DD and her grandma are close, and she really is the only person available who I'd fully trust to be around as a caretaker during our next birth.
We are planning another homebirth; we have a guest bedroom/bathroom in our detached garage so DD and grandma could spend time out there while labor & birth are happening. Haven't thought yet about whether we want DD there, but probably for portions. I'm only 5 wks pg, so there's plenty of time to decide!
My mom travels a lot, so I'd like to give her a good long heads-up if we decide to ask her to come. I know she'd be honored.
Just wondering if there is anything special we should consider before we ask her; any experiences shared would be helpful!
Set the gearshift for the high gear of your soul
Then when I got pregnant with dd2 she made this really, really, REALLY hurtful comment about how loud I had been during dd1's birth. This was just a few weeks before dd2's birth and it not only hurt and made me angry, it made me very worried about how I'd "appear" to others during dd2's birth. Which was something that had never bothered me up till that comment.
We had asked her to care for dd1 during dd2's birth and she arrived at our home shortly after we called her (I'd been laboring for about 5-6 hours by then) and although we had planned to labor at home much longer, I decided I wanted to go to the hospital since her being there was very difficult for me. I just couldn't relax with her there.
Now, I'm pretty sure that the tension was entirely due to her comment (and the way it made clear that she was not as natural birth supportive as I had thought/she had expressed prior to the birth). But it's something to think about... while she may make the perfect companion for your older child, and I understand wanting your older child to share in portions of the birth (we're planning a homebirth for babe3 in August), you might want to examine the reasons behind why you didn't want her there for your first birth. Those reasons may still hold and you might want to arrange for your mom to attend your child someplace other than your home...
Oh, we're planning on asking a few of our friends to provide possible child care backup (sort of "play date"-ish for our older dd1), and DH's mom is coming in from out of town in a rental RV so that the girls can come and go but we wont necessarily have more people "in the house".
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mama to (4/05), (6/07vbac), (8/09vbac), and (9/11vbac)
This time around she knows to not to read from there.
My concerns are all based on me just not knowing if she "can" be here without being negative. But I confronted her up front by telling her all the things that I know will happen: I will be naked, I will be uninhibited, I will not be talking to "her", my kids get front row seats, she will not be allowed to be negative, our MW is extremely knowledgeable and trained, and the placenta will be cut after a couple hours. Thanks for reminding me about being loud, though - I need to make sure she knows that, too! We are also going to tell her that at any time, she may be asked to leave by me, DH or MW.
But as negative as all of that sounds, I'm really optimistic. She's an MD, and it's HUGE that she's willing to have an open mind and be here. She held a grudge about not being invited to the other births, but now that we've talked, it really seems like she's ok with it all. Oh - and she's *not* here to take care of my kids - we've hired someone for that. She's only here because I think it has the potential to be inspirational for her, great for my girls, empowering for us all, and has the potential to strengthen our relationship. But I also don't have any silly notions that she'll be this nurturing mother at the birth. If she is, then that will be icing on the cake.
From my experience, I knew I wanted my mom...both times, and I wouldn't have changed a thing about that. We are very close, she is close with dh as well, and she is an RN. She is my biggest fan, a very spiritual and powerful woman, and she is a wonderful listner. We talked a lot before each birth...about what I wanted, didn't want, etc. She read anything and everything I gave her. When my first birth didn't go how I had hoped (epi, pit, tear, etc.) I asked her to really help me mentally and emotionally prepare. We sat together and did several meditations and for one we processed her experience birthing me...it was AMAZING! She talked about her real expereince, the things you don't write in the baby book. How scared she was, her regrets, how she felt like a failyre having a section...how the medical intervention she received was in direct conflict with what her body was telling her. It was so helpful for both of us!
This time as dh supported me through each contraction she was right there...making sure he had what he needed so he could be there for me. Watching me for cues and responding calmly. As I began to transition she sat and I could feel her grounding the space which was wonderful. In the earlier stages of labor I could count on her to calm me if I had questions about the medical/hospital stuff and she was my advocate in that regard. Thankfully this particular hospital was totally hands off, but I never worried for a second about that b/c I knew that in an emergency she would be right there as a nurse, knowing what questions to ask, etc.
So that was my experience. The second time around my dad was with dd. I tried to labor at home for as long as posisble but she was 3y and it was a big challenge. My dad was also at the first birth (dd's....standing in the doorway so as not to "see anything") and I'm sorry he missed this one but he wanted to be with dd and it was a good set-up.
