute or two at night. What if she wakes up and needs to be comforted right at and intense moment when I need dh? I am thinking of having someone come and spend the night so they can be there at any time.
Well, as you can tell I don't really have much advice for you. I am in the same boat and new at this homebirthing. I am looking forward to the replies as much as you. Good luck to you!
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#3 of 22 Old 11-20-2001, 05:24 PM
 
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I had my second son at home, and at the time my oldest was a little over 2 1/2. My labour started mid-afternoon and progressed very slowly - so slowly in fact that I even got to put him to bed. He sleeps in his bed for part of the night but usually wanders in to us during the night.

I set up the sitting room downstairs as the birthing room, although I didn't have a birthing pool. We could hear him pretty well if he woke up and midway through the night he he woke a few times and my husband went up to him. At that point my midwife was there so I was not alone. However for me when I was at home it didn't seem like such a big deal to be left at home, very different from in a hospital.

When Caelen did eventually get up however it didn't work well, every time I was on my hands and knees for a contraction he would jump on my back and at some point he found a flashlight and thought if was fun to shine it in my eyes! Toddlers really don't get the whole birth thing, they just carry on with life as normal. We had a babysitter organised so she came to take him to her house for a few hours early that morning and they came back shortly after the birth.

I think that it is important with a home birth to have someone around who can be totally responsable for older children. You don't want your dh to have to leave you close to the birth and toddlers don't always respect your needs midway through labour. I would have loved for Caelen to be there for the birth but there was no way that it would have worked for him. I know that many toddlers, with different temperments, have no problem at the birth but be prepared for the worst and take it from there.

Carol
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#4 of 22 Old 11-20-2001, 07:19 PM
 
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We are also planning a homebirth for our third child in Feb. My second child will be about 29 mo. by then. I plan to have my adult cousin come and entertain my kids and attend to their needs when I am birthing. I am hoping to have this baby in the middle of the night, and plan to put my 29 mo. old son down to sleep in his older sister's room, so that I can birth in our bedroom (we also co-sleep). If my son is awake during the pushing stage, I will have my cousin take him to a different part of the house and play with him. He really is too young to understand mommy grunting and growling! I don't want him to be afraid. I homebirthed my son in the middle of the night, and it's hard to believe but my 5 yr. old daughter slept peacefully in the next room while I was pushing (and vocalizing!) for about an hour. Your little one may just surprise you and stay asleep. I would consider having someone be with him/her during the transition and pushing stages, so that you can concentrate on birthing your baby. Good luck to us all!!
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#5 of 22 Old 11-20-2001, 11:32 PM
 
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I had a homebirth with my second child. My son had just turned 3 years old at the time. We had my mother come and watch him. We were unsure if he would want to witness the birth but wanted him to have the opportunity to be there if he chose. As it turned out, he didn't want to watch what was going on. We had told him if he wanted to leave and go to Grandma's at any time he should just ask. He chose to stay in the house and played most of the time in his room with Grandma.

At one point he asked "Is that my mom making all that noise and is the baby here yet?" His grandma said, yes, it was me and, no, I wouldn't be making all that noise if the baby was here already. He was invited to come out for the birth but chose to stay in his room. He came out about 30 seconds after she was born though.

It was a wonderful experience, but I would DEFINITELY recommend having a dedicated person there to take care of the children. My midwife has said most kids 3 and over do fine, but under that age it can sometimes be an issue for them. Some kids get scared if they think their mommy is in pain and just want to leave. We wanted to respect those feelings if that happened.

We had a home waterbirth. Didn't really have any room for the birthing tub, which was really just a big blow up kiddie swimming pool. We moved out our kitchen table about a week before I was due and put it in the eating area since there were tile floors in there. When I went into labor, my husband took the mattress off of our sleeper couch and put it near the pool for easy access after the birth. It was a wonderful experience and I would highly recommend it.

We had two midwives present, a friend to do whatever the midwives might need and take pictures so my partner could concentrate his energies on me and the baby, and someone to take care of my son. It worked out great!!
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#6 of 22 Old 11-21-2001, 12:55 AM
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From the other posts, it seems clear that whether or not your older (toddler) child is present really depends on the child. My wife wanted me to respond as her memory was pretty much on the hypno-imagery stuff and the pushing later on while I was the one moving around with dd, birth asst., & the midwife throughout. I hope our experience helps illustrate our opening statement/observation.

