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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.

RhinestoneCowgirl Wed 05-Mar-14 19:12:18

What a lovely birth story! Congratulations smile

Seff Wed 05-Mar-14 19:08:13

Congratulations, I think we'll probably do as you did and play it by ear WRT the toddler smile

Catsize Tue 04-Mar-14 12:37:51

Hi All, thank you so much for the many many wonderful stories. I feel that I should share some of what actually happened, even though nobody might read it now!
Just over a week ago, I gave birth at home to a beautiful baby girl. The contractions started on the Saturday, at 5am, but soon stopped when my son got up and put Thomas the Tank on. So, we got on with our day and they started again about 10pm, but quite mild, so tried to get some sleep. Just after 1, not so mild. Called the midwife an hour or so later, and she arrived but my contractions slowed. I went back to bed, where they had been quite effective. Son still at home, and at one point woke up and came to see me, but quite late on. We decided to call a friend and he went to play there. Soon after, our midwife said to my partner to start filling the pool. I was thinking that this was going to be very difficult, as I was in a lot of pain, and knew how long the pool took to fill, so figured I wasn't very far dilated etc. Back-up midwife was telephoned at 07:15, but she lives quite a way away and never made it. Our daughter was born at 07:34 (45 mins after our son left the house) with one slight push. It was a case of waters broke, I said she was coming, and she came. With some velocity! There wasn't even time to turn on the lights in the bedroom, and she was born by the light of the midwife's headtorch (she had just nipped up to check I was okay). I gave birth lying on my side in bed (not the plan but she was coming ready or not!), cursing that I had a zillion shower curtains etc downstairs but none upstairs, as I wasn't supposed to be in the bedroom giving birth! Managed to avoid the cream carpet at least. Mattress not so good, Oh, and the Tens machine batteries ran down towards the end (partner later confessed that she had used some from the drawer that 'might have been used for something else'). Anyway, the whole experience was amazing, drug-free, and celebrated with an early morning glass of champagne. Such a cathartic experience after my last birth, and the recovery has been a million times better too. With hindsight, it was the right decision for our son to leave. Even though I was more of a groaner than a screamer, I think the sight of what happened would have been too much for him. If I had been in the pool (which was filled to about two inches!), it might have been different.

FelizFuturaMama Mon 10-Feb-14 21:34:19

Huge yes from me, as long as you have lots of grownup support as well. My DD1 (2.2) woke up when I was in the early stages of labour for my home birth (I think she instinctively knew), we did stories together and she went back into her cot to 'read'. During my final stage, when I did scream a lot (but only for the six minutes it took for DD2 to put in an appearance!) my Dad played with her, while Mum and DH looked after me. Dad brought her down straight away and it was just magic, she said, "My baby's here" and stroked her cheek, then asked Granny to clean up the red paint! We had a bath together afterwards and she then snuggled in with my parents. The next morning she woke up knowing her little sister had arrived. I would thoroughly recommend having a toddler present as there's been no jealousy towards baby and I think me not going away to hospital really helped.

ISpyPlumPie Mon 10-Feb-14 21:29:59

DS1 slept through Ds2's birth which I am still amazed at as he wasn't the best sleeper and I was somewhat vocal!! It was exactly as I hoped - went into labour about 1am, Ds2 born just after 5am so the first DS1 knew was when he got up the next morning and met his new brother. All down to total good luck - realised early on that this was the bit I couldn't really 'plan' at all. We did have DM upstairs in case he woke up/ I needed to transfer in and I think if it'd been daytime she would have taken him back to hers, so there were arrangements in place. I just mean that it was do fortunate that it all happened with no disruption to him and that was down to chance really.

Hope everything goes well for you smile

aniseed Mon 10-Feb-14 21:18:29

I had a planned homebirth with my third and I do believe that the baby comes when everything is ready. Contractions began at 6.00pm so carried on with dinner and bed with older two dc. Contractions were not painful or regular and was unsure whether I was actually in labour. Dc in bed and asleep by 8pm so I had a bath. Still contracting but not painful. First painful one at 8.55. Baby born at 9.21 delivered by (very squeamish) husband as left it too late to ring midwife! Was perfect birth (although we know we were very lucky that nothing went wrong - baby cried as soon as born and no problems). Midwife and ambulance came 5 mins later. Tucked up in own bed by 11.00pm. I was so relaxed the whole time and baby (now 4 months) is a very chilled out baby.
With hindsight I am glad that dc were asleep as there was a lot of blood and mess and I wouldn't have been able to 'let go' which I think is very important for labour. I don't know how they stayed asleep though!

