Just last week one of my lovely pregnant friends sent me a late night text; she was keen to know how common it is that couples I teach are concerned about who will be around to look after their other child(ren) when they go in to labour.
The answer is – the majority.
Even when their families live locally – the biggest and most pressing question that both first time parents and couples in their subsequent pregnancies is how they will know when to go to hospital or when to call the midwife.
There just simply isn’t an easy or definitive answer.
There are of course signs that labour is progressing which I talk about extensively in my classes, but what I do have certainty about is that every woman is unique and therefore labour at varying speeds.
So when is the right time to have your child(ren) picked up?
Only you can make that call.
As it often seems to be such a great source of anxiety – I always encourage couples to have a plan!
And a back up one too...just in case!
Arranging with a couple of people willing to do that late night pick up or come to your home if you are dashing off to hospital is going to give you the reassurance you need at a time when those last minute plans are definitely not what you want to be dealing with.
So what if you are having a home birth and labour starts in the night? Would you be happy to let your little one(s) sleep?
I felt pretty at ease about the prospect of Noah (my oldest little boy) being at home with me. In fact I would go as far as to say that I was kind of hoping that my labour would start in the night and Noah would remain at home.
However, when the time came – my labour started early morning and Noah spent most of the morning with me before going off to the school fair as planned (prior to labour) with his Gran.
I remember people being quite surprised that he was there as long as he was and...SHOCK HORROR I had considered keeping him around for the birth.
Of course as with all things - there are variables which affect the suitability of this, but with the topic being in the media a lot over the last couple of days, it raises the question of personal choice again.
Birth tends to be an emotive topic anyway with strong opinions, but for me it was lovely to read some of the mainstream media giving a fairly balanced perspective.
Jacque Gerrard, the Royal College of Midwives’ director for England making the valid point that in supporting women's choice also means supporting the request to have children in attendance. She also says,
"Birth is a family event, and it affects everyone. With the right support and preparation, why shouldn’t they be involved?”
My whole pregnancy felt very much like a family event. And even without Noah's presence at the birth, he was very much a part of the process leading up.
Like all of the choices made in pregnancy about your birth - I suspect that when opting for your children to be in attendance at your birth – most Mama’s would be fairly well prepared and do their homework.
I certainly considered as many of the possible scenarios as I could and what it might be like for Noah to experience this and as a hypobirthing teacher - he's no stranger to birth videos, so we had that side covered.
I also knew that there is no certainty in anything, so decided that we would go with the flow. If he was there and I was able to do my thing - we'd keep it that way, but if I felt I needed him to be elsewhere, we had Gran and Grandad on call.
Perhaps I was swayed by my own experience as a sibling being a part of my brother's births which you can read more about here.
It was such a positive experience for me and I have always felt blessed for having had the privilege of seeing both of my brother’s enter the world – albeit as an older sibling!
And being a part of such an amazing experience gave me a very positive view of birth and was the blueprint for my passion.