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older child present at baby's birth - have you?

(28 Posts)
ButterflyChild Mon 29-Nov-10 16:52:05

DD, who's nearly 7 is desperate to be at the birth of her sibling. She cries biggest sobs if she thinks that she won't be. She's met the midwife and the consultant, and both say that she's very mature and will be fine. The hospital say that many people do and at her age it's fine. She's done ultrasound on the baby and listened to its heart, packed its hospital bag, wrapped it some presents that she bought, and so wants to be involved.

I had a very calm birth with her, leg cramps were the worst!

She wants to be a hospital nurse when she grows up. And to be honest, when I split my hand open last week she was straight there, wiping the blood, applying ice and then a plaster. And she's also totally cool about blood donation, loves stories about anatomy, and could become fourth generation nurse on both sides of the family.

However, the other mums in the playground think I'm insane to countenance her presence. Except for one farmer's wife. I used to love attending the birth of lambs, calves, kids (goat variety) and foals as a child. And I too had no qualms about attending to my pony's injuries.

Her dad will be there too and can whizz her round to friends if things get too much. He won't be as disappointed as she will at missing the birth! She however has specifically asked me to tell the midwives that she wants to be the first to hold the baby, even if it's slimy like the pictures I've shown her.

What have you done or would you do. Am I mad to agree to see how it goes.

marriednotdead Mon 29-Nov-10 17:58:32

You've obviously thought things through so go for it.

She sounds lovely and very bright smile

As long as you give her clear boundaries so that she doesn't feel responsible for anything, it should be just fine.

ButterflyChild Mon 29-Nov-10 18:11:42

Thank you for some reassurance. Obviously the above scenario is based on things going right.

Dd isn't top of the class intellectually, but she's very very nurturing, especially to the youngest children, and I do want to acknowledge her kindness by respecting her desire.

JustDoMyLippyThenWeWillGo Mon 29-Nov-10 18:17:53

I think that this is not a good idea. I see why you are thinking of going along with it, but who knows how things will go, and it could be a very upsetting experience for her, rather than an inspiring one. She can look after you and baby when born, but reckon you shouldn't do this.

hazchem Mon 29-Nov-10 18:49:44

I was at my brother birth and i was nine. It was a really postive expereince for me and is making me feel really confident about giving birth to my baby when it arrives. It was atually the second birth i attend but i was 2 1/2 at the first one and don't remember.

I went to several ante natal class with my parents and had read lots birth stories. My parents spent lots of time preparing me for both the birth and afterwards.

I would suggest it might not be appropriate for her to hold the baby. just because it really should be and the cord might not be long enough. i did have the responsibility of telling my mum that my brother was boy which was such a huge and exciting thing.

It might be good to have another adult on standby incase something happens that requires your husband to stay with you and where it's not ok for your daughter to be there. I think they would need to have a good idea about births and someone your daughter feels comftable with.

It sounds like you have a totally amazing daughter who is going to end up a great big sister. good luck

ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Mon 29-Nov-10 18:54:46

Your dd sounds lovely, and how fantastic that she knows what she wants to do, I've always wished that I had a vocation.

We plan to have ds (2 1/2) at the birth of our baby in April and I've spoken to a few people on here about it. Their suggestions were:

Before the birth they talked about the sorts of noises that mummy might make and the faces she might pull.

Described what the birth room will be like (bed, pool, etc etc)

ButterflyChild Mon 29-Nov-10 18:55:41

Thanks, as I said the scenario is rose tinted, and I do think about the flipside. Several friends have offered to take dd in. I worry then about the effect on DH and whether he'll feel guilty if he wasn't there if things were going badly and came to the crunch, if he was taking dd round to someone's house at the time (which would necessitate nearly an hour's round trip if finding parking at the hospital is it's usual nightmare!)
I'd love to ask my mother along as a backup to look after dd in hospital, but she's not the sort of person who responds positively to a waiting role, and she lives the other side of the county.

Goodness knows I've been googling and lying awake at nights trying to resolve this one!

Sparklies Mon 29-Nov-10 20:14:56

When I had DC2, DC1 was two. I was at high risk of early, sudden pre-term labour so we might not have been able to sort out childcare in time (the only adult who could help was at least an hour away).

I asked the midwives what would have happened, just out of interest, and they said that often they'd find someone to look after a child for a few hours if absolutely necessary! Obviously not something you'd rely on, but if your DD needed to leave the room and you needed your DH then that might be a possibility.

Incidentally I think it's fine for DD to watch. I wanted a homebirth with DC2 (ended up with EMCS in the end) and was quite happy for her to watch (DH on standby to take her out the room if required) and I think she'd have been fascinated. You know your child best!

4madboys Mon 29-Nov-10 20:21:56

well i am overdue with no5 and my eldest who is 11 wants to be at the birth, if i get my homebirth then he will be and even if i have to go in to be induced then he will probably come along, have checked with the hospital and they are fine with this

i think you know your dd best and so if you are happy to let her be there then fine, just have a back up plan in case

PipIsOutNow Mon 29-Nov-10 20:36:05

i think like others have said you know your dd best and only you can decide how she would react...

if it were me i wouldnt tho - my dsd who lives with us is 6 and she would have been really upset if she'd been at the birth of her little brother as i ended up having an emergency was very rushed and panicky etc etc, i was in a lot of pain and i dont think she would have coped...

BUT your dd is a year older and seems very mature for her age...and your labour might be plain sailing in which case it would be lovely for her to be there...its just hard to judge what will happen isnt it!!

piscesmoon Mon 29-Nov-10 20:56:15

I wouldn't do it-DCs should keep their childhood and not grow up before their time. She has no idea-it might be lovely but it might not.

wannaBe Mon 29-Nov-10 21:13:00

agree with pices - totally inappropriate imo.