Our dd was 2.5 yrs old when ds was born at home. We brought her to the hypnobirthing sessions throughout the pregnancy and we talked about Mama making noise and even the fact that there'd be blood (her question, not ours), etc. We emphasized the normality of it all which seemed to enable her to treat it nonchalantly. We did have our best friends all set to come over but Mama began labor in the evening (right when we were sitting down to play dreidel -- fourth night of Hanukkah, surprise!) and then we never got around to calling on them. We had a doula/birthing assistant who had done all the hypno stuff with Mama and dd. She came over right away and our midwife came over a few hours later. Mama was really digging her "special place" and dd spent the first few hours of labor stroking mama's arm and "helping" out (did some puzzles at one point when she got bored, then came back).

When we moved to the bedroom, dd came along but she curled up at the foot of the bed and slept while mama did some serious groaning and pushing work. She woke up just in time to greet her new baby brother and man, was she ever stoked! It was the calmest, quietest experience (well, from the "other" side of things, mama did all the hard work of course) overall and our dd really was such a part of things she had a great experience too. IN fact when we brought her brother to temple for the first time, she made sure everyone knew she saw him first when he was born. (most people didn't get that but we got a kick out of it).

All the best with your homebirths,
Dov & TeachinMama
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#7 of 22 Old 11-22-2001, 01:37 AM
 
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We had a home waterbirth when my DS was 25 months old. I really wanted him to be present, but I also knew that it would be important for him to have a support person there to explain everything to him and attend to his needs. My mom came over to be with Gavin. I started my labor out in transition (7 cm) and really had no time to adjust to the gradual intensity of labor. It was too difficult for me to try to take care of his needs and focus on my labor at the same time, so my mother took him next door to my grandmother's house. He came right in a minute after his baby sister was born

Oh, and with the birth pool, we didn't set it up until I was in labor. It was one of the kiddy blow up pools and we bought a pump that blew it up in about five minutes.

Here are my birth pics with pics of the tub if you want to check it out

http://www.birthdiaries.com/diary/29vbirth.htm
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#8 of 22 Old 11-22-2001, 04:55 PM
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Hi,

We had a homebirth this past August, and my first dd was not present for the actual birth, but was there for some of the labour. My labour lasted for 10 days straight, so she saw most of it until it got too difficult for me to take care of her while contracting. She even tried to tell jokes to make me feel better - and poured water on my back when I was in the pool. The last 12 hours though, I had my mom come take her to her place so that i did not have to worry about her.

She got to visit soon after the birth - after I had some sleep. But stayed over again at my mom's that night. She kept asking to come see us though so next time she will be allowed to stay instead.

I think whatever choice you make you should have a backup plan - either to take them away or watch them or to bring them back to see things.

She knew the whole birthing process and had watched shows on it - she would have been fine with witnessing it, I was the one who needed some alone time.
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#9 of 22 Old 11-23-2001, 02:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your reply's. I think we found our midwives. They seam really good and come highly recommended. They have an inflatable birhting pool that only takes 15 minutes to set up so that solves the problem of where to put the pool. If I go into labour during the day I can birth upstairs in the bedroom. And if I labour at night I can be in the living room with a bed made up(my first choice because it's where I'm most comforatable). I've asked a friend to be here who is very good with the kids and also someone I would feel comforatable with as a support person. This seams to make the most sence so that my husband can be with me or the kids whoever needs him more.
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#10 of 22 Old 11-23-2001, 06:36 AM
 
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We had our 2nd birth with our toddler attending, and we are very grateful we made the decision. Our Son was 2 years and 8 months old at the time of our daughter's birth. To prepare, he was very involved in the pregnancy, he went with me to all of our prenatal visits, listened to the heart beat and helped to get things ready for the birth. He also viewed numerous birth videos and I talked to him about his birth and what it would be like.
We also asked a close family friend to attend in addition to our Midwife and her assistant and 2 ladies who did professional labor support for us. She was there for our son and only for him, taking care of him and making sure he was ok was her only job. We chose her because of how comfortable the whole family was with her and also because she had had 2 natural births herself.
Our little boy slept for the first 4 or so hours of the labor and woke up as others were arriving. He got up then and helped to fill up the birth tub. He was really good the whole time. (This is a kid who normally never stops moving, talking and getting into things) Our Friend did take him to the park for about an hour and also played with him a little in an adjoining room. (not far away, we live in a small house) When I got really serious, so did he and he got really quiet. He stood at the edge of the birth pool while his sister was born and saw the whole thing. He was in awe. After she had nursed for about an hour after she was born and the midwives had checked her over I nursed them both together and he fell asleep and slept for quite a while.
When he woke up he began talking about things he remembered from his own birth and before as well.

