Delivery Room Experience With Our 4 Year Old

When our first daughter, Brynlee, was born 4 years ago, a series of devastating events started to happen. In the last 4 years, our sweet girl has experienced the death of 5 grandparents. I never sheltered her from this circle of life and did my best to explain what had happened in an age appropriate way.

From the moment we found out we were expecting another baby, I knew I wanted her in the delivery room. She had witnessed the ending of so many lives, and I wanted her to be there for the magical beginning of her little sister’s. I also was not going to begin her journey as a big sister by excluding her.

She was insistent on being in the room, and for months I would ask her if she was sure, and she continued to tell me yes. We watched birth videos, I told her what to expect, that it might be scary, mommy would be in a lot of pain, but no matter what, mommy and her sister would be well taken care of, even if an emergency happened.

She was ready and as informed as she could be. Of course, we didn’t get the most positive reactions from everyone when we said she would be in the delivery room. Our hospital is nationally certified baby friendly, so the nurses and midwives were very supportive. And I knew right away I wanted her Aunts/godparents there for their incredible support as well.

My induction date was set for May 7th. I had to be at the hospital for check in at midnight that morning. Brynlee’s Aunts came down to stay the night while my husband and I left for the hospital. At 5am they gave me Cytotec to get me dilated before starting Pitocin. By 7:30am my contractions were 3 minutes apart, I was dilated to a 4, and Pitocin wasn’t going to be needed. My sister-in-laws got Brynlee to the hospital just in time for us to get transferred to the delivery room to wait through labor.

I was determined to not have an epidural with this delivery, as I had a bad experience with it during birth with Brynlee. Four or five hours later, contractions we’re getting intense and only a minute apart. I was exhausted from lack of sleep and no recovery time between contractions. I had no idea how I was going to find the energy to push out this baby. At almost 9cm dilated, I couldn’t take it anymore and got the epidural. The same thing that happened with my first delivery, happened with this one. The epidural didn’t completely work on my right side so I could still feel pain, but it was a huge relief compared to before, so I dealt with it. After about 30 minutes to an hour the midwife came in and it was around 12:30pm she told me it was time to push!

Brynlee had been sitting on the couch the whole time being so good and patient. She would come over to the bedside at times and hold my hand and tell me it was going to be okay. Now it was finally time for her to witness the birth of her little sister!

She sat back and watched as I had about 8 people around me coaching and supporting me through delivery. It was the best birth experience I could ask for. I wish I could’ve watched Brynlee’s reaction the whole time. She was so quiet but I never forgot she was there. When they told me baby’s heart rate was dropping and I needed to push her out ASAP, I wonder if she was worried or knew what was going on. After about 20 minutes of pushing, our Bradley Jane was born at 12:50pm! Her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck which was what caused her heart rate to drop, but with one swift movement the midwife had it unwrapped and placed her on my chest. She was perfect and everything was okay. Next thing I know, Brynlee is at my side, with tears of joy in her eyes admiring her little sister.

I was so happy she was there to experience the growth of her family and be one of the first to see her new sister. She did better than I could’ve ever imagined. She stayed out of the way, behaved well, checked on me, and fell in love with Bradley Jane at first site.

Most of us know the joys of after delivery. The birthing of the placenta, the still pregnant looking belly, all the bleeding, etc., and she was a trooper through it all. When I asked her what she thought of being in the room and seeing her sister born, she told me she loved it and she was so happy she had tears in her eyes. Then she also told me she saw a wiener hanging out of me after I had Bradley…..I had to explain that was the umbilical cord 😂 then later in our hospital room she asked if there was another person in my stomach……no, that’s just my uterus that hasn’t shrunk yet. She’s also got quite the obsession with the breast pump the hospital gave me and likes to try it out on herself 🤷‍♀️

Brynlee adapted to being a big sister so quickly. She has been overly affectionate to me and her sister for the past 6 weeks, she is helpful and caring, and I couldn’t be happier with how things have gone. I’m hoping the excitement will die down a little so she’s not kissing and hugging all over Bradley while she’s sleeping, but either way, I can’t complain that she loves her so much.

Our adventure as a family of four is just beginning, it’s off to a wonderful start and I’m looking forward to our journey ahead!


Thanks for reading,

Darci Thompson – MoontstoneMom

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