Did you let your 1st child be present for the delivery of the 2nd?
My dd is 4 and is a little sensitive. I've been trying to prepare her for 'the day'....telling her the sequence of events like first you will go to your friends house, then Grandma/Grandpa will pick you up, then take you to the hotel to play/swim, then when baby come out of momma you can come and see her.
Today she said she wants to see the baby come out of momma. Since we don't have pets/live on a farm, I have shown her video of cats/dogs having babies. Any one let older siblings watch and what was their and your experience? Do you think it's a good idea?
Since then I've attended a lot of homebirths and have seen that most kids do really well but it's important to have someone there that can take the child out of the room if s/he becomes upset or scared. That person also needs to be comfortable with birth and homebirth and be a generally calm person so that if there are any issues, they don't freak out, thereby freaking out your child. If you don't think one of your parents could fit the bill, you can usually find a doula (maybe a newer one, which would be less expensive) who can be a "sibling doula" for your older child. They are used to being on-call, comfortable with birth, and are used to being up at all hours.
Fledgling midwife on hiatus, Wife to B, mama to C (c/s 12/04) and S (12/07), m/c (3/12) and expecting another bean 6/13 .
Dd1 had just turned 3 when her sister was born.
We had her watch some birth videos before the birth. We emphasized that mommy would make a lot of noise, because having babies was hard work. We told her that she could help by being really quiet. We also said she could help bring me water to drink.
I had a really short labor (less than four hours). For most of it she was asleep. When she woke up grandma took her to her room and they played with blocks until I was ready to push. When I started pushing grandma brought her out and she sat quietly in grandma's lap and watched. I have great pictures of her reaching over to her sister over the tub after she was born.
dd is 4.5 and is very excited to watch her sibling be born! She slept through ds's birth, but has said that if she's sleeping this time she wants to be woken up. She's pretty prepared, I think. I've let her watch birth videos since she was a baby. She's seen plenty of videos where mom is vocalizing and cussing and so she has pretty full disclosure of what to expect. She asks questions about the cord and placenta and how the cord goes into the baby, so I think being able to get a good look at all of that will be a great opportunity for her. I plan to have my mom come so if she changes her mind at any time she can take her somewhere else and distract her. And I have a load of family around here. there's 3 different people within a 5 minute drive the kids could be dropped off at, plus another more like 15 minutes away. I don't see the harm in letting her stay and watch, as long as she has the option to change her mind and leave the house if she needs to. Let her know what it will be like.. that there will be some blood and its okay, you might make loud noises, etc.
My DS was 3.5 when he watched his baby sister be born. It was fantastic! I think it really formed an instant bond between them. There are no jealousy issues whatsoever (well at least from him. DD, on the other hand, another story. LOL). I felt the only thing we could have done better to prepare him was to prep him for what happens after (we completely forgot about that) because he was expecting to go home and all that and with it being 3 in the morning with him having no sleep, a mini-meltdown happened.
But yes, I highly recommend siblings being present at birth.
Thanks so much to all of you for replying. It sounds really wonderful and I am so glad your experiences were so positive. I spoke to my mom about it and she's not on board with the idea mainly because I have many issues that could possibly result in a traumatic experience (Gest. diab., high blood pressure, 43 years old). Mom is afraid that if something traumatic happens then she will be responsible for keeping her wits about her to care for my daughter. She keeps reminding me that I am her baby girl and it would be very hard for her to know something bad happened and still care for her granddaughter. She would rather just focus on my daughter and play with her not knowing anything until it's all done.
So it looks like I will just drop it and go along with how my mom is feeling. I feel kind of torn about it, but the unknown factor is a little worrisome. I would really hate for my daughter or my mom to have a terrible experience. The benefit doesn't seem worth the risk at this point.