Homebirth with toddler

(67 Posts)
Catsize Fri 24-Jan-14 21:35:36

I have this crazy idealistic vision of going into labour in the night and then giving birth in the night too. If my toddler awakes, he will potter downstairs and witness the calm birth of his sibling.
The reality may be much different I guess.
Son's birth was meant to be at home but ended up as 3-day induction hellishness. And I was very ill afterwards. Hoping for a different experience this time!
I was not a screamer first time, and suppose I won't be second time. Hoping to have a pool birth.
Son has been fascinated by the whole baby bump business, the tests, scans etc. so far and my inner hippy would hate to exclude him from the final stage. However, I am concerned that he might want to come for a swim in the pool at a crucial moment and may get distressed by the sight of blood. Do young children just take it in their stride?
Planning to have a neighbour or two on stand-by anyway.
Anyone any experience of such things? Thanks.

agendabender Mon 10-Feb-14 09:12:59

We read "hello baby" with our three year old, and discussed how mummy would do lots of shouting and make dinosaur noises. He also saw a couple of birth videos. In the event I laboured very quickly at night (two hourse from first contraction to baby) and he slept through most of it. He woke up just at the last minute, and wandered into the hall to see what was going on. Everyone missed the birth at the business end, but DS could see my head, and saw the baby attached to me soon afterwards. He took it all in his stride, asked to cut the cord, pointed out the placenta etc. He also had no problem understanding that the baby on the inside and the baby on the outside were the same. I'd recommend it, but would also recommend having someone available to take them into another room and play with them if they want it. With a two hour labour, our baby arrived before our nominated person!

crunchyfrog Mon 10-Feb-14 09:21:21

My older two DC, aged 5 and 3 at the time, slept through DC3's birth. It wasn't quiet! He arrived at 6am, the kids got up at 8, a lovely surprise for them.grin grin

DuskAndShiver Mon 10-Feb-14 12:07:19

I had dd1 at home but didn't want to have her around for the birth of dd2. I just didn't want to have to think about how it might be affecting her (usually I can walk and chew gum but when giving birth I prefer not to multi-task) and when I left to go to the MLU at 7am I was glad to get out of the house before she woke up and saw me in pain.
I think this is very personal (to you and your child) whether it is a nice thing, or an extra stress, but I would say keep your options open - if there is someone around who could take your child away if you want that (or the child seems to want it) then that would be best.

Vagolajahooli Mon 10-Feb-14 13:11:28

Hi watching this thread with interest. I had DS2 at home and wanted ds1 who was 3.5 at the time to be present. However, my DH refused, he is very open to anything and everything normally (he actually caught ds2, loved it, highly recommend it, just make your DP/DH's sign a waver saying he won't give all his IT geek workmates a graphic description of baby emerging from fanjo). His reasons where very good though. He felt that during the birth of DS1 that he wasn't supportive enough, a bit freaked out by it all. So he was determined for DS2 to be a much better support. He felt that if he had to support me and look out for DS2 that he couldn't be the support he wanted to be. And to be honest he was right, he was amazing, seriously amazing. I would hire him out as doula, he is wasted in IT. He really got to be involved in the birth the way he wanted and I'm grateful for that.

If we had had a family member or someone else there to be with DS2 if he did wake then I think DH would have gone for the idea. As it was I went into labour at 7.30am wandered around for a while then started the 2nd stage a 8pm and had ds2 at 9.20pm. So really it would have been a pretty boring day for DS1. Instead he was picked up by a friend, went to football, a birthday party and had a whale of a time. I couldn't wait until the next day to introduce him though, so DH went to our friends house and picked him up at 11.30pm and we all snuggled up together and slept our first night. SO in the end was quite lovely.

Let us know how you go.

Lindt70Percent Mon 10-Feb-14 14:04:58

I had my 2nd baby at home. My son was 2.5 yrs old at the time.