casperthefriendlyghost Mon 10-Feb-14 20:34:17

DS2 was a HB when DS1 was 3.2. I went into labour in the morning and laboured through the day - DS1 was around but being entertained by my Dad. My Mum was there to look after me and DH and DH was looking after me so it all worked really well! Things got a bit awkward towards the end of the day as DS2 was back to back so was taking his time changing position and coming out so I was really glad that we had this support network around us - I could fully focus on the birth and know that DS1 was well looked after. DS2 was eventually born at around 9.30pm so DS1 was not there to witness the birth - but family snuggles in bed the next day were amazing! DD1 was also a homebirth - hers was much quicker. Started to labour at dinner time, kept quiet as was expecting a 24hr timescale like previous 2, put DS1&2 to bed then got into sorting out moses baskets etc. She arrived just gone midnight - about 10 minutes before my Mum arrived to help out! Neither DS1 or 2 heard a peep as when they got up next day we had to point out the moses basket in our room they had run around and the baby sleeping quietly in it... So, like many others it can be done & is highly recommended!

scrivette Mon 10-Feb-14 20:20:54

My Mum had an (unplanned) HB when I was almost 3.

My Nana was there and was with me downstairs whilst my Mum had my brother, as soon as he was born the nurse (midwife hadn't arrived and they had called the nurse who lived next door in to help) called me into the room and I was the first person after her to hold him.

It was a very special day and one that I remember very well despite being so young.

mckenzie Mon 10-Feb-14 17:37:04

I was in pretty much full labour when DH took DS, then nearly 4, upstairs for an early bath and bed. DS been helping me fill the birthing pool during the evening so he knew the birth was imminent. While they were upstairs, DS kept asking what the funny noise was and DH told him I was watching something on TV. Thankfully he went to sleep no problem and slept through the midwife arriving and the main noise about 45 minutes later.
It was lovely when he came into our room the next morning and we showed him our new arrival.

WoTmania Mon 10-Feb-14 15:13:32

my younger two were both born at home in the early hours while the older sibs were asleep.
From chatting with other friends who have had HBs a common theme is that they have early niggles and once the older DC are asleep for the night or napping during the day things kick off.
I loved being able to have my older DC hop into bad and have cuddles with the new baby.

TheScience Mon 10-Feb-14 14:16:24

DS is 3.5 and I am 38 weeks - I love the idea of him sleeping upstairs during the labour and waking up to meet the new baby, but I think I would find the reality too stressful. I had a planned homebirth with DS but had to transfer into hospital by ambulance at 8cm, it was very long and difficult and there were about 6 midwives at my house by the end (!) so not really calm and serene.

I know second births should be quicker and easier but I think if I am worried about DS and how he is coping I won't be able to concentrate on actually having the baby. He's going to stay at grandma's anyway.

rememberingnothing Mon 10-Feb-14 14:16:05

Another birthing in the night one here. DD1 was 16 months when her sister arrived. I laboured between 1.30 and 5.30 and DD1 woke at 6 to meet her sister.

I had a plan as my mum lives close by and I would have called her if needed but I had planned to just let her be otherwise.

Lindt70Percent Mon 10-Feb-14 14:04:58

I had my 2nd baby at home. My son was 2.5 yrs old at the time.

My labour was only 45 minutes long (about 20 minutes officially). As everything was so quick I laboured downstairs with DS as by birth partner while DH was upstairs trying to put a plastic sheet on our bed. My mum was on her way over to look after DS but as she lives a 45 min drive away she didn't make it in time. DS and I had the 'Fun Song Factory' video on while I was coping with contractions and I have a strange memory of him saying to me, "Come on Mummy, all the words and all the actions" and trying to get me to join in with Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

Anyway, due to the speed of everything I ended up giving birth downstairs. DS was there almost throughout but was out of the room at the actual point she was born as H had to go upstairs to get the birthing box and DS had followed him up there. H shut him behind the stair gate while he carried the box back down, saw DD being born and then went straight back up to get DS. DS was absolutely thrilled when he saw DD which was a relief as he hadn't been particularly looking forward to her arrival. He was even more thrilled when he was given a celebratory chocolate biscuit.

A couple of weeks after her birth, DS was in the bath and I was trying to do some sit ups next to the bath when he peered over the side and said, "Are you having another baby?".

Aww, happy memories.

