Would you let your children watch your birth?

I have always loved the idea of a homebirth — the thought of staying in the comfort and cosiness of my own space, of lighting candles and playing music, of never having to leave my family, of snacking on food from my cupboards, and of crawling back into my own bed once the baby has arrived, surrounded by my loved ones — it has always appealed to me!

We tried to have Quin at home. Everything was organised and set to give birth in our little flat off Hampstead Heath. Unfortunately my labour became long (days!) and stagnant, and we rushed to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning. He was born minutes later, very nearly in the hospital corridors. It was the opposite of the peaceful homebirth I had imagined. In the years since I’ve wondered if there was a part of my brain that held an unknown fear of birthing at home. Perhaps it was released when I arrived to the hospital? I will never really be sure.

After our experience with Quin, we opted to birth Ivy and Marlow in the birth centre of our local hospital. Both births were beautiful and peaceful, Marlow’s especially. She was born in the most ideal hospital setting – a cosy birthing room with dimmed lights and no distractions. She arrived in the birthing pool minutes before the sun rose in a hazy, magical dream-like setting. I couldn’t have been more thankful for such a beautiful experience. We were back in our home just a few hours later with a healthy baby and her excited siblings! It wasn’t a home birth, but as close as it gets without actually being home.

This time around, I am hoping to birth our baby in our home. Everything has been organised. We have a birth pool here ready to be inflated at the first signs of labour. We have an emergency tank of oxygen in the corner of our closet. I picked up old towels from the local charity shop, have spare sheets ready for the bed, and the blankets and clothes for the baby have been washed and folded. I have a gorgeous, experienced midwife who will come to our home when labour begins, bringing with her decades of homebirth experience and everything she needs for any scenario.

I am also hoping to birth our baby in the presence of our other children. They are just as excited as we are to welcome and meet their new sibling and have been super keen throughout the pregnancy to witness the birth. To prepare them, we’ve watched birth videos and I have explained what happens on the day. They know that it might be frightening or uncomfortable at times, and that I might make noises they’ve never heard me make. Still, they all say they want to be there.

Of course childbirth isn’t something you can schedule or plan entirely. We are all aware that it might not work out exactly as we want and the kids may change their minds on the day. But, if it goes as we hope, this new baby will be welcomed into this world surrounded by their entire loving family in their own home.

I’d love to hear if any of you have ever birthed at home in the presence of your children. Would you consider doing it this way? Would your children be interested in witnessing childbirth? Or does the idea of it seem completely crazy and foreign? Please share your thoughts below.

Courtney x

p.s. The photos above were taken by Michael about 30 minutes after Marlow was born, right after I climbed out of the birthing pool and we wrapped ourselves up in towels.


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Comments (66)

Silvia
March 9, 2017

Inspiring all around. You are quite a brave, strong woman in a delicate body. It will be a magical life changing experience for everyone. I am certain. And the new member of the clan will have a blessed welcome to this world! Good luck and much love and strength.


Kim
March 9, 2017

I’m pregnant with my fourth & my eldest who is 9 has said she would like to see the baby born. All of mine have been delivered in the hospital & I’m planning to have this one there too. I think it sounds beautiful to have a home birth with your other kids but I also know that mine have not been easy births & I would worry about the distraction of the kids, as well as the impact of seeing me in pain or distress. I don’t think I could be in both zones at the same time! But I have friends who have seen the birth of their siblings & it has had a profound & lasting impact on them. It is all so personal. Xxx


Esther in Amsterdam
March 9, 2017

I’m getting all emotional reading this!! (The thought of you about to give birth again!!) Here in the NLs, birth is considered natural as opposed to medical. Home-birth or non-intrusive hospital births are the norm! I’m so excited for you to finally have your much wanted-for home birth!! xxx


Olivia
March 9, 2017

I love this idea and you sound very organised. I also love the idea of offering the experience to the siblings to witness . We had our daughter, Violet at hospital but with her older brother in the room . We had a wonderful middle too ( they are the key to a successful birth) who showed our son the placenta and he was absolutely amazed! Good luck! It will be wonderful I’m sure! x


Claudia
March 9, 2017

Hi Courtney, I admire that you have the guts and focus to want to birth with your children in the same room. I’ve given birth to my two babies both at home because I really wanted to. I’m one of those women that feels uncomfortable seeing all the machines in the hospital. Also I always thought that birth is something so natural that you don’t need all that. But I don’t know if I would do it in front of my kids. Especially because I think I couldn’t focus on the pain and the breathing. And then it would be much harder for me and so also harder to see for my babies. It’s just a thought. I don’t think there is a right answer. It’s just a feeling. I really hope it all goes to plan for you. I believe that if your mind is set to this and you really want this, it will happen. Good luck and enjoy!!!!


