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Has anyone had a homebirth with older children in the house? What did you do?

(30 Posts)
LaWeasel Sat 07-May-11 11:03:21

DC2 is not due until December, but I'm veering toward a homebirth for this one.

However, we're in new area haven't got any friends here, everyone that could watch DD (2yo) are more than 2 hours away... now partly, that's why I want a homebirth, so I don't have to wait 2 1/2hrs to wait for a babysitter before I can go to hospital.

But - do you think it's a good idea to ask someone to make the journey as soon as I go into labour just in case I end up transferred to hospital?
or would it be better to ask someone to come and stay with us around the time.

Baby being due at christmas time we will have to get on with asking people to do this asap.

Also - did your older children wake up, or did they sleep through it if you laboured overnight?

OP’s posts: |
GColdtimer Sat 07-May-11 11:10:09

Personally I would try and make some local friends to call on to help out. You have a good few months to make some contacts - toddler groups, nct, children's centres. Plan b would be to call someone when you go into labour. Not sure I would want someone in my house on a just in case basis.

My dd went to her grandma's but my waters broke in the night and I didn't wake her. Just packed her lunch for pre school and got some overnight things together for her in case we were transferred. As it was dd2 didn't arrive for over 24 hours after my waters went so had loads of time! What was your first labour like?

LaWeasel Sat 07-May-11 11:24:46

Obviously, am trying to make friends, but life doesn't necessarily work so neatly straight away!

My first labour was very quick for a first time. at 11.30pm 2 contractions and then my waters broke, contractions were immediately a few minutes apart so straight to hospital DD born 8 hours later. Everything was very straight forward.

I did feel like something might be going on during the day before hand,but nothing as solid as having contractions.

So I might get some advance warning, I might not...

OP’s posts: |
PrettyCandles Sat 07-May-11 11:45:06

I moved house when pg with dc3 and knew nobody. I, too, worried about childcare during labour. Mumsnet advised me to ask mums at my dc's school and nursery, saying thst they would be glad to help out in this sort of situation, even if we weren't good friends. And MN was right grin. Several even offered. And by the time dc3 was born I had made friends.

The arrangement we made was that when I was in labour and called on another mum, she would basically take over looking after my dc: collecting them from school, taking them to her home, whatever was necessary. If I called on her at night, she would come and sit in the living room or my bedroom (ie not where I was labouring) and listen out for the children, help them if they awoke.

As it happened, I didn't get my homebirth, and my friend just babysat until my brother turned up a few hours later (like your family, he was 2h away, but dropped everything to come running).

PrettyCandles Sat 07-May-11 11:51:31

BTW, I didn't leave for hospital until about 1.30am, having gone into labour at midnight - cue a lot of noise: dh setting up birthing pool, me huffing and puffing, making phone calls, people coming and going in and out of the house - and dcs1&2 slept through it all.

fruitshootsandheaves Sat 07-May-11 12:04:25

DD1 was 8, Ds1 6, and dd2 4 when DS2 was born. it was about 2 on a Sunday afternoon when my labour started. By my dates he was 2 weeks early (the others had all been 2 weeks late) , Dh was at work and MIL who was scheduled to look after the children was on holiday in Cornwall with no mobile signal!
The friend who had arranged to be my emergency contact wasn't back from holiday till the next day.
Cue panic
Luckily my dad and sister were over for sunday lunch, when it was obvious that i was in labour they decided to leave! (they always said they would never babysit..they obviously meant it!) fortunately DH told them they had no choice as by now it was clear that things were not right and an ambulance was called.
the point of my post is to advise you to have a back up plan in case. i think you should have someone who could come and look after your other DC's, you probably won't need them.
My dad and Sis were great in the end and bought DD1 a big present afterwards for showing them where everything went and helping put all the others to bed! My neighbours also stepped in to help later as did the original friend when she returned from hols and the the IL's when we finally managed to get in touch. Without them I would have had to have all 3 other DC's at the hospital!
Good luck

Loopymumsy Sat 07-May-11 12:10:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NotJustKangaskhan Sat 07-May-11 12:17:39

You have to do what is best for your family unit and what you feel comfortable with. 8+ hours is quite a lot of warning, but it depends on who you want to watch here, where they are coming from, and what they'll need to arrange when they get the call.

My eldest slept through the first time (My second was born at 3AM) - my husband just popped in on him now and then to check on him as he was in the room next to the one I was birthing in. We didn't have anyone else there as we were very new in the area, and we were blessed with a very easy birth as I have no idea what we would have done had I needed to transfer.