Vagolajahooli Mon 10-Feb-14 13:11:28

Hi watching this thread with interest. I had DS2 at home and wanted ds1 who was 3.5 at the time to be present. However, my DH refused, he is very open to anything and everything normally (he actually caught ds2, loved it, highly recommend it, just make your DP/DH's sign a waver saying he won't give all his IT geek workmates a graphic description of baby emerging from fanjo). His reasons where very good though. He felt that during the birth of DS1 that he wasn't supportive enough, a bit freaked out by it all. So he was determined for DS2 to be a much better support. He felt that if he had to support me and look out for DS2 that he couldn't be the support he wanted to be. And to be honest he was right, he was amazing, seriously amazing. I would hire him out as doula, he is wasted in IT. He really got to be involved in the birth the way he wanted and I'm grateful for that.

If we had had a family member or someone else there to be with DS2 if he did wake then I think DH would have gone for the idea. As it was I went into labour at 7.30am wandered around for a while then started the 2nd stage a 8pm and had ds2 at 9.20pm. So really it would have been a pretty boring day for DS1. Instead he was picked up by a friend, went to football, a birthday party and had a whale of a time. I couldn't wait until the next day to introduce him though, so DH went to our friends house and picked him up at 11.30pm and we all snuggled up together and slept our first night. SO in the end was quite lovely.

Let us know how you go.

DuskAndShiver Mon 10-Feb-14 12:07:19

I had dd1 at home but didn't want to have her around for the birth of dd2. I just didn't want to have to think about how it might be affecting her (usually I can walk and chew gum but when giving birth I prefer not to multi-task) and when I left to go to the MLU at 7am I was glad to get out of the house before she woke up and saw me in pain.
I think this is very personal (to you and your child) whether it is a nice thing, or an extra stress, but I would say keep your options open - if there is someone around who could take your child away if you want that (or the child seems to want it) then that would be best.

crunchyfrog Mon 10-Feb-14 09:21:21

My older two DC, aged 5 and 3 at the time, slept through DC3's birth. It wasn't quiet! He arrived at 6am, the kids got up at 8, a lovely surprise for them.grin grin

agendabender Mon 10-Feb-14 09:12:59

We read "hello baby" with our three year old, and discussed how mummy would do lots of shouting and make dinosaur noises. He also saw a couple of birth videos. In the event I laboured very quickly at night (two hourse from first contraction to baby) and he slept through most of it. He woke up just at the last minute, and wandered into the hall to see what was going on. Everyone missed the birth at the business end, but DS could see my head, and saw the baby attached to me soon afterwards. He took it all in his stride, asked to cut the cord, pointed out the placenta etc. He also had no problem understanding that the baby on the inside and the baby on the outside were the same. I'd recommend it, but would also recommend having someone available to take them into another room and play with them if they want it. With a two hour labour, our baby arrived before our nominated person!

VegetariansTasteLikeChicken Mon 10-Feb-14 09:11:15

I have been watching home births on youtube and many of them have young children at the birth (along with vile comments from user about how evil and disgusting the mother is for doing something so disgusting in front of her children hmm). If we have a hb children this time the children will definitely be around..and noo, I am not a quiet birther so if they seem distressed dh will take them out. But they have been watching the videos with me and seem very prepared that this is how babies come out (2 and 3 years old).

My dh's grandmother grew up in a 2 up/2 down with 12 children. I bet they saw a few births! I think we forget that it wouldn't have been unusual back in the day to have a much better knowledge of how babies came in to the world.

Wishihadabs Mon 10-Feb-14 06:19:08

Go for it . I wish I had done this....I went into labour with dd (dc2) late afternoon, I was able to look after ds till dh came home, then dh put him to bed around 8. Dd was born at 12:40 smilein hospital we had to arrange care for ds and drive there, I was home by 3am so ds never realised I was gone, but I would much rather have stayed at home. I think your body knows what to do tbh and there is a good chance you will give birth while dc1 is sleeping. Good luck smile

tyaca Sun 09-Feb-14 23:10:08

dd was 1.3 when ds was born at home. part of my reason for a home birth was not wanting to leave her and the family to go into hospital. we've no local family so we'd've had to have people travel and stay and i would have found that intrusive.

it helped that neither dh or i were that bothered about dh witnessing the actual birth. we knew that he could always look after dd elsewhere in the house/garden if needs be. as it was, ds was born at three in the morning and she slept through the whole thing. dd woke shortly after the midwives left at half five. i was cuddling ds in bed and having some much needed breakfast. she pointed at ds in delight and said "baby!" she then clocked my food and said with equal enthusiasm "toast!"

