Anyone had their toddler with them during a home birth?

(18 Posts)
MATB1 Wed 16-Jul-14 08:55:44

DD was a pretty straightforward home water birth so planning the same for dc2 who us due in a couple of days.

Due to various family politics and dramas we don't want to ask our parents to have DD when the time comes and are thinking of keeping her at home. Obviously in an ideal world she'd be in bed and sleep through the whole thing but I'm fully aware that may well not happen!!

DD is 2.7 and gas watched a couple of OBEMs with me and understands there's a baby in mummy's tummy etc. My midwife said she's been at a few home births where the toddler is there and they've been fine.

Some friends recently says they needed their other children out so that they could focus on labour and not worry about them. I don't want it to be a nightmare for DH either!

DD's birth was also fairly fast (approx 5 hours from losing plug to first contractions to having her) so I'm worried this one will be quick too and there won't be much time to drop dd anywhere and get the pool sorted etc anyway so it would just be easier if she stays here.

Obviously if I need to go to hospital we'd call the parents to come look after dd or drop her off there.

I guess I'm after any experiences of having your dc present whilst in labour at home.

PenguinsHatchedAnEgg Wed 16-Jul-14 13:12:07

I have had two home births, in both cases whilst the older child(ren) were asleep upstairs.

I can't comment on having them present, but in both cases I was having niggly contractions that didn't go anywhere until they were in bed. I have to go totally into myself during labour and think I would have struggled with them present. I also cope with the pain in quite a very fucking loud primal way, so I think they might have found it scary to have mummy ignoring them and making very loud noises. Depends how you labour I guess?

You also need maybe a plan or a code word if you have some sort of complication that means they need to leave the room this instant - thinking of a should dystocia or similar. In that case, how would your DH feel if he had to leave you alone with the midwife until someone could arrive?

We also had a doula both times, and both times checked that she would be happy to babysit in case of an emergency transfer and then follow us to hospital once our childcare arrived. Could you consider that?

TeenageMutantNinjaTurtle Wed 16-Jul-14 13:25:00

We just had a home birth and I'm bloody glad dd1 (2.6yo) wasn't there. Birth was nowhere near as straightforward as dd1... Dd2 got stuck (she had her hands above her head) and so labour was longer and far more painful than the first one. There's no way I would have wanted dd1 to witness me groaning around the living room, I think she'd have been terrified.

We also had a doula and dh would have done childcare and doula would have been my birth partner if necessary. But our lovely neighbours took dd out for the day so we were fine.

I think you should have some sort of back up childcare in place in case things aren't as straightforward as your first birth or it's taking longer than you expected...

Best of luck!

MATB1 Wed 16-Jul-14 19:31:07

Hmm, thanks...

We can ask the parents (we have three sets between us as mine are divorced) but it's likely to upset whoever doesn't get asked. Ridiculous I know but it's just a game we don't want to play at this stage; dealing with the fall out of that isn't specially appealing.

Friends have offered too so we have a couple of options to fall back on.

Fingers crossed it's quick(ish), easy and at night when dd is soundo.

<hopeful>

fasterthanthewind Wed 16-Jul-14 19:35:45

DS was 2.1 when DD was born - niggling contractions all day and then suddenly full blown labour, midwives only just made it, and there was no way DH could put DS to bed.
DS sat at the other end of the room, entirely unphased, watching a DVD.

I don't think it's ideal, though, and I was v glad when, next time round, the older ones were asleep.

If you have local support then I'd ask lots of possible people if they'd mind being called at no notice, and then just see what happens.

MATB1 Wed 16-Jul-14 22:06:59

Yes middle of the night would probably be best... If only you could plan/time these things!!

I might see if I can get her to sit and watch another OBEM with me and talk about what mummy might be doing.

During my last labour I wasn't specially vocal until close to the end - but then it was that deep guttural noise that's almost involuntary.... I was sure I sounded loud and horrific but DH reckons it wasn't that bad (and he's not the type to be polite - he also said he thought I was going to stand up and beat my chest at one point blush...)

But as you ladies say, who knows what this one will be like........

FloweryBoots Thu 17-Jul-14 11:56:25

Not personal experience but My Mum had home births and someone came round to the house in case any of the exisiting kids woke up. For the last (6th) those of us who wished to be actually present were told we could be (lots of prep conversations films etc.). I was 10 and hovered by the door but didn't look at any details! My sister (15) watched I think. Youngest 2 slept through.

My younger sister had her second at home and parents went up to the house so they were around in case her first woke up. Not sure what theyd have done if it was day time though, probably shipped him off to parents.

If asking a set of parents is an issue could you ask a friend to come over to be around in case number 1 wakes. (Cand you use distance of parents/speed of labour as reasoning for not asking any of them and getting a friend/nabour?!)

MATB1 Thu 17-Jul-14 21:58:09

Hmm I feel less inclined to have someone here as I think it would make me uncomfortable... Plus the friends I'd ask have young children of their own so it would be a fairly big ask.

