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Thread: Children at the birth

  1. #1

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    Default Children at the birth

    Hi guys - I'm probably getting way ahead of myself, but it's a question I've been pondering for a while.

    I'm due in Feb and my parents are going to be overseas, which means we won't have anyone to look after DD who will be 9 years old.

    She has asked if she can be with us during the birth, but I'm not sure what effect seeing me going through labour will have.

    Has anyone else had their children attend the birth??? Did it scar them for life??? :eek:

    Maybe it'll remind her to hold off having any of her own until she's MUCH older...!!??

    I'd really appreciate your views on this one.


  2. #2

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    Congratulations on your pregnancy. I hope you have a happy healthy one!

    My children have been at each of their siblings births. Our eldest daughter is 11 tomorrow and she was present when her brother was born - she was 5 1/2. We prepared her well, she watched birth videos, we read her books (Hello Baby is a fantastic book for this), she came to most of my antenatal visits, she 'helped' the midwife to palpate my belly and listened with the doppler.
    When it came labour day she was so so excited. As we drove to the birth centre she said "this is the night my baby brother or sister is coming to meet us!". I had packed a 'show bag' for her. Colouring in, poppers, chippies etc and I also had a present for her after the baby was born from her new sibling. I began a family tradition during the pregnancy where she chose a teddy for her new sibling and also an outfit that was the very first thing the baby wore.

    She was absolutely fine during labour. She wiped my brow and chatted between contractions. She had my sister in law there as her support but that wasn't even needed really. She knew that I would make strange noises and she had heard them on the videos and seen pictures in books. When Finn was born he was caught by my husband and then passed to me. It was the most amazing incredible and beautiful experience to look up into the eyes of my oldest baby and her daddy. We were a family of four and we all helped with the birth. Ruby wanted to cut the cord and she did this. It was very very special.

    So both her and Finn were at Lucy's birth and Ruby again cut her sisters cord. Again all three were there to welcome their youngest sister Eva into the world. Hers was a water birth so they couldn't see as much but it was just beautiful. Again Ruby cut the cord.

    I am a huge fan of siblings at births. For me birth is a momentous occassion and one that shouldn't be hidden away from siblings. They all know how babies come out and they all know it hurts but you live! They of course are given a choice if they want to be there or not but wild horses won't keep them away.

    I have been at many births where siblings are present and I have never seen it go sour. Of course sometimes in birth there are unexpected challenges, if that happens children are sometimes better not to be there. They can go out of the room and reenter when things are on track. Ours is one of the few cultures that excludes siblings from the birthing experience. I don't know if it is to do with their inclusion in the pregnancy and birth experience but none of my children had sibling rivalry that sometimes happens. They understood why mama was a bit tired after the birth, The feeling of all of those little hands upon me gave me the strength to push and to focus. Seeing all of their faces as they love their brother/sister for the first time is absolutely priceless....

    This type of birth isn't for everyone. We all have to make decisions around birth that sit comfortably with our own value systems and personal comfort zones.

    Some women feel that it's too much information for children or that it will damage them to see you in pain. I believe it is a lesson in life. I can say there was no fear with my kids they understood that I would make noise and that there would be some blood and it would hurt Mama a lot. During pregnancy, especially the last weeks I would make groaning noises and pushing sounds so they knew what I may sound like. (sounds a bit wierd but it worked!!!) I hope my girls won't fear childbirth - something that is all so common these days. And I hope my son will draw on his memories of his mothers labours when he has a partner birthing his child. After Finn was born Ruby came home from school one day and said a boy at schools mum had had her baby. She said "it's really wierd Mum he didn't go"... I liked that she saw being present to see your sibling born as completely normal and natural. Which of course it is!!!

    If you would like any information or any support let me know. Good luck with making a decision that is right for you and your family.

    Big hugs and congratulations!

  3. #3
    angelfish Guest

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    Deb's answer makes sense to me...
    My son wasn't at his sister's birth because at barely 2 we felt that it would't really be practical, both in terms of preparing him and in terms of me being distracted by his presence. I would imagine that with a nine-year-old it could be a very special experience for all concerned, providing that you are comfortable with it as well (If you would rather not, than tell her so and you can always work out a compromise such as having her somewhere nearby and allowing her to see you immediately after the birth).

  4. #4

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    Marisa was 2.5 when Elijah was born, and she had a support person - my sister. She was fine, easily distracted when it came to the crunch and it's so gorgeous when she recalls things from the birth and being there. I think when they are young like angelfish it can be difficult as they are easily bored but I think if they are younger, you have a gut feeling if you think they are ready to handle it or not. Children are so 'matter of fact' about life, they take things on board well most of the time when they have good support. I would have both my children at the birth next time also, there will be a bigger gap as I am not ready until at least Marisa is at school, but it's such a beautiful thing to me. As long as someone is designated as a support person for them I think it's fine - if the child gets upset, someone can deal with it swiftly and gently, and they can also explain things to them along they way if they are enjoying it. I think most kids find it fascinating, but I wouldn't involve them if intervention was required like forceps or other things - just labour and the birth - I'm sure any mum would know what I mean If you don't have someone to help with your child, you could always have a Doula but the thing is if you have no other family or friends who can come and get them if it's a long labour, it can be hard, especially when there is no-where they can sleep or nap. Luckily Elijah was born in the morning, went to hospital at around 9 and he was born by 10, so it worked well for Marisa!

