Dealing with neighbors during an apartment homebirth - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 08-12-2008, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We live on the bottom floor of a brownstone in a quiet Brooklyn neighborhood. I don't anticipate that I'll be shrieking or screaming or anything, but our upstairs neighbors are a bit of a wild card when it comes to how they might handle the sounds of my laboring. I don't know them at all, really, and don't feel comfortable openly telling them that we're planning to homebirth. They have a young baby of their own but seem very mainstream. If they are the judgmental types, am I paranoid to think they might call 911 if things get loud down here?

We'll have a midwife and a doula and of course DH will be here to turn away anyone who might come to the door, but the last thing I want to deal with during labor is paramedics and/or police investigating a disturbance. Should we make a sign for the front door or what? How do you apartment-dwelling homebirthers deal with the noise issue?

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#2 of 21 Old 08-12-2008, 05:24 PM
 
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I live in Brooklyn as well and just gave birth at home, our renters never even heard a thing. I would just tell your neighbors that you will be laboring at home as long as possible so if they hear anything, not to be alarmed. Maybe bring a bottle of wine along as well?? This way they won't be suprised by the noise or the midwife and doula coming and going.

If you think they'll judge you and that will negatively impact your relationships, just don't mention home birth and later after the baby, you can be like 'oops!' with your healthy adorable baby.

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#3 of 21 Old 08-12-2008, 05:35 PM
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You could print out a flyer that says:
Planned Natural Childbirth in Progress.
Thank you for your concern.
We look forward to introducing our new arrival to you soon.

You don't have to put up the sign, but if someone comes knocking, your birth team can simply slide the note under the door with minimal interruption!

wbg...constantly amazed by Z , cherishing I , inspired by P , adoring K and still getting butterflies when I wake up with B !
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#4 of 21 Old 08-12-2008, 05:59 PM
 
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Hows this one for you....I am on the 2nd floor of an apartment building in a military community (my husband is Army) and military communities are notorious for having meddling neighbors and all around nosey ladies...BUT, im not too worried about it, as noisey as some of my other neighbors are, ill just be paying them back if I get to loud but I am using hypnobirthing and having a water birth so I dont anticipate being too loud at all.
Good luck to you!
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#5 of 21 Old 08-12-2008, 06:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mrforbes View Post
I would just tell your neighbors that you will be laboring at home as long as possible so if they hear anything, not to be alarmed.

I agree.
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#6 of 21 Old 08-12-2008, 06:10 PM
 
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I was really worried about this for our HB in December, because I am a LOUD birther and the soundproofing between our house and the neighbors is really non-existant.

Honestly, it turned out to be a complete non-issue.

The neighbors helped the midwives navigate their way to the door with all their stuff (it was the middle of a blizzard and with an icy road and mountains of snow everywhere they needed their help), and even carried some of the supplies in from the car. And still, up until a month or so ago they just thought we were having some sort of strange medically-themed sleep-over party. They had no idea we were having a homebirth, and didn't figure it out until my neighbor, who is a first responder, had to help my MW transport another client and was like "Wait... I know you! Are you friends with my neighbors?"

We did put a sign on the door that said "Mom in Labor, please do not disturb" in case someone nosy called the cops or came to the door. But it probably wasn't necessary at all.
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#7 of 21 Old 08-12-2008, 07:01 PM
 
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Even if they call the police, what can they do? It's not against the law to labor - or birth! - in your own home. Have someone designated to answer the door if this situation arises and explain that your doctor recommended you labor at home as long as possible. Which is entirely true in most cases these days. This way, you avoid the stigma of homebirth. A sign on the door is also a great idea, but I wouldn't put anything about homebirth on it...like a PP said, "Mom in Labor - Do Not Disturb" is perfect.
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#8 of 21 Old 08-12-2008, 07:22 PM
 
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You could consider letting them know that you'll be LABORING at home for awhile, but leave out the part about birthing at home.
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#9 of 21 Old 08-12-2008, 07:40 PM
 
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i live in a duplex and am also paranoid about my neighbors. They are super mainstream and after reading a horror story on mdc about a woman whos homebirth got ruined by a neighbor calling 911, i dont think we can be too careful

So if anyone knocks on my door, my husband will be telling them that my (non existant) obstetrician has recommended I stay home for as long as possible/the time being. His job is to chase off any nosy neighbors. I am taking that "Mom in labor- Please do not disturb" sign idea as well. Im not going to admit its a deliberate homebirth bc lay midwives are not legal in my state, Im just going to pretend Im having prolonged back labor or something and have been told to wait to go to the hospital.

And if it comes down to it and someone has interferred by calling 911, dont answer the door. Dont even open it. Just slip a note under it or in the window pane that everything is fine and your just being noisy.

