I agree that he'd probably take it in his stride if you assure him it's all perfectly normal BUT I would definitely advise planning for the possibility of a worst case scenario.
I had a home birth 3 months ago for dd3 after two quick and relatively easy hospital births and I assumed it would all be quick and straightforward and not a particular problem if my older children were around. In the event, it all took much longer than expected (regular contractions started at 8 pm, dd3 not born until 1.30 the following afternoon) and it went horribly wrong at the end when the midwives finally realised during the pushing stage that she was undiagnosed breech. She came out not breathing, had to be resuscitated on the kitchen table and we were then transferred to hospital in two blue light ambulances.
Everything was absolutely fine in the end, but if the older two dds had been around I think it would have been pretty scary for them (as well as an added worry for me and dh which we really wouldn't have needed just then!) As it was, my other two dds were asleep upstairs for most of the labour, came down to watch me having contractions (this didn't bother them at all - they thought it was funny) before being packed off to a neighbour who kindly gave them breakfast and took charge of the school/nursery runs and pick-ups so they were out of the way altogether when the drama started. And I had my Mum there as well, who would have looked after them during the night if anything had gone wrong then.
It's extremely unlikely anything like this will happen to you, but I do think it'd be sensible to plan for the possibility that it could. Oh yes, and do pack your hospital bag properly just in case you need to transfer in a hurry - I didn't and was very cross with myself as I ended up in hospital overnight without all sorts of things I needed! Principally chocolate.....
I would have someone on hand who could take him at a moments notice if needed.
I agree that a small child would probably take it in their stride, but this birth may be very different to your last and you may be screaming/swearing etc which he may get bothered by. Can someone (like your mum or MIL?) be there to take him away/distract him so your OH can stay with you?
I have no direct experience, but when asked the same question by a mum of a 3 yo the midwife on our homebirth team said younger children cope even better than adults at HBs- they're mostly unfazed! She said as long as you spell out that this is happening because baby brother/sister is coming, they take it in their stride.
Purely anecdotal, but personally I would have found that reassuring, especially as you do have people who can step in if needed.
Hi, I would find a different plan as he is too young to understand and may find it quite scary even if it is quite calm. Also you create a potential nightmare if you did have to transfer for any reason.
At the very least surely another adult to be with him so your DH can be with you?
I think you should prepare for the worst case scenario and hopefully not need it rather than assume it will be fine.
We're hoping he'll sleep through the whole thing but obviously we need a plan incase it all happens in the daytime! At the moment the plan is for him to be around or DH to take him into the garden during the first stage of labour & for him to play in his cot for the 2nd/3rd stage. He's usually quite happy if left with enough books & checked on occasionally! Assuming it all happens the same as last time he'll only need to be in there for 30mins max.
I've been wondering about having him around for all of it though. He's only little so it's not likely he'll remember it & he's not a particularly sensitive child... He hit DH over the head with a tin the other day & laughed...! DH is concerned about him being disruptive or wound up more than the potential for upsetting him. My labour last time was only 8 hours & I was v calm throughout so I don't think I'm likely to scare him!
Has anyone had such a young child around during their sibling's birth? Any tips?!
(We won't have anyone else actually in the house but we do have several people we can call to take him at short notice if necessary!)