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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.

Homebirthquestion Sat 25-Jan-14 09:55:45

I planned this but when it came to it I was noisier than expected and the DC asked to leave the house. It wouldn't have been nice for them.

If I'd stayed calm it could have been lovely but with hindsight I'd always have somewhere for them to go quickly.

My midwife also said it's usually the mother who ends up wanting the other dc gone when it comes to it and I was glad when they had gone but it wasn't what I'd had planned.

I also wasn't on great form straight after the birth so for me it was a welcome few hours without them.

We read the book Hello Baby lots in preparation and it made them really aware of what would happen.

I'll be very envy if you manage it - what a lovely memory!

Seff Sat 25-Jan-14 10:09:39

Hello I'm planning a home birth and have a 3.5 yr old so have been wondering the same thing.

I'm thinking of finding some (pre vetted!) birth videos on youtube to watch together and gauge her reaction, just in case, but I also think she'd want to join me in the pool.

We've got options, both for daytime and night, of people who can look after her. It would be lovely if she slept through it all though! Anecdotally, I have heard mums talk of how they felt labour couldn't really get going until they had sorted out the older children, so I guess it may depend on how much you feel you can let go with a toddler around.

Catsize Sat 25-Jan-14 21:02:35

Thanks both of you. Like the video idea, and will maybe try that if i can face watching them myself. Will try to get a copy of Hello Baby.

Homebirthquestion Sat 25-Jan-14 22:33:43

I will warn you that the DCs' favourite game is now playing midwives. One puffs her tummy out and says the baby's ready and the other one delivers it. Often in the bath for the full birthing pool experience. grin

TerrariaMum Sat 25-Jan-14 22:51:48

I had DD2 at home while DD1 slept. Labour didn't really kick off until DD1 was v. asleep plus FIL was there ready to take DD1 away if necessary. As it happened, DD1 woke near the end, FIL looked after her and then she came in and saw her new sister. We read There's A House Inside My Mummy as our book of choice.

Catsize Sun 26-Jan-14 21:19:51

Thank you. Have had a look at the books. Not sure if they would help or confuse further, as we are two mums and the books are very nuclear family. Having said that, am guessing he has picked up that most families seem to have a man and a woman as the parents. Just in case he hasn't, is now the time for him to realise, whilst looking at the books about how babies come into the world. Youtube, coupled with a bit of gentle explaining may be the way forward. Who knows...
To be honest, he is scarred enough from the panto we took him to yesterday. The monsters and beasts weren't a problem, but every time that fairy poofed out of the trapdoor with a bang, well...
Thanks for your experiences and advice. Love the midwives game! grin

Catsize Sun 26-Jan-14 21:21:48

Our son was 2 last month. Just realised I haven't specified his age.

Mignonette Sun 26-Jan-14 21:26:55

My husband's three were all home births. For the second he said she slept through it (the eldest) and for the third an aunt was on hand to distract the two eldest. Neither of the children witnessed the births.

He said after the first birth he opened the door to find the dog and cat sitting as close as they could to it, noses sniffing the air. They apparently never came upstairs until that night and seemed to know something was amiss!

Slippersandacuppa Mon 27-Jan-14 22:11:23

I've had two of my three at home and they both cooperated thankfully! In both cases, contractions started in the early evening (the last one when I was putting the other two to bed. That was interesting - thank goodness my mum was there!), the babies were born at night and the brother/s woke up the next day and met their new sibling, so it can happen! I had a backup plan - an extra pair of hands in case the children needed anything and if they'd wanted to come and watch, that would have been fine too. I'm hoping this one goes the same way. I mentioned to my midwife that the others had arrived at night and she said, "Made at night, born at night." I'd never heard that before - and I'm saying nothing!

fuckwittery Mon 27-Jan-14 22:16:23

My toddler was 3 so a bit older, but she stroked my back and then left me alone. I needed her out the house to concentrate though, snd DH was distracted by looking after her so I laboured alone in active labour until the mw arrived. I would make a back up plan. However you might not be crazy with regards to timing of labour, I believe your body wikl go into labour when its safe and so you might get your night birth and morning meeting! For me, I kept saying it would be perfect if I could go into labour in the morning and get the kids off to childminder for the day, have the baby before tea time for them to come home, and that's exactly what happened!

Boobz Tue 28-Jan-14 11:26:17

Not sure if this link will work, but I had my 1 and 2 year old in the pool when I was labouring with their brother.... older one went to a neighbour's for a play date and the middle one went for a nap for the last 2 hours of labour and then 10 seconds of pushing (they whoosh right out when it's number 3!)

So maybe have your DS around for the first bit if it's not the middle of the night and then pack him off for transition?

Hope this works

Catsize Thu 30-Jan-14 21:07:24

Thanks for the posts folks. boobz, your link didn't work, sadly. sad

jenniferturkington Thu 30-Jan-14 21:18:13

I gave birth to dd1 while ds (19 months at the time) slept. I woke up at 2am and she was born at 4.30am so it was very quick. Randomly ds was asleep downstairs in the buggy as we hadn't managed to settle him in his bed that evening.