Jess
March 9, 2017

So exciting for your 4 big ones! I was at the birth of my sisters, i was 11 and 13 when they were born. It was an amazing experience! X


Rita
March 9, 2017

Hi Courtney I will be praying for you for our family and for all strong women. Thank you for your sharing that is so important for all women for all planet. In Bali they say that all baby are angel for the peace of the world and I think we women come to give power to the planet. Imagine all our kids living all this moment is given to them the power of magical natural live. I pray. Love and peace


Emma
March 9, 2017

Dear courtney, are you not afraid that if something goes wrong with the baby you wont be able to get into the hospital in time? I will never understand women who opt for the home birth, especially knowing what they risk. (And I would love to know what they think of these scenarios!) I always wonder it might be that they are uninformed about the things that can unfortunately happen and what they can do in hospitals in cases where babies would be in danger when being birthed at home. I always adored the idea of a home birth but I look at it as rather a comfort choice that actually would risk the life of my own unborn baby. I am not saying of course that you would or any other mom would put their babies at risk, but would love to hear what do you think about these questions. As you simply never know what will happen and never know if you can make it to the A&E in time. Good luck with your baby and wishing you all the best and the best experience ever!!!! I honeslty truly hope your dream comes true and you will have this little miracle baby as you imagined!


Polly
March 9, 2017

There is sound medical evidence that home births (in low risk scenarios) are safer. Most midwives have a very low threshold for transferring in at the hint of a problem. The hospital is not without risk anyway. There is an increased risk of infection and medical intervention for example in the hospital


Sarah
March 10, 2017

Hi Polly,
I completely agree with you. I had my first child 7 months ago and prior to delivery, I had very romanticised views on giving birth and how I would love to do this and do that and I too thought a homebirth would be lovely. Then I had my daughter and after she was born, it all went bad and both her and her could have lost our lives without the help of an emergency team. The doctors and nurses arrived within seconds to a situation which nonone could have foreseen and it only occurred within minutes after my daughter was born. It was horrific and without my excellent obstetrician and other doctors and nurses, I don’t know where we would be today. I just feel that for a very lucky few, a homebirth has been successful, but it then creates a misconception amongst others that it’s to be considered another suitable option for birth, when it is not safe… why take risks when life is concerned? Nothing is more precious than a healthy mum and baby, nothing can replace this… not even a candlelight and warm bath. Wait until you both arrive home for that in my opinion.


Polly
March 10, 2017

Sorry you had such a scary experience and I’m pleased it was all ok. Sadly lots of births don’t turn out as planned, that is true. But the majority are free from serious complication. This is where an experienced midwife is fantastic. They are trained to recognise the diviations and respond appropriately. We don’t all stay in hospital incase we have a heart attack do we?!

It’s about how we assess our own ‘risks’. We would never say ‘oh I’m going to fly to work because it’s safer than driving’. We take (small) risks with everything we do. But birth for most women is ‘normal’ and low risk. How fantastic that women can choose to give birth where they feel safest?!


Annis
March 9, 2017

My 2 daughters are born at home. If the eldest was older (she was 2,5y/o) i would have loved to have here there. But now it was beautiful too. She came home after being away 2 hours (my labour was super quick) to meet her sister.


Kate
March 9, 2017

Hi Courtney, I love your wishes to have your baby in your home surrounded by your family. I think my girls would love to see me give birth if we have another baby. I had to be induced both times in a bit of a rush (the first time I had scheduled a mani/pedi with a girlfriend and I was so sad to cancel on her. I was working full time and was so looking forward to this moment with my friend before my first baby came.) and the second time I had to go straight from our regular appointment straight to the hospital and didn’t bring an outfit for the baby! Your idea of a home birth is brilliant and just makes so much sense. You will have so many people around to help and support you. I with you all the best and can’t wait to meet your new little one. Take care.
Kate


Aly
March 9, 2017

I ve seen some births as part of my studies and i wouldnt recommend it haha. It different to give birth to watch someone else giving birth-not that pretty, not to me at least…Hope everything works out the best for you and your new baby. Every healthy baby is a big miracle 🙂


Emily Mathieson
March 9, 2017

I had two wonderful home waterbirths (after meticulously assessing the risks; but here in the UK even the Royal College of Obstetricians now recommends home births for normal pregnancies.) I did think about having my first present but couldn’t quite relax about it. Now I really wish I had and I think you are doing the right thing Courtney, guiding your children and managing their expectations. I can’t imagine a more life-affirming experience than seeing a member of your family being born and what an amazing start for baby Adamo. Good luck!


Silke from My Shiny Shop
March 9, 2017

Dear Courtney, the best idea ever! Our child no.1 was born in the hospital, two hours later we were back home (in The Netherlands). Child no.2 was born at home because we couln’t make it to the hospital (in The Netherlands), child no.3 was a planned home birth (in London). It was the best experience I ever had, giving birth at home and being in my loved surrounding Smith my loved ones. We didn’t organise much for the home birth – no birth pool, no oxygen – just me, my husband and our very experienced midwife. She brought everything she needed. Both babies came late at night and the siblings were sleeping by that time. So we did’t wake them up. But if the baby would have arrived while siblings were awake of course we would have let them watch the birth, if they want to. I think it is a once in a lifetime experience for them, all very natural and brings the family even more together. For us the most magical moment was when the siblings met their new family member. With both babies it was very early in the morning. The came into our sleeping room, the midwife still was busy with me and the baby and they were utterly surprise what had happened. They all came into the bed and had a intense cuddle with their new sibling and me. You can’t get that moment in the hospital. The Netherlands inspired me to have an very natural view of giving birth. It’s very normal in that country. I always have to add that an home birth is the best thing in life as long as if there are NO complication. So of course it is not a solution for every family. I wish you all the best for your plans and I’m sure this will be wonderful experience for your adorable tribe. Makes me sooooo keen on getting baby no.4…………….


