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Thread: toddler in birthing room?

  1. #1

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    Default toddler in birthing room?

    I have a problem and I am still stumped what to do! Both mine and DP family & friends are 4 hours south so if i go into labour I have no one to watch our daughter. I dont want to take her into the birthing room but I dont think i have any other options. I definately cant afford to get a baby sitter to come out and I know my mum will come up but by the time she does it could be too late. Im thinking maybe just bringing alot of stuff to keep her entertained so she doesnt pay attention to whats going on lol Any ideas?


  2. #2

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    hi renee, i don't have a solution for you, but will be watching this thread since we are in the exact same boat!!only a little closer to the end!!

    Good luck!!

  3. #3

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    Renee, I agree with Caro that it would be better for your little one not to be there. You can't predict what will happen in your labour or how she will react. It could be very frightening for her, not just the events of labour but all the new people in & out of the room. I think it's very unlikely that she would be distracted by special toys. Are you giving birth at the John Hunter? they definitely want one adult dedicated to each child, if you bring children. Your dh cannot do it & support you as well.
    What about asking your mum to come up & stay from about 37 weeks on? Or can you organize for a friend or neighbour to keep her? It should be someone who can watch her for about 24 hours.
    Good luck!

  4. #4

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    yeah thanks Im thinking of befriending the neighbours now! i didnt want her in the room, she is a real mummies girl and as you all say im worried she will be traumatised seeing me in pain. I will be at maitland hospital Castle, but will miost likely be the same as John Hunter. Oooh good luck to you Christie! Your definately alot closer then me!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by renee84 View Post
    yeah thanks Im thinking of befriending the neighbours now! i didnt want her in the room, she is a real mummies girl and as you all say im worried she will be traumatised seeing me in pain. I will be at maitland hospital Castle, but will miost likely be the same as John Hunter. Oooh good luck to you Christie! Your definately alot closer then me!
    Actually, I would have to disagree with the above posters. I think the stress of placing your daughter with people she is unfamiliar with would be far greater than her accompanying you to have a baby. However, one person was right when they said that the hospital will probably insist on having a second person there whose sole responsibility is to look after her. Children being present for the birth of a baby is much less of an issue than many people think.

    The secret to children being with you in labour is to prepare them. In the weeks before the baby is due, you can practice "having baby" with her. Use a baby doll, practice the things you will do in labour - moaning, crying, rocking, and walking. Do it in short bursts, so she does not become distressed, with lots of reassurance at the end. Add in shouting or yelling. Always finish with the baby being "born" and lots of cuddles and comforting. You'll find that your daughter will make a game of it, and will come to understand that the sounds you make and the things you do are normal, and not scary. Get a birthing book with lots of pictures and read it with her, getting her familiar with the sights of a baby being born.

    With the appropriate preparation (preparation is the key) toddlers and young children cope with someone having a baby just fine. And its a very special experience that they will keep with them forever. I know a lot of people who have very sad memories of their siblings coming into the world, because all they remember is their parents disappearing, and having to be looked after by strangers, and not seeing parents for several days, when they finally got to go home, and found a new baby in the house. Not really the happiest of memories! As opposed to those who were prepared for being present at the birth, who remember it as a very special time where they could help by rubbing mummy's back, or carrying a drink, or just giving them cuddles.

    I hope you manage to find a solution, though, as either way - taking him or her with you, or having someone else look after them - you'll need to find someone you trust to help.

  6. #6

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    I agree with Michael, I would love to have my kids present for the birth of my next child.

  7. #7

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    Well, I'll try to agree with both of you. I don't think that you should send your daughter to stay with someone she doesn't know, and I also don't think it's such a great idea to take her into the birthing room. If everything runs smoothly, she might not be too upset about it all, but there is still the chance that things could snag a little, and having a little one there would be an extra challenge. (if for example, you end up with a c/s.) Personally, even if things went wonderfully, I wouldn't have my little ones there with me. (I missed my DD right after delivering her sister, and we went to get her and took them all home together that same night, but I didn't miss her during labour!) Others have had their kids present at homebirths though, and loved it, so I guess to each their own.
    I think you have plenty of time to get to know your neighbours well enough that your daughter will be comfortable there. You've got 20 some weeks yet, so hopefully you'll find someone close by that you and your daughter will get along with, until your mum or someone can come, and you'll have peace of mind come delivery time.

