2 year old at home birth - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 02-21-2008, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
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We are planning a HB for baby #2. Our DS will be 2 when the baby comes and I am trying to figure if I would like to have him there during the labor and delivery. Does anyone have any experience with having young children around during a HB? I would love to hear your story. Thanks in advance for sharing.
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#2 of 18 Old 02-21-2008, 09:39 PM
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Hi Mary,

My dd was 20 mos when my little guy was born at home in a birth pool. My labor started around 1 am. I labored for a few hrs alone then asked my dh to fill up the birth pool at which time she woke up (we still cosleep). I tried to nurse her back to sleep (that sped things up!) then tried to walk her back to sleep again - sped things up! ) and when the birth pool was full my dh and dd got things ready for the midwife. I don't remember talking to her during labor about what was happening - dh might have. She sat on his lap as ds was crowning and she exclaimed "baby!" she stood on a stepstool and watched as dh helped me lift ds out of the water. She scribbled on his chart with a pen as ds was being weighed and then we all curled up in bed together and crashed! She did great and while I had envisioned her only being there/awake for the pushing part this was actually better because nothing was rushed and she wasn't groggy or anything. I will say that she isn't super sensitive as to intense things. I also am very inward and quiet as I labor. Anyway - hth!

Mamma to 3! nurslings Emma (4) Daniel (3) and our new baby Beth! 10/10/09
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#3 of 18 Old 02-21-2008, 09:57 PM
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My dd was nearly 2 when my ds was born in back of a van( our home at time) by uc. She was totally there and helped me so much just by seeing her little excited, totally absorbed in the moment face. She is such an amazing child and she went through the birth with me while my eldest dd(5 at the time) slept through it BTDT sorta attitude, raised her head to see the new baby and went back to sleep so it really helped that my youngest dd totally and positively experienced that, I will never forget the look on her face. My youngest is a boy and he was sad that he didn't get to see a baby being born.
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#4 of 18 Old 02-22-2008, 10:59 AM
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My dd is 2+ right now. I kind of just assume she will be alseep when the labor starts. I originally asked my sister to come and help out with her, but my sis is not the most reliable resource. My back up plan is my 12 y.o daughter will help out with her during the birth--she may have to miss a day of school. My 12 y.o. does not want to be in the room for the birth, so I am not going to push it on her. I don't feel like I really want the baby there during the actual birth either. For me it would be more of a distraction.
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#5 of 18 Old 02-22-2008, 12:12 PM
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My dd is 27 months and was present for the birth of her brother 2 weeks ago. It was wonderful! She was really excited for the baby to come and we talked about it and watched her birth video and homebirth videos on you-tube. She told everyone that baby was coming out mommy's vulva and then she'd yell "yeah baby!". So she seemed to have a pretty good grasp on the whole thing. She woke up at 6 and Ds was born at 7:15, my parents were there for her. She wandered in and out and checked on me and we chatted between contractions and she splashed in the pool a little and amazingly I wasn't annoyed by her at all! It was way more annoying to have people try to redirect her to leave me alone than it was to have her playing in the water! I ended up giving birth out of the pool on hands and knees and she was behind me to watch him come out and then ran around to see him. The first words out of her mouth were "I want to rock baby brother!". It was such a precious moment, eapecially because she had REALLY wanted a sister and she would argue against a brother. I love that she just saw it as a normal part of life and when it was really intense in the final minutes she asked me if I was okay and rubbed my sholder, so sweet! She wasn't worried though because we had talked about mommy having some owies before the baby came out and I had reassured her a lot ahead of time that it was okay that mommy was owie so she just knew it meant the baby was close. I hope that helps some, sorry it's a novel, it's just still so fresh in my mind! The best advise I can give is to do lots of preparation so it's not a scary thing and have someone there to support them and take them away if they (or you) need it.

Sarah-wife, mother, doula, and teacher.
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#6 of 18 Old 02-22-2008, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for sharing! It sounds like it may be a possibility to have him present for the birth.
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#7 of 18 Old 02-23-2008, 03:45 AM
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#8 of 18 Old 02-23-2008, 03:57 PM
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My son was 25 months when his brother was born. We'd presumed he'd be there for the birth and his Godfather flew in to 'doula' for him while I was in labor. Ironicly, my water broke at 6:30 am, and I didn't start contracting until that evening, when my son went to bed. My body just felt like it couldn't concentrate on laboring until I knew my little guy would be okay, and I admit that I had some lingering doubts about how he'd do with mama in pain, since he's very sensitive to other people's emotions.

