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Discussion Starter #1
I'm in a bit of a dilemma. We are due with #2 in the middle of June. DS#1 is 5, will be 6 by the time the baby arrives.

The problem is, there is no one who can tend to him while the baby is being born. We live about a 10 hour drive from all of our family. There is no one at work that I trust enough, no friends or neighbours close enough to do this for us.

The options I have right now are
- prepare DS to attend the birth of his sibling. I have 6 months basically to prepare him for this.
- send DS to be with his grandparents. The issue is the baby is due mid June. The baby could come early, could come late. We would have to send him there at the beginning of June, meaning he would miss the whole last month of school. I really do not want to do this. His grandparents both work full time, and cannot take the time off to come spend with us during this time.
- get a doula for the birth, and my SO stays with DS during the birth. They would still be at the hospital, and maybe even in the room during the delivery, but SO would be more focussed on keeping DS happy and occupied than comforting me. I think I like this option, because incase DS gets antsy or tired, they can go grab a snack or walk around.

I'm sure there are options I have never thought of or considered. So I am thinking to myself, is he too young to attend a birth? I've been searching and looking it up as much as I can. Everywhere I see says depends on the child, how you prepare the child, some love to be included, some don't understand and hate it. DS is the type of child who loves to be included in EVERYTHING. He absolutely hates if there is a single thing going on in the household that he does not get to be a part of. But I don't know if any amout of preparing could actually get him ready to see something like that. I guess I am just doing a lot of thinking out loud trying to clear my mind about this.

Has anyone had their children attend a birth of their siblings with success/failure?
 

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Are you taking birthing classes? Is there someone who lives close to you who would watch him? Maybe you can find someone who you could trade with.
I wouldn't take my kids in with me but that's just me. I wouldn't want my kids seeing me if something were to happen to me or the baby
 

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If this is at the hospital, just take him.

At the actual moment, he does not need to be in the room.

The nursing staff will watch him for the short time the final delivery happens.....it will be good to have the whole family there.

He can be with you and hubby up to the very last second and then he can rejoin the occasion just a little bit after.

No, you won't have a problem. The hospitals prepare for this.
 

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If this is at the hospital, just take him.

At the actual moment, he does not need to be in the room.

The nursing staff will watch him for the short time the final delivery happens.....it will be good to have the whole family there.

He can be with you and hubby up to the very last second and then he can rejoin the occasion just a little bit after.

No, you won't have a problem. The hospitals prepare for this.
NO NO NO - The nursing staff will NOT watch him for that short time!!! We are health care professionals, NOT babysitters - and we are there to assure the health and safety of mother and baby - not serve as highly paid child care providers. There are lots of other things we do with the other patients, and cannot be tending to another child. I have to tell the poster that I find this comment a little (no a LOT) insulting.

And from personal experience with being the nurse, a six year old does not need to see you give birth. You are assuming wonderfulness with your birth experience, which I sincerely hope for you, but no one can guarantee this.

You have six months to find someone/ develop a trust relationship for care for your six year old. Either that or the doula idea is terrific.
 

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I think you're asking a lot from a 6yr old. You don't know how long the wait at the hospital will be, and how bored he might get. I don't think he should be in the room while you're panting and pushing. Even if you explain what is going on, seeing you is probably going to distress him, he'll think you're being hurt. He'll be able to tell you are stressing and in pain.

I think you ought to get the doula, or find someone to watch him that day.
 

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Having just recently given birth, I can tell you I would never have my children in the room with me to witness it, regardless of how old they are.

I would never want my kiddos to see me in that amount of pain. They depend on me as a source of strength and guidance and even at the age of 6, I wouldn't be willing for that to be shaken just yet. They currently view me as invincible and I like it that way.

Also having had a labor/delivery where everything did not go as planned and the kiddo was taken to NICU, I can tell you that is the last thing I would ever want one of my children to experience.

I know you aren't going to be having the delivery for awhile, I would start looking for alternate arrangements for your son. I know right now due tothe H1N1 scare a lot of hospitals have tightened their visiting regulations. My son couldn't even visit me at the hospital when I delivered Maggie.

Hope you can come up with a solution that works for your family . And congratulations!
 

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My youngest 3 children were born at home and we had our daughters in the room to witness the births (the youngest girl was 9 the first time she saw a baby born) My daughters were very helpful in assisting the midwife prepare for the delivery,etc....it was a very wonderful time and we were happy to repeat it. However, for us,It was better for everyone that the boys stayed out of the room to watch over the younger children while the babies were being born.
You have 6 months....I'm sure that by that time, things should settle down. hugs.
 

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Also having had a labor/delivery where everything did not go as planned and the kiddo was taken to NICU, I can tell you that is the last thing I would ever want one of my children to experience.
Also, if something like this were to happen, and hopefully it won't, but if it did you or SO don't need to be worried about entertaining a 6 year old and playing games or making him sit still while the baby is being taken into or treated in NICU.
Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
We had a bad experience when DS was an infant leaving him in the care of someone we thought we could trust. For this reason, we do not ever leave him in the care of anyone other than grandparents, brothers or sisters or a few select friends.

I think mostly I'm trying to convince myself that its ok for DH not to be there. He is incredibly squeamish and would not actually watch the baby being born, only hold my hand and feel helpless to do anything. He would not even look at the baby until he/she had been cleaned off. I really want him there, but I feel like either I'm being selfish towards DS for making him sit around bored to tears/scared that mommy is screaming, or selfish to DH for him not being able to listen to his babys first cry, etc. Maybe I'm just reading too much into everything.

Thanks everyone for your responses, a lot of times just talking about something can work wonders at clearing your head.
 