Jess
March 9, 2017

From the point of view of the children, it seems like a great idea to get them to see the birthing process as a natural and normal thing. But from the mother’s point of view, from what I’ve read of Michel Odent’s work (a natural birthing advocate), the mother needs as little distraction as possible and to not be observed while she is birthing in order to go into the primitive part of her brain. I opted for it to be just me and the midwife. My regret was birthing in the hospital as I’d have preferred a home birth but was too scared. I found the hospital room at UCL to be far too bright. I think hospital birthing rooms should have the option to have dim lighting. I also had visitors a couple of hours after the birth which I wasn’t at all happy about given that labour started three days before and I hadn’t had any sleep and was in a lot of pain the entire time. I think if I had my time over again I’d have a doula and have a homebirth with just the two of us. Good luck and have a wonderful birthing experience.


Kim
March 9, 2017

Hi Court,
I think it is lovely what you are planning to do and I don’t think there is anything wrong with having your children present with what is one the most natural wonders on earth, bringing new life into this world. I am sure you family is on hand if one of them gets overwhelmed to wisk them out. Thinking of you and hope all goes to plan. Cannot wait to see pictures of another lovely Adamo! lots of love Kim


Steph
March 9, 2017

I would always recomend hineinragt or staying at Home as Long as possible, i think After giving bith to 4 children the second one was a miscariage with 6 month pregnant, it is all about staying relaxed and comfortable so that your Body can do What he is supposed tô do. I had two beautyfull homebirth one Inter water and it is one of my Most loved magical memories of life. I am wishing a beautyfull homebirth with your loved ones<3!


Georgina
March 9, 2017

I secretly wished for a home birth for my daughter, as I wanted as natural a pregnancy as possible. However, it was my first (and only) child and I was nervous something could go wrong. So, like you, I opted for a lovely birthing centre within a hospital.

In the end, my labour skipped the latent contractions (!), and my husband delayed calling the midwife (I live in The Netherlands, where midwives care for you from start to finish of the pregnancy, unless you have complications) as he thought I was exaggerating about possible contractions 🙄! By the time the midwife came, she said it was too late to go to the birthing centre because I was totally open! Unprepared for a home birth, I gave birth in our small bedroom. With just my husband, the midwife and her junior midwife assistant present. It was so intimate and that made it so fantastic. I was thrilled – I ended up with the birth I secretly longed for. In fact, my retired Obstetrician mother had jumped on a plane from England to try and be present at the birth, but arrived at Amsterdam airport to already get a call that she had a granddaughter! I had initially wanted her at the birth, but afterwards secretly felt perhaps it was good that she hadn’t made it, as we wouldn’t have had that magical intimacy. I would’ve been distracted by her and it would’ve been one too many people in the room.

I can’t recommend home births enough, but personally would feel too distracted by my other children and their feelings/actions etc to get on the necessary birthing cloud. Having said that, this will be your fifth baby – you have so much birthing experience, I’m sure you know exactly what is right for your family. All the best for a happy and loving home birth!


Katherine Yarbrough
March 9, 2017

Courtney, you are such an inspiration. My births had serious and painful postnatal complications, which made me glad I was in the hospital, but it sounds like your previous births have been fairly smooth and you certainly know your body by now. Be sure to have some friends and family around to feed and care for the other children so you can have Michael to yourself and can not worry. Best of luck to you, we are all waiting and excited for you. May this be a very sweet and tender birth.
Warmly, Kate


Danielle
March 9, 2017

I love the idea of a home-birth. The coziness of being home and with family is so nice! I work in a hospital, as does my husband, and so that setting (machines and all) actually is comforting to us strangely. Most people know the risks and things that can go wrong at birth, but it’s true, most often things go very smoothly :). You will have a midwife at your side who is well experienced and that’s good. Ultimately it’s such a personal decision where and how to go through labour and delivery and we are all different. You will love having your baby at home im sure because of all the family and comforts surrounding you! I personally feel most comfortable in a hospital for birthing, but it’s also what I know well. To each their own and each has pros and cons :). Enjoy every moment of bringing new life into the world! (We are due with #2 in a few weeks and couldn’t be more excited). Our daughter, Isla, won’t be present at the birth as she’s just 19 months. I would absolutely consider kids in the room once they were a little older and if they expressed interest! That’s awesome your kids want to be there :)!


Katrien
March 9, 2017

My eldest girl was born in the hospital although I wanted a home birth but there was so much comment from friends and relatives ( I was even called selfish for putting my baby at risk) so I didn’t have the courage .Then came along my other 3 girls and they all were born at home which was truly wonderful, I was much more confident and knew that we were doing was the right thing for our family .The other children were never at home because I knew I would be to focused on them and feeling if it was allright with them. They all came home a few minutes after there babysisters were born and cut the umbilical cord and the midwife showed the placenta and how it works. I think it creates a special bond for the whole family and it was each time a truly magical moment in our lives. Wishing you all the luck and I’m sure you will do just wonderful.


