Whole Mamas Program Director Stephanie Greunke welcomed her second son in October of 2016. Both mama and baby are doing great! After delivering her first son, Otto, at home with a water birth, Steph wanted to have the same exhilarating experience with Leo. In her own words, here is the third part of Steph’s birth story. Did you miss the beginning? You can read Part 1 and Part 2!

Where was Otto?

I went back and forth about what to do with Otto leading up to the birth. My ideal situation was for Leo to come at night and have Otto sleep through the labor. Before I went into labor, I considered waking Otto up for part of it, probably right after Leo arrived, but there was just too much going on. Otto needed his sleep, and I wanted quiet, peaceful time alone with Leo.

Looking back, I am so thankful he slept through the labor because I wouldn’t have been able to focus on breathing and getting Leo out safely, especially since the labor was so quick – about 2.5 hours. I couldn’t wait for Otto to walk into our bedroom the next morning and meet his brother!

Steph with Otto and Leo
When he woke up, my husband went to get him and carried him into the bedroom that Leo and I were in. Otto was slowly waking up, sucking his two fingers when he saw Leo in my arms. “Baby?” he said with a question mark. He immediately wanted to pet, hug, and kiss Leo. He’s been that way for the past week and a half.

He’s just so fascinated and in love with his new baby brother. I’m hanging on to these moments for as long as I can because I have no idea what the next couple of weeks, months, and years will bring.

Other Mamas’ Experiences

Most mothers agree that going into labor with their second baby is a completely different experience from the first. With your first, you worry about yourself and the baby on its way. For the second delivery (and beyond), you have your older children to think of while preparing for the arrival of your new baby!

Having a plan you feel comfortable with and confident in can put your mind at ease. Depending on your location or situation, you may want to make a primary plan and a back-up plan. Different arrangements work for different families, and the plan that you make will vary based on your needs and the needs of your partner; your birth plan and the family or community around you.

We asked our Whole Mamas community on Instagram for their experiences arranging childcare for an older child or children while they were laboring and delivering their baby.

Grandparents with the Assist

“We were lucky enough to have grandparents help out. We have three children and when each was born, the grandparents brought the siblings to the hospital to meet the latest addition.” – @amandaodonnell23

“Grandparents watched our older kids! We had it all figured out well ahead of time.” – @srg12

No Immediate Family Nearby?

“My husband is in the military. Not living near family was the biggest challenge as I was making sure someone was here for my older son. All of our arrangements happened last minute; my mome came into town the week before my due date and my father-in-law came after she left. I was dreading leaving my first born, as I had never left him overnight before! I went into labor in the middle of the night, which made the need for ‘goodbyes’ non-existent.” – @herwholelife

“Since we don’t live near family, we hired a sibling doula. We decided she would stay home with our other kids while we went to the birth center. This plan worked out great and put our minds at ease during labor and delivery!” – @meohov

“We don’t live near family, so friends helped us out until family arrived in town.” – @lexiegug

“Since neither my husband nor I had relatives within 100 miles, we were counting on our daughter’s babysitter. The sitter lived close by and said we could call her at any time of the day to come over.” – mama attribution

Ideas for Plan B, C and Beyond

“We have no grandparents nearby to help so I had a line-up of women arranged depending on the time and day that baby came. It ranged from an aunt who waits tables and could easily call in, to a mama-friend with three little boys of her own. Thankfully, our little man decided he wanted to come on a Saturday so lots of friends were willing!” – @mkscalf

“I had a plan C in case plan A and B did not work out. I created a list of neighbors that I would call to come over, or that I could bring my daughter over.”

Love at First Sight?

“I made a ‘big brother bag’ with toys, snacks and activities for him to use when he came to visit us at the hospital. He didn’t like seeing me hooked up to IVs and three months later he’s still not sure what to think of baby brother… one-on-one time with each parent is beneficial for him.” – @herwholelife

“We signed up for a sibling class at the local hospital. The biggest thing they stressed to us was the introduction of the baby. They suggested having the baby in the bassinet and giving our older child one-on-one time with me. We did that and it ended up being unnecessary. She wanted nothing to do with me! She just wanted to hold her baby brother… we try to include her in any way we can. Helping with diaper changes, reading stories to him, picking out his clothes, etc.” – @e_bit

“We let our 3-year-old hold the baby (assisted) when she would ask, and I think allowing her to do that (instead of being overly-cautious) helped. The newness wore off quickly and now she only holds her occasionally, and is super gentle and loving. Including siblings and praising them for their awesomeness has gone a long way” – @lindseytidwellgore

Do you have a birth story to share? We would love to hear it! Email [email protected]