Second homebirth was during the day and we had a pair of friends watch the kids in the front room with food and movies. Wasn't actually less stressful due to the midwive attitude towards the kids and my friends (the friends did live with us at the time, the midwives were not impressed with that or that we wouldn't wake them), but it did make things simple when I had severe reaction to the afterbirth injection and had to have a hospital transfer. Hopefully nothing like that will happen to you.

This time around, we're getting another pair of friends in. They live close by and will on stand-by for the time around the birth, and we'll call earlier on in labour so they have plenty of time to arrange things and get here before we really would need them (my eldest has made it very clear that he'd prefer to play a Wii game than be involved). We're making up the spare room for them to crash if it goes on during the night.

Dirtydiana Sat 07-May-11 12:31:58

Hi, my DS 4 slept through the whole thing. I went into labour at 1am and gave birth at 6.30am. Our house is only small and I was just hoping he wouldn't wake with the midwives arriving and the pool being put up etc. I had my mum as a back up but didn't need to ring her in the end. I thought if he did wake in the middle of the birth my partner would have had to look after him until my mum arrived. DS is a heavy sleeper though.

If any mums at nursery asked me to help out with their other DCs in your situation I would be glad to help even if I didn't know them that well.

There are some comments from other parents on www.homebirth.org.uk about how they handled the situation. Its an excellent site if you are thinking of a home birth. Don't know how to link to the exact page on the site though, sorry!

LaWeasel Sat 07-May-11 14:04:06

Thanks for all the advice everyone. Because I'm a SAHM DD doesn't go to nursery/preschool anything at the moment (although we go to groups etc). But this may well be the world's best excuse to sign her up!

Thanks for the homebirth site link too. And I'm glad that kids seem to sleep through it, hopefully DD will to so DH can be around and helping me instead of sorting her out!

OP’s posts: |
PrettyCandles Sat 07-May-11 16:57:52

Definitely start her at nursery, and sooner rather than later. It doesn't need to be full-time, but 2 consecutive full days or 3 or more consecutive half-days will make a huge difference to the ease of your lives once dc2 is here.

Less than 2-3 days makes it very hard for such a young child to settle.

Starting her soon gives you a chance to get to know people, and also ensures that nursery is a steady, consistent, part of her life by the time the upheaval of becoming a big sister begins.

belgo Sat 07-May-11 16:59:58

My girls were 3 and 4 when I gave birth at home to ds. I went into labour when they went to bed, laboured all night and he was born at 4am. The girls slept all the way through, but I remember asking the midwife to keep the door closed so the girls wouldn't wake up with me screaming.

AnnieLobeseder Sat 07-May-11 17:02:31

I had various friends on standby to take DD1 when I had my homebirth with DD2, but as it happened I went into labour at 11pm, she was born at 5am and DD1 slept through the whole thing. Very lucky.

I'd agree though to get your DD in nursery or pre-school for a few sessions a week, it will be godsend to get that time alone with baby when s/he arrives. DD1 started pre-school 2 weeks after DD2 arrived and it was such a relief!

keepmumshesnotsodumb Sat 07-May-11 17:04:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GypsyMoth Sat 07-May-11 17:07:25

i had number 5 on mothering sunday few years back......at home,all was good.

other dc were 13,11,9 and 5.

11 yr old helped midwives,was very good. others were all lying on beds reading,doing homework. midwives were listening to my 5 yr old read at one point!!

and between contractions i remember midwife commenting that it was only birth she had attended where the mother was signing school letters and reading diaries minutes before the head crowned

squemish dd poked her head round door as ds had just been born and said 'mum,its a boy!'......that was lovely

the dc all then got a guided tour around a placenta and umbilical cord!grin

ChasingSquirrels Sat 07-May-11 17:10:18

ds1 slept though ds2's birth - mind you it was very quick.
We called my mum to come over when my contractions started in case I needed to go into hospital, by the time she arrived (she lives 15 mins away) it was all over!

confuddledDOTcom Sat 07-May-11 17:32:09

I trainee Doula'd a HB with older children (not Loopy) and it worked lovely. The eldest woke just after the birth and the cord cutting and Dad brought him down to say hello whilst Mum was still in the water. I have the most amazing picture of him in total awe.

I agree that if you don't have friends and family in the area to fall back on it's probably the best way to do it. Most complications are likely to be picked up in pregnancy but of course there is always the chance you will have to transfer (although a smaller chance of complication than if you were in hospital).