Mallika Dsylva
March 10, 2017

My husband and I are trying to get pregnant. And I definer want a home birth. The machinery and mechanism of a hospital so intimidate me and I would really like to feel relaxed and at ease when bringing our child into the world. But there’s loads of comments around this from relatives and friends. Lots of of the word selfish keeps coming up, and I feel like my own decision for my children of getting undermined. It also puts the thought in ones head that should something go wrong, there’s going to be a lot of negative told you so to be said. Doctors in general don’t support the idea. so that makes it doubly difficult. Courtney how do you make a strong convincing argument in a case like this. My only argument is that I really want to be comfortable and un- intimidated in such an event as bringing my child into the world.


Amy
March 9, 2017

Hi Courtney,

I just had my third baby in a small hospital and my other two children, husband, mother and 19 brother were present when he was born.

My three year old son talks fondly about his brother’s arrival and my 20 month old daughter has never really said anything about it.

My 19 year old brother asked if he could be present during the birth because he was thinking of studing Midwifery. Many people thought his presence was extremely weird but he was prepared and knew he could leave if it became too uncomfortable to watch. I was happy to have him there and he was so excited to witness childbirth.

I also have a friend who recently gave birth in front of her 15year old daughter and 10 year old son. They were both desperate to welcome their new sibling into the world.

Go for it!

Amy x


Andrea
March 9, 2017

I have never thought about it, if I wanted my kids to be part of the birth of a sibling, but first impressions are a no. Not because I don’t want them there, I’d be too scared about complications in no / difficult access to the required facilities. And both my babies had fluids in their lungs which caused them to turn blue when they could not get rid of it. Being in hospital gave me the comfort of having help, just in case. I’m usually quite relaxed, open and curious about alternatives to the mainstream, but not when it comes to medical aspects. I cannot explain why, I guess I think too much about a possible issue.

I hope your wish will come true and that you all can welcome your Aussie baby together! Xxx


Amy
March 9, 2017

Hi again, I will also add that I wish I had been at my sibling’s births. It was scary being left at home with my Grandparents while my Mum and Dad went to the hospital. I was ten when my youngest brother was born and still remember desperately wishing I was with my Mum.

Amy x


Sarah
March 9, 2017

I’m with Esther! It’s making me emotional thinking of you giving birth again. I can remember getting texts when you were going into labor with Ivy!! I LOVE the idea of doing and being so in alignment with your truth and sharing that expressing with your children. Bravo Court. Love you and wishing you a graceful and healthy birth. xx


Marianna
March 9, 2017

Yes, yes! So glad you’re trying for this! We didn’t do a home birth, but my five year old was present at my daughter’s birth at a birthing center. It was an amazing experience for everyone. I can’t imagine him not being there for such an important moment for our family. He is deeply bonded with her, (she’s now 9 months) and I think being part of her entry into the world was key. He puffs with pride saying he was the first person to see her head! Like you, we prepped beforehand. One important aspect of his being there was giving him the space and support to enter and leave the room as he pleased. He played with legos, chatted with me, poured water on my back, and hung out with his grandfather outside of the room. We also made sure that he understood that I was ok despite sounding like a T-Rex. It was perfection! Hope this bit of insight helps! Have a beautiful birth!


Patty
March 9, 2017

My oldest three were adopted and my first bio baby was born in a birth center. But the stress of going to the center and bouncing around in the car caused navy to move abd labor after arrival was long and awful as she’d sifted position and got stuck in transit. My last two babies were born at home with some older siblings present. It was just the best experience! I’m so much more relaxed at home so the births went very quickly and smoothly. I love water births so we had a birth pool ready. We were actually living at my parents’ house when my youngest was born and it was so great having my mom there with my older kids. They were so excited to hold the baby right away. They weren’t scared as we had talked a lot about birth and what to expect. Periodically between contractions I’d just say something to the younger ones to reassure them I was fine. It was a great experience! And wonderful to recover in my own bed too! My midwife took anazing care of me. I plan to only have home births here on our barring medical necessity for a hospital. My midwife is very experienced and would never take any risks and has solid relationships with the hospitals nearby in case of any need. I hope your home birth plan is a huge success! You will absolutely love it!


Kate
March 9, 2017

Hello Courtney, I have 3 kids and never gave birth at home, it is not usual here in France. But your story reminds me of how my grandmother gave birth… She passed away. But she would always tell me how it’s really our mind that decides for our body. She had 8 children. She used to tell us how she would make dinner, do the dishes, put the children in bed… And then have her baby right there on that kitchen table. And go to bed And be ready to handle things in the morning! Never said it in a negative way. Just the way it was that’s all.
You are a real inspiration to me, I hope you will have your baby the way you planned it and it all goes well.


