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homebirth and siblings - can you have a hb with a toddler around? How???

(21 Posts)
CaptainKarvol Tue 23-Sep-08 11:35:49

Can anyone give me any advice here?

I'm considering a hb for #2 (I'm 14 weeks pg at the moment). My community midwife is supportive, and the local maternity hospital was a horrible, horrible experience last time. I don't want to be there again.

But I have a DS, 2.6. And apart from DH, who will obviously want to be at the birth, no family locally (closest 70 miles away), or good enough friends to look after DS.

Can you have a hb with a toddler around? DS doesn't sleep well (has never slept through) and I can't imagine him staying out of the way / not being traumatised.

What did others do?

Renaissancewoman Tue 23-Sep-08 11:50:42

I had homebirth with 2nd, 1st was then almost 3. My midwife assured me that the baby would probably come at night and that my daughter would probably sleep through it. She said this in her very confident authorititative German accent, she said that is generally the way. She was right on both fronts. My daughter did wake briefly at one point and my DH just went upstairs for a few minutes to settle her, not letting on what was happening downstairs. We are lucky in that she is a heavy sleeper and we live in a tall town house, she on 1st floor birth in basement. But I had talked to her about what would happen, where the baby would appear from, the cord, the shouting etc etc and she was really interested. Book below helped.

I am now expecting again in 6 weeks and will again have a home birth. This time on the ground floor with kids on floor above, so greater chance they might wake particularly the youngest. In theory I would like them present this time as this is my last baby I think and I think it would be a great thing for them to witness but am not really that sure about it, don't want them getting overexcited or frightened and then unable to get back to sleep when I am knackered and want some peace with newborn. I think we will just play it by ear. DD is now 5 1/2 and DS is 2 1/2.

Hello Baby book by Jenni Overend is quite good, kids book about a baby being born at home. Mine read it with a lot of interest LINK : 166672&sr=8-1

Good luck. You will find a way. My daughter does not really remember her brother being a new born, her memory does not go back that far so I think unlikely that your DS will have lasting memories if he is present and unsettled by it.

SoupDragon Tue 23-Sep-08 11:53:41

It is entirely possible and many people do it but you do need to plan for the following scenarios:
1) you have to transfer to hospital
2) you suddenly want your child gone now

I suddenly wanted both DSs out of the house immediately when having BabyDragon at home. Wasn't a problem though

CatIsSleepy Tue 23-Sep-08 11:54:55

am considering this too captK
(am same stage as you too...)
am encouraged by the fact that a friend of mine managed this with her toddler asleep upstairs the whole time!

belgo Tue 23-Sep-08 11:56:40

I couldn't have coped with dd1 around when I had my homebirth, I just couldn't relax. She was also a bad sleeper and her bedroom is right next to the bathroom, and she would have been guarenteed to wake up with all the disturbance. She also gets incredibly over excited and no way could she have coped with all the midwives, birthing pool etc.

rosmerta Tue 23-Sep-08 11:56:48

Captain, hi, I'm in the same position as you with no family close by & only dh to look after ds if he wakes up.

Have you thought about a doula? The doula can be with you and then dh can see to your ds if he wakes up. They can be expensive but a student doula costs around £150 - look at doula uk to find one in your area.

Good luck!

CaptainKarvol Tue 23-Sep-08 12:04:44

ooh, thanks all.

I've looked at the doula site, but there's only one within 20 miles of me. (hardly in the middle of nowhere either, in Sheffield).

Lots to think about here, and some lovely experiences. I have no idea how I'd get DS out of the house without losing DH too, and any hospital transfer would also mean a toddler transfer at the moment. Not good.

Still not sure I can do this - most scenarios seem to rely on a quick labour while toddler sleeping. My last labour was 23 hours, and the most my toddler has ever, ever slept for is 6 hours! He usually manages about 3 before waking and needing me. Only mehmm

Aaargh, I really don't want to go back to our maternity hospital.

CatIsSleepy Tue 23-Sep-08 12:05:54

what would you do with your ds if you had the baby in hospital?

rosmerta Tue 23-Sep-08 12:17:16

Can your parents come down at all over the due date? They can look after ds then when needed. Or a friend that can be with you while dh is with ds?

Sorry, I know you've probably already considered these options but thought it might be worth putting them out there anyway!

SoupDragon Tue 23-Sep-08 12:57:29

CaptainKarvol, my 1st was 23 hours, my second 18 hours and my 3rd (the homebirth) only 9. All timings from 1st twinge to bitter end I think the HB was so much shorter because I was so much more relaxed at home. The time from DSs being removed from the house and DD arriving was 17 minutes!

If you transferred to hospital you would also lose your DS I think as he wouldn't be able to be in the room and would need looking after. You will need to sort out a contingency plan for this.

I'm not being doom and gllom but if you are to feel relaxed and confident at home, you need to know you'veplanned for pretty much everything. Not wanting DSs there was a big shock to me and I ended up with just one MW there at thee birth (it was lovely as it happens ).

CaptainKarvol Tue 23-Sep-08 13:09:26

It's worth putting all the options to me at the moment - I've got a bit stuck in my thinking (ie just going aaaargh, I'm going to be stuck in hospital again).

See, the hospital option is easy.

I'd phone my parents to make their way over once contractions started, or maybe on a set date. It's a 2 hour journey - I can't imagine my labour being less than 2 hours. If it't that quick, the only person I'm going to be worried about the whereabouts of is the midwife!

