Mom Allows Firstborn, 7, to Be in Delivery Room, Sharing the Moment She Watches Baby Sister's Birth (Exclusive)

Ashley Cunningham had faith her daughter could handle the big moment

<p>ashley.cunningham87/TikTok</p> Sophia reacting to baby sister


Sophia reacting to baby sister's birth (left), Sophia holding baby sister
  • Ashley Cunningham got the chance to have her 7-year-old daughter in the delivery room with her for the birth of her little sister

  • Sophia was prepared for what would happen and, with some help from Grandma, she got to witness the birth

  • Ashley tells PEOPLE the bond between the two sisters is that much sweeter after the special moment

Ashley Cunningham experienced a rare moment as she welcomed her second baby girl with her first by her side.

The mom of three, on TikTok as @ashley.cunningham87, made the decision to allow her "super curious" 7-year-old daughter, Sophia, to join her in the delivery room for her baby sister's birth.

"Sophia has always been really interested in the medical field since she was little. She really wants to understand things and has seen a lot when it comes to medical stuff," Ashley tells PEOPLE.

"I grew up in a medical family. My mom and dad were in the medical field. I'm in the medical field, so I guess it comes naturally to her to be interested in that kind of stuff."

Sophia showed a lot of interest in her mom's pregnancy and was "super excited to understand it all."

"She would go to doctor's appointments with me. From the get-go, she was super involved and intrigued by the whole process," she shares.

As conversations started shifting toward labor and delivery, the idea of Sophia joining her mom in the room came up.

"I asked if that was something that she would be interested in doing and she was like, 'Yeah, I would love to.' "

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Related: Mom Is Shocked to Learn Her Daughter Already Gave Birth in Sweet Video: ‘I Thought It Was a Doll’

The process of making it happen wasn't quite so easy. "We had a lot of conversations about it like, what to expect, what that process is like, what can go wrong? I covered all the bases just to make sure she was prepared," the mom explains.

"She watched the birthing videos and she handled that fine. She's not afraid, so I wasn't really scared she couldn't handle it. It was more [that] I wanted her to be prepared that this is a serious situation. It's not a time to go in there and be silly."

Next, Ashley had to check in with her doctors. "Of course, they had questions about it just because of her age. You're not supposed to have anyone under the age of 16 at the hospital that I was at [in the room]. So I had to talk to the doctor quite a bit, about her maturity level and assuring she wouldn't be a distraction."

Though it "took some convincing," Ashley's doctor agreed to allow Sophia in the room, "as long as I had someone there to be responsible for her, just in case something were to go wrong and she needed to be escorted out."

There was one last hurdle to clear: the hospital and their board.

"They had their own set of rules, so we had to go through that. And then it just fell into place."

When it was time for the birth, Ashley headed to the hospital with contractions on a Sunday evening.

"I went to the hospital around 8:00 p.m. My mom was coming to be the person responsible for Sophia. So I let her stay home and went with my husband to make sure it was the real deal and not just false labor," she recalls.

"My mom and Sophia got to the hospital around midnight and I ended up delivering around 4:00 a.m."

Though her main focus was on bringing her second little girl into the world, Ashley kept a close eye on her first.

"I do remember trying to be very conscious of making sure she was okay. It's one thing to see birthing videos, but it's another to see your mom in pain and going through something serious like that. I do remember thinking in my head, even in between pushes, to glance up at her and see how she's handling it."

Photo © Ian Hooten/Getty Images Stock image of a delivery room
Photo © Ian Hooten/Getty Images Stock image of a delivery room

The moment that Sophia sees her little sister's entrance into the world is captured in the family's now-viral TikTok video, which has over 3 million views to date.

"She did great. She handled it perfectly, so it ended up working out. She never got overwhelmed or scared," says her mom.

And not only did she handle the big moment well, but the big sister says it was the best part.

"She says her favorite part is just her coming out, seeing her pop out for the first time. I think you can see in the video, at first when the nurse says that the head had popped out, that first expression of excitement. I think it's hard to process. Even as adults, labor is kind of an awe-inspiring thing, to just see, 'Oh my gosh, she's really here.' "

Cultura Asia/Wonwoo Lee / Getty Images Stock image of a newborn baby's feet
Cultura Asia/Wonwoo Lee / Getty Images Stock image of a newborn baby's feet

TikTok wasn't on her radar when she saw the video of Sophia at first, but it came to Ashley later on.

"I love the video because it's such a pure, genuine, sweet response. There's so much negativity out there. I thought if it could bring a smile or if it made somebody's day, that would be great," she says.

"I never dreamed it would go viral," the mom of three admits. "We were totally blown away. I just thought it was a positive thing to share and I was proud of her."

Ashley wants people to know that as touched as they are by Sophia sharing in baby Brylee's birth, the experience isn't necessarily appropriate for every kid.

"I feel like a lot of people assume that every kid could or should be a part of something like that. I try to just emphasize that not every kid probably is meant to be in that type of situation. My son, who's older than her, hospitals make him nervous, and he doesn't like blood. It wasn't going to be right for him, and it was going to stress me out. So it's fine that he wasn't up for it. He would rather come after the baby was there."

Ashley concludes, "I definitely would stress that it's not for every child. And if you do have a child that's interested in it and you feel like they're mature enough to handle it, it can be a beautiful and positive thing."

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Read the original article on People.