My final thought would be to encourage you not to think too much about it, but pat ayyention to your feelings/intuition. We can rationalize a lot ginen the opportunity and from my experience the birth process is not a very rational process!
Happy Mommy to one amazing girl (11y) and one sweet boy (7y), and wife to DH since 7/03 : :
I never would have made it through my first birth (hospital birth) without both her AND dh. She was only there for the last 30 minutes with ds's birth, but once she was, it was like everyone else was just an annoyance. And then she and dh were there for my UC, and honestly? Dh was almost too 'attentive.' My mom was the right combination of calm vs. getting tasks done (like getting me water, et cetera). People talk about doulas 'mothering the mother' and that is exactly what my mom did - she mothered me. Which seems very appropriate.
I really hope that both she & I will be allowed to be present at my daughters' births!
and Brigid Eleanor (11/20/08)
My second was a homebirth and my mom was here to watch DD. She never wanted to actually *see* the birth, and it kind of weirded me out so that wasn't the plan. But when I was pushing she came running in and had this huge urge to watch and I was like "I don't care!" so she actually watched Gavin be born.
The thought of my mom seeing my vagina kinda freaks me out, but whatever- I'm cool with it
Jessie. Mama to (7) : (4) and : 22 mo
Well, it happened that my labor was super long and difficult and EVERYONE was so exhausted that having my mom (and my dear sister) there was a GODSEND. If had just been me and dh, it would have been waaaaay harder. My mom was a great, patient, encouraging support and I feel so glad that she was there. When my daughter was born, she was right there, and we were all crying. It was very powerful. She had a couple minutes in there after I gave birth but then we shooed her and everyone else out so dh and I could bond with our new baby... It was perfect.
It was fine. She was great. Out of my way yet supportive.
FOr my first, she was down the hall (at the hospital) in a waiting room, invited in shortly after the birth. That worked out. Then she stayed at our place for 2 weeks and we really relied on her....but I don't know if I want her around for post-partum help this time! Looking back at all the stress, PPD, lack of rest that I had, I realize that her presence was a major factor - I don't *blame* her, it's just that she desperately wanted people to visit and see DS, and she talked on the phone alot, etc. Having been through it all now, I look back and realize the value of a babymoon (a period of rest without visitors). This article illustrates it well.
So this time, I am planning a homebirth, and have asked a friend to be DS's person - she'll be here to care for and entertain him, take him out if needed, bring him in to see the birth if he wants.
I am torn about what to do for post-partum help. I don't want my mother - but I KNOW we need someone. DH alone will not be able to tend to me, care for DS, and run the house (meals, etc). I cannot think of anyone who would be available other than my mom. *Sigh*. I don't know what to do!
eta: if some money magically appeared, I would consider hiring someone - a sort of post-partum doula but more for household duties than mothercare. But I don't even know if there's anyone around here who does that sort of thing.
With Ds and Dd1 we didn't even tell her I was in labor, we just called her after the babies were born. For some reason with number 3 (and our first HB) I felt the need to have "live in" help with the older kids. I also didn't know about how labor would go and felt guilty/worried about calling friends in the middle of night for help, so I wanted someone there for the kids. I was 110% clear from the begining about her role, how it was to be with the older kids, period. Well guess what, that was a huge failure on every level. After dd's birth, dh was the one tending to the older kids, making juice ect, you name it she was usless.
Then like someone else said the hurtful comments started I heard her on the phone to two different people after dd's birth saying things like "well there was a lot of screaming....." Not once did she say how cool it was that I caught my own baby, that I pushed her out in one push, how in love dd1 was with her younger sister, how amazing it was at home, nothing. Just I was loud .
Honestly if I had to do it all again I would have taken one of our friends up on the many offers to call anytime day or night and not worried about it. I won't even get into the days after the birth which were even worse.
I wasn't sure I wanted her to be there for the birth, but as it got closer I decided I'd call her when I was in labor and if she made it in time I'd decide then (she had a 7 hr drive). Well, my water broke first thing so I had plenty of warning and she actually got here before active labor got intense. During the actual labor I'm told she, Dh, and my doula all traded spots giving me counterpressure and other support, but I wasn't really aware of who was there doing what (had my eyes closed most of the time). She ended up holding the flashlight for the midwives to see as she was born and cutting the umbilical cord (Dh had no desire). She was also there for the 1st 2 weeks and was an awesome support; doing laundry and cooking yummy meals and cleaning.
I've always been close to my mom and I'm so glad I invited her. She wasn't one to freak out during my birth and understood that her being there was to help with chores, not baby care. It's very special to me now that she got to be there for the birth of her first grandchild.