The two of them are very close. He loves her and shares most everything with her. I have never seen a hint of sibling rivalry even though he is a very high need child. We have no regrets about having him present. He talks about her birth often, and is very glad he was there.

If you will have your children present may I suggest you have some one there just for them or maybe even for each of them. Also read the book Children at Birth by Hathaway and Hathaway, ( the newest edition is due out at the beginning of 2002) Take a good Natural Childbirth class that will make you very well prepared and more likely to succeed at your goal of a home birth. (like a Bradley Natural Childbirth class) If there are some things you could give your child to do that may help too. If you have some one who'll be there with you for the children, they can leave if it becomes best they are not there.
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#11 of 22 Old 11-24-2001, 10:17 PM
 
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My son Jonathan, who was 22 months at the time, attended his sister Hannah's birth. He was a bit scared when I was pushing. I had a friend there that helped him too, though he mostly wanted to be with his dada.
Next time I will try to have someone who is there for the sole purpose of support for my kiddos.

BrandyMama, awesome birth pics!!!
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#12 of 22 Old 11-25-2001, 09:26 PM
 
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Okay, so we're planning our first home birth. I'm due with our second baby around Dec. 15. Our ds is three years and a little bit, and we've planned for him to stay home with us. Dh's parents (whom ds absolutely loves) are coming to stay with ds, in case ds is uncomfortable with the birth. We've talked about the baby being born, that Mommy will make lots of noise (probably), that the baby will come out of a special hole between Mommy's legs, and about who will be there. We've also looked at lots of pictures of unborn babies and birth. I don't really know how else to prepare him, except to just try to present it as a normal experience. He doesn't seem to have many questions, and doesn't really want to talk about the birth, although he likes talking about the baby. I don't have any birth videos, and am not sure where to get one. Any ideas are welcome.
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#13 of 22 Old 11-26-2001, 02:13 AM
 
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Darcy
He was invited to come out for the birth but chose to stay in his room. He came out about 30 seconds after she was born though.

It was a wonderful experience, but I would DEFINITELY recommend having a dedicated person there to take care of the children. >>>>

I also had a homebirth for my third, and my twins were 3.5 at the time. They chose to play in their room and next door with my sister for most of the laboring process, and would come thru periodically to see if the baby was there yet. They chose to be next door at their aunt's right at the birthing time, but came back within a minute or so of the birth.

I also feel it's best to have someone they are comfortable with to attend to their needs that is also sensitive to whatever it is the child themselves feels comfortable doing. A good, calm "can answer questions at their level" person that they are happy with would be a great asset to their comfort.
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#14 of 22 Old 11-26-2001, 02:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by gardenmommy
Okay, so we're planning our first home birth. I'm due with our second baby around Dec. 15. Our ds is three years and a little bit, and we've planned for him to stay home with us. Dh's parents (whom ds absolutely loves) are coming to stay with ds, in case ds is uncomfortable with the birth. We've talked about the baby being born, that Mommy will make lots of noise (probably), that the baby will come out of a special hole between Mommy's legs, and about who will be there. We've also looked at lots of pictures of unborn babies and birth. I don't really know how else to prepare him, except to just try to present it as a normal experience. He doesn't seem to have many questions, and doesn't really want to talk about the birth, although he likes talking about the baby. I don't have any birth videos, and am not sure where to get one. Any ideas are welcome. Margaret
I found it helped my 3.5 year olds to have heard me making sounds that might be what they would hear and at the volume that I might make them. We role played the situation and all the steps we might go through. This helped when I was actually IN labor to be able to say....."Remember how Mommy told you I might be such and such?"
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#15 of 22 Old 11-27-2001, 12:42 PM
 
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I gave birth to my second son, when my first son was
25 months old. We had an unassisted birth so we did
not bring anyone for the sole purpose of caring for him. He did great and eventually went to bed. I labored during the night
right there in our room at the foot of our bed as he was
sleeping. He woke up sometime during pushing and just watched
totally amazed, he was great! This time I am having a great
friend come to the birth, mostly for my support, but I know if
the kids would like a change of pace she will keep them
busy and they love her. Both of my boys are so excited about
this baby coming, they say they want to be in the birth pool
if I am in there, my littlest wants to catch the baby. They are so
cute! They have watched lots of birth videos and we talk alot
about sounds and blood and stuff.
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#16 of 22 Old 12-02-2001, 08:45 PM
 
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My close friend attended our homebirth with her 2.6 year old in town. The toddler did fine. She chose to stay out of the room much of the time and came in right after the baby was born.