I do wish, slightly off topic, that we'd woken him up to see his brother right after he was born. I think it really would have helped with the sibling transition, rather than having him wake up in the morning with the baby fiat accompli in the bed with mama and papa.

Spending all of my money and time on this wild, wild life.
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#9 of 18 Old 02-23-2008, 08:49 PM
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My ds was 29 mos when dd was born. He hung out with me in early labor but went to bed at his "regular time" in the usual way (me laying with him until he fell asleep) My labor was not intense and it was no bother at that point. Then later that night around 11 he woke and wanted more snuggles (we had been laboring in another bedroom) I really really tried for 30 min to snuggle him with dh's help but he was just waaaay too wiggly for me. Hindsight I don't know why I didn't just let him stay up, but it seemed to us at the time that he should go back to bed. So I got my parents who were there to take him with them and co-sleep. He did fuss a bit, but he would have anyways since we were sending him back to bed.

Dd was born at 250am after only an hour and a half of what I would consider "true labor". I was high as a kite and couldn't sleep. I sat out in the living room the rest of the morning. When ds woke up at 645 he came stumbling out in his usual way and the 3 of us snuggled in the glider and they exchanged "presents" we had bought for them to give each other. Dh was sleeping so in a way for me it was a super special time for the 3 of us to bond - momma and her now 2 babes. I don't know that he would have handled labor with me without irritating me and being clingy and I didn't want anyone but me and dh and my best friend who was photo documenting around so for me, having my parents in there with us to help ds was NOT an option.

This next time the kids will be 6 and 3 and I expect them both to handle everything just fine as they are both mature/old enough to understand what will happen with what I have taught them about what to expect. I can't wait!

Happy Birthing!

Momma to ds bikenew.gif6/02 (med free hospital), dd pinktongue.gif10/04 hb, ds diaper.gif6/08 hb, and ds babyboy.gif hb 1/12/11
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#10 of 18 Old 02-25-2008, 02:26 AM
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MDC member Gunter just posted her homebirth story in FYT:North Carolina. Her 27-month-old DD attended the birth, and they had a great experience; you may want to look at that thread.

I had my 4 yo DS at my homebirth last week, but that's a big age difference, and it belongs in a different post.

Good luck mama!

Cindy, part-time family doc, full-time Mommy to Jared (2/04) and Connor (2/08) :
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#11 of 18 Old 11-29-2014, 02:31 PM
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I want to ressurect this old thread and see if anyone else has stories to add. DD will be 29 months when #2 is born. We had DD at home and plan to have this baby at home too. I would love to hear more stories so I feel comfortable with what to expect.

Anyone? TIA
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#12 of 18 Old 11-29-2014, 04:54 PM
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My oldest was 28 months when I had DS2 at home. We had a plan in place for someone to care for him at home and also a plan for someone to care for him outside the home if it was too much for me to have him there or if being there was too stressful for him. I labored in the middle of the night and DS1 slept through all but the last 30 minutes or so. Even though he is not a particularly calm child, he seemed to pick up on the vibe and he was very chill. He watched quietly and even helped by holding my water bottle and bringing it to me for sips. He witnessed DS2's birth and we all sang "Happy Birthday" to the new baby right after he was born. I will cherish that memory always.
I recently gave birth to DS3 at home and things were much the same. DS2 was 25 months old. Both older boys slept through the labor and we woke them shortly after DS3's birth.
I'm a huge proponent of having older siblings at the birth. I think it helped foster a positive relationship between my boys because they saw the baby come from me and viewed him as an extension of me. Not disappearing to the hospital and reappearing with a baby probably helps with that, too!
I think the key is to have several plans in place. I would recommend having someone whose role is just to care for the older sibling(s) so Dad and birth attendants can focus on Mama (and new babe when he/she joins the party).
Good luck!
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#13 of 18 Old 12-06-2014, 12:25 PM
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Where we delivered my 2nd, was an alternative birthing center attached to a hospital. Where siblings WERE allowed to be there for the birth.