Dd2 was born at home at 9.30 pm. The other two ( 5 and 3.5) we're put to bed rather hastily at 6.30 when I realised I was in labour. They slept through it all and we had the wonderful moment of them coming in to our room in the morning to find they had a new sister smile

Each time I did have a back up babysitter willing to take the children out of the house though.

Good luck, I'm a big fan of home births!

RhinestoneCowgirl Thu 30-Jan-14 21:23:06

I actually had one of those ideal situations where toddler stayed asleep upstairs while I laboured overnight and DD was born just before 6am, so they do happen!

I did have contingency plans in place for if I went into labour during the day before my mum arrived (she's 3 hrs drive away). Basically had a list of friends who wouldn't mind either coming over to keep us company or to take DS for a couple of hours until mum arrived. Also had DH of course, but I kind of wanted him around to support me rather than worry about looking after DS (who was 2.5yrs at the time)

BuffyFairy Thu 30-Jan-14 21:31:14

Definitely make contingency plans. I had an unplanned home birth as DS decided to arrive rather fast so DD (2.3) witnessed it all. Having a toddler slipping over in my waters going 'what you doing, Mummy' as DH was on the phone to the ambulance and catching DS was not part of my nice calm birth plan grin

DD wasn't traumatised by it although she did insist the baby was still in my tummy for 2 days after.

ChickenLickenSticken Thu 30-Jan-14 22:36:37

DD will be 2.7 when DC2 arrives this coming summer, so am watching with interest.

DD was a quick homebirth (approx 5 hour labour) so am expecting it to be quick this time and am dreading being home alone with her whilst mooing away, though hopefully DH will be working closeish so will be able to get home fast.

My midwife said that DD might be ok with it, that I should explain to her a few days before that mummy might make some funny noises and look uncomfortable but that I would be ok. If she's still into Peppa at that point I reckon she wouldn't notice a thing whilst watching an episode of that... Just a shame they are only 5 minutes long!!

We have asked my brother to be on standby to take DD off somewhere if necessary.... Our parents are a bit too full on and there is a certain level of competition between the grandparents so easier to leave them out of it and get someone more neutral involved (ie DB).

But yes, ideally labour will start when DD is in bed - I'd like to then be snoozing with DH and our new baby come midnight so that we can get a good night's sleep before DD wakes up grin yes I live in a dream world

Good luck OP, when are you due?

LydiaLunches Fri 31-Jan-14 08:07:31

I have had quick labours at home with dd1 and then dd2 catching most if the show, they could not have been more unphased and I am not calm! Dd2 in fact at 3 stroked my hair and told me not to worry I was just pushing out her nba sister smile.

LydiaLunches Fri 31-Jan-14 08:08:05


JanePurdy Fri 31-Jan-14 08:11:43

I had the classic went into labour after putting dc1 to bed scenario! She slept through the whole thing, although we had my mum there in case she woke up & needed attention. We are lucky that my mum is 20mins away so we just left it flexible as to whether she would take dc1 away or entertain her at home etc.

My mum had 3 homebirths, all at night while the older children slept through! I still remember waking up to find my youngest brother had arrived.

Catsize Tue 04-Feb-14 18:02:28

I have enjoyed your posts - thank you. Looks like my plans may not be so daft.
Buffy, what a vision!
Am 38wks now. Still rather in denial and have yet to brave the homebirth videos.

hazchem Wed 05-Feb-14 03:01:16

I can't help but post on threads like these.
I attended my first birth when I was a little over 2 years old. I don't remember it but apparently I was worried that I scared the baby because it crowned and then slipped back in. I also attended the birth of my brother when I was nine. I remember this more clearly. It is a great bond between my whole family. I'm really lucky to have those experience because when I went to give birth I had a whole load of trust in my own body's ability to give birth.

here are 30 kid friendly videos all listed as to how much and how little is on show.

Catsize Wed 05-Feb-14 05:15:42

Brilliant hazchem, thank you.
There is a big part of me that would like my son to know that birth is an ordinary part of life, not to be feared, and not necessarily to be hospitalised and treated like a life threatening illness, which most of us have been conditioned to think. I still have this niggling a bit!
He was there at the conception, and really lovely, looking after me like he knew something special was happening (had IUI treatment, before anyone thinks this is TOTALLY weird! smile). As I say, save for the 20wk scan, where there was a 'no tiddlers' rule, he has been involved in every appointment etc. and I feel funny about having him taken from his own home in order for me to give birth to his sibling. Possibly at a strange time of night. Still, we have (very vague) contingency plans, not least because the midwife said (and as has been said upthread), contractions can be haltered by presence of other children. And there may be a trip to hospital.
On a general point, I am staggered by his apparent appreciation of what is going on.

hazchem Wed 05-Feb-14 05:24:49

Could you find an adult who you are comfortable being at the birth that you also trust to look after your son. When my brother was born one of the birth helpers was also my helper so if I needed to be taken out or something that was their job.

Catsize Wed 05-Feb-14 06:37:52

Thanks hazchem, we are seeing a friend this weekend who will hopefully be there as moral support for my partner, and who may well agree to look after our son too, if necessary. We also have a couple of neighbours on standy-by. Need to get more organised though. blush

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