Im glad someone posted about this, its the only thing im actually concerned about as far as homebirth goes!
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#10 of 21 Old 08-12-2008, 09:40 PM
 
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I wasn't concerned about this before, but after reading the thread in the UC forum I started stressing about it. We are not in an apartment, but we live in an area where the houses are VERY close together. I plan on discussing it with my midwife and seeing what she recommends, but at a minimum I will have a sign on the door and assign my FIL the job of bouncer if anyone does show up (in-laws will be at the house to take care of my toddler, but not upstairs, at the birth itself). Knowing FIL, he'll probably be wishing someone WOULD show up just so he could get the chance to tell them off, LOL. I don't know my neighbors well enough to know how they would react, and I wouldn't want to tell them ahead of time and risk that they might turn in the midwife, since HB midwifery is not licensed here and we have already had one midwife in the area arrested and convicted of "practicing advanced nursing without a license".

SAHM to Declan (12/12/06) and Blythe (2/9/09)
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#11 of 21 Old 08-13-2008, 05:10 AM
 
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I'm planning an apt. birth in the next few weeks (hopefully!)

I posted a similar thread awhile back and had some great and helpful responses!

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=922317
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#12 of 21 Old 08-13-2008, 01:51 PM
 
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We put a sign on the door once I got a little louder, at least I think they did.

It basically said, "Sorry for the noise but we are having a baby! Medical professional in attendance. Thanks for understanding!"

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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#13 of 21 Old 08-13-2008, 05:34 PM
 
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So long as midwifery and home birth are legal in a particular state, I actually think it's a great idea to post: "Professionally attended home birth in progress. Please do not disturb." I think it helps normalize and destigmatize home birth.

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#14 of 21 Old 08-13-2008, 07:03 PM
 
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I just had a homebirth in Astoria. Not one neighbor heard a thing. Because of the heat, everyone had their windows closed and AC on, so they didn't hear my moaning. And I moaned, the loudest during the morning and midday.

Trust me, this won't be a concern when you're in the midst. We had a sign similar to those suggested but never used it.

Have a great birth!

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#15 of 21 Old 08-13-2008, 07:28 PM
 
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Hey! We lived in an apartment on the top story of a home when ds was born. Our landlords lived next door (close) and their daughter lived downstairs. I didn't want to tell them about the homebirth because they were really crotchety and would have tried to tell me no. Well, none of their business is what I say! We put notes on the doors when I went into labor (laboring mother...please do not disturb or something like that). They actually never even knew we had a homebirth. I wasn't terribly loud and preferred horse lips (blowing hair out and flapping lips) to yelling,

good luck!

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#16 of 21 Old 08-13-2008, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Great suggestions, everyone! I particularly like the idea of posting a "Professionally attended homebirth in progress--please do not disturb sign" discreetly on our front door. Homebirth is nothing to be ashamed of, after all...

Thanks again for your advice.

Loving wife partners.gif and mama to my sweet little son coolshine.gif (Fall 2008) and a beautiful baby girl babyf.gif(Fall 2010)

 

When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty. --George Bernard Shaw

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#17 of 21 Old 08-13-2008, 09:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mrforbes View Post
I live in Brooklyn as well and just gave birth at home, our renters never even heard a thing. I would just tell your neighbors that you will be laboring at home as long as possible so if they hear anything, not to be alarmed. Maybe bring a bottle of wine along as well?? This way they won't be suprised by the noise or the midwife and doula coming and going.

If you think they'll judge you and that will negatively impact your relationships, just don't mention home birth and later after the baby, you can be like 'oops!' with your healthy adorable baby.
Yeah that. Definitely tell them ahead of time to possibly expect noise (if this is your first, you have no idea how loud or quiet you might be!), but just say you'll be "labouring at home for a while" so if they have any predjudice against homebirth, they have not specifically been told that's what you plan.

DS 12/22/05 and DD 5/24/09
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#18 of 21 Old 08-13-2008, 09:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by barefootpoetry View Post
Even if they call the police, what can they do? It's not against the law to labor - or birth! - in your own home.
Have you seen Equiiska's thread? I think that could happen almost anywhere.

DS 12/22/05 and DD 5/24/09
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#19 of 21 Old 08-13-2008, 09:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Turquesa View Post
S "Professionally attended home birth in progress. Please do not disturb." I think it helps normalize and destigmatize home birth.
I like this!

Pardon my triple-posting.

DS 12/22/05 and DD 5/24/09
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#20 of 21 Old 08-14-2008, 12:42 PM
 
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We put a sign on our apt door. No one bothered us at all. We did tell the apt mgmt so they knew not to worry. it was no problem at all. If the paramedicas HAD shown up it would have been jsut fine - turns out a very good friend of ours who had attended L's birth was on dduty that day and was in our jusrisdition! It'd have been great!
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#21 of 21 Old 08-14-2008, 12:49 PM
 
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Have you seen Equiiska's thread? I think that could happen almost anywhere.
It's possible, but it's far less likely in places where we have some semblance of legal rights. In a place like NY where attended hb is legal and even required to be paid for by insurance, I think it highly unlikely.
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