My labour was only 45 minutes long (about 20 minutes officially). As everything was so quick I laboured downstairs with DS as by birth partner while DH was upstairs trying to put a plastic sheet on our bed. My mum was on her way over to look after DS but as she lives a 45 min drive away she didn't make it in time. DS and I had the 'Fun Song Factory' video on while I was coping with contractions and I have a strange memory of him saying to me, "Come on Mummy, all the words and all the actions" and trying to get me to join in with Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

Anyway, due to the speed of everything I ended up giving birth downstairs. DS was there almost throughout but was out of the room at the actual point she was born as H had to go upstairs to get the birthing box and DS had followed him up there. H shut him behind the stair gate while he carried the box back down, saw DD being born and then went straight back up to get DS. DS was absolutely thrilled when he saw DD which was a relief as he hadn't been particularly looking forward to her arrival. He was even more thrilled when he was given a celebratory chocolate biscuit.

A couple of weeks after her birth, DS was in the bath and I was trying to do some sit ups next to the bath when he peered over the side and said, "Are you having another baby?".

Aww, happy memories.

rememberingnothing Mon 10-Feb-14 14:16:05

Another birthing in the night one here. DD1 was 16 months when her sister arrived. I laboured between 1.30 and 5.30 and DD1 woke at 6 to meet her sister.

I had a plan as my mum lives close by and I would have called her if needed but I had planned to just let her be otherwise.

TheScience Mon 10-Feb-14 14:16:24

DS is 3.5 and I am 38 weeks - I love the idea of him sleeping upstairs during the labour and waking up to meet the new baby, but I think I would find the reality too stressful. I had a planned homebirth with DS but had to transfer into hospital by ambulance at 8cm, it was very long and difficult and there were about 6 midwives at my house by the end (!) so not really calm and serene.

I know second births should be quicker and easier but I think if I am worried about DS and how he is coping I won't be able to concentrate on actually having the baby. He's going to stay at grandma's anyway.

WoTmania Mon 10-Feb-14 15:13:32

my younger two were both born at home in the early hours while the older sibs were asleep.
From chatting with other friends who have had HBs a common theme is that they have early niggles and once the older DC are asleep for the night or napping during the day things kick off.
I loved being able to have my older DC hop into bad and have cuddles with the new baby.

mckenzie Mon 10-Feb-14 17:37:04

I was in pretty much full labour when DH took DS, then nearly 4, upstairs for an early bath and bed. DS been helping me fill the birthing pool during the evening so he knew the birth was imminent. While they were upstairs, DS kept asking what the funny noise was and DH told him I was watching something on TV. Thankfully he went to sleep no problem and slept through the midwife arriving and the main noise about 45 minutes later.
It was lovely when he came into our room the next morning and we showed him our new arrival.

scrivette Mon 10-Feb-14 20:20:54

My Mum had an (unplanned) HB when I was almost 3.

My Nana was there and was with me downstairs whilst my Mum had my brother, as soon as he was born the nurse (midwife hadn't arrived and they had called the nurse who lived next door in to help) called me into the room and I was the first person after her to hold him.

It was a very special day and one that I remember very well despite being so young.

casperthefriendlyghost Mon 10-Feb-14 20:34:17

DS2 was a HB when DS1 was 3.2. I went into labour in the morning and laboured through the day - DS1 was around but being entertained by my Dad. My Mum was there to look after me and DH and DH was looking after me so it all worked really well! Things got a bit awkward towards the end of the day as DS2 was back to back so was taking his time changing position and coming out so I was really glad that we had this support network around us - I could fully focus on the birth and know that DS1 was well looked after. DS2 was eventually born at around 9.30pm so DS1 was not there to witness the birth - but family snuggles in bed the next day were amazing! DD1 was also a homebirth - hers was much quicker. Started to labour at dinner time, kept quiet as was expecting a 24hr timescale like previous 2, put DS1&2 to bed then got into sorting out moses baskets etc. She arrived just gone midnight - about 10 minutes before my Mum arrived to help out! Neither DS1 or 2 heard a peep as when they got up next day we had to point out the moses basket in our room they had run around and the baby sleeping quietly in it... So, like many others it can be done & is highly recommended!

aniseed Mon 10-Feb-14 21:18:29

I had a planned homebirth with my third and I do believe that the baby comes when everything is ready. Contractions began at 6.00pm so carried on with dinner and bed with older two dc. Contractions were not painful or regular and was unsure whether I was actually in labour. Dc in bed and asleep by 8pm so I had a bath. Still contracting but not painful. First painful one at 8.55. Baby born at 9.21 delivered by (very squeamish) husband as left it too late to ring midwife! Was perfect birth (although we know we were very lucky that nothing went wrong - baby cried as soon as born and no problems). Midwife and ambulance came 5 mins later. Tucked up in own bed by 11.00pm. I was so relaxed the whole time and baby (now 4 months) is a very chilled out baby.
With hindsight I am glad that dc were asleep as there was a lot of blood and mess and I wouldn't have been able to 'let go' which I think is very important for labour. I don't know how they stayed asleep though!

