I'm a long way from giving birth I know but this has been on my mind for a few weeks now. What I'm wondering is what your thoughts are about having your older children in the room during your baby's birth? My DH is against having any of them in the room but I wanted my oldest daughter to experience the birth of one of her siblings since we're planning on this being our last baby. Will any of you be having your children in the birth room or will you be having them stay with someone when the time comes?
My mother had home births for her last three children and I was one of the oldest. I was seven when my sister was born and ten when my brother was born. I was there for both births. To be honest I remember finding it a little awkward and weird; I didn't want to look during the pushing and I remember being freaked out by seeing my mom in so much pain and unable to really engage with me. But I definitely wasn't traumatized or anything and I'm glad I was able to be part of the experience.
My 4-year-old won't be in the room with me. I don't think he's old enough to really grasp what's happening and I don't want the distraction of worrying about him. So either my husband will have to be with him or, fingers crossed, one of our parents will be able to be there and look out for him.
I had my two oldest boys in the room with me while I delivered my third son. They sat on the couch off to the side (and did not have a clear view of "things") and did awesome. After he was born, he was given to my husband while I was stitched up and they all sat on the couch together. They were also all present during my home birth with their sister, and again, did great!
I'm planning to have a home birth, so yes, ideally we'd like our daughter (who will be 4) with us. She was born at home too, so we've always talked about birth and she's watched birth videos and is very excited about seeing her baby sibling born. When it comes down to it, who knows if she'll actually want to be there, but as it will be at home, she can always go to another room in the house if she wants. If it's during the night and she's asleep though, we probably wouldn't necessarily wake her if she didn't wake on her own. But yes, I think it's lovely for them to be there if they want to be and if you feel comfortable. Obviously, the most important thing is that you feel relaxed and comfortable. Personally, I would feel more relaxed knowing she was with us than somewhere else. We also don't really easily have other childcare options. No family nearby and our closest friend who would realistically be able to help is an hour away. If we needed to be in hospital though, we would arrange for our friend to take her for the night. They don't allow children on the labour wards here, though they can visit before or after of course, just not when you're in active labour.
My two year old daughter was at the home birth of my son and she did fabulously. We prepared by watching birth videos, taking her to midwife appointments, and talking about the whole process. She felt very involved and the two of them are very close.
My 2 1/2 and 4yo were present at my 3rd birth. They loved it and still talk about it. There are books geared towards preparing children to watch a sibling being born, and youtube is an excellent resource for finding birth videos for kids to watch in preparation. We also did lots of practicing birth sounds together so they wouldn't be scared if I was particularly vocal. I suggest that if you do have them present you have someone elae who is there just for them who can take them out of the room if it becomes too much for them or you (kids can be distracting)
Here's a video of my birth where you can see the kids being really involved.
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