Thursday, August 5, 2010

Toddlers at Birth...Awesome or Insane?

Ummm...has it really been almost 6 months since I posted on here? *Oi*! That's pretty bad. Actually, it's not so bad. I've spent the better portion of this year totally revamping my and my kids life; putting things in perspective, ordering priorities, etc. I set aside what was on it's way to becoming a pretty lucrative photography business. It was completely necessary for me to do if I wanted to FULLY embrace my kids childhood while it is still here. I also have been researching and debating over homeschooling/private schooling like a MAD WOMAN. And....something I've wanted to share with the beloved birth community out here....we're expecting baby #3!!! I'm almost 13 weeks and due in the middle of February :D We're super stoked. And so is Dakota. Levi has no idea what's going on. I guess a two year old boy doesn't usually "get" things of this calibre.

My first prenatal appointment was on Wednesday and it was the longest appointment of my life. Three hours. I'm not kidding. Lots of paperwork and LOTS of giggling and fun. I took my very dear friend, Rochelle, with me and she always makes for a good time like that. But also just spending time bonding with my midwife, Lori, and her apprentice, Becky. I will never tire of saying it, I LOVE MY MIDWIFE!

It's looking as though this may be our first birth center birth. Something different after having our first two at home. We're in the process of selling our house and I'm pretty sure we'll be right smack in the middle of moving when this baby is born. I feel blessed to have the option of a birth center. Our midwife just moved into a new, HUGE birth center and it's great! So I'm comfortable with the idea.

Now for the question I would love to hear all of your input on...for those of you who have had birth center births, or even homebirths, did you bring your other children for the birth? Or, did you opt to leave them at home or in the care of others?

What was your experience like either way?

I've watched many natural births on youtube, and seen a lot of births where the other toddlers are present, and mostly all of the mama's are so peaceful and serene with their kids being...well, kids. Hmmm. Am I the only one who thinks my kids might really bug me during birth??? I guess "bug me" isn't really the right phraseology. What I mean is, will I be okay mentally with the little things that toddlers normally do...cry, play, laugh, make noises. I mean, I'm not even taking them to my prenatal appointments. I feel like I want to enjoy this time with this new baby and listen to what my midwife is talking about and be able to concentrate. If I feel that way about appointments, I'm thinking that's a pretty big sign as to whether I should have my kids at the birth or not. But at the same time, I feel like we're a family. Families stick together no matter how young or old and I really feel strange excluding my own children.

Here are a few key points I've been pondering...

*How will my kids react/feel to seeing me in obvious and varrying states of pain/discomfort at times.
*Will my husband be able to be fully present for the birth if our two and four year old are present (even considering grandma will be there to tend to them).
*Would I rather have grandma tending to the kids? Or to me?

Anyway, back to the question. I would love to hear all of your experiences!! Hearing other women's testimonies and stories is the oldest and wisest method of learning when it comes to childbirth!


Tamara said...

This is a hard decision and one that I believe only mama knows best. You know your children better than anyone and you have a good idea of how they will be during birth. I was present at both of my sisters births (when I was 5 and than again when I was 16). And I would not have changed it for anything! It was beautiful and had a huge impact on who I am today. However, I did not have anyone present (besides the DR for my first and Homebirth Midwives for my second and third). This was a moment between me, my baby and my husband. I had a once in a lifetime job that I needed to be fully 100% present for. Birth took everything I had within me physically, mentally and emotionally in order to deliver my boys drug free and to truly be able to focus and enjoy what was taking place. I love my boys more than anything and I always want them to feel as though we are a tight family that simply does life together. But, I also want my boys to know that occasionally they each get one on one time with mommy, with daddy and with both of us. Although I admire the videos I have seen of small children in awe of watching the birth experience. To me, this is one of those moments where the new child deserves mama and even dads 100% attention and admiration. Good luck on your decision! I am certain that you will make the right decision for you and your family!

mommymichael said...

Well, I planned on having my older two at baby #3's birth, but hospital policy blah blah blah.

I thoroughly enjoyed having my eldest at his brother's birth.
I think it's completely up to you, and you know how your children act. Are they relatively calm and easy going on a daily basis? Or are they high maintenance?

The only times roan cried was if someone picked him up and away from me. I, however, really loved having him around. I think it just added to the love hormones.

We played things by ear, and talked about if we thought he was overwhelmed by anything, he would be removed from the area. As it was, he was there to witness his brother's grand entrance. Roan was 15 months, with my mom as his caregiver.

To prepare them for their sister's birth, I would randomly make "mommy noises" as I called them, (especially when I'd sit on the toilet. I figured I'd be there a lot. lol) so they would get used to any sounds I felt like I might make during labor. To this day, if I'm sick and making "mommy noises" Roan asks me if a baby is coming out. I would get down on the floor and rock around. Explaining that "when mommy is making mommy noises, we can't play horsie right then." LMAO As that's a loved game, which I'm sure you can imagine how that would fly during labor.

