How involving her daughter in her deliveries helped them both heal from pregnancy loss.
The delivery room is often the place where the first bonds are formed between mother and child. For Kelsey Davis of Gilbert, Arizona, the delivery room was also the birthplace of the bond between her children.
Davis’ then 8-year-old daughter, Brooke, helped deliver her baby sister, Summer, earlier this year. The moment was a long time coming for mother and daughter. “It meant everything to me to have her in the delivery room,” Davis tells Motherly.
The incredible experience was a healing one for Davis and Brooke, who have both suffered the heartbreak of pregnancy loss. Back when Davis was a mom of one, she told then 3-year-old Brooke she was going to be a big sister. Not long after Brooke’s big sister announcement photoshoot was uploaded to Facebook, Davis suffered a miscarriage.
“Brooke was absolutely heartbroken. She cried so hard,” Davis wrote in a blog post for Love What Matters. “Although they're young they can mourn a loss as well,” Davis tells Motherly.
Davis and her husband continued to try to conceive, but didn’t tell Brooke when the next test came back positive. That pregnancy, too, ended in miscarriage. So did another.
When a pregnancy test came up positive in 2015, Davis was happy, but wary, and didn’t tell Brooke until she was further along in the pregnancy. On January 3, 2016, Brooke was in the delivery room (although not part of the action) as her sister, Ellie, came into the world.
It was a dream come true for Davis, who has two sisters herself and wanted that kind of bond for her daughter, and for Brooke. She was finally the big sister she’d wanted so badly to be.
In 2017, Davis carried another pregnancy to term, and Brooke asked if she could be in the delivery room again while her mama labored. At her next appointment with her midwife, Davis asked about upping the ante on Brooke’s presence in the delivery room. When the midwife said Brooke could cut the umbilical cord this time the 8-year-old was thrilled.
When the big day came, Brooke was right there with the midwife, the nurses and her dad. She touched her sister’s head as she was crowning and her hands (along with dads) were there to catch Summer.
Brooke cried as hard as she had when her big sister dreams were dashed, but this time, every tear was one of hope and happiness. “I couldn't imagine not having her there with us,” Davis says.
Brooke now wants to be a midwife when she grows up, and Davis has some advice for other mamas whose older children want to be there for the birth:
“Let them have full reign over how involved they want to be. Brooke could have stood by my head or outside of the room, but instead she chose to deliver,” she tells Motherly.
With Brooke now a big sister twice over, Davis says her family is finally complete and the mom of three is enjoying watching her trio of sister grow together. “Brooke loves being a big sister. She loves the relationship, having a constant friend there, someone to teach. She's such a sweet kid,” Davis explains.