NunoBettencourt Sun 09-Feb-14 21:45:49

DD1 had just turned 2 three weeks before DD2 was born at home.

She'd been getting increasingly excited about labour and delivery when I'd watched birthing programs on TV and the nearer it got to my due date the more we thought about having her there for the birth.

I went into labour around 3am and when DD1 woke up at 8am she came downstairs, had some breakfast in her highchair and then came into the living room with me and her dad. MW was there by then and the second one arrived soon after. There were a few moments when I must have yelled a little bit and DD1 didn't like it but she was easily reassured. Teletubbies on silent helped for that bit of time when she was bored and then it was time to push.

She was a little star. She sat somewhere to the right of my feet on her dad's lap and I had these lovely little shouts of 'push, mummy, push' and 'you're doing well' (she was following the MW's). Then when DD2 started crowning this voice piped up 'I can see my baby sister!'.

It was such a wonderful experience for us all and DD1 can still remember a lot of it. She came for a cuddle with me and DD2 very soon after. They've been inseparable ever since smile

We did have my Mum on standby though in case it hadn't gone quite as much to plan.

higgle Sun 09-Feb-14 14:47:10

It happened to me! We had all sorts of plans in place for care for DS1, who was just 3 1/2 when DS2 was born, and as we had a live in nanny at the time it should all have gone according to plan. DS2 was born at about 5.30am and DS1 just got up and came downstairs as all the action was underway. DS2 got a bit stuck (shoulders ot presenting right) and midwives had to do a bit of tugging but we were all to busy to send him away so DS2 just stood there and welcomed his brother into the world. The next day he told everyone at nursery school that I'd had a big blue lump come out of my bottom and now he had a sister ( he seemed to get confused about his new brother) . They are very very close - even now they are 22 and 19. I wouldn't have planned it but it all worked out very well.

IdaClair Sun 09-Feb-14 13:39:42

I've done this, dc1 was 6 and witnessed the birth, placenta, cord cutting, the lot. She chose to, she could have left the room if she wanted, anytime. She is sat next to me and says the whole experience made her feel happy. I asked her if she felt worried. She says she felt excited (nearly 8 now) and that the baby was very warm and that she wanted to see the baby straight away.

She was able to ring all the relatives and friends and tell them she was a big sister, and she was a celebrity at school the next day.

LilyBolero Sun 09-Feb-14 13:15:55

Hi, only read the OP, ds1 was induction in hospital, dd2 was born at home (ds1 went to park with friend), ds2 was born at home (ds1 and dd went to a friend's house).

Ds3 was born at home, went into labour about 12 midnight, he was born at 5:30 in the morning, at about 6:15 ds1 heard a baby crying, came through and found his new brother, whereupon he woke up dd and ds2. It was such a lovely lovely experience, and a real family bonding time.

Having said that, ds3 also had shoulder dystocia, and it was all a bit panicky, so I am glad the kids weren't ACTUALLY there, but slept through it iyswim. I don't think I would want a child to witness the actual birth as they couldn't understand fully and I would worry that they would have a traumatic memory, whereas the memory they have is very lovely.

HobbetInTheHeadlights Sun 09-Feb-14 12:51:15

My second lot of MW tried to say we couldn't have a HB with other DC in house- but they were anti-HB and had to go management for a variety of their antics.

With first HB - labour early morning but not usual MW insisted it wasn't established. When she finally came back - I was ready to push then DD1 woke up - she was just under 2 and DH took her downstairs and fed her.

She did want me at some point and DH was a bit crap at dealing with that, they were downstairs I was upstairs , but she was the 4th person to met DS. She'd decided day before she was having a sister so first comment was no Daddy it's a sister. Then DH took her to work and I had morning with new baby till they came back at lunch.

Second time labour started soon after they went to bed. Wasn't a long - MW weren't in time - I was down stairs they were up. DD1 3 came out of room when MW took me upstairs to sew me up and asked nicely to see new baby - MW were amazed - she saw asked if baby could sleep with her then went back to bed herself. Hour later feeding new baby DS - 2 woke up found me in bed room eating and feeding new baby - and quick look at baby then ate my food and went back to bed.

Worked for us - though DH did have option in first HB birth of friends house to take DD1 to if things did get difficult which they didn't. We couldn't sort anything with second HB.

Wouldn't have wanted toddlers near me during birth - as I do tend to focus and small DC wanting me wouldn't have helped that but same house nearby wasn't an issue.

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