    ETA: I wanted to add too, that once upon a time, girls helped women with new babies and during birth - it was a normal thing to them. These days, we are lucky to hold a baby before we hold our own. We are so isolated from pregnancy and birth that women have become fearful of it, it's more of a nerve racking mystery than relaxing journey and I think that by exposing children to birth it's a positive thing. If you aren't comfortable doing it then don't, it's your own choice, this is just my personal opinion. I am just all for getting more comfortable and familiar with birth, not being frightened of it, and the beautiful bonding that can come with it.
    Last edited by BellyBelly; June 11th, 2006 at 04:32 PM.
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  5. #5

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    Wow. Thanks guys. I think you've helped me make up my mind. Of course I will leave it up to her, but with enough preparation I'm sure she will cope fine, if she chooses to be there for the birth.

    DH is not her father and I really want her to feel as much a part of the process as possible, and don't want her to feel as though she's any less a part of the family. I think if we do something similar to what you've suggested, she will think it is extremely special - as will I.

    Thank you both for your ideas - I feel much better about it all now!

  6. #6

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    Deb, you made me cry - again...

  7. #7

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    My pleasure Michelle. Have you given thought to where you would like to birth your baby? The Birth Centre at the RWBH offers a great service and the midwives there you will find particularly inviting of siblings at the birth. At 9 years old I am sure your daughter with good preparation will cope well, it is always preferable to have a support person for siblings but if you birth somewhere like the birth centre there is a lounge area within the birth centre that your daughter could retreat to if she needed a break. Most labour wards also have an area such as this. I wish you all the very very best and I look forward to hearing of your experience in the months to come!

  8. #8
    goldilocks Guest

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    Awww Deb, that was so beautiful that you brought tears to my eyes. You have such a beautiful way with words...you should be a writer!

    DH and I want to have a big, beautiful family and it hadn't occurred to me to have the older children at the birth of their younger siblings. What a fantastic idea! Deb and Kelly, you make it sound like such a magical experience that I can't imagine it any other way now

    Thank you so much for sharing your stories

    Love
    Goldilocks
    -xxxooo-

  9. #9

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    Hi Deb. I doubt I'd be able to get into the birthing centre unfortunately (although I've heard great stories about it!) because DD's birth was a little "traumatic" and I was on the verge of an emergency cesarean, but ended up with the vacuum. I'm quite a small build, so not sure if they would consider me high or low risk, after the last one. Won't hurt to ask though...!

    Thanks for your help.

  10. #10

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    Michelle,
    Without knowing your history a vaccuum extraction shouldn't make you high risk. They won't 'allow' vbacs but many women have had a vaccuum extraction and birthed at the centre... I am a small build too and my first labour was 33 hours of very long and very hard labour. I didn't have an assisted delivery but it was pretty rough.
    Basically what makes you high risk will depend on the overseeing ob - vbac rules you out of the birth centre at rwbh as I mentioned earlier so does insulin dependent diabetes, if your haemoglobin falls below a certain point. Breech presentation and some other things. Because you had a vaginal birth I would be really surprised if you were excluded simply because your birth was assisted. If you are interested I can give you a few names to contact . The staff are wonderfully supportive and it has a truly woman centred approach to pregnancy and birthing.

  11. #11

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    Thanks for the kind comments Goldilocks. I do write, so it's nice that it shows!

  12. #12

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    I think it's a wonderful idea! Flowerchild's reply made me cry as well
    I would love to have Emily at the birth of this baby, but at not quite 2 I think she may still be a bit of a handful for DH to cope with her and me so she won't be there. But I really think it's a fantastic life experience for your nine year old

  13. #13
    Melody Guest

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    Hi Michelle,

    I just wanted to add that my sister had my nephew present at the birth of her 2nd & 3rd (he was 12 & 15 yrs of age) & she loved having him there. He was a great support to her.... he left just as she was about to push each time so it was a good compromise for her & a wonderful family bonding experience.

  14. #14

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    Looks to me that DD will now very likely be there! I've started talking to her about it all, and at my next doc appointment (not until August!), I'll ask for her advice on how to prepare her.

    Deb, if you've got some names, I'd appreciate it - it won't hurt to ask about the birthing centre!

  15. #15

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    Not a problem. It is probably best if I email you. Can you email me and let me know how to email you. MMMM that sounds confusing but I think you will know what I mean.
    I don't know how to do the PM thing but I have an email address listed that you can contact me on.
    Hugs

  16. #16

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    Maddison will be at our next babies birth, Indah too depending on the age etc, but I know now Madfdy would cope fine!!! I should have let her come to Indah's birth, she never asked though & so I assumed she didnt want too, but next time I will offer her the choice & I hope she will come.... Indah was 8.5 hours old when Maddy first met her & that was a precious memory for me!!!

  17. #17

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    Hi Deb. Yes, I understood exactly what you meant, but I'm unable to email you for some reason - maybe because I've not signed up for platinum membership yet (I'll be doing it when I can stay awake long enough to do it...!)?

    Anyway, yesterday I received a letter from the hostpital, booking me in for my scans, then today I received my forms to book in to the hospital, so I might have a good look through what they sent me and it might be on there!

    Phew! I'd forgotten how much has to be done when you're pregnant!!

  18. #18

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    Not being a platinum member shouldn't matter I don't think???
    Just click on Flowerchild on this message and then click on send private message and you should be able to get me....

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