I didn't actually use a Doula, but I did take some prenatal classes with one. Next time around I think I would hire one. I was only in labor a short time, then wound up having a c-section, but found the time a bit nerve wracking, especially as it was my first. DH was great, but was even more nervous then I was...lol. We had our own nurse in L&D and I loved her, but she was, well, very clinical. I would have loved to have someone there who's sole focus was my comfort, know what I mean? Someone who stayed calm, helped me (and DH..lol) relax and also to be an advocate for us. Of course if there is a next one I will probably wind up having a scheduled c-section, but if I get my way and can have v-bac, then yes, absolutely I would. Now, how are you feeling? I was thinking about you today!!
In our city it seems that there is a collective group that most of the doulas work through. I am reluctant to contact this organization though, as a former roommate of mine (Very bad experience) is now a doula with this organization and i dont want to get matched up with her.
We are not looking for a "new age" sort of experience and i fear that many of the doulas in this collective are more into the spiritual aspect of giving birth. (I know that i am stereotyping here, and i do apologize if this offends) I have contacted one doula so far. I flat out told her that we are simply looking for someone to help DH help me through the delivery, and explained my concerns. She laughed and said that her family is definitely not "spiritual or hippie" in any way, in fact they are a sports oriented family. It turns out her husband is a referee in the hockey league my husband plays in. She assures me she can discuss NHL like a pro - which would definitely be an asset! She suggested that we get together and she can explain things - no strings attached. I feel comfy enough with her already, as im more concerned with DH than myself - I'm a little more easy going than he is when it comes to this kind of stuff.
Is it rude to meet with multiple Doulas and then make a decision? I just dont want anyone to think that I'm wasting their time. (and i would feel rude advising people that we have chosen someone else)
I don't think it's rude to meet with several before deciding. This is the most important event in your life and it's incredibly important you feel comfortable with whomever is going to be in the room with you. You and your DH should meet them together and talk about the aspects that are most important to you. I would want to do the same thing!!
If you're set on an all natural birth plan then definitely hire a doula. I found that once labor starts, you are in pain and all the stuff you hope for your birth plan is thrown out the window. A doula will keep you on track and coach you to stay firm about what you want (without drs and nurses giving their input) and help you get as comfortable as possible without drugs. If you already know you are not going to be able to handle the pain and see yourself opting for the epidural right away - there is really no need to spend money on the doula. good luck!
As a doula, I encourage my clients to interview at least 3 doulas before signing a contract with any. Doulas generally offer a free "meet & greet" meeting, in my opinion, if you have to pay for this its a red flag and walk away. It should only cost once a contract is signed. I think its important to "do your homework" and rarely sign a contract with someone unless they have at least interviewed 2 other doulas (unless its through Operation Special Delivery which I volunteer my services and they match us up).
As for a doula group, generally what they do is have you meet with a few doulas in their practice and then you sign with one that you connect with more. If is a referral type services, the doulas pay a set annual fee to be part of the group. The group doesn't actually set up with with a doula, they give you a list of all their doulas and leave it to you to contact them. If you decide to use their services, be specific that you have a history a said doula and you do not wish to be given her information. Make sure if you contract with ANY doula, they do not have said ex-friend as their backup doula!!
Different doulas bring different things to the table. I personally feel its no my place to judge mothers and what they chose in their birth plans. I have attended anything from a completely natural birth to a planned c-section. I have a client right now pregnant with twins and another with triplets. I know of some doulas who chose not to attend hospital births, planne c-sections, homebirths, or whatever. Doulas have boundaries too, so interview as many as you can and see what happens. Look on the DONA website for certified doulas in your area. You can even email them directly to find DONA trained doulas (been through training, working through certification usually) in your area. They are not listed on the DONA website unless they have completed certification, but that doesn't make them any less qualified.
I only ask that if you interview a doula and decide not to choose her, kindly send her an email and let her know that you appreciate the time she spent with her, but you have chosen to hire another doula who you feel was more along the line of you needs.
Thank you for your input. I have now spoken with 2 doulas. I will throw a third into the mix. It's funny because i quite liked the first woman i spoke with - we seem to have a lot in common. The second woman i spoke with seemed much more mature, and reassuring. Not only did she speak of how she would help me through this, but she also mentioned that she would look after my husband making sure that he stayed hydrated and nourished throughout the process. I liked that.
Thanks again for the advice. i will definitely follow it!
I didn't use a doula..mainly because I couldn't see that there would be anything they could do for me that my sister could not. She was my birthing coach in my first two pregnancies - went to classes with me and everything. And her personality is such that she remains very calm and assertive, and she knew what I did and did not want during the birth. She also knows ME well enough that she was able to keep me focused...she did not coddle me when I started to complain, which was very good for me. If I didn't have her, I might have considered a doula. With my third, it was a planned c-section, and I didn't see the need for anyone but my husband in there. But my sister did stay the night with me in the hospital the first night (my husband had to work) and made sure I was taken care of.
Doulas are not for everyone, but when someone wants a doula I hope they find one that fits their needs. I have attended birth that were just me and mom and some with up to 11 people in the room. It matters for the client.
I think doulas bring something else to the table that family and friends cannot. We are able to be emotionally connected to our clients, but still able to disconnect just enough to see the events through outsider eyes. In most cases, everyone else's main focus is baby so as a doula I am able to put my primary focus on mom and her needs. Doulas are trained to use different methods and positions to help mothers manage pain or tolerate pain better. I have what I call a "bag of tricks" that has little things that help my clients, like a big tooth comb, tennis balls, hair ties, and plastic baggies. That may not mean anything to most people, but they are all tools that I use (not every birth!). I also have a lot of knowledge that the internet and books cannot provide.
Different clients needs different parts of me. Some need more hands on and no talking, some need totally hands on and in their face (not mean, just a presence). Its something that instinct will tell you and feedback from the mom at the time. Sometimes the moms don't even realize that a simple position change can relieve some pressure for them. Even though we go through birth plans with detail and talk about what they feel most encourages them, sometimes it changes in labor even from minute to minute. It takes someone with a lot of patience and understanding of the process sometimes (sometimes dads get frustrated easily when one minute she wants touched and the other she wants him 5 feet away because she is burning up). I always encourage the partner (may it be girlfriend, dad, grandma, aunt, best friend, etc) to engage at at level that feels comfortable with them and then I fill in the areas that need it.
I have attended scheduled c-sections and will probably have 2 more this year (one will be alone as her husband is deployed and she is pregnant with triplets and although they are going to let her try vaginal, she has to deliver in the OR and it depends on baby A's position). Its definitely a different role than a 36 hour labor, but some people need that. Especially going into surgery and answering any last minute questions and afterward to help with breastfeeding and emotional support.
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