This baby is due right around our son's third birthday and our daughter will be about 16 months old by then. We aren't sure what to do with them haha. This will be our first UC.
Maybe the best thing is to see how it goes and see what time of day it is. If they are sleeping and it is night. We will just leave them alone.
I thought I wanted to have my older children there in the house when I had my fourth baby. Midway into labor, I realized I couldn't really relax and focus on what I was doing with them there, so I had a friend come borrow them for the day and bring them back after the birth.
Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
13yo ds 10yo dd 8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds
I thought I wanted my older kids present, too. Leading up to the birth I told my girls (10, 7 and 5) that they were welcome to watch if they wanted but when it came down to it none of them chose to. Now that I think of it, I don't know if that was really them or if dh shooed them out because he has a hard time splitting his attention and it was too much for him; I'll have to remember to ask them. Anyways, they all four wandered in and out of my bedroom while I was hanging out in the pool. As it turned out, ds1 (a month shy of 2yo) was napping during the actual delivery which was good, and the girls were in the living room watching a movie. when dh realized I was close to delivery, he panicked a bit and called a family friend to come sit with the kids in case they needed reassurance but she didn't arrive before the baby, lol. I gave two really good primal screams as I pushed the baby out that they definitely heard and were concerned about but not scared of, but I didn't wake ds1. In hindsight, I'm glad that my girls were in our house but not in the birthing room because I tend to go on about how I'm dying during transition and that probably would have been unsettling for them even if I"d thought to prep them for it beforehand, which I hadn't.
eta...I just asked them ~ they were hanging out by the door kinda hoping to get in and watch but dh had them go out. I kinda figured, lol. But like I said, probably for the best.
I had my older two around for my last homebirth (in and out at their leisure). I was quite focused and it didn't really bother me...but at one point my daughter started cracking jokes that I sounded like a cow, my son disagreed...he said I sounded like a sheep. LOL. Even at the time I thought it was funny.
In the end, they played upstairs during most of the labour and came down for the actual birth (though they tended to stand at a distance). I am planning on letting them be around for this one again. Though my brother will be here to amuse the kids if needed.
I did prep my oldest ones last time with birth videos though. I think it helped. I'm worried about my 2-yr old for this next birth. I think I might end up needing my brother to take care of her.
W/ our 3rd baby I could not focus, having the children around. They'd been prepped before hand, (they were 2 & 4) & wanted me to read a story, come look at the picture they had made, make a snack, etc., so I called my SIL to be w/ them. For our 4th baby we packed them off to grandma's. It was our first UC & Husband wanted no distractions. Plus I like to be naked, & being naked is not a family event for us. And I did sound like a goat, lol.
I never did have my children present. I am really easily distracted. In early labor they were wonderful but still with the energy and needs of little kids, and I was distracted, so. :)
Although if they had been older when I became pregnant, and they had wanted to be there, I might have made a different choice.
My bestie has 3 younger children. During her last delivery it was important to her that they be present based on an experience she had as a child being excluded. However during labor her kids were not able to separate their needs from what mom needed. She was having serious contractions and they were bugging her about snacks and wanting to hug her. When her 5 year old threw a ttantrum about not being able to be in her bed, she was finally okay with me taking them home so she and hubby could focus.
After all that I think its important to know yourself and your kids, making the best decision in the interest of yourself as the laboring person. Everyone else will be okay no matter what your decision becomes.