And totally unfair on your dh to expect him to miss the birth if he has to take your dd to someone's house.

And what if something goes wrong - it will be very upsetting for her.

She may think she knows what she wants but ultimately at seven she really isn't mature enough - you are the adult and should treat her as the child she is.

mungogerry Mon 29-Nov-10 21:15:17

I recently had number 4 at home. My other 3 aged 6, 4 and 2 were present and were in awe every second. My 4 yr old put his goggles on ready incase he needed to help out (water birth) and my two eldest were indeed the first to hold their new brother (as soon as we had had our time in the pool) and after the mw helped them both to cut the cord.

We prepared lots by vids on you tube, books and practicing making the noises mummies make to get babies out.

My mum was here with us to specifically look after the children. Any signs of anything "going not to plan" they would have been whipped out for chocolate cake, and a trip to the park.

As said you know your child best. Mine reacted just as I thought each of them would, and it was simply amazing for them (and me) to start life with their new sibling this way.

Is there someone who could be on call incase you want your daughter collected from the hossy? Is there a friend who would come collect her so that hubby can stay with you? That way you have a back up?

Good luck

piscesmoon Mon 29-Nov-10 22:23:15

DCs want to do a lot of things that are not suitable-it doesn't mean that you have to let them.

StickThemWithThePointyEnd Mon 29-Nov-10 22:28:47

you seem to have thought it through very well, and I would go for it.

cupcakesinthesnow Mon 29-Nov-10 22:43:19

I would love my 8 and 10 year olds to be at the birth of any sibling and would heartily encourage them! Yes, sometimes things do not go as planned, but more often then not, everything is fine and dandy. So with that in mind, of course have a back up plan, but hey, childbirth IS a wonderful thing and if your daughter has expressed a string desire to witness that, go with it.

marriednotdead Mon 29-Nov-10 22:58:57

mungojerry, I salute your insanity bravery shockgrin

4madboys Tue 30-Nov-10 09:02:59

mungoberry that sounds wonderful!

i repeat what i said, you know your daughter best, so if you think she will be fine then go for it, just have a back up plan

good luck xxx

ReshapeWhileDamp Thu 02-Dec-10 23:45:40

To the naysayers - why assume something will go wrong? And if something looked as if it might get tricky, play it by ear, have her leave the room.

She sounds like a mature little girl who is really into this. It happens all around the rest of the world and it's only in the West that we seem to think this is a taboo, to allow older siblings to watch their younger ones being born.

I think 7 is a great age, she'll remember it forever. I'm really impressed the hospital are up for it. I'm hoping for a homebirth with my second baby, and while I do think DS is too young (he'll be a couple of months short of 3), if he were a couple of years older I'd definitely consider it if he wanted to. My MW says that in her experience, younger children tend to turn off or get bored, wander in and out, but eventually come in for the finish and are mesmerised! smile

Barbeasty Fri 03-Dec-10 17:52:30

My SIL just had a homebirth for number 6 and four of the older siblings were there, aged 10, 8, 6 and 4 (do you see the pattern here?!) The 2 year old was too busy playing with his toys.

They all coped fine.

4madboys Tue 07-Dec-10 22:22:48

bump, i had baby no 5, on sunday at 1:50a, her eldest brother was present for the birth, despite the fact that i was induced and ended up with syntocinon drip, very painful labour, thank god for gas and air!

but ds1 was there throughout and coped brilliantly and then cut the cord! he is definitely a VERY proud big brother and already dotes on her.

if you think your dd will be ok, i would say go for it, just have a back up plan xxx

girlynut Thu 09-Dec-10 14:42:01

I had DS1 present when his little brother was born at home last year. He was just under 4 years old at the time.

He merrily wandered in and out of the room, going off to watch a bit of TV and then come back to give me a cuddle. He brought me biscuits to look after me!

I think it sounds like a wonderful idea and it makes me quite sad when people go on about preserving children's "innocence". Birth is the most natural thing and, as I was happy for DS1 to see lambs being born, I had no qualms about him seeing his brother come into the world. He still tells people about how he saw his brother come out "mummy's noo"! grin

I also think it makes the adjustment to having a new sibling a bit easier if the older children are involved.

That said, I do think it wise to have a back-up plan in case you or your daughter get distressed. Why does it have to be an hour's round trip? Can you not ask one of the other school mums in your area whether they would look after your daughter in the event of an emergency? I'm sure you'd find somebody who wouldn't mind coming to the hospital.

I really hope that your little girl gets to see the baby being born. She sounds like a very grounded loving child who would enjoy such an amazing experience.

carlyvita Fri 10-Dec-10 18:52:33

Aw lovely. I saw all my brothers and sisters enter the world and it was a fantastic experience. Even when little sister needed cord removing after slight frantic flurry, it confirmed from an early age that birth is a normal and healthy part of life.

Though I was just as interested in the after birth treats that would always appear! A new game usually, or book, chocolate biscuits and other yummies to enjoy. Also, the full attention of Mum's friends, who were always there too!

I say go for it!

KellyBronze Fri 10-Dec-10 19:39:43

Waves at ILTMIMI. Congratulations. didn't know you were expecting. namechanger from Sept 08 thread here.

KellyBronze Fri 10-Dec-10 19:41:13

oh dd1 was at the birth of dd2. She was 3.7 yrs at the time. we didn't plan it that way but dd2 was fast and we couldn't get our care there in time. she remembers it fondly at 5.8 yrs.

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