Tori
March 9, 2017

Congratulations on your lovely pregnancy. I echo some of the above comments that I would be concerned for my other children and that may make it more difficult to focus on the task at hand, but that seems a personality preference. I had a great experience in hospital so I’m partial to it! Best of luck!


se7en
March 9, 2017

I am so excited for you and your little babe… you are going to rock a homebirth. And your sweet children would so love to be part of the fun… We have had eight home births and our children have been free to wander in and out of their siblings birth as they choose… they tend to to wander off after the initial excitement of the midwives arriving and then as soon as they hear that little cry they are there to see all the action. Don’t be afraid for them, they will see and understand things at their own level and remember the special day forever… your midwife will most likely be used to popping in and out to visit mom and will keep your kids engaged when you aren’t up to it. I wrote a post when I had se7en under ten and our last child was born and looking back you can see how engaged they all were with the whole event… http://www.se7en.org.za/2009/10/07/how-se7en-became-se7en-1-another-home-birth-story


Chelsey
March 9, 2017

I’ve had both my babies at home in a birth pool and I cannot articulate in one comment what it meant to me and my family. My son woke up from his nap moments after my daughter was born and we all snuggled into bed together. I wish you a beautiful and powerful birth surrounded by your loving family.


Alicia
March 9, 2017

Not wishing to be a naysayer but when my third cousin was born her two older siblings (then I think 5 and 8) were at the home birth. The 5 year old was actually quite traumatised by it and soon after started insisting on wearing a baseball cap everywhere (something to do with the integrity of her head feeling unsure or something?) and sleepwalking. This actually lasted a couple of years. On the one hand I’m all for natural home births, on the other I am not totally sure a young kid won’t be a little traumatised by the experience of watching her parents (for different reasons) be so ‘compromised’ or at least altered from how he or she expects them to be. Birth is a huge physical endeavour and while with older children I would expect them to be able to understand it is a temporary natural state, I’d feel a little concerned about younger ones based on this experience. I think it took her several years of therapy to work it all out!


Phillipa
March 9, 2017

Yes to follow on from the last comment I would worry Abkhazia my kids being traumatised – my eldest gets very upset by vomit and I think the blood etc would terrify her. But of course you know your kids and family and yourself – what does your mum think? It isn’t something I would do for quite a few reasons. Have you considered doing like jools Oliver and having the elder kids only and I don’t think they saw the actual labour, just cut the cord. Anyway I’m so happy for you and so glad you are getting to plan the birth you want! Sending love for these final few days!


Phillipa
March 9, 2017

About not Abkhazia!


Pippa
March 9, 2017

I had both of my children at home, and would have loved my older daughter to have been at her brother’s birth. Life had other plans, he was born in just over an hour in the middle of the night. My daughter was fast asleep and my husband was desperately trying to get the birthing pool filled in time. Needless to say, both my daughter and the birthing pool missed the birth! I think it’s a very personal decision based upon the parents, the characters of their children and how they all feel about it. I do personally think it’s a wonderful idea in theory, and have always loved the wise African proverb which goes something like this: We show our children birth and death because it teaches them how to live. Good luck, and wishing you a magical birth. Pippa xxx


nina
March 9, 2017

Hi Courtney, thanks for sharing your thoughts and plans for your birth. I was amazed by the picture of your new tribe of women, not only have you found one of the most beautiful places to live, but also are in the middle of some highly creative and caring women. A birth is such a personal experience, I think a lot of people think it is a very private matter. They wouldn’t even include their mothers or sisters to share the experience. I personally wouldn’t know if I wanted my own children to watch, I am sure it will be a life-changing experience for them and they would see me with totally different eyes. On the other hand it is such a natural thing, it is a birth! And I think your children are old enough to just give them the choice.
To get to your question and my experience, my mother had four homebirths (there are six of us, I am the oldest) and when my next oldest sister was born, my mother gave me the choice to be part of her birth. It took forever, I remember that I went in the next room to play from time to time, but still was listening to everything that happened. I got to see how my sister was born, how she took her first breath, how this new baby looked like right out of my mother’s womb. The best part for me as a child was that the midwife let me cut her umbilical cord. She even showed me how to secure it with a cotton string. I will never forget. For me it was a very special experience, one I cherish as I do my own births (I have three children, 3yrs, 8yrs, 10yrs). Yes, if you wish for this birth, Courtney, do try to have it. I hope it will be as magical as you imagine.
For me this experience was just natural, I grew up with it, wouldn’t question it. And as a last thought, wouldn’t it be nice for all of us women, to be part of a birth before we give birth ourselves (if we do to choose so)?
All the best, Nina


Angie
March 9, 2017

Hi Courtney, Just wanted to send you positivity and strength during this time. I had a VBAC home birth with our second child and it was truly one of the most amazing and healing experiences I have ever had. We had intentions of calling friends to take our daughter when I went into labor but, that went by the wayside as my labor came on fast and she didn’t want to leave us. Instead, our 4.5 year old daughter was able to be a participant in the birth of her sister. She helped encourage and soothe me when I needed it. Gave me water and rubbed my back at other times. At no point, was she scared or concerned for my safety. The amazing team of midwives that I had on hand let her ask questions and explain things to her each step of the way. They even laid the placenta out and gave her gloves to look at the beauty of what the female human body is capable of (sorry probably TMI). They didn’t hide things away from her but let her see and experience through more of a scientific lens. With that said, there were some moments of her getting bored and she watched Frozen. 🙂 I wish you a strong and healing birth.