  8. #8

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    I dont have a solution and cant offer any help here but I must say, i completly agree with Caro here. I constantly get asked if i will have my dd (12) in the room with us, my answer is NO WAY!!. I couldnt imagine the stress it would put on her seeing me in such pain, the blood, i'd be too worried about what she was thinking the whole time - and what if something went wrong?? It would totally freak her out, she's also a fainter so resally not a good idea for us. She had asked me to be in there until we watched a movie one day it had a lady in labour (couldnt see anything) but the moaning and screaming was enough for my DD to say "yeah, you know what mum, i dont want to be in there"- i just dont think a child of any age should see this before they can make the choice themselves.


    Good luck Renee! (whichever way you go!!)

  9. #9

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    I geuss it's a tiny bit off track but in the past when people birthed at home surely thier older children would have been present. I was born at home and my older sister was present and helped give me my first bath and so on. At my birth the midwife told her that she was going to have to look out for me and to this day she still tries to.
    If I were to have another baby I would want my younger ones there with a carer who could remove them if needed. I would proably figure out a pre-arranged code phrase to say get them out of here in case I needed them gone for any reason.
    I geuss our attitude is going to be coloured by our perceptions of birth. If we see it as bad pain and scary then we will pass that attitude on to our children but if our children know that it is good pain and aren't scared of it then it becomes a differant situation.
    It's just one of those areas where all families have to find thier own solution.

    ETA - I tracked down *Yvette*'s birth story with her twins. She had both her oldre children present. It's here. She also had her oldest at Angus's birth.

  10. #10

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    I would have loved to have Jenna with us if it had worked out right. I went through the FBU and yes they did want another adult there to look after her, but they were happy to set up a portacot for her, and wheel the TV in for her if need be. They actually have a pile of kiddies videos there for this purpose.

    I had a freind who's daughter was with her for her second birth, and it was very special for her. The 21mo rubbed her back and cuddled with mummy and the new baby afterwards, Just gorgeous!!

    I guess it depends on what you are like, and how sensitive your child is. The more sensitive the better I would imagine.

    Each to their own. It works brilliantlt for a lot of people in many different cultures.

    Have you asked your midwives what they think??

  11. #11

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    Renee,
    I vehmently disagree that it is traumatic for children to witness birth. As Dachlostar so beautifully tells her story children at the births of their siblings can be one of those precious memories.

    I can speak from personal experience. I have had my children at all of their siblings births. When I was pregnant with my son my daughter then 5 came to all of the midwife visits and was very comfortable with palpating her brother inutero, listening to his heartbeating through my belly and generally watching him grow. She would ask about the birth and we watched some beautiful birthing videos. There was no way I could leave her at home on the big "Night". One of my most treasured memories was of her saying as her Daddy reversed the car out of the drive... "how exciting we are gonna have a baby tonight!". And WE did. She had her "labour bag" full of edible treats, little toys from dollar shops, books etc. She ditched them to watch in awe as her mother birthed her brother. She then piped up that she wanted to cut his cord. And she did.
    Our son and his older sister also joined in the birth of their sister (Finn was 2, Ruby was 7 when Lucy was born). Another beautiful family occassion. Finn 4, Ruby 9, Lucy 15 months were all present when their sister Eva was birthed. Not one of my children were traumatised or afraid. My husband and I educated them very well. We made "noises to make the baby come out", we spoke very frankly and openly that Mama would feel sore and make these noises but they were to bring our new baby to us. We watched videos and a favourite book in our house is "Hello Baby" - the story of a home birth. My children were supported through all of my labours by a friend delegated to care for and advocate for them.

    If the parents see birth as fraught with danger and fear so will the children. Where birth is talked of as the normal, sacred and beautiful event that it is children will also adopt this attitude. Women who are well supported during labour make lots of wonderful noises but the screaming sounds that people feel will frighten their kids generally dont' happen when a woman feels safe and well supported.

    It is very important to have a person there for young children as their support. If they did get afraid or bored then that carer can step in. If there was some event that the children needed to be removed from, again the carer could do this.

    I have been at countless births where children were present. Never have I seen a traumatised child! Granted, the women who choose to have siblings at their births spend lots of time preparing their children with visual images, sounds and affirmation.
    If the mother feels confident and trusting in the birthing process this is passed on to the children.

