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Daughter present at birth?

(19 Posts)
Moiraine Mon 31-Dec-12 20:18:15

Just wondering if anyone has given birth with their child present? Or considered it?
Currently pg with dc4, and dd (dc1) - will be nearly 9 - has asked if she can be there. Planning a home birth (had the last 2 at home) and considering the issues...
Obviously it wouldn't be good if there were any difficulties etc, but I can't help also thinking that there's so much negative portrayal of labour that it would be really good if she could see a positive experience (but that assumes it is...).
Any experiences/thoughts?

StarOfLightMcKings3 Mon 31-Dec-12 20:24:55

I think children at births are fine but require a chaperone just for them.

So a responsible adult that can support them in addition to the adults supporting you and exclusively for them.

StarOfLightMcKings3 Mon 31-Dec-12 20:25:58

My Ds is GUTTED that he didn't witness his brother being born and I regret it a bit but he was 5 and has ASD.

thinkfast Mon 31-Dec-12 20:26:04

No experience but I would worry she would find it frightening and off putting for later life.

Arithmeticulous Mon 31-Dec-12 20:36:58

DC1&2 'saw' DC3 being born, but it was a waterbirth and they were <5. They all tried to watch DC4 but it was noisier/more painful and after a few rounds of are you nearly there yet "Is this going to take long" I had to send them out.

if you are at home, she can disappear whenever. She doesn't have to watch the business end and it would give them a great bond. I'd just want to make sure she was prepared and you had a code word if either changed their mind about her being there.

5Madthings had her eldest at her youngest's birth, I think he was a little older - ccoooooooeeeeeee wink

harbingerofdoom Mon 31-Dec-12 21:00:04

DD1 was present at her sister's birth. I was due to be induced at 8am with all the childcare well organised. DD2 decided to arrive at 6am.
DH and DD1 were in the room. Midwife had vanished, DH caught DD2 and DD1 was going 'Baby''Baby''Baby.
Midwife appears DD1 jumping on the bed etc etc chaos.

Snusmumriken Mon 31-Dec-12 21:17:09

DH was present at his brother's birth and found it very upsetting. He has never told his parents. I am sure it depends on the child and on the birth. DH felt out of control and very concerned for his mother.

Snusmumriken Mon 31-Dec-12 21:18:12

I should mention that DH was eight at the time.

MudCity Mon 31-Dec-12 21:27:16

Agree with Snusmumriken. Seeing your Mum in pain is not a happy experience. It could all be wonderful but it could also be traumatic and upsetting for her. Involve her in the birth in other ways, getting things ready, holding the baby right after the birth, even helping to cut the cord and giving baby their first bath / first toy. That will help her feel important without risking seeing you in pain.

Good luck!

PrettyPirate Mon 31-Dec-12 21:32:16

My friend had her 9 year old DD as her birth partner, her husband was away working. Her DD wanted to be there and they did lots of reading and research about childbirth beforehand. DD wasn't traumatised and was great support to her mum, DD still proudly mentions it whenever she cangrin

ICompletelyKnowAboutGuineaPigs Mon 31-Dec-12 23:54:30

A Dutch friend of mine said it was quite common to be at the birth of your siblings. HB (in The Netherlands) is the norm it seems and therefore children have more exposure to labouring/birthing women it seems.

I would say that if your DD feels comfortable and you can do research about it together beforehand then it could be a positive experience for everyone. This is purely my opinion, however, as I have no direct experience.

mayhew Tue 01-Jan-13 00:51:50

My view as a homebirth mw
: prepare the child even if you do not plan that they will be present. Surprise speedy births do happen.
: tell them that there will be blood and maybe some poo, so that they are not shocked or frightened. One mum explained that it was "spare blood" that the baby didn't need any more.
: warn them you might make funny noises or even swear.
: plan to have an adult in the house whose priority is the child and will stay with the child wherever they want to be.

I was recently at a birth with an 11 yr old. She had witnessed the previous sibling's birth age 9 and decided she didn't want to see this one. She came in immediately afterwards. I have also been at a birth with an 11 and 13 yr old who went strategically deaf at the critical point and "missed" the birth.