ISpyPlumPie Mon 10-Feb-14 21:29:59

DS1 slept through Ds2's birth which I am still amazed at as he wasn't the best sleeper and I was somewhat vocal!! It was exactly as I hoped - went into labour about 1am, Ds2 born just after 5am so the first DS1 knew was when he got up the next morning and met his new brother. All down to total good luck - realised early on that this was the bit I couldn't really 'plan' at all. We did have DM upstairs in case he woke up/ I needed to transfer in and I think if it'd been daytime she would have taken him back to hers, so there were arrangements in place. I just mean that it was do fortunate that it all happened with no disruption to him and that was down to chance really.

Hope everything goes well for you smile

FelizFuturaMama Mon 10-Feb-14 21:34:19

Huge yes from me, as long as you have lots of grownup support as well. My DD1 (2.2) woke up when I was in the early stages of labour for my home birth (I think she instinctively knew), we did stories together and she went back into her cot to 'read'. During my final stage, when I did scream a lot (but only for the six minutes it took for DD2 to put in an appearance!) my Dad played with her, while Mum and DH looked after me. Dad brought her down straight away and it was just magic, she said, "My baby's here" and stroked her cheek, then asked Granny to clean up the red paint! We had a bath together afterwards and she then snuggled in with my parents. The next morning she woke up knowing her little sister had arrived. I would thoroughly recommend having a toddler present as there's been no jealousy towards baby and I think me not going away to hospital really helped.

Catsize Tue 04-Mar-14 12:37:51

Hi All, thank you so much for the many many wonderful stories. I feel that I should share some of what actually happened, even though nobody might read it now!
Just over a week ago, I gave birth at home to a beautiful baby girl. The contractions started on the Saturday, at 5am, but soon stopped when my son got up and put Thomas the Tank on. So, we got on with our day and they started again about 10pm, but quite mild, so tried to get some sleep. Just after 1, not so mild. Called the midwife an hour or so later, and she arrived but my contractions slowed. I went back to bed, where they had been quite effective. Son still at home, and at one point woke up and came to see me, but quite late on. We decided to call a friend and he went to play there. Soon after, our midwife said to my partner to start filling the pool. I was thinking that this was going to be very difficult, as I was in a lot of pain, and knew how long the pool took to fill, so figured I wasn't very far dilated etc. Back-up midwife was telephoned at 07:15, but she lives quite a way away and never made it. Our daughter was born at 07:34 (45 mins after our son left the house) with one slight push. It was a case of waters broke, I said she was coming, and she came. With some velocity! There wasn't even time to turn on the lights in the bedroom, and she was born by the light of the midwife's headtorch (she had just nipped up to check I was okay). I gave birth lying on my side in bed (not the plan but she was coming ready or not!), cursing that I had a zillion shower curtains etc downstairs but none upstairs, as I wasn't supposed to be in the bedroom giving birth! Managed to avoid the cream carpet at least. Mattress not so good, Oh, and the Tens machine batteries ran down towards the end (partner later confessed that she had used some from the drawer that 'might have been used for something else'). Anyway, the whole experience was amazing, drug-free, and celebrated with an early morning glass of champagne. Such a cathartic experience after my last birth, and the recovery has been a million times better too. With hindsight, it was the right decision for our son to leave. Even though I was more of a groaner than a screamer, I think the sight of what happened would have been too much for him. If I had been in the pool (which was filled to about two inches!), it might have been different.

Seff Wed 05-Mar-14 19:08:13

Congratulations, I think we'll probably do as you did and play it by ear WRT the toddler smile

What a lovely birth story! Congratulations smile

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