Annie from Brimful
March 9, 2017

I hope the birth goes exactly as you wish it! At home, surrounded by your mum, sister, Michael, Easton, Quin, Ivy, and Marlow. Wherever it happens, however it happens, your new little one is so fortunate to be born into your wonderfully loving family. Thinking of you daily! xoxo


Angela
March 9, 2017

I love the idea of siblings being present at birth, but I think it’s wise to consider the personality and maturity of each child I. That decision. I’m pregnant wth my third and my eldest son is 3. While I would love for him to be present at his sibling’s birth, I know him well enough to know that he would not be able emotionally handle it. However, I think your children are all old enough that they can really hash out concerns and questions with you ahead of time. I wish you good luck on your upcoming labor and delivery, and I pray it is a beautiful time for you to share with your family- kids and all!


Brittany
March 9, 2017

Courtney – 4 of my 6 children were born at home. Our most recent birth (May 2016) was attended by our two oldest children, who were 9 and 11. Our other three children were also present in the house, and came into the room immediately following the birth. I would be happy to share my thoughts on the experience, what we did to prepare, and what I would do differently. Feel free to reach out to me via email. Best wishes to you and your family as you welcome another precious child into your lives.


Laura
March 9, 2017

Your home birth plan sounds absolutely beautiful! From the outside, it seems your children have a very special relationship with one another, so it makes perfect sense that they want to be present for the birth of their baby sibling. What a special entry into the world! Sending loads of love and best wishes for this exciting moment your family is about to share!


Hana K
March 9, 2017

I have three children and they were all born at home. All births were safe and peaceful but different each time. My most recent birth of my third baby, first girl, was the most peaceful and strogest I’ve felt birthing and I actually caught her myself! I was too preoccupied with the intensity of my boys’ births but I had prepared diligently for my third homebirth and the feeling of her head and then her body in my hands as I lifted her up to my chest was magical and I will never, ever forget it.
I always begin labor in the early morning so my children have always slept until around 6am and then have seen my laboring in the tub. With my second, my firstborn was occupied playing with his games at 2.5 yrs old, and with my third, the boys were playing with their grandmother in another room until after baby was born.
I think allowing your children to freely move in and out of the room quietly, as they please, would be the best while you’re focused on birthing your babe. If it is too much they will retreat and if they want to support you there, they can do so happily. There is nothing traumatic to be seen at a home birth in my opinion, but possibly discomfort or unease at seeing you in pain, depending on how you express it. I am for the most part quiet and breathe and pray through contractions and pushing, but if you were yelling and screaming they might be a little surprised. As long as they know that might happen and are reassured beforehand that it is normal, it should be fine.

I’m glad you feel safe and confident enough to go ahead and try again having a home birth. I pray you will have the peaceful birth you long for and your new baby joins your family soon healthy and safe! Congratulations!


emilie
March 9, 2017

Hello Courtney, I’m a french mum of 2 (Louise 4 and Augustin 16 months), so I’m sorry for my english !!!! I’m following your lovely instragram. For my first born it was a very hard medical delivery and scheduled (not choice). For the birth of Augustin i did the labor in my house with my husband, my daughter and my mother in the living room in the beginning and after i went in my bed and in the end in my bath with special and so good oil essential. I didn’t want to go to hospital to early and i want to do my exercises of breath in my quite house. It was a very good experience! I had for all my pregnancy an amazing midwife who show me the natural face to have a baby!! When I thought it was time to go to the hospital my widwife who was having a phone call with my husband said to wait a little more…I say that because i might be give birth in the car in my way to the hospital!! And then when i finely arrived there the baby came 20 min later. I was at the first time very upset because I couldn’t have a peridural anaesthesia (I think my widwife wanted this!!! 🙂 ). But it’s was a very intense moment and I’m pround to have feel everything in my body and in my mind too. I want to tell you, now, I understand why you choose the way to have a baby in your house with your family without artificial light. I think it’s important when the pregnancy goes well to remember give birth it’s not a disease! So, I wish the best delivery that it could be for you and your family, Give birth it’s so magic! Je t’embrasse bien fort et je t’encourage vivement de continuer à vivre selon cette philosophie pleine d’amour, de cris d’enfants, de nature, de livres et de joie de vivre!!! Emilie (my insta: emymarygaby )


Whitney Olson
March 9, 2017

I will always have a desire for a home birth, but I (and definitely my husband) can’t get over having the assurance of medical help close by in a hospital. I’ve had 3 beautiful girls and the last came 5 weeks early for no reason at all and I was so grateful for the nurses who cared for my baby. Really though, after giving birth I always sit in that hospital holding my baby wishing I was home with our whole family loving on our new babe. I am very excited for you, Courtney, and to be surrounded by your sweet family.


