A MUM has revealed how she had her two-year-old daughter deliver her baby brother in a birthing pool.
Ariel Haynes, 23, captured the moment her daughter Izzy brought baby Henry into the world in July - moments after shouting "mummy's vulva is opening!"
Ariel, from Colorado, said: “I’ve been a birth photographer myself for three years, and every time I went off to take photos my daughter begged to come along with me.”
So when Ariel fell pregnant, Izzy, then two, was excited.
“As soon as I told her she was going to have a brother or sister she asked if she could be there,” said Ariel. "It wasn’t something I even had to think about – it was a no-brainer that she would be there.”
Ariel checked with her midwife who thought it was a great idea, and thankfully Ariel’s husband Thomas was on board too.
As she neared her due date, Ariel booked a birth photographer and started preparing Izzy for the big day.
“I told her that I was probably going to yell in pain, and that there would be blood, but she wasn’t fazed at all,” said Ariel.
“I also talked her through what she could do to help me while I was in labour, like rub my back for me. She just asked if she could ‘catch it’ when the baby was born.”
On the day of the birth, Ariel woke up at 8.30am with contractions.
Ariel says: “The pains weren’t too bad, so I snuggled up on the sofa with Izzy and watched movies. I kept in touch with my midwife – who was coming to my house for a home birth – and my photographer, so she knew exactly when to come over.
"When Izzy’s bedtime arrived, I didn’t send her to bed. I knew I couldn’t let her miss seeing her brother being born.
"My family arrived at our house too, just in case Izzy started freaking out during the birth."
By 8.30pm, Ariel knew her baby was on his way.
“Izzy started rubbing my back and telling me to breathe and relax, just like I’d taught her," Ariel says. "She was so excited – when the photographer and the midwife arrived she shouted, ‘mummy’s vulva is opening and my brother is going to come out', with a huge grin on her face.
"My midwife arrived, then the photographer arrived and started taking photos.
“I got into the birth pool that we’d set up in the living room, and Izzy asked if she could get in too.”
"During labour my midwife went to check how far down baby was and Izzy yelled at her, "don't catch my brother." And my midwife assured her that she would let her catch and she wasn't going to.
"It felt totally natural to have Izzy in the pool with me. I thought she’d want to jump out after five minutes but she didn’t.
"Izzy sat between Ariel’s legs the whole time, then when the midwife told her the baby was coming, she put her hands out and felt his head.
“Then, as I gave one final push, the midwife guided Izzy and baby Henry was born into her arms. It was the most amazing moment – probably the best of my life.”
She said: “‘Aw hi! Isn't my baby brother cute?!’
“Izzy stayed in the birth pool while I delivered the placenta.
“Then I was moved from the pool to my bed where I bonded with baby and we started our life as a family of four.”
It was decided the baby, who was healthy, would be called Henry.
Ariel said: “Izzy is so proud of herself for delivering her brother. She loves looking at the photos and watching the video. She’ll happily tell strangers in the supermarket that she caught her brother.”
But not everybody agrees that letting a toddler be so involved in a birth is a good idea.
Ariel said: “I’ve had people telling me I’m a terrible mother for letting Izzy watch me give birth, and others calling it child abuse.
"I completely disagree. There is nothing more natural than childbirth – why shouldn’t a child experience it?
“I watched my mum give birth to my sister when I was 14, and it was life-changing.
“Izzy and Henry are really close. She loves helping me take care of him.”
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