    If you do choose to have your older child at the birth of her sibling and you prepare her well AND she has a designated carer I am sure you will find it a beautiful experience.

    As Dachlostar says, in some countries it is ABNORMAL to lock children out of birth. Birth is seen as a natural, normal event that is shared by families.

  12. #12

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    Know exactly how you feel as we live a LONG way from family. I was really stressed out about it as I know DS would not take well to being in the hospital for that long. Check with the hospital and see if they have any options, I was hoping I would go into labour at night and that DS could sleep in the normal room. We ended up getting my mum to come up and stay for the next few weeks which has made me feel so much more relaxed about the whole thing

  13. #13
    mooshie Guest

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    renee

    i am sorry but i would also have to agree that it is not a good idea for a young child to be in the birthing room. i only say this as i know of someone who went into labour at home (whilst another friend was there) the friend offered to take her dd (aged 4) a look after her whilst the mum was in labour, the mum said no, her dd would be fine. well she wasn't fine and she has suffered quite a bit from watching what her mum went through. the first thing she did when she came home from the hospital (sorry i think this is a bit tmi) was spread her legs apart in the the lounge room and open her *bits* with her fingers as much as she called and peed over the floor. so even tho the little girl didn't seem to be traumatised by it at the time, you can see that it had such a terrible terrible affect on her.

    do you have any close friends from playgroup or mothers group that you could call on to look after your dd if only until your mum arrived??? would it be possible for someone from your family to come and stay with you in the final weeks before the birth. it is a tough one i know. i had no one when my ds was due, however i was lucky that my mum and dad flew down a few weeks prior (they lived interstate at the time) and they stayed at my mum's sisters house 20 mins away, so i just called mum when i was going to hospital and she stayed with my dd.

    good luck

  14. #14

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    If children are familiarised with the planned birthing space - weather it is a birthing suite, birthing centre. This helps to make children feel comfortable. Familiarising children with the birthing place prior to the birth is very important.

    Yes, Caro times have changed and the medicalisation of birth has meant that many women don't even consider other children at their births an option. I for one think that this is not a change for the better. My youngest child at 15 months relished in the birth of her sister. Her chubby little hand on her new born sisters head seconds after birth is a memory and a photo that is among my most treasured of possessions. Lucy refers to it as the first time she met her Eva...

  15. #15
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    I was adamant with DS that i was going to have DD present at birth, she would of been 2yrs 9 months old at the time. I talked in depth with DH about it and we thought that it would be a good idea so we would let the hospital know so they were prepared.
    My ob STRONGLY advised against it and this being that she would be to traumatised with seeing mum in pain and not understanding what was going on. I also listened to the midwives opionions and they had the same thoughts as the ob.
    Hence we changed our minds and we are glad that we did. Even though the labour was short and uncomplicated i think its nice for husband and wife to have that one on one time with their new family member and enjoy each other for just a little while. As soon as we were back at the room though i insisted that he go get DD so she could meet her new brother.
    I was only in for one night so it wasnt so bad for her. The fact that mummy wasnt home though even for that one night distressed her but im still glad that we didnt take her in.

    She will be 4yrs 3 months when this one is born and im still not going to bring her in. She remembers from when DS was born and talks about the two of them staying with Nannan while i have the baby so that makes it easier. DS will be the problem this time i think cause he will only be 18mths. Hopefully it will only be for the night again as im keen to get home and get on with my family.

    Each to there own i think, do whats comfortable with you and talk to your partner and Ob in length so you are prepared as well as your DD. Im sure your mother would make it only being 4 hours away to so if you decided not to take DD id be ringing your mother as soon as you get those niggly feelings. Im sure she wont mind. Good luck

  16. #16

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    Caro, I was just saying, that i would like too, not saying the OP should.

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    I guess it depends how you labour. I'm a raving lunatic, so probably not a good idea, but for those ladies that manage to do it quietly and calmly, I think it would be great

  18. #18

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    Thats Ok Caro,

    Dh wouldn't want the kids there, he agrees that it would be traumatic. I agree on some levels but I think it depends on the child. Evan probably would have been fine at Isla's birth because it was so quick. But not sure about Glenns. But He was also traumatised by not being able to be with me, he lost all trust in goin gto my mum. It took ages before he was ok about her coming around. After Glenn, as soon as she was mentioned he would say he didn't want her to stay.
    He loves her now though, Grandma has a pool! LOL.

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