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28th January 2012 03:03 AM #1
- Join Date
- Dec 2011
Did you have your older children at your birth?
I was just reading through this article about having older children at the birth, and thought it shared a lot of wonderful information. From what I have experienced and heard from others, having a support person there for the child(ren) is very important. I have heard of stories where the child became incredibly upset, and it would have been helpful if there was someone there to take the child out of the room for a bit. I have also heard wonderful stories where it helped the family feel connected to have everyone there for the moment the baby was born.
I did not know how my older children would react, and I was too worried about them to have them present at the birth. I did have them there with me during early parts of labour, before it was time to actually deliver the baby. I was surprised at how well they seemed to handle that part. I walked throughout the house and paced during a large part of that time, and my son would come up and rub my back when I stopped walking during a contraction. They may have been fine at the birth, but I was still a bit too uneasy with it. Ultimately, I did not give birth at home, so we really did not have the option to have the children there when our last child was born. I do wonder if they would have been OK being there if things had been different, but it was still wonderful to reconnect with everyone once our baby was born.
14th February 2012 08:05 AM #2
I had my children present during most of my labours. During my 4 births (not including the first one) the children's ages ranged from 19 months (first baby present when second was born) to age 13 (daughter). At the birth of my 3rd child, the two younger ones (boy and girl) were present, but they were 7 year old girl and 5 year old boy. As the boys got older, my husband felt less comfortable having them see me during my labour and birth (I didn't have anything on during my water births).
But I did have my 13 year old present during my entire last birth (she was a great labour coach and helped with timing my contractions). We woke all the children up after the baby was born and I was a little more covered - some were so sleepy they didn't care and they just went back to bed. Others stayed with me.
It worked well for us to do it the way we did.
14th February 2012 11:05 PM #3
Thank you for sharing this Kate. Your birth stories sound so special and unique.
I'm not sure I could have my son with me at my future births as I think it would distract me from relaxing and breathing properly. I'm sure he would be fine but for me personally I think it would make me feel anxious.
14th February 2012 11:47 PM #4
I think having older children present is certainly a personal thing dependent on your own feelings, and those of your children, as well as ages and genders of the children involved.
For my part, I planned a homebirth for my second daughter in almost complete consultation with my then 6 year old daughter. We spent a great deal of time discussing the birth, reading children's books on the topic (Hello Baby is great) and finally watching some very carefully selected DVDs. Somewhere along the way my daughter made a firm decision that she wanted to be in the pool and catch the baby. This was something we included in my birth plan.
To support my daughter I had a friend organised to be available should I labour and birth during the day (because at night she could just be woken for the big moment and sleep through the rest). As beautiful a birth as we had planned, it all went pear-shaped when I started bleeding.
Transferred to hospital in the early hours of the morning our planned birth team changed quite drastically. Thinking I was still in pre-labour, my baby daughter's Godmother had come to look after me through the night, with her 12 year old daughter in tow. So much for pre-labour, the Godmother ended up being the one to drive me to the hospital!
I was painfully aware that it wasn't just me losing the dream but my daughter as well. Still, I persisted in requesting my daughter be allowed into the labour ward and succeeded in having her there, accompanied by aforementioned 12 year old in place of the planned friend. In place of the planned doula, my daughter's Godmother was there.
It sounds like a comedy of errors but everyone pulled together and all was going well. I must admit, I was a bit mortified at having the 12 year old there (that was NOT in the plan) and on a couple of occasions asked that the two girls leave the room (while an internal was performed and when Syntocinon was administered making my contractions very hard to handle) but for the most part I was glad to have them there.
In the end, my baby became wedged in an odd position and there was no way out but a caesaren. Both girls were extremely disappointed and my daughter spent the time I was in theatre huddled on the floor sobbing and hurling abuse at anyone who tried to help her. She was missing out on the most important moment of her life, she felt, and someone had to pay!
As tumultuous as this time was, my daughter now talks about how she was there through the whole labour, to see her baby sister arrive back from theatre, and be one of the first to hold her before she was even an hour old. She exhibits no sign of trauma about the labour and talks very matter-of-factly about how hard, but also wonderful, labour is. She has developed a new-found respect for me and what I (and any woman) can endure for a baby. Her bond with her baby sister is one of the strongest I have seen between siblings (look at my beautiful profile picture to see the love for yourself).
I will always regret that my daughter, after all that planning, was not there for the moment of her sister's birth and I know this loss will stay with my daughter to some extent. But in an odd way, that proves to me that I made the right decision in the first place.