There is a website but I can't remember where for the life of me that you can use to find child care - babysitters, childminders, nannies, etc - you could see if someone on there (if anyone knows the address) would be willing to do oncall for you in case you have to transfer or if your HB isn't possible they could come in and take the children. The other option is to have a Doula and leave them at home if you need to transfer, although personally that's the time I think my client would need me, or use them for childcare after you leave for hospital if the HB isn't possible.

BreastmilkDoesAFabLatte Sat 07-May-11 17:33:52

I've just printed off a ridiculously anal hugely detailed rota of people to be on standby for DD if I need to transfer to hospital during DC2's homebirth.

I'll report back if it works. Like others here, I'm expecting a fast labour...

motherofsnortpigs Sat 07-May-11 22:32:24

My HB was a bit more like ILoveTIFFANY 's. The DDs (then 4 and 2.5) were given their tea and got ready for bed by a friend so that DH could be with me in the bathroom. We live in a bungalow, so the girls were quite aware of everything going on. I had the baby at 7.43pm and they came in dressed in their pj's to see the baby and then my friend tidied up a bit and put them to bed at about 9pm.

They are REALLY looking forward to this next baby and I am convinced I won't labour until I am sure that all my snortpigs are in the house (and probably awake).

PS I think the only photo on my profile is of DD2 examining my placenta...

GypsyMoth Sat 07-May-11 23:05:05

oh bless!! she's having a good look isnt she!!

LaWeasel Sun 08-May-11 09:40:49

Oh wow! I hope DD has that attitude if she is awake... grin (although that'd make her more interested in the placenta than I'll be...)

About doulas: I can see that it's a good option if there'll all checked out and okay to be left alone with DD if everything happens very quickly.

But if everything goes to plan, I just don't want an extra stranger there. I didn't really, honestly, even want DH particularly when I was in labour with DD. Didn't want to be talked to or touched. If something went wrong I would want DH not anyone else (no matter how knowledgeble) So I'm not sure how they would feel about being hired to be the emergency childcare basically, as opposed to helping with the birth.

OP’s posts: |
KaraStarbuckThrace Sun 08-May-11 09:48:03

PILS are coming to look after DS when I give birth (am 35 weeks). They are 2 hours away. As soon as I get a hint of contractions I will call them.
DS is at nursery as well which helps.
We had back up in the form of DH's DB & DSIL, but DH has had a massive falling out with DSIL (long story) so we can't rely on them.

My only concern is that if I need a hospital transfer in the middle of the night, PILs will be staying at a near by hotel (we can't accommodate them at the house) so DH would need to get DS over there (or the PILs would have DS stay with them at the hotel).

I have friends but all of them have small one of their own and most of them work at least part time so would be difficult to ask them.

If push comes to shove I would go to hospital on my own and let DH stay with DS until he could arrange some cover.

LilyBolero Sun 08-May-11 09:49:59

I've had 3 homebirths, last one was overnight, with 3 older children asleep in the house - and it was idyllic. Baby born at 5.30am, went into labour at about 1.30am, kids woke up 6.45 to find baby in my bed with me, midwives helped older children to hold baby, all lovely!

purpleturtle Sun 08-May-11 09:51:43

I'm a bit like you, LaWeasel, and basically want to be left to labour in my own time and without interference. So, although in theory, I was happy to have DD (then 5) and DS1 (3) around while I had a homebirth for DS2, in practice, because I woke up in labour rather than conveniently labouring through the night, the DC had got on my nerves within about 45 minutes of everybody being up, and we packed them off to a friend's up the road. They actually ended up staying there for 24 hours as DS2 just wasn't that bothered about making an appearance! He finally arrived about 9.30pm, and then we had a lovely first night at home with him on his own before big sister and big brother came home.

Perhaps at this stage you can put family/friends on standby, but with the proviso that by the time you get to it, you may have more local friends who would be willing to help? At least buy you the couple of hours travelling time for somebody to come over. I really don't think I'd want to have people staying in the house waiting for me to go into labour.

heavenstobetsy Sun 08-May-11 09:54:21

Whilst most people on these threads usually say their dc slept through it, i think you do need to consider carefully what will happen if they don't.

I initially wanted a home birth but for a variety of reasons decided in the end to go in to the hospital. My labour started in earnest at night and my 2.5 yr old DD woke up. My mum was there to look after her but even so she did get very upset with what was happening and if i had been planning a home birth there is no way she could have remained in the house - although i think taking her out of the house at 1 am wouldn't have lessened her stress!

I think you need to think carefully about what kind of labourer you are and how your dc will cope if they wake up (which is fairly age dependent I think - I am a shouted so perhaps a hb with a small child was always a non starter grin

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