or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Birth and Beyond › Husbands/Partners, Doulas, and Homebirth
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Husbands/Partners, Doulas, and Homebirth

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
My husband has been 100% supportive of my desire to try for a homebirth for our first child. We found a midwife whom we both like a lot. She requires us to use a doula, which is an added expense, but something that I had thought about doing anyway.

This is the only part of the homebirth my husband seems concerned about. He thinks he should be able to replicate the support that a doula offers during a birth (I disagree, even though he said, "Couldn't I get some training?"). He totally gets why someone would want a doula in a doctor-attended hospital birth, too, so his concerns are specific to homebirth.

Does anyone know of any books or resources online that have a good description of how a doula works when there is a husband or partner who also wants to be involved in supporting the mother during the birth? I'd like to be able to give him a better idea of what it could mean to have a midwife AND a doula AND a supportive partner present at a birth.

His bottom line is that he doesn't want to spend money on something that makes him feel useless. He said, "What if I offer you support and the doula is handling everything, so all I can do is stand off to the side?" I do agree that the money hurts, but it's required by our midwife, so the best I can do is try to reassure him that there will still be something for him to do.
post #2 of 35
If your midwife requires it maybe it is something you guys could talk over with her - why does she require it and how has she seen the roles play out when husbands want to be supportive.

My impression is that a good Doula's job would be to help him help you if that is what you guys desire.. it is about the doula supporting you however is best and if that is by being more out of the way and maybe supporting your husband as he helps you that might be what she does.

I have not used one but this is my impression from other people. DH could also be involved in finding one maybe and you guys could make a point to ask about this issue so he will feel comfortable.
post #3 of 35
http://www.babycenter.com/404_will-m...-doula_2444.bc

Great quote from this page: http://www.childbirth.org/faq.html "My husband was a great help, but when things got very scary near the end and I was in a lot of pain, he found it very comforting that Paula (doula) was there to help him, too. Even the toughest of men come apart when their wives are in pain."

http://www.bloomspokane.com/2009/07/...s-perspective/


I'll tell you my personal story as well: My midwife and doula didn't make it to my house until I was ready to start pushing because I had a crazy fast labor. Before they got there, I wouldn't let my partner leave me alone, and as a result, I had my baby in the bathtub because there was nobody to fill up the birthing tub in time. Had the doula and midwife gotten there on time, my partner could have continued labor support while the doula filled the tub, or vice versa.

Then when it came time to push the baby out, our doula helped the midwife by handing her things, holding things for her, running to the other room to get more olive oil for my perineum, etc. while my partner was able to totally concentrate on the birth. So, you never know when that extra pair of hands is going to come in handy, or what kind of attention and support you're going to need at a given moment, and that's what the doula does.
post #4 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies so far. I'll be back to read them in depth.

It occurs to me I should have posted this in another forum. Mods, feel free to move it.
Posted via Mobile Device
post #5 of 35
the doula doesn't have to take his role. it would be her job to help him help you and to take care of everything else going on in the house so he can do that. he should think of her more as guidance, not interference. also, you guys are running the show. you meet with her a few times prior to the birth to make sure she understands your expectations and her role clearly.

my dp feels the same way as yours! he's especially not thrilled with spending the money on a doula when he thinks he can do the job perfectly fine. i think the money issue is the biggest part.

i just want someone there to help him out is all.. someone who knows where to massage and what to do to keep me focused.. i dont want to replace my dp, but since he refuses to read any books on being a birth partner i need someone to give him direction! with that being said, i respect his wishes and his desire to have our homebirth be as intimate as possible so all of these things are still up for discussion.. i just want to make sure im not in labour with a vomiting/fainting/grossed out/frightened birth partner lol
post #6 of 35
I was just talking with DH about this a few days ago and he has similar concerns. I figure the doula can give DH tips about how to help me and that way we have two people on hand in case someone needs to grab/make food or whatever and I can't stand being left alone (hard to predict since I've never done this before). Plus, it could take a long long time, so having someone to switch off helping me would be good. DH said he's good at staying awake for a long time and pulling through, which is true, but at the end we'll have a little bean to take care of and I'll be exhausted so it would be good if he had some energy left, you know?

I'm planning to bring this up with our midwife at our next appointment since it's not a requirement for us, and see what she says. Maybe you could ask your MW what kind of tasks she needs the doula to be present for, then your DH could see that it wouldn't be to replace him? For one I'm thinking the MW often doesn't arrive in early labour, so the doula would fill in that gap.
post #7 of 35
I think you should find out more about why your midwife requires this- especially given the cost.

I have had three home births, but I've never had a doula. I don't agree with your husband exactly... a good doula does know her role and stick to it. However, I have seen/heard many stories where doulas have overstepped- especially at home births. Home births are, in general, so different than hospital births and the typical roles of advocate and being the only one with experience in natural birth really doesn't apply at a home birth.

Does your midwife have recommendations of home birth friendly doulas? Does she expect the doula to help her? In that case it makes her more of an assistant than a doula.
post #8 of 35
I just wanted to note on your saying you're going to 'try' for a homebirth. To me language is so powerful, and I would want to change to saying that I am 'having' a homebirth.