My parents could stay with us, and look after DS, no problem. Just not be in the same house as me while I give birth!

TBH, just me and one midwife sounds wonderful. Last time was me, scared DH, 3 different midwives at different times, and also a paediatric person, & epidural giving anesthetist came and went. But that's not fair of me, DH will want to be there.

I can't send DS to grannys, he could be there a fortnight if I go overdue!

frogthistle Tue 23-Sep-08 15:59:18

Hi, sorry to jump in but I thought I'd share my experience.

I had a homebirth 16 months ago when DD1 was 2 yrs 9 mths. We had never been apart overnight and I was REALLY twitchy about her & what to do.

In the end, I asked two of my friends (a backup & a backup-backup!) if they would be on call for us for DD1 as I didn't want to have to worry about her to hear her crying for me (her main carer). They both had children of her age whom she knew well. I had a doula & DH & selfishly, I wanted 100% of their support!

In the end, when it was obvious that labour was established, DH whizzed round the corner to the friend's house with DD and she apparently slept throughout the night without a peep and had an absolute ball the next morning having breakfast with her little friend. They took her to nursery, we picked DD1 up with her new little sister at 5pm the next day.

Yes, the little sister, who was born 1.5 hours after DD1 left the house!

I was tearful over my decision to do this and really quite worried about DD1 but knew I needed to be certain that I would not have to deal with her during labour either. She was fine!

No 3 due in 6 months & I suspect we'll do the same thing again...

Hope this helps, closer support options are good, just in case labour goes bananas. Good luck with your decision.


frogthistle Tue 23-Sep-08 16:02:34

Sorry, forgot to mention (& meant to) the friends I asked were not very close friends as we had recently moved into the area. But I had seen them with their DCs & liked their approach. We said hello to each other when picking up children from nursery etc.

They were touched & delighted to be asked and both have become really good friends since then - bonding thing!

For something like this, I think most people would be over the moon to help, even if they're not close to you right now. Everyone loves being involved with a birth!

Louandben Tue 23-Sep-08 16:17:33

I did the same as frogthistle, fairly early on in pregnancy I mentioned to a couple of friends that live nearby (one with children) that I was thinking of a home birth but what to do with DS (2.10)was a concern. They volunteered to be on call at any time if we needed them.

In the event I laboured overnight (which is most common I think)and DS slept, oblivious to it all. When he got up he saw me in labour and was surprisingly unbothered. We called our friend at 7am to come and collect DS, they left at 7.30 and DD was born at 9.30am. Friend brought DS back at lunchtime to meet his new sister, it was lovely.

The real issue here is nighttime, if you think your toddler will wake up - otherwise you could call your parents to come when you go into labour and then they could take toddler out for breakfast/day out as necessary. Then you have to hope that labour won't run into bedtime etc but I think most home labours are much shorter, because so relaxed. I would highly recommend it.

Slight change of subject, want to buy my birth pool in a box?! grin

CaptainKarvol Tue 23-Sep-08 16:20:11

grin louandben, if I get this sorted, most certainly!

CaptainKarvol Tue 23-Sep-08 16:21:29

forgot to say to frogthistle, that's really encouraging. It would be nice to think people would help out. Maybe I should just jump in and ask...

rosmerta Tue 23-Sep-08 16:26:55

Captain, I'll ask friends if you will grin. Dh has been saying we should but I was a bit wary given that they've all got their own children etc.

ajm200 Tue 23-Sep-08 16:30:15

What about looking at the local childminder register to see if any offer emergency overnight care. There are at least two around here that do but not much help to you as I'm in Berkshire.

We were let down badly by family a few weeks ago after thinking that childcare was sorted. Suddenly at 32 weeks I had no childcare sorted and had my last baby at 37 weeks so was starting to panic. I have made a few friends at toddler groups over the last year or so and mentioned my problem casually in conversation, suddenly I had loads of offers. So I have a babysitter and a backup just in case.

I was amazed at how many mums I know have been in a similar predicament. Modern lifestyles mean we live away from family and often grandparents work/are too busy.

bigmouthstrikesagain Tue 23-Sep-08 16:32:15

Hi Captain, congrats.

I am due in 3 weeks and have a 2 and a 4 yo - My dd was born at home when ds was 20m and I went into labour shortly after putting ds to bed - finally having dd at 5.30am. Dh was around and he did have to go up to ds in the early hours but fortunately my in-laws live close by so they came and took over looking after ds upstairs so dh could be with me downstairs - they took ds to theirs for the day after dd was born so dh dd and I could get some kip. We are hoping for something similar this time as well.

I am not worried about dc's being traumatised by seeing me in labour (dh is) - but it will be easier if I know there is someone around to look after them so I can concentrate on the birthing bit!smile If anything I think it would be more awkward if I had to go into hospital.

Good luck whatever you decide.

(btw - I really hope I don't go into labour in the next 7 days as in-laws have gone to Jersey for the week!!!!).

rosmerta Thu 25-Sep-08 12:23:20

Captain, just had another thought! I'm going to a homebirth support group tonight, it might be worth seeing if there's one near you? Perhaps the community midwife might know of one. Or this site might be able to help

TooTiredToday Thu 25-Sep-08 12:32:56

just a thought - if it's your second you might have a quick labour, and as you're worried, you might go into labour at night (amazing what the body will do without us really having any say in it), so your toddler might miss it all! That's what happened to me - labour from 1am to birth at 4am, dc woke up at 7 and was told about it!

But I agree with all the suggestions about backup care just in case.

good luck!

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