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I'm in the minority. I say go for it. Each kid was there when I gave birth to their sibling. DD #1 was 19 months when DD#2 was born. DD #1 was 5 and DD #2 was 4 when DD#3 was born. They witnessed the entire labor and birth.

We talked a lot about what would happen and they even saw a birth video from lamaze class and the OB. My labor's were very short and I had packed a bag for the kids to keep them occupied.

Both older girls remember being in the room during the births of their sisters. They were involved in the process (our doctor was wonderful!!) and I felt it helped with bonding. :)

Saying that, we did have an "escape" plan in case something went wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm in the minority. I say go for it. Each kid was there when I gave birth to their sibling. DD #1 was 19 months when DD#2 was born. DD #1 was 5 and DD #2 was 4 when DD#3 was born. They witnessed the entire labor and birth.

We talked a lot about what would happen and they even saw a birth video from lamaze class and the OB. My labor's were very short and I had packed a bag for the kids to keep them occupied.

Both older girls remember being in the room during the births of their sisters. They were involved in the process (our doctor was wonderful!!) and I felt it helped with bonding. :)

Saying that, we did have an "escape" plan in case something went wrong.
Do you mind my asking what your escape plan was?
 

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Ok, so I'm not a mother so have no experience on either side of this question - the giving birth or having a child present/absent. But I do have an opinion (of course). I agree with MrsMcDowell. Even with preparation, that could be a pretty traumatic thing for a child that young to witness up close and for real. Thinking back to when I was six, I cannot imagine how I would have felt seeing my mother go through that. I think it would have been beyond upsetting - it would have been really frightening.

Have you mentioned this to your doctor? Perhaps he or the social services staff at the hospital you will be using would have some ideas or recommendations for safe care for your son.
 

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Do you mind my asking what your escape plan was?
I was lucky enough to have my mom around and DH. Either or both could have taken the kids out to the waiting room or the food court. I would want to have DH with me the whole time, but I wanted to make sure the kids were taken care of too. Luckily the kids were in the room the whole time.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I spoke with my OB about it, he said it is a personal choice we will have to make. He does not care one way or the other, the hospital allows up to 3 people to attend the birth, the only thing is DS cannot be disruptive and running around the halls or something like that. The only thing he really wanted us to be clear on is that if DS needs to leave the room for whatever reason, nursing staff and doctors are not babysitters.

The hospital we are going to is about a 45 minute drive from our house. It is our plan to use this hospital unless something happens like 'omg baby is coming NOW' and we need to resort to the one closer to home. If this is the case I'm sure we would be dialing 9-1-1 anyways.
The reason we don't want to use the one closer to home is because the one we have chosen has a brand new birthing centre, whereas the one close to home has gotten a bad reputation because a woman died in the waiting room a few years ago after sitting on a stretcher in emerg unattended for a few days. EEP!
 

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I would start asking around for some help. Ask the hospital, your local church, social services has a list of licensed babysitters, find a teenager you can trust and pay him/her to come with you and entertain ds in the waiting room. Do you have a trusted neighbor or co-worker? Call the local day care centers and see if they know of anyone. If you have a nanny agency around, call and see if they have someone who can come with you to the hospital and watch ds in the waiting room. If there is a doula service they might know of someone.
I know this must be really really hard not having family and friends around at this time. I am sorry you even have to worry about this.
If this were me I and I was worried about leaving ds w/someone then I would have my husband focus on ds. I know this sounds weird, but when I was having my children I was so focused that I wasn't paying much attention to dh even being there.....
If you do choose to have someone watch ds then let them get to know ea. other before the birth. Maybe your ds could have some play time w/the person at your home while you do chores. This way you get to see how they interact too.
 

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Like Manyhouseapes, I also had a homebirth with #2. We had midwives attending. DD was 5 and a half at the time her sister was born. I know this is unorthodox, but it was somewhat left up to her. My MIL was at the house (NOT in the room with me) and her purpose was to hang out with my oldest if needed.

I have been blessed with very quick uncomplicated labors. DD was in and out of the room, and during the actual birth she was in the next room watching the Rugrats movie, if I recall correctly. We prepped her by watching birth videos - a few different ones, so she was aware of what would be going on. She was there a couple of minutes before the actual birth, found it rather boring, and in for the cutting of the umbilical cord to see her little sister.

This is not for everyone but worked well for our family - DD is kind of smug about the fact she saw her little sister before anyone else. She got to make the calls to let everyone know the little one had arrived, and was a big part of the entire process.

Out of your choices, I would say, if you truly, truly cannot find anyone to care for him, go with the doula.
 

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Checking in again -- I liked Newleaf's suggestion to find someone to watch him, but at the hospital. There should be no concerns about his safety in such a public place, and your husband would be there to check in on how they are faring as well.
 

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Checking in again -- I liked Newleaf's suggestion to find someone to watch him, but at the hospital. There should be no concerns about his safety in such a public place, and your husband would be there to check in on how they are faring as well.
I agree.

regardless of what you decide.... good luck.
 

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Don't know about YOUR particular hospital but around here all is handled for the parents.

Just easiest is to call the maternity ward and ask in each situation.

Hospitals are now full care situations around here and can help people with their individual issues.

You might find it insulting where you live, but here the hospitals plan for all events. Now birth is not just Moms situation, it is a family situation and our hospitals accouint for it.....ok, maybe not the actual nurse to help, but someone in the hospital's here are there for the family. Our hospitals are family oriented here.
 

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i would find it very distracting....if i could get a doula i would in a second and my mind would be at ease that my children were with dh....safe and content...

my labours are fast and loud....and i get distracted and anxious easily when my family came in for a minute. We're out of town now...and that is what we decided if it were to occur..(me getting pregnant)

good luck
 
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