Christina
March 9, 2017

For low risk pregnancies and especially as it’s your 5th child, I think it is a wonderful idea 🙂 I couldn’t do it in front of my children though, I’d worry it would be too much for them to witness. I wish you all the best though Courtney.


veronika gois
March 10, 2017

How wonderful Courtney!
I had planed home birth for our third with out girls being present but had to be induced weeks earlier..
Anyway yes I would do it in hearthbeat ,our kids also were watching home birth videos with us and were ready and excited,of course they can be surprised by seeing their mom in pain,being noisy etc.
But I believe by explaining everything this all can be enjoyable and valuable for everyone to experience.
Wish you all the best xoxo


Kim Gilbert
March 10, 2017

I love this idea & the idea that it’s the family welcoming the baby into the house rather than just you & Michael. We have our first baby on the way and as I have a congenital heart defect & so does our baby girl we’ll be in hospital. But I’m trying to take some of the key things I wanted in a home birth with me, music candles etc. and we will endeavour to keep things peaceful and calm. A close friend has had all her babies at home and her daughter just welcomed her newest addition at home. Whenever she talks about it I just think it’s sounds like the most beautiful calm experience, but one thing she said which made me think of you is that they made sure their other children each had designated support people & they discussed it in advance. So that if anything got a bit too intense the children had someone who would take them out. I know in her case she was the support person for her grandson Luka & he did ask for a break when it seemed his mum was in a lot of pain & then was happy to back in after a 5 minute breather. As you have your mum & sister there I’m sure they will have similar roles. Very best of luck with everything & im looking forward to hearing good news xxx


Molly Ware
March 10, 2017

This is something I am thrilled to read is becoming more accessible. I had three wonderful home births here in LA and my children were present at their younger sibling’s births. It was not traumatic, just a wonderful part of life that they don’t necessarily all remember but will live with them in their bodies as an instinct about how beautiful and natural a birth can be! All the very best to you and your wee ones xxx


Emilie in Paris
March 10, 2017

I am so excited for the new arrival, and so very sad that you guys are all the way in Australia so I have no idea when we are going to meet him or her!!! I think everyone should just do what is right in that moment. It is really dependent on the place you are, the space you have and the vibe within the family at that time. Those factors in the end will determine what the best way of giving birth is! Sounds like for you guys the best way is having a peaceful home birth with everyone hanging around as usual. I think it will be great! xxx


Kate
March 10, 2017

Hurrah for homebirth!
Of course it isn’t always possible, but when the stars align it is a magical experience. I had my 3 babes with homebirth intentions, first was a complicated labour so we transferred. with the 2nd and 3rds I was in the pool, in the lounge, siblings and aunties and grandmothers present. I didn’t feel like I had an audience, just the best support team!
Its such a gift for children to be included, and normalizes the process for them. The idea of witnessing your mama endure pain does sound as though it could be traumatizing, but they also witness joy and elation and anticipation and all the things that make birth so special.
My children really enjoyed having a role or responsibility, keeping the baby clothes ready and warming them when they were needed, keeping the icy water jug full, etc.
My lovely mama birthed me and my siblings at home, we all felt a pride and connection that we had been present, and we really did know where babies came from! A beautiful knowledge to share with our children for when they are ready to be mamas or dadas. And something they will always remember and treasure, and so sweet to hear them recount that special story to that wee baby in the years to come.
All the best wishes


Mallika Dsylva
March 10, 2017

The other reason I’m afraid to have a hospital birth is that I’m a very petite person and I’m afraid that with probably no need for it, the doctors will intervene with medicine or opt for a c-section. That’s very common in India.


Khan
March 10, 2017

Did the siblings also observe the conception?


michelle
March 10, 2017

2/3 of my births have been homebirths assisted by midwives. The homebirths were lovely and peaceful and I felt incredible afterward. Bathing in my own shower and crawling into my own bed, surrounded only by those who knew and loved us was amazing. It was also so nice not having to leave the older kids. I wish you all the best! I liked the idea of having our children (aged 7 and 4 at the time of their brother’s birth) around for some of the labour – if not the whole thing-, but I was unable to focus with them in the room. My midwife was the one to catch it. When the kids were near (even just within earshot in the next room!), my contractions, though previously regular and intense, would completely halt. My midwife suggested we have my mother take the kids into the backyard to play. Once the kids had gone outside, our baby was born within 5 minutes! Apparently, it’s a fairly common occurrence; when older children are around, the birthing mother is placing her focus on them and how they are coping, rather than concentrating on the task at hand – birthing that baby!

I hope your desire to share the birth with your children works for you. I agree that it would be an unforgettable and incredible experience for them. How empowering for your girls and what fortunate future-wives your sons will have!


victoria shaw
March 10, 2017

My forth baby was born at home in the early hours of summer solstice. She was born in her caul and was the most beautiful, spiritual experience – I felt like a goddess. I feel very luck to have had such an amazing birth. My second and third babies were both born at the birth center (I *think* probably the same one you birthed Marlow and Ivy, so know how peaceful a setting this was). We desperately wanted all our children with us at the home birth..we read books and they understood what they may see and hear and were very excited. As you say though, you cannot plan what happens. I went into false labour which lasted a while and left em exhausted so to give me time to rest the children stayed at a friends for the night. Of course this is when I went into labour!! Of course it would have been ideal to have them there but they met their sister when she was just an hour or so old and I cannot have wished for more. Wishing you and your family much love and blessings – where ever you birth xx


Rose
March 11, 2017

I am 6 months pregnant with my fourth and plan a homebirth. My other 3 children were born at home, and for my second and third, all siblings were present. I think it is a magical gift to offer young children the opportunity to witness birth. Youve prepared your children well! They also are the age that they can communicate their needs and not be too distracting. I found that having my children present was helpful for me too. May you have an empowering, beautiful, family birth!!!


