Saturday, November 8, 2008

Willem present at birth

Someone recently asked me the question if I planned for Willem to be present at the birth of his younger brother or sister in May. I have given lots of thought to that and had an experience in the past week that have really made me think about it.

I do want my Chunka to be present while I'm laboring and birthing. My dream is that he'd play with his cars and toys, cuddle with me, come to me give me hugs and kisses, and nurse occasionally, and be asleep for good parts of it. I'd love it if he played in the water with me and made me laugh through labor. Realistically, it could work out that he's sleeping through the night while I bring his brother or sister in the world. But in all fairness he'll be 2 years old, the process can be long and require lots of concentration and space; he may need a place away from mom for both of our sakes. He'll definitely need some of his own support and help because I'll be a little busy during that time.

I was trying to make plans accordingly by asking my doula friend to be there for him during labor and birth. She was okay with that for awhile and then she got freaked out when she realized that she and Chunka won't know each other and he could be uncomfortable with her. She also realized that as a doula/midwife/child care person, her focus would be pulled in all sorts of directions even though she's hired to be there as help for the kid. I understand that and I'm glad she told me that sooner than later, because I'd really be stuck in a lurch if she told me that and I was 33 weeks pregnant.

Now I'm trying to find out what my Plan B is. I do live in a very supportive community where I have friends living next door and across the courtyard. Chunka is comfortable with the kids and the parents, and he'd be nearby so taking him somewhere is not a big deal and having someone bring him back is not a big deal either. Sounds ideal, but I'm very concerned about how supportive my neighbors/friends are of homebirthing. Everyone has had their kids in a hospital and I have no idea how much fear/doubt/discomfort they have regarding homebirthing.

One neighbor is probably more comfortable with it than the others (she's the one who lives right next door, in fact we share a wall). Her sister has had babies at home and is a Bradley instructor and her mom has been a Lamaze instructor. I think she's comfortable with birth but I need to ask her if she's willing to help me out when I'm birthing next door to her.

The other neighbor is very openminded and non judgemental. She's a reader of my blog in fact so she knows exactly what my plans are, and since she knows that I'm worried that she would balk at being apart of those plans.

And the other neighbor, she's kind of in awe of me and never said anything negative about me giving birth at home this pregnancy but at the same time probably harbors all sorts of fears and doubts so I'm really hesitant to ask her.

Basically, I don't want to open myself up to all sort of questions and fears and concerns. Ideally I want someone there for him (and nearby me) who:
1) knows Chunka and he's comfortable with them.
2) is comfortable around birth.
3) lives nearby.
4) won't project their fears surrounding birth on me or my husband.

That's already made me reject the offers from two friends who live locally but further away from me. They are more likely to be more comfortable with birth but they wouldn't have the advantage of taking Willem for a nap at their homes or playing with their children nearby.

At least its still early in the pregnancy and I do have time to figure these sorts of things out.


siobhan said...

jenne, we had the same concerns at our last homebirth. mallory was three and sioban had just turned two. we weren't concerned about mallory, but i was really worried about how sioban would fare. our plan was to have someone come into the house for her. she could hang out with me if she wanted to, or she could at least be in her own home and supervised if it was too much for her.

it turned out that i worried over nothing! she perched on top of a pillow by my head and ate trader joe's pretzel slims the entire time she watched. the smell of her pretzel breath was nauseating, but i couldn't bear to ask her to do anything other than what she was doing. it's a super sweet memory and i am SO glad we didn't have her leave. she remembers only a teeny bit of it, but she loves looking through pictures and seeing herself in the thick of it.

i think preparation is key. get a copy of jenni overson's "welcome to the world" and read it often. though he's still really young, dialogue can only be beneficial. we talked about how mommies are sometimes loud when they're having a baby, but that it's not scary, and things like that.

good luck with whatever you decide! elisabeth is only 1.5 and i'm a month away from my due date, but we're excited to have her be a part of her baby sister's arrival.

~Aimee~ said...

Best of luck to you as you figure this all out! I would happily offer to take Willem, but I have a feeling we're too far away and not the most accessible, since we both work and only have one car. So even though it's not worth much, I'd totally offer to help if I thought I really could!