Today marks the 27-week gestation point and our two older boys have just turned 4 and 6 years old. They are SUPER excited to be getting a little brother - woohoo!! another superhero to fight the baddies, and another Lego "master builder" in the making. BUT, they have indicated some interest in being there when their little bro "comes out".
My husband's reaction is "are you crazy? No way!". My thoughts are split...
I'm really excited about our third bub's arrival and think it would be a fantastic opportunity to share that special moment with our older children. An opportunity for my kids to witness something REAL, something uncensored, something that is completely natural yet almost magical... and hopefully something that will allow them a wonderfully close bond with their brother as they were there to witness his arrival on earth...
... yet I also have a lot of questions swirling in my mind.... will the boys be scared? will it be too distracting for me? what if things don't go "to plan"...?
We are booked into the Greenslopes Private Maternity Hospital (which we toured the other day and looks very flash indeed so I'll be sure to review it post birth!) and their mentality seems to be supportive of what the mother wants. So when I asked about having our older boys present at the birth, the midwife responded with a "we will support your decision, however you want to consider your ability to maintain your focus for the birth" (or something to that effect!).
And as I dig back into that hazy memory of my previous two "uncomplicated" births, I try to recall just how intense the births were, and how much inward focus I needed to have... and I wonder if I would be able to be totally "in the zone" with my older kids there. And of course, the question of how will it impact on them?
Child birth can be scary for the unprepared spectator. My younger sister was 21 years old when she was an unexpected (but totally welcome) family member in the birthing suite for the arrival of my first son (she drove my mum to the hospital and decided to stay for support). Despite being an adult, I think she was truly shocked at the whole ordeal. She had not planned to be there, so had no prior knowledge of what labour looks like (other than the completely unrealistic TV version) and for her, seeing me (her sister) struggling to cope with intense pain; my contorted facial expressions and all the groaning/animalistic noises... it was all a bit much and she excused herself after about 20 minutes. Looking back, I think she felt helpless, as her offers of water/ice/massages were met with "no/No/NO!... thank you". So she probably figured she was more use out of the way.
Anyway... in terms of my boys, I am doing all of the obvious preparatory things, like reading them birthing books and trying to answer their questions about the birth as honestly as possible. I haven't yet shown them a video of child birth (there are lots of beautiful vaginal child birth videos on Youtube) but am considering this as an option.
Of course my husband and I need to be on the same page with all of this... so I have the next 14 weeks or so to ponder this one - discuss it with my children and husband - and hopefully come to a decision that I'm happy with.
I would love to hear your perspective on this topic. Have you chosen to have your older children present at the birth of a younger sibling? Did you decide not to do so? Any advice to give either way?