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Need some adivce about my 19mo attending the birth...

424 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  HappyToBe
As the time draws nearer and nearer I am more convinced that dd is not ready to be at the birth of her sister. She is so Mama-centric these days that she will be all over me in labor and I don't think I can handle it. She is also a very sensitive child and I am not sure she is going to be old enough to understand what is going on so she will be upset - and want Mama!
I am having a Doula and dh to support me as well but we have no other relatives in the area to watch dd. I have never been away from her for more than three hours. A few friends offered to take her but I know I will worry about her the whole time becasue we have never been apart for a long time. My last labor was 30 hours and I am worried that she will be very upset (as will I) if she is gone that long - not to mention she is still nursing. We live in student housing so the apartment is so small that she will be able to hear everyhting - and last time I was NOT quiet. OUr plac eis so small that I am actually giving birht in th eliving room if that gives you a better picture...Am I just worrying about this too much? I just want dd (and myself) to be comfortable...Thoughts?
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We had the same issues. DD had just turned 2 when DS was due and we live in a teeny apartment. I knew she understood none of the pregnancy, so why have her there? Is there anyone in the complex that would be willing to watch her and bring her if she needs it? Maybe your doula could help you figure out what to do.

Also, DD slept through the WHOLE birth. We just shut her door and crammed a towel under it to block out light and noise. There was also enough background noise of airconditioning units and music. And I doubt your labor will be 30hr this time!

ETA: Oh! And we had a contingency plan. My friend was on call where if we needed her to come because DD had woken up, she could walk over, play with her outside, take her back to her house, take her to the grocery store, go upstairs to play, whatever to use up time.
i second all of this. ds slept thru most of labor then we had a friend come and sit with him in the basement. he was older- 2 5months.....
he just went back to sleep.

your labor will be different this time. I also reccomend finding someone to help w/ your dd after the birth- ie the next day! I did not and a lady from my neighbors church ended up coming over to hang out with him while I took a nap with the baby!
I had a very similar situation. My son was 16 months at his sister's birth, still nursing, still wanting mama a lot, had never been with a babysitter before.
And it was just fine. We had a friend come to be his buddy. They ended up taking a drive in our car so he could fall asleep, and then parked under a tree for a couple hours for his nap. Then the rest of the time they played at a playground nearby, and played on our front step. That way DH and I were close enough if he totally lost it, but he was far enough away from me that I could fully relax and labor without worrying about him.
Make sure his care givers are both very sensitive to his level of comfort and sensitive to whether or not it would be helpful to you to have him nearby or not. I wasn't able to relax until he was out of my sight but well cared for. He was just fine all day... happy, didn't know what happened. Also my first labor was 36 hours, but second was 8!
we had a similar situation last time. my oldest was not quite 22 months when his brother was born. we had no family in the area to hang out with him, and it was just my husband and i, our midwife, and him. my first labor was also really long, with 4 hours of pushing. i was really nervous about another long labor.

my labor ended up being 2 hours start to finish, in the middle of the night. kieran woke up when the midwife came (about 1/2 an hour before the baby was born) and just hung out on the bed with me, half way watching a movie, and then crawling up to my shoulder to watch the birth. it was really an amazing experience, and i'm so glad it worked out the way it did.
My dd was 19 months old when our second child was born. I wanted to have her at the birth and so I prepared her by explaining by looking through Spiritual Midwifery with her and talking about the babies and the laboring mothers in there. We talked about "our baby" a lot. And I also let her know what kind of sounds I might make.

At the birth I had a really good friend that Cassy was very comfortable with (we made a point to get together and spend a lot of time with her in the time leading up to the birth) come to take care of her.

She slept through most of my labor, then my friend helped her get up and have breakfast, then they went outside to play. At one point Cassy heard me and asked to come back in, and they came into the room with us. That was just before the baby was born and they stayed in there, Cassidy in my friend's arms, and watched the baby come.

I am deeply, deeply thankful she was able to be there (and she and my older son saw their younger brother born as well), and I hope that her memory of how beautiful birth is will remain for her when she is preparing to give birth.
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Thanks so much for the replies! I am going to play it by ear and see how it goes having her here. I will also have a back up plan - or two - or three!
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I 2nd the back-up plan
I'd arranged for a friend to take ds (18mos) during labor but changed my mind once labor started. Ds was so excited and happy & wanted him to be a part of it. But, at about 3am when I was trying to hold him off w/one hand & hold the "puke bucket" with the other, I gave in & called my friend. He had a wonderful time snuggling and being spoiled and came home about an hour after his brother was born.
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