I have an 18 month old daughter and am currently 30 weeks pregnant. I am planning on giving birth to this baby at a birth center who is very encouraging of involving siblings in the birth process. We really have no choice but to plan on having her there through the whole process. My mom will be flying into town for 4 days around my due date, but who knows when I'll go into labor! We have no friends who we can have watch her (we don't leave her with ANYONE lol). We WANT to include her and have her present for the birth :)
I'm just not sure how to prepare her for it? Realistically what can we expect her to understand? How do children at her age generally respond to the birth process?
Thanks to anyone who has any advice :)
My 22 month old was present at the birth of his baby brother (also at a birth center), here is the advice I have for you (what worked for us and what did not) We had a bag of new toys, books and movies that he had never seen before, that way they would be new and interesting to him. Have someone there that can be dedicated to caring for your LO, So they can go for walks and handle her needs. My son found seemed to get agitated when he saw me in pain so he was brought in and out of the room depending on my pain level. I was still breastfeeding and did so only once during labor. We brought him into me during the pushing stage so that he could see his baby brother born, but he got a little upset when I screamed out at one point, thankfully there was someone there he trusted to comfort him. When his baby brother was born he asked to nurse and before the placenta was delivered they nursed together for the first time. It was beautiful....but prepare your LO for what is to come, we watched Natural birthing videos together before labor in preparation and we did our best to explain what was going to happen and talked it up as a happy experience. But it was hard for him to see mommy in pain. I truly think the key is having someone there that is responsible for caring for his/her needs that can come in and out of the birth room. but overall it was a great thing to have him present, all three of my children will be present at the birth of #4 this summer and we will be following the same plan.
The advice to have someone there to care for the toddler sounds great--then you'll be covered no matter what happens.