Moiraine Tue 01-Jan-13 11:25:47

Damn, just wrote most of a post, got interrupted 300 times by kids and then the battery ran out on the iPad & I lost it all!

Thanks for all your opinions - quite mixed I guess, which is in keeping with me being in 2 minds...

Snusmumriken had your dh been prepared for it & was anyone looking after/explaining things at the time? Was it a straightforward birth or was it actually less so?

mudcity (and others), it's not really about her feeling involved - more that I'd always seen birth as this terrible, painful thing (to be avoided if possible!) and our society seems to give this sort of view - I was very surprised to find that my experiences - so far at least- have been positive and not scary. And I was thinking,if she could see that maybe it would counteract the view she'll pick up from society iyswim?

mayhew that's a very good point about speedy labours - think I should prepare them all at least a bit just in case; the last one was only 2 hrs from 'is it isn't it' to holding a baby!

It does sound like we'd ideally have another adult there to look after her, and I really can't think of anyone that could be, so that might be the limiting thing really..

MudCity Tue 01-Jan-13 12:29:03

Moiraraine I can understand where you are coming from. However, I'm not sure you need to worry. Yes, society may give a certain view of things, but a lot of our ideas about things, including birth experiences, come from our parents too. Your daughter has you to counteract any biased views from society. More than anything, listening to your experiences will help her not be fearful.

Besides which, having a mum who has been through child birth four times speaks volumes and in itself will send the message that there is nothing (much) to fear! If you were fearful, then there is a good chance she would be. You're not so there is no reason for her to be!

Very good luck whatever you decide...think you are quite right about having another adult present though to support her...she may have questions that you will be too busy to answer!

Snusmumriken Tue 01-Jan-13 13:36:57

Hello again,
DH does not remember if he was properly prepared for the birth. My guess is he was not. I have seen pictures of it and DH was sitting beside his mum clutching her hand looking very worried. Knowing his parents they probably told him about what to expect in a very abstract 'hippy dippy' way.

Having said that, DH delivered our DS by himself (with my help of course), and managed brilliantly. I was sent home from hospital because I was not in labour, only to have DS crown an hour after getting home. I am sure that part of the reason DH was such an amazing birth partner/ impromptu midwife was because he partook in his brothers birth.

Good luck whatever you decide to do!

Indith Tue 01-Jan-13 13:43:29

mine have all been born at home. As it was they all arrived early morning and the older ones slept through the birth. They came down before the cord was cut and the placenta delivered though. We approached things from a matter of fact point of view, they looked things up in books as ds1 was interested in the placenta and how the cord works and they watched some videos on youtube. They knew it hurt a bit but would be ok after. Ds1 asked about all the blood and I explained it wasn't much blood, it just looked a lot because of the fluid too and it wasn't what my dcs call "hurty blood".

Moiraine Tue 01-Jan-13 17:14:22

Thanks mudcity, that's a good point. Maybe it's not worth the risks, either of things being complicated or of her just being upset by normal things (blood &poo etc!). And as you say she can pick up a lot of positives in any case.

snusmum crickey, that must've been a shock! For both of you. Maybe I should have my ds there too then! grin

indith I think I'll approach things that way & make sure they're at least a bit prepared - if things happen during the night/early morning they could end up being around even if we've not planned it that way, especially if it's quick. 'Not hurty blood' - I shall nick that phrase!

Youaresoright Wed 02-Jan-13 14:48:45

I was a bit older than your DD and parents planned that my DSis and I be there for DBro's birth (hospital not homebirth). His birth was very quick so we missed it by 5 minutes. Seeing my DBro at 5 minutes old was very very special. All of us are glad my Dsis and I weren't there for the birth, I don't think we needed that to feel a special bond and I think we would have been upset to see my mum (presumably) screaming.

5madthings Wed 02-Jan-13 14:54:04

My ds1 was at the birth of did (no 5) he was 11. I had her in hospital as I went overdue and was induced but it was fine and he really enjoyed the experience, he cut the cord and we have fabulous pics of him holding her at minutes old.

Basically prepare her and have a back up plan smile

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