Irene
March 11, 2017

Your home birth plan sounds beautiful in every way. I have three children and have had three cesarians despite my intense desire to have natural home births. The risks with my complications really didn’t leave me much of a choice. You’re blessed to have the decision to make! I am happy to see you take advantage of it and share a few little bits of the experience for those of us who can’t. Good luck!


Laura Fraser
March 11, 2017

Hi Courtney,

Firstly congratulations on your pregnancy. How we give birth is incredibly personal, at the same time one of those things that the more we share with each other, the more we support one another have experiences that are closer to what our heart wishes for and our bodies tell us is possible. I wish you and your tribe an incredibly life affirmative experience – I am expecting my second child at the end of May and am going to try for a home birth again. My sense is that if the labour happens at night then that would be amazing, as then my daughter wakes in the morning and her baby brother is here and there’s no reason to disturb her. So that’s the ideal, but if I start labouring in the day, the plan at the moment is to ask my ma who lives close by to come and take my daughter out and possibly for a sleep over. Maybe if i have a third, I’ll have more trust in being calmer, but my first experience was very full on with a 2.5 day labour and though the beginning and end were extraordinary, I was incredibly loud, more hippo then peaceful goddesss and for this reason I think probably best my daughter is out, as I don’t want her to get anxious and also I have a sense of wanting to be maybe in my own space and really give myself to the experience without being distracted. Having said that i have watched films of other women birthing with their children present and i am in awe of their strength, harmony and how easy they make it look! On this note would you mind sharing the videos you and your family have watched? I’m keen to watch as many as possible and to share with my partner and maybe this is something my daughter would like to see too. And in case you’re ever looking for another to watch – Tom and I really liked this one: http://www.panosun.org/DVD-Birth.html which is very simple and on her second home birth, her daughter is present for the final moments and it’s quite wonderful.


Ellen
March 11, 2017

My children loved being present for the birth of their little sister. They could play as they needed during my labour and were able to to sleep not much past their usual bedtime. It was such a wonderful way for them to bond and, having three daughters, I do hope it made an impression. It’s best they know know what’s up a little and we can be more open about the ups and downs of birth. Wishing you all a lovely experience.


March 13, 2017

[…] light of Courtney’s latest post and her plan for a beautiful home birth, I thought to tell you about something special we have here […]


Mama
March 13, 2017

Firstly, where was Easton born? I feel like I need to know and he was missed off the list!!
Secondly, where and how you birth your babies is incredibly personal. It sounds like you and Michael have given it a lot of thought and, being two intelligent people who have just travelled the entire world for pete’s sake, I’m sure you’re doing what is right for you and your family (and have plenty of well thought out back-up plans in place!)
Thirdly, and this was the only thing I wanted to really say, I definitely agree with that thing you mentioned about subconsciously holding back due to a fear about giving birth at home back then. My first boy was induced (aargh, hellish!) and I’m convinced fear of labour prevented me from starting naturally but my second boy started naturally AND was as smooth as butter because my husband wasn’t there!! Purely by fluke, but he was in London on business and I’m convinced my body went into labour and did so so smoothly because I felt more relaxed and at ease without him there. Afterwards I read an article about women giving birth surrounded by other women (as opposed to their husbands etc…) and apparently there was some evidence their labours were shorter and easier?? (My husband is amazing, I just reeeeeally didn’t fancy giving birth in front of him!!) So again, totally personal choice and you must do what feels right, so excited waiting for your announcement xxx


Clair
March 13, 2017

My older sister was 7.5 when I was born and she and my dad helped deliver me…in a tipi no less (envision Captain Fantastic for an example) and she has said that in doing so it bonded her to me more than anything else could and that she felt as attached to me as our parents did. She and I are still the closest of any of the family members, so I think there are real benefits to having siblings present.


March 14, 2017

[…] I wrote last week, we are hoping to welcome our baby at home (there is a big inflatable birth pool in my bedroom as […]


Kelly
March 21, 2017

This is after the fact for you now Courtney, but our first home birth was the result of narrowing down our options. I initially thought it was a “crazy” idea. My husband and mother attended the birth, (along with our two midwives) and my two sons, then 5 and 3yrs, slept in their room next door. At the first cries of the baby we heard a little voice from the room next door. “I hear a baby…” Such great timing.

For the second homebirth my mother was in town to watch our boys. I really can’t have my children around during the late stages of labour and then delivery. However, when I was near the end, my 5 year old slipped to the doorway of our room and said “whoa, that’s huge!” referring to my huge belly. That’s when my mother took the boys to the museum 🙂 I just really need full concentration.


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