My son was actually very upset when i was in early labor at the sounds i was making even though i was trying to make it funny and moo. He was bewildered and scared and upset.

So, no, i would not have my kids at the birth - simply because my eldest is like me, VERy sensitive emotionally.

But that's MY kids, your mileage may vary- i think it depends on the child.

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#14 of 18 Old 12-12-2014, 01:00 PM
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Well, I was glad that I went into labor close to my 2 DDs (2 & 4) bedtime. So they slept upstairs in their beds while I delivered downstairs. Not sure how we would have handled it had it been during the day but I did not really want them there for the delivery since they are both sensitive personalities and I did not know what to expect. Plus I get quite loud during the pushing phase.

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

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#15 of 18 Old 12-14-2014, 12:48 PM
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It was distracting for me when my almost two year old was at my birth. I had to mentally check in to make sure she was okay every so often. It was nice, during my third birth, to have no kids around at all. For me birth is an intense experience already, and I need to focus just on the child that I am birthing. This is partly because I kinda have a long first stage where I don't need to have anyone around especially, then jump to transition pretty quickly, I have to focus at that point (cause, OUCH). But as you can tell, some people find it relaxing to be around children.

Maybe you can compromise, have the child there but have someone on hand to take them away for the actual pushing/birth part.
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#16 of 18 Old 12-14-2014, 02:18 PM
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Hmmm it seems like every one has different experiences. I'm asking two close girlfriends to attend the birth (last time it was just me and DH) so we can have someone else there for me in case DH has to take DD out.

Apparently I was at my lil sister's birth at home and got bored. I was 19 months. My aunt was on hand to entertain me in the other room.

I really enjoy hearing about everyone's experiences no matter what they were. It helps me to think.

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#17 of 18 Old 12-19-2014, 02:26 PM
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My then 3.5 year old was present for the home birth of her brother. She really saw herself as helping me. At one point, her father came into the bathroom to check on me (I was showering) and she yelled at him, "Get out! I'm helping Mami!" I think that was the only time I smiled during this super fast labor!

When it came time to push, I did ask that she be taken out of the room. I kinda like complete silence at that point. Plus, we were in the bathroom and there was not a lot of space for me, the father and the midwife. She was brought right back once her brother had been birthed and helped the midwife cut the cord.

She is 9, now. I am due in 10 weeks with number 3. God willing, she and her brother will be present for this one. After 2 home births, I have decided to go to a birthing center with this one. Just feeling a bit cautious as 44. In any event, I knew my goal of normalizing birth for her had been achieved when she said, "Why are you going to the hospital? You don't have to go to the hospital to have a baby".

Mama to add 10/05; ds 3/09, and two angels. Expecting my 2nd rainbow baby 2/15!
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#18 of 18 Old 01-27-2015, 11:26 AM
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i'll brave being one of the few dissenting voices. when we were having dd2, dd1 was 29mos. i knew ahead of time that i wanted a quiet calm environment, and dd1 was just too young and rambunctious to place those sorts of expectations on her. i had a friend doulaing for me, and she ended up spending the majority of her time caring for dd1 while i labored either alone or just with dh. we had a friend lined up to get dd1, but the friend was flaky and took HOURS to finally come get dd1. labor started at about 9am, and dd1 was finally picked up at about 6pm. within 45min of dd1 getting picked up, dd2 was born. it was like my body was waiting for quiet and calm to be ready to birth! my friend returned dd1 to us after taking her out for dinner and getting her bathed and pj'ed for us. it was such a treat to have her fed, clean, and ready for bed! then dh could help the midwives with me and dd2 without having to also care for a toddler.

BUT i'm the type of person that likes to retreat and be alone when in labor or just in general when dealing with "big deal" kinds of things. if i'm sick, i want someone to throw tissues or popsicles into the bedroom, quitely shut the door, and go away. i think it's important to be realistic about your preferences and your children's personalities/sensitivities when deciding whether or not to have kids at a birth. this time around dd1 will be 9 and dd2 will be nearly 7 for ds's birth, so as long as they want to be here for it, i'm totally happy to have them. but i do plan on having a backup person to pick them up if they decide last minute that they'd rather not be present. we shall see!!!

Happy Humanist Mom to Luna Paz (2/16/06) & Zoe Jean (7/21/08). Patiently awaiting the arrival of Johnny (edd 6/26/15).
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