It makes me sad because it'll be a long shot for her to make it to the birth of this third baby...
Good luck on your decision. I hope it works out whatever way you decide!
My second was born at night (also in the hospital), so she stayed home with my first. She would have stayed at home with him regardless, though. She was a bit upset, but I explained that I really wanted my son to feel well-taken-care-of, and they have a super close relationship.
For my third (first homebirth), we were planning on having my mom and my sister there again. My boys wanted to be present, so they were to care for them and also take pictures. Well, when active labor started, my instinct was to send my mom and my boys downstairs (my sister wasn't home), and it was only an hour from then 'til the baby was in my arms, so they didn't have time to come back up. I still have mixed feelings about it.. it was unintentionally UC, since the midwife didn't make it, so that was really special, but I felt really bad that my boys especially missed it. For the parts that she was there for, she did really well, followed my husband's lead, etc.
I think that with anyone you plan on having there, mother or not, you need to be especially clear about your expectations. It's really important to explain that you will not be yourself and may not react the way you expect, and that she should not take it personally.
As for inhibitions.. I was able to stay pretty quiet during my first birth, when my mom was present. I had an epidural, so it wasn't a big deal. But I know I stayed quiet because she was there. With my second, I felt free to be loud, but I don't know honestly know if it helped. With my third, I kept my clothes on and never felt the need to take them off. I was quiet during contractions when other people were around, but it wasn't a hardship. I was quite loud during that hour of lightning-fast dilation and pushing, and it never occured to me to be self-conscious about it.
Mommy to Colwyn, 10/03 ~ Lachlann, 8/05 ~ Fiona, 6/08 ~ Niall, 5/10
they are placed there for the amusement of those who like to point them out.
She's very close to DD and it meant the world to her that she was there for the birth (though she didn't push being there; I invited her of my own free will).
I guess overall I'm satisfied that she was there... but if I have another one, it will be just me and DH. It would make sense for mom to watch DD, but honestly I think DD will be fine with just DH. I actually didn't need anyone's attention and support; I just crawled into laborland and was gone.
Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.
For dd2 (at home) we were planning on having MIL be dd1's support person during the birth. The week dd2 was born MIL went out of town to Canada so we had to scramble to find a last minute replacement for her. Mom fit the bill. She was so stressed out about the birth I just wanted her out of the house. When my water broke and I didn't go into labor it really freaked her out. I went to the nearby park to walk and try to get things moving and left my cell phone at home to charge. When I came back I found Mom knocking on my door. I didn't answer my phone so she drove 30 miles to come check on me. I had a contraction while she was there and she touched me and said "was that a bad one?" I looked at her like she had another head and said it was a good one. They had to be strong in order to get the baby out. She left telling us to call her when real labor started. We forgot. MIL drove in that night from Canada after my water broke and was there when I gave birth the next morning.
My mom was present at dd1's birth. She had an aura of fear about her that was very contagious. I wasn't afraid at all until she showed up.
Then there's interesting politics that come into play as DH's parents aren't to be down here until we have had a two-week babymoon (my FIL is high-maintenance, can be loud, and has a couple closed-minded views on child-rearing).
That said, depending on how things go his time around, I'd consider inviting my mother to a birthing if/when we have a second child. Aside from a few little things, she appears to surprisingly respectful of my views of parenthood and is interested in how our natural birth.
I'm hoping to have her at the birthing center after our daughter is born this time.
DS2 - My mom was DS1's support person, but I think that prolonged my labor b/c it took her 4 hours to get here (DS1 woke up 5 minutes after she arrived) and I really think my labor would have been 4 hours shorter had we had local plans for DS1. Then she stayed for a week and it was really stressful for DH AND for me. I'm not sure if she changed or if I/we changed, but it wasn't really helpful for her to be here. It was like it prevented us from finding our new family-with-two-little-ones groove.
I am pg w/#3 (only 8 weeks, so we have some time to figure it out). I'm thinking that we will ask DH's cousin to be the support person for DS1 & DS2, who is local, and maybe invite my mom to come when the baby is born for 24 hours or less, then come back for a longer visit a couple of weeks later after we have some time to adjust.
Here as mama to W (2/04), R (5/06), D (7/09), and J (12/9/12!), co-parenting with my DH
I WOH part-time, am a doula & childbirth educator, home/unschool, and hope we are nearing the center of chaos
When I had to transfer after the 2nd birth she watched DS. I felt a lot of relief knowing he was with her.
It was funny that she saw that I had had a girl before DH did, but she was good about not telling me, since my big request was that DH tell me what we had!