We've pretty much decided to play it by ear. We do have people we can call upon, it's just juggling the politics of it all. DD's nursery may be able to help too. My parents have fairly busy weekends coming up which may make things easier as they will be unavailable anyway.

littlejohnnydory Thu 17-Jul-14 22:26:06

Not yet but I will be! I have 3 children, 2 and 3 were home births - we lived near family then so the existing children were with my mum. However, we live hundreds of miles away now and expecting dc4 in the Autumn. I don't get on with my family and wouldn't feel at all comfortable having my mum to stay, it would completely spoil the time for me, so I'm not prepared to do it.

I'm fine with having the 7 and 5 year olds there - the toddler concerns me as it isn't so easy to prepare her, and she is very clingy to me - I wonder if she'll want to climb all over me, cuddle me, sit on my knee... ideally I'd want her to be asleep or somewhere else, I just don't have another option really. Nobody here we know well enough to leave the children with, and 2 year old hasn't been away overnight before.

I'm also very aware that if I did have to transfer to hospital, I'd be going by myself. Also at the back of my mind is - what if it wasn't straightforward, would I wnat the children to witness that? If it's a lovely straightforward birth, that's fine, but never any guarantees.

Having said that, I have two friends who have had home births with other children present - one was during the night so asleep upstairs, but the other had her 2 children in the room watching their baby sister's birth.

MATB1 Thu 17-Jul-14 22:52:13

Yes so many unknowns! Middle of the night would be best all round, shame you can't plan or time it to order.

I've hot my clary sage to the ready though. When I was 39+6 with dd I had a bath with some in it at about 11am, had my show at 3:30pm, DD was born by 8:30pm so maybe it did do the trick, but not convinced I could t

MATB1 Thu 17-Jul-14 22:52:30

Oops... Time it the sane again!!

MATB1 Thu 17-Jul-14 22:52:50

Argh. *Same.

123rd Thu 17-Jul-14 23:00:35

Hi. My dd was very nearly 3 when I had a home birth. And she slept right thru it too! We had chatted to her about it a bit, but not overly. I had the thought that she would take as much interest as she wanted to. Like you op, my first labour was roughly 5.5 hrs from waters going to dd being born. Ds was two hours 20 minssmile good luck. She is sure to be fine.

ohforfoxsake Thu 17-Jul-14 23:09:28

I had three of four at home, and all close together so had three LOs at the last. I had a birthing partner for dc2, DH for dc3 and on my own for dc4.

DC2 conveniently came in the early hours.

DC3, well, it worked out. My upstairs neighbours were on stand by which was a massive help, and dc3 decided to come at 7am, when the boys woke up. I said good morning to DS1, told him the baby was coming, he sat on the living room watching Thomas (I now always associate "peep peep" with labour)' had DC3, DS2woke up and they went off with the neighbours and had breakfast. Came back half an hour later and met their sister.

DC4s birth took place inbetween DC2's stomach bug. I'll spare you the details on that one. She decided she was coming at their bedtime and wasn't going to hang around. DH got dc 2&3 to bed, DC1 asked for an early night as I turfed him out of the bath to get in in a bid to slow things down.

You definitely need someone on stand by, but you will have two midwives with you. My DH didn't really want to see them being born, and I didn't mind, which made it all far easier. I don't ever remember worrying about what to do with the others - so it was a massive help.

Do you have a friend who could at least support you through labour, if not the birth? Free your DH up to look after you LOO but still be around.

I really do wish you the best of luck.

ohforfoxsake Thu 17-Jul-14 23:10:07

God massive post, and quite dull, sorry!

rockybalboa Thu 17-Jul-14 23:11:42

I had DS3 at home whilst the other DC (then 2 and 4) were asleep. I had DS2 v fast so was expecting the same but in the end I laboured all night and DS3 was born at 7am. There may have been quite a lot of shouting at the end (ahem) but it didn't wake the DC in the room above and DH went and got them half an hour later when we heard movement. It was lovely having them in the house. We talked to them before about what to expect if dS3 was born whilst they were up. They would probably have got bored and gone off to watch something on Netflix though!

affinia Thu 17-Jul-14 23:12:28

I had a home birth and my very slightly younger toddler was aware of some of it happening, (unintentionally as my parents got stuck in M25 closure). Wasn't too much of a biggie but would plan to have back up. There was some talk of a hospital transfer and I did start to panic (not helpful when in labour!) about being on my own. Fortunately all turned out ok and DS2 decided to get a move on.

MATB1 Thu 17-Jul-14 23:26:14

We watched a OBEM this afternoon - we skipped a lot of it and forwarded to the noisy bits and actual births. I explained that mummy might look similar when the baby comes but that I'd be fine and not scared or hurt or sad, but just concentrating and happy and excited. She did a bit of a demo for DH when he got in and then wanted to watch peppa. So that was reassuring!

However, earlier today a wasp would not leave me alone and I got in a bit if a flap... That seemed to stress her out a bit which isn't so reassuring! Though I did chuck her food away quite quickly as I think the wasp was after that too so am hoping she was just upset at the snatched apple!

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