Monday, August 1, 2011

Preparing our kiddos for our Homebirth

So I thought I would share how we have been preparing our children for our first homebirth.
I've been having strong contractions on and off for the last couple of days.
We know that it is ALL in Yah's hands so we are resting in that.
What a great place to be hey!

One of the questions that we have been asked is, "Are you going to have the kids there at the birth?"

I think this is an interesting question.
Birth is a natural part of life.
In many non-western cultures it is treated as such and it happens right there in the home in front of most family members.
However, in western society, we tend to not really talk about birth and so all we have to go on, until it happens to us, is what we've seen in the movies. I don't know about you, but my experience so far has not been anything like what I've seen on the big screen!
It has actually been much more intimate and joyful in real life!

Even when we've had hospital births, we have always believed in talking openly with our children about birth and the miracle that it is. We've always tried to answer our children's questions honestly when they've asked them and have tried to involve them in the journey so that it doesn't seem like something foreign to them or that they are separated from.

I recently read of a young woman who had witnessed the births of several siblings at home. When asked about what she thought about being there seeing these homebirths, she said, "Well if you're not going to learn about babies and birth from your parents, then who is going to teach you?"
I think that is so poignant.

Anyway, needless to say that we decided that we would offer for our children to be present at their sibling's birth. Stass most DEFINITELY wanted to right from the beginning. The boys were more hesitant but after watching Zippi's birth video and then their own, they said that they would really like to be there when little bubby E makes his grand entrance! We asked Brett's lovely sis if she wouldn't mind coming and sitting with the children during the labour and that if it all got a bit too much for them at any time, that she would either take them into another part of the house with activities or that she would take them out of the house altogether.
She was more than happy for that which was such a blessing to us both :)

Anyway, here are some of the things we have done on our journey so far...

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I had taken the kids to a local park and we'd had a 'tree party' date - eating hot chips under this HUGE tree. While we were there each child had a chance to say what they would like to do if they were around for the birth...

I purchased some felt sheets (in our kiddos colours) and some small photo albums...

sewed them up with a buttonhole and made a little felt pouch for each of the albums to fit into...

Inside each of the albums are different photos of what the kids brainstormed for ideas to do during birth. I photographed each of the activities they suggested and then labelled them in the albums so they look like this {this is Ethi's album}...

Most of the activities in this basket are ones they haven't done yet so a new Little House on the Prairie Dvd to watch that they've been hanging to get, some wooden craft kits that they chose themselves from Go Lo ($4 each! Bargain!), a cheap memory match game (again new so that the novelty itself kind of helps them focus on something else if they want to be in another room playing) and a cool $2 detective book with a 'secret' pen from K Mart for each of the older kids. I also made some card packs up so they can make a 'welcome' card if they wanted to for baby E.
All the activities are held in this basket which can also be taken out of the house in the event that they want to leave with my lovely sister in law, depending on how they are coping.

Other ways we have tried to prepare them and involve them in the birth include:
Letting them stay to watch the trial-run of the birth pool going up!
(Liji had the special job of using the stop watch to time how long it takes to put the pool up. He was chuffed that he got that job!)

Stass has planned and practiced the most beautiful scarf dance that she wants to do to some worship music we have set for playing during the birth. She wants to do this around the pool and every time she does it, I get teary just watching her! Zippi also usually joins in with a mini scarf of her own singing along to the song. Sooooo incredibly sweet to see Stass want to do this almost as a gift to me while I am birthing...

During our pre-birth celebration, all the kiddos were very involved in helping prepare along with Stass then being there for the entire afternoon to celebrate with me (here she is below singing with Lori one of the songs I've written for birth)...

I LOVE that our guys have been home to see Hazel visiting and build reporte with her too. Very special. This means that during the pregnancy they've gotten to know Hazel more and have seen her in our home quite often so that it won't be a stranger coming into our home when I'm giving birth but rather a precious friend of our family's!