I also showed them LOTS of birth videos. (Previously viewed by me to make sure they were gentle and not scary) That way they got used to the visuals. Blood, fluids, baby being born vaginally. Roan fell in love with watching babies being born. After Trillian was born, I was sad that he missed out on being there. I'm sure he doesn't mind, or understand that he "missed out" but I do. He was so excited every time he saw a video, he'd pat my belly and talk about seeing mommy's baby be born.

Corin said...

Thanks so much for sharing both of your experiences! It's SO helpful.

@ Tamara: How you explain it is exactly how I have had it laid out in my mind; like this is a time to concentrate on the baby and my task. It's a special moment that I need all the mental and physical energy I can get!

And it also makes me feel good that I'm not the only one who feels that way.

@ Mommymichael: Dakota and Levi are super good kids. They are pretty well behaved most the time. I'm glad you brought that up because it made me realize that, "Hey, I might WANT my kids there when the time comes." I've always thought about it more on a basis like what if they're tired and crying, or just being normal kids and playing and it's bothering my "energy flow". But after reading your experience, it kind of makes me wonder the opposite, what if it's really special having them there?

So I'm thinking maybe a good idea is to wait and see how I feel when I'm in labor. If I like having them around then take them with us to the birth center. If I feel like I need them taken care of by someone else, then go the birth center on our own.

Thanks so much ladies!!

Oh and Mommymichael, making "mommy noises" at random is SUCH a good idea! And also the birth videos. I showed Dakota tons of birth videos before Levi was born and she loved watching them. She happened to be asleep when it came time for his birth, but I was really glad I at least got her used to the sounds and sights of birth just in case.

Prof. Lucy Ruth said...

CONGRATULATIONS on #3. ;) God bless and hope to hear more about all your adventures. :) And houses are selling where you live? Cool!

mommymichael said...

I also taught roan my Hypnobabies cues. So any time I started making my mommy noises, I'd repeat my "peace" cue, and teach him to put his hand on my shoulder. So that was another thing he started doing. lol

Corin said...

@ Prof. Lucy Ruth: It's a short sale. And they take a loooong time! But yes, it is selling so we feel very blessed. We're on month 8 now. I'm thinking we'll be moving right when this baby is due in the winter!

@ Mommymichael: So cool you brought that up because I'm going back and forth on doing hypnobabies this time around and was going to talk to you about it. I know everyone who has used it has sworn by it. I think I should at least try it out during the pregnancy. You are full of such good ideas! I would have never thought to include my kids in the cues!

Melissa Vu said...

All I remember is only wanting to concentrate on the birthing on my baby girl, you know, you were there. :)

I'm sure it would be hard to leave her at home if we end up having another birthcenter birth but I'd want Tim's and you and mom's attention to all be on me (is that selfish? :) Whatever you decide, I'm sure you'll have an excellent birth experience but rest assured that they'll understand either way.

Actually, I'm so close to the birth center, I wouldn't mind AT ALL running over there to take care of the kids! That way mom and Davey can be fully attentive to you and I can have the kids on the other side of the house. I can bring them in once baby Jones #3 is born. I'm so close I could be at the birth center before you even get there.

Enjoy Birth said...

I have been at some births with little kids. I think as long as you have a reliable person there to help the kids in case they don't want to be there for parts, or you don't want them there for parts, then it works really well. :)

As for the Hypnobabies, go for it! :) Here are some inspirational stories if you want.
You can find the homebirth stories on the enjoyable birth page.

Sazz said...

I wrote about being at a birth with toddlers here: "Two Toddlers and a Baby at a Freebirth" and it has two links at the end to articles about preparing children for birth.

Ultimately I think it's about the atmosphere your birth team creae. The children's individual needs/personalities at the time might also come into play. But the one birth I've been at with kids had a real mofo of a transition, mama really roaring, and the kids weren't phased, coz Dad and I weren't phased :)

Brandie said...

My last birth was at a birth center. You can read about it here:
My parents brought our girls to the birth center first thing in the morning and they hung out until I was ready to go home. Then we all rode home together.

My 10 and 7 year old said they did not want to see the birth and I knew my 3 year old would be upset. Also, after 3 babies, I know that I like to labor in absolute quiet.

Susan May said...

I just found your blog and LOVE it. I gave birth to my son last year at a birth center in DC. My (now)4 year old daughter (she had just turned 3 then) was present. For us it wasn't so much of a choice - we have no family here.

I was worried about how things would work out. I prepared her by watching videos of woman giving birth with her and talking about noises I might make etc. She did great! At one point when I got really loud (after my water broke/transition/pushing) she and my husband left for a few minutes because it was too loud for her. But they came back and she her brother come out!

Because I knew she would need her dad (especially since I was not really available! :-) we had a doula and she was great. Overall things could not have worked out better given our situation. My parents drove the 7 hours and were at the birth center within an hour or so of our son's birth. We came home that night. It was amazing.

I think if your kids want to be there it can be very powerful for them and you. I think especially for little kids they really GET where the baby came from (and understand there's no sending this new baby back!)

Hope your feeling well!

Bevy Lucy said...

So Corin,
Did you have your little 3rd bebe? :) I'm sure you are busy with all three now. :)
God bless and hope the move went well for you and yours.