So now that we have covered the fact that my wife will be having a scheduled c-section, we can move on to the next topic at hand: the birth plan, or more specifically, how our three year old daughter fits into the birth plan.
Before we begin, we need to cover some basic numbers:
- 5 – the number of minutes, by car, to the hospital from our house
- 45 – the number of minutes, by car, to the hospital from my in-laws’ house
- 4 – the number of hours, by car, to the hospital from my parents’ house
- 0 – the number of other family members and friends in a position to assume temporary full time care of our daughter during the delivery and the subsequent days post partum
Up until I got involved in the discussion, everyone automatically assumed my daughter would stay at my in-laws’ place. I immediately balked at this, for several reasons:
- I wanted the option of quickly stopping in at home to see my daughter while my wife was in the hospital
- I didn’t want my daughter to feel like her new brother temporarily evicted her from her own room/house/space
- I wanted the option to bring my daughter for a visit without my in-laws around to promote a sense of family for the four of us
- I wanted my daughter to have the most familiar sleeping environment so she wasn’t completely wiped when we came home with the baby
(This seems like it should be titled “The Post Of Bulleted Lists”.)
Without going into details, after some convincing cough… MIL’s control issues… cough…, we arrived at the decision to have my daughter stay at our place with my in-laws watching her (and sleeping at our place, since I will either be sleeping at the hospital if we can swing a private room, or I will be staying at the hospital until the wee hours of the morning and returning in the early morning).
My plan is to call the house when I am in recovery, awaiting my wife, and ask my in-laws to bring my daughter. Then, once my wife has a chance to see our son, I will fetch my daughter and the four of us will take some time to bond. (And, if they behave themselves, I might let my in-laws see the baby… eventually.) My hope is that over the next few days I will take opportunities to retrieve my daughter and bring her for little visits while my wife sleeps to re-enforce the fact that she is a member of our family, and is equally important to us as her new brother.
(A small footnote about my in-laws: I do not plan on completely excluding them from the process. However, they have a long and well-documented history of not respecting boundaries, and in this case I believe that my daughter’s feelings and rights supercede theirs as grandparents, and I have taken steps to ensure this is handled accordingly.)
For those of you with multiple children, what did you do with older siblings during delivery and post-partum? Did you try to emphasize family time as much as I plan to, or did you not consider it similarly? What were the results?