I find that people usually imagine children being present as more problematic than it is. It amazes me how many siblings sleep through the experience.

Heartmama

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#17 of 22 Old 12-05-2001, 03:28 PM
 
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I homebirthed #2 when #1 was 22 months old, and I found my labor just stalled until the toddler was alseep. Then- boom! came baby!
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#18 of 22 Old 01-21-2002, 03:17 PM
 
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Hi! Anyone have suggestions for books, videos, etc. to prepare my 3-yr-old dd for the birth of her sibling at home? Also, how far in advance do people do this? A month? Two months?
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#19 of 22 Old 01-23-2002, 02:06 PM
 
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I was hoping to hear from some experts, but I'll tell you what we are doing to prepare our 2.5 year old. My dh is home with her during the daytime, so they make it a point to watch a baby story on TLC. We're planning a home birth, so if they are doing a hospital birth, he focuses on the noises the mom is making, the movements, etc. and tells her this might be what I will do when the baby comes out of my tummy. So far, she has tolerated it well, but we would not make her watch anything if she was showing distress. DD goes to every midwife appointment with us and they are great at letting her help take my blood pressure, measure my tummy and push on my tummy. They really include her a lot. They have lots of children's books on childbirth, etc. They just got this new one called "What's Inside?" I'm glad that they have a lot of the kids books, because many I've read I wouldn't necessarily want her to read. There's one that's called something like "The Day you were born"--this seemed to be good for her. I've read some other things that talk about watching birth videos. I think our midwife has one that they recommend we watch at around 36 weeks, but I don't know the name.
As far as when to start preparing her, we've just talked about it from the beginning. We try to talk alot about her birth and what that was like and how things might be similar or different. We try to build on her questions and her interest, but keeping her engaged in the process has helped make it just a normal part of our lives. Good luck. Jennifer
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#20 of 22 Old 01-26-2002, 02:02 AM
 
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well,here's waht *we* did. my dd was 2 yr. 7 mo when ds was born. We had talked, talked, talked about it as much as possible and watched videos too. I would start as soon as possible. They definitely sense something going on and need to talk about it. some kids are very interested and comfortable w/birth/preg. and others not. my dd was very and always has been. I would really follow your child's lead. DD wanted to watch her own homebirth video again and again....until the part where they suctioned her. We also showed her "a clear road to birth" (they sell it at www.freestone.org and unassistedhomebirth.com) that is actually a freebirth/unassisted birth video since we were planning a freebirth. The reason I would recommend this one to watch is that all hte births are very peaceful and beautiful...not scary at all. MY dd loved watching this one and learned to fast forward the talking just to watch the births. There is even a really touching sibling birht on this one that can spark conversation.
I would also practice making the loud roaringnoises together as I think this can be one of the scariest things about the birth is the noise for teh kids.
REALLY though, this is ALL about following your kids' lead. they will tell you all the answers and I"m sure you know them deep down too!! This is a big time and I"m sure you will do great.
blessings, gentle mother!!
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#21 of 22 Old 01-26-2002, 08:22 AM
 
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The best preparation we did was talking about it and reading the book "Hello Baby" which shows a gentle home birth. My ds loved reading this book but was very distressed when we had some videos to watch, particularly with the sounds, so we didn't use videos. We started pretty much before I was pregnant, though the waiting was hard by the end. Ds was 3 years and 8 months at the birth and by then he was insisting that we wake him up for it. We did, and I think he was glad to be there. (only 4 days ago so we haven't seen the long term effects yet). Earlier in the pregnancy he was saying he didn't want to be there if I was going to make noise, but he warmed to it by the end.
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#22 of 22 Old 01-26-2002, 12:26 PM
 
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Mine ds was much younger -only 19 mo. I think he thought it was a swimming party!! He loved being in the water and still asks for a cool cloth when we are in the tub We had made noises and he had been at my midwife appointments. During the actual birth he was very interested - quiet and watchful.
Like indigolilybear said
Quote:
some kids are very interested and comfortable w/birth/preg. and others not. my dd was very and always has been.
I had thought he would be less interested but he wanted to be a part of all of it. A couple times during labor I did ask to take him away and they went out for a walk
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