What about small children? - Mothering Forums
Homebirth > What about small children?
Mommiska's Avatar Mommiska 06:50 PM 02-20-2003
I'm planning a home birth for the birth of my 3rd child (both previous births were in a midwife-led unit at a hospital...good experiences, actually, but I just don't see the point of dragging myself up to the hospital this time!).

With my last birth, I was just over 2 hours from start of labour pains to birth - another reason I'm not too keen to try to get to the hospital 30 minutes away! And I'm assuming this next birth will also be a quick one.

But I'm wondering about my two dds. They'll be 4 years old and 2 1/2 years old when baby #3 comes along...any advice for helping them/looking after them/etc when I do give birth? Wouldn't surprise me if I give birth at night, and they are asleep, but what if it's during the day?

For those of you who have done this before...did you have your young children with you while labouring and giving birth? Did you have someone come over and play with them until the birth? Did you park them in front of a video?! (dh's suggestion : )

I'm not due until September, so I have awhile to figure this out, but would love to hear from others with advice...

Cindi's Avatar Cindi 01:19 PM 02-21-2003
I don't have experience yet, but am in the planning phase with you, with a 2.5 year old. What I've been hearing and reading includes this advice:

--Have someone dedicated entirely to your children for the duration of the birth, who can bring them in to be with you, take them outside, etc. Someone they trust and you trust.

--Prepare them ahead with graphic descriptions of birth, birthing sounds, about blood and that this is a welcome experience. Encourage and answer questions.

--Rehearse. I heard one story about teaching a signal (I think her son was four years old) of her index finger in the air to mean she was having a contraction and would want quiet at that time. Also, use a doll to simulate birth in a "rehearsal." Also explain the possibility of c-section so your children will not be too confused should your birth take such a turn.

--Be flexible about what you may want afterall. Be prepared for the possibility you'll need space from your children, or the possibility you may want them there. Have the videos ready, but don't expect they'll do the trick.

--Have someone dedicated entirely to you, like your partner, without responsibilty for your children. A friend of mine wanted her husband to be responsible for their daughter and chose her mom to be by her side duing birth.

I look forward to hearing from those who've had the experience.

Mallory's Avatar Mallory 02:12 PM 02-21-2003
Oh, Carolyn!! You are having another!!! Now we won't have kids all the same age. I would love a new little baby, but I am planning this drive across the country in a couple summers (a lot of family and friends live in washington state and we live in maryland) so that is my encouragement to wait a few years. (And I really do need some encouragement)

Was your oldest there when dd #2 was born? They were so little then, we didn't do much prep. I did practice vocalizing with him around (even a lot during nursing). We did have someone who came to watch him and she even brought him some snacks and a couple of wrapped gifts which she pulled out at strategic times But mostly he stayed with me and it was okay. At first I was just laying on bed and he was with me and nursed a little and then I got in the tub and he got for most of it and then got out to get a snack. After that he came in the room with the tub one time and I remember saying noo nnoo and he left with my friend very easily-- I think they really understand that you are working so hard and most days if I had said no when he walked in the room he would not have been happy, but he was okay then.

I did labour in the day, from about 8 and the baby was born just before two, so I don't know how things would have been at night. I think it was easier because it was during the day, I can't imagine him being very happy without mama or papa to get him back to sleep and I wasn't going to give up dh very easily!
shanetedissac's Avatar shanetedissac 05:10 PM 02-21-2003
I did all of my labor with #2 during the daylight morning hours. Theodore (then 2) was around the whole time. We just went along with our usual Saturday routine and I labored away. We did have a friend staying with us during her vacation (just happen to go into labor with her here). She helped to occupy Theodore during labor and when it came baby time brought him into the bathroom where I was. My birthing was very very fast and the baby pretty much came flying out. He remember the birth vividly and with no negativity.

We took a lot of time to prepare him for babies and birth. Watched babies being born (non interventive births on Baby story), read lots of story books about babies, had him at all prenatal appointments, and talked a lot about it. I do think that what you do before hand will make a big difference.

I really wanted him to witness the birth of him sibling and took great care to have that be a satisfying moment for him and everyone around. You can't guarantee anything but we were very lucky.

Take care-
Mommiska's Avatar Mommiska 10:59 AM 02-22-2003
Thanks for your replies. I know, Mallory - when I found out I was expecting, I did think that I'd now have a child that wasn't 'in sync' with yours. Funny, huh? I hope you don't have to wait too long for a third...although I've been told that a nice long gap between 2 and 3, then having 3 & 4 very close again is a nice way to do things...!

I had DD2 in a hospital at 5:50 am...the grandparents came over to watch DD1, as she was asleep (and I don't think the hospital would have been very understanding if she'd come with us!). So DD1 woke up to Granny and Grandad, who played with her until they came to pick us up and bring us home around 2 pm or so that afternoon.

I'm just not sure who to have over to take care of the girls, and I hadn't really thought about whether or not they would be in at the actual birth. The grandparents are an option through the week, but they disappear to their holiday home every weekend, so we'd need a back up for weekends, and I really can't think of anyone... Mainly because everyone I know in this area would totally freak at the thought of bringing the girls in and out while I'm labouring, and possibly being there for the actual birth...

Thanks for all the ideas about ways to prepare the girls. How long before the birth did you start preparing your children?
Peppamint's Avatar Peppamint 01:14 PM 02-22-2003
Well, I'm due in 9 weeks so we haven't actually gone through this.

What I'm doing to prepare is I'm going to watch "gentle birth choices" on video a few times a week with dd (even if she's not really paying attention, she'll hear the noises the moms make) and tell her about momma making those noises etc.

Also, I'll have dh, the midwife and her apprentice there. My mom will be there to take care of dd and make sure she's doing okay with everything. If for some reason, dd is handling it well my mom will take her over to mil's house (a few blocks away). My mom is supportive of my homebirth, but MIL is not so she will not be present in any way. :
Mallory's Avatar Mallory 01:24 PM 02-22-2003
Well in my family the children are 24, 23, 10, and 8 and in my husbands the children are 26, 25, 15, and 13. So both of our familes have two close then a really long gap then two more- and that is really our plan, I just don't know if I can really make it 5- 8 more years!

I really don't think it was that important to have someone for him, I think that one time the midwife could have lured him away pretty easily and at that point even t v would have been a fine option! I guess it depends on how much you need dh if you are going to depend on him. I couldn't labour with out him; I would be fine with out a midwife, but I need dh! I was really fine with ds for all but about 20 or 30 minutes during transition. And I really did want him to be at the birth.

Have you asked your midwife if she knows anyone who could do it?
Mommiska's Avatar Mommiska 04:58 PM 02-22-2003
No kidding your families have long breaks between pairs of kids! I don't think I could wait 5-8 years, though (of course, I'm a lot older than you are, so I REALLY couldn't wait that long...not JUST a lack of patience/baby fever thing. )

I'm kind of expecting a fast labour and delivery (my mom was just over an hour from start to finish with her #3, and I've been very similar to her with #1 and #2...faster with #2, actually ), so perhaps I really wouldn't need anyone else for the children. I guess it's nice to have a back-up, just in case, you know?

I soooo wish my mom lived close enough, busybusymomma - your situation sounds ideal. My mom would be perfect. She always comes over (she's in Alaska, I'm in Scotland) when I have babies, but she usually leaves it late, so she doesn't miss actually seeing the baby). As I said, MIL and FIL would probably be OK during the week, but I guess I need a back up at weekends, since they won't be around...