Hazel is awesome with them; always patient (even when Zippi scribbled on her notes or asks to play puzzles ten times over!!!!) and tender with the children. In this pic below she was explaining to them the names of the instruments she would be using and each job that instrument had...

and they love hearing his heart beating when Hazel puts on the doppler!
(Bare belly warning in the photo below!)

Stass and Hazel plaitting up the embroidery floss that we will use as a cord tie for bubba.
We sterilised it not long after this...

A little family tradition of ours is that the older children always help to clean the cot on the day that it is set up in our room (this happened to be Friday just gone for us!)

The boys cleaning it...

and the girls having their turn too...

Chatting with our kiddos about birth of course has been the most important thing - not in a forced way but just as a natural part of our life.
When we watched their birth videos together, I was really suprised by their reactions - some of them got teary and others just said "WOW!" over and over again!
Reading through 'Hello Baby' has also been a great thing for our kids...

Stass has taken all of the shots of me at various stages throughout the pregnancy.
She has really enjoyed that and so have I :)

Ethi is pictured here helping to make holes for the eyelets to go into when I was making bubby's mobile...

I guess in every way, because birth IS a natural part of our life right now, our children are naturally learning about it!
And it has been a great preparation.
I can't wait to see how it all unfolds all in Yah's perfect timing!
More to come,
Love to you


Peterson Party said...

Yay! It's almost time to meet your new little one. So exciting! Glad to hear that your kiddos are open to being a part of the birth. My mom let me be in the hospital room when she gave birth to my little sister (I was 9). I saw the head come partially out and didn't realize that it was almost over by then. I couldn't stand seeing my mom in pain, so I left the room.
We're back on the homebirthing plan and are giving our girls the option of seeing their sister's birth. We will have a back-up though if they can't handle it :)

caz1975 said...

I love that it is all such a family orientated celebration of life, beautiful :-)

lusi said...

Hi cara! We are so excited!
All the best for your homebirth preparations. I think having someone there as a back up for the girls is a great idea. Thanks for sharing about your own experience as a child too.
Love Lus x

Hi Carolyn,
Thanks for your encouraging comment.
Love to you,
Lus x

Leah-in-the-Kia said...

so sweet Lusi! how exciting for you all! I cant wait to read all about your family's experince when little E is born

lusi said...

Thanks Leah!
How was your trip? Hope it all went well :)
Much love,
Lusi x

Melinda said...

What a fun post to read, I love the album idea! Knowing what I do now I would definitely opt for homebirth. At least now my girls will know the option exists if/when they decide to have kids of their own. Birth is such an amazing, life-affirming and breathtaking experience. As a culture we hide way too much of the beautiful and spotlight far too much of the ugly. I think it's wonderful that your children want to participate and welcome the new baby into the family properly! ;)

Anonymous said...

It is wonderful that your getting your children so involved and interested in this process.

I love how you have planned the kids entertainment (games, drawing etc) for them to do during the birth.

Your such a fantastic mum. Take care of yourself. Love from Susan McGuire :)

lusi said...

Melinda, I couldn't agree more about what a breath taking experience birth is!!! Thanks for sharing your heart here :-)

And Susan, thanks for your very lovely comments. The kids keeping talking about the activity basket and how excited they are about it! Love to you!
Lus x

Nat said...

Its absolutely BEAUTIFUL my darling Lus. What a beautiful part of life for your children to be involved in. I feel much the same about our journey, although it may well end in the opposite end of the spectrum. I think I want the kids to meet Seb, even if he's gone to be with Jesus before. We have involved them in so much of our journey so far - they were so excited to see Seb at the 3D scan on Friday, it was truly a beautiful experience for our family. I think they want to meet him too, to say goodbye - if that is what God's plan is for him. Either way, I don't want to have any regrets, and I know that God will take care of their hearts afterwards. xx

lusi said...

Nat, I think the way you are involving the whole family in this journey you guys are on with Seb is amazing and inspiring. I can imagine them seeing him at the scan and being so excited! I love that you were all able to go - praise God! That's awesome! And I think them meeting him will be a wonderfully life and faith enrighing-experience for them, even if it doesn't end in the way we all pray that it does.
Love you my beautiful friend,
Lus x


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