Friday, May 23, 2014

Super Sibling Childbirth Preparation!

Our wonderful midwife Dyanna invited all of her soon-to-be-due-clients to a "Free Super Sibling Preparation Class," at her house last week. The purpose was to get the children ready for the upcoming births of their new little baby brother or sister. 
I thought it was the sweetest idea and was delighted to take our three boys. (Micah-daddy was out of town so he couldn't attend.) 
I thought it was really funny that 3 of her clients (including myself) were expecting their 4th boy after already having 3 boys. There were a lot of big brothers there!
LISTENING TO DYANNA AND PAIGE READ STORIES ABOUT BREASTFEEDING AND BIRTH.
When you birth at home, it is usually a family affair. Some parents may opt to send their kids to a friend or relatives house, but most families I know let their kids stay, coming in and out as they please, as mom's labor progresses. (It really depends on the children, plus the mother's comfort level with them being there.) 
I personally think it's a really positive, gratifying experience for our children to see their mama give birth, and to be there to welcome their new sibling into the world. Someday they are going to be amazing birth coaches to their future, laboring wives!

When I gave birth to Odin in 2008, Zadok had just turned 2 years old. In the months before the BIG DAY, his Dad and I took great strides in prepping him for it, by talking all about the many sights and sounds associated with childbirth. 
On the day of Odin's birth, I was in labor all morning and afternoon, and ended up giving birth at 1pm that day. We had our friend Katherine come over at 7am to be with Zadok, so Micah and I could focus on the labor. 
That was pretty much it for him--once Zadok had a friend to play with, he didn't pay any attention to what I was doing. The long, deep sounding didn't phase him. He didn't even bat an eyelash as I screamed his little brother out into the world. He was happy as can be and gladly held his brother for the first time an hour or so later. It was really special for me to have Zadok there, and to see our whole family become bigger before my eyes.
ZADOK AND HIS BFF KATHERINE, EATING PEANUTS WHILE I'M IN LABOR, 2006.
ZADOK HOLDING HIS NEW BABY BROTHER ODIN, HOURS OLD, 2006. (I'M IN THE BACKGROUND HAVING A PAINFUL UTERINE CONTRACTION. YEAH FOR ME!)
When Jonah was born, Zadok was 4 1/2 and Odin was 2 1/2. This time I'd really hoped I would have the baby in the night while they were sleeping. We didn't really have anyone to come over and keep them happy and fed while Micah and I were in labor-land, so I felt better if they'd just miss the whole thing. And they did! Jonah was born at 2:15am, while his big brothers were sleeping soundly in another room.
ODIN HOLDING HIS NEW BABY BROTHER JONAH THE NEXT MORNING, 2010.
This time around I really want the boys to be there for the birth! I want them to be awake and ready to welcome their new baby into our home! They've been excited and anticipating the birth of their brother for 9 months now, and I think seeing him arrive will be the ice-ing on the cake! Even if I give birth in the middle of the night, I'd like us to wake up the older boys if we can. Zadok is 8 now, and Odin is 6, and I think they are more than mature enough the handle the intensity and reality of childbirth. But, I hope to let the sleeping toddler sleep, if possible. (He's a handful, that one!)

So, that's what Dyanna's class was all about: Preparing the children for baby's arrival!  She started by explaining how babies come into the world, and what they are like when they get here. She showed pictures of babies giving different cues and signs of hunger, anger, fatigue, and happiness. The kids had to guess what the baby wanted. She explained how dependent babies are on us to take care of them. 
Then her and her assistants Gina and Paige, read some of the most adorable children's books on birth, breastfeeding, and midwifery. The kids all crowded around and listened intently.
They read:
,

,
and
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Next she had the kids practice helping their moms take care of the baby. We used a baby doll as a model. While the moms held the baby dolls, the kids had to go get us things like diapers, clothing, and blankets when we asked. I thought it was a great reminder that the kids can pitch in and help mom out when baby arrives, even by doing those little things.

Lastly, she had the younger toddlers stay in the living room and color pictures of their new sibling, while she took the older kids into a room to talk about the sights and sounds of childbirth. This was the heavier stuff, like when mom pushes the baby out, and the arrival of the placenta--The more intense stuff that older kids will be able to process better.
My kids were done before this point and ran downstairs to play with Dyanna's kids, but I thought, "Oh well, I think they've seen enough birthing videos at our house to know there will be blood, body fluids, and loud noises involved." 
In fact, Zadok keeps asking me, "Are you going to poop when the baby comes out?" And I keep telling him,"I don't know, dude. Many women do and it's no big thing. Now will you stop asking me?"
Then he asks me again a few days later. 
Eight year olds, I tell ya. It makes me laugh every time.

Overall, I just wanted to share what an awesome class this was and how touching it was to see all these children getting ready for their new babies. Odin drew me this picture at the class and I smile every time I look at it. Because in truth, it is his baby, too. This is his little brother that he will have the rest of his life, and he knows how important it is to cherish and celebrate family.
"My Baby is a Boy." by Odin, age 6
Here I am this week at 32 weeks pregnant. Baby is riding high and active as can be!

Looking forward to his arrival! We've already picked out a name. More on that later....Aloha and goodbye. :)




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