That said, it is strange for a homebirth midwife to require a doula; is there something else going on that made her feel that a doula was necessary? I could understand if it was someone who had special considerations, physical disabilities or very high emotional needs, but for everyone...that seems strange.
post #9 of 35
We were all set for a birth center birth (basically at my midwife's home) and things were going along great - the doula basically "ran and fetched" so that my honey could be right there with me - got me water, tea, got him tea, etc... even went out and got us tacos when thing ran long. (From my favorite taco place across town!).

The best thing was she told him what was happening... he was in the loop - I knew cuz I could feel it and the midwife knew cuz she'd done it 1000 times, but he was clueless. When scary stuff would happen, she told him it was normal - honestly, it helped ME because I didn't have to reassure him constantly.

We ended up in the hospital and she came with us, and kept up the same thing - told him what all the tubes and wires and medicines were and "translated" for the doctor. She really helped him a lot and he's not the most thoughtful guy in the world, but he suggested I make her a pan of cinnamon rolls as a thank you.

The funniest thing was after our daughter was born, the OB got DRENCHED in fluid - all the water'd built up behind her and came out like WOOSH and my honey cracked up - the docs and nurses glared at him but the doula was laughing too, and he said that alone made the expense worth it.
post #10 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldingoddess View Post
I just wanted to note on your saying you're going to 'try' for a homebirth. To me language is so powerful, and I would want to change to saying that I am 'having' a homebirth.

That said, it is strange for a homebirth midwife to require a doula; is there something else going on that made her feel that a doula was necessary? I could understand if it was someone who had special considerations, physical disabilities or very high emotional needs, but for everyone...that seems strange.

I actually guessed someone would pick up on this language issue! But I typed it anyway. I feel that saying "I'm having a homebirth" doesn't acknowledge (for me, personally) that I am open to transferring if my midwife and I deem it necessary. So I agree that language is powerful, but this way of phrasing it empowers me (and, again, I know this is not something that would work for everyone) to be happy with a hospital transfer if that happens down the line. But I understand your concerns.

I am suspecting that my midwife requires a doula because, as it turns out, she wants me to use the one in her practice. I think I should be able to pick my own doula. I'm going to talk with her at our next appointment, especially because I found out that a high school friend who lives in the area has a wife who is a doula and would be willing to meet with me about being my doula. She would probably be much more affordable for me to use than the in-practice midwife.

You're right -- it is a policy for this midwife, not something specific to anything in my particular case. But I had misunderstood and thought I got to choose my own.
post #11 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcregan View Post
If your midwife requires it maybe it is something you guys could talk over with her - why does she require it and how has she seen the roles play out when husbands want to be supportive.

My impression is that a good Doula's job would be to help him help you if that is what you guys desire.. it is about the doula supporting you however is best and if that is by being more out of the way and maybe supporting your husband as he helps you that might be what she does.

I have not used one but this is my impression from other people. DH could also be involved in finding one maybe and you guys could make a point to ask about this issue so he will feel comfortable.
Yes, I agree that we, especially he (since it's about what he wants his role to be, as much as what I can guess I might need from him) need to talk it over with her at our next appointment (next month). I'd like it if we can get the midwife to agree we can use our own, not default to the one in her practice. I know she has a list of other midwives, but so far there is no overlap between the ones she recommends and the ones that friends who've had homebirths (or are doulas) have recommended to me.
post #12 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lynsage View Post
http://www.babycenter.com/404_will-m...-doula_2444.bc

Great quote from this page: http://www.childbirth.org/faq.html "My husband was a great help, but when things got very scary near the end and I was in a lot of pain, he found it very comforting that Paula (doula) was there to help him, too. Even the toughest of men come apart when their wives are in pain."

http://www.bloomspokane.com/2009/07/...s-perspective/


I'll tell you my personal story as well: My midwife and doula didn't make it to my house until I was ready to start pushing because I had a crazy fast labor. Before they got there, I wouldn't let my partner leave me alone, and as a result, I had my baby in the bathtub because there was nobody to fill up the birthing tub in time. Had the doula and midwife gotten there on time, my partner could have continued labor support while the doula filled the tub, or vice versa.

Then when it came time to push the baby out, our doula helped the midwife by handing her things, holding things for her, running to the other room to get more olive oil for my perineum, etc. while my partner was able to totally concentrate on the birth. So, you never know when that extra pair of hands is going to come in handy, or what kind of attention and support you're going to need at a given moment, and that's what the doula does.
Thank you for the links and your story. I'll share them with my husband.
post #13 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by starbyfar7 View Post
my dp feels the same way as yours! he's especially not thrilled with spending the money on a doula when he thinks he can do the job perfectly fine. i think the money issue is the biggest part.

i just want someone there to help him out is all.. someone who knows where to massage and what to do to keep me focused.. i dont want to replace my dp, but since he refuses to read any books on being a birth partner i need someone to give him direction! with that being said, i respect his wishes and his desire to have our homebirth be as intimate as possible so all of these things are still up for discussion.. i just want to make sure im not in labour with a vomiting/fainting/grossed out/frightened birth partner lol
Money and massage! It's funny you mention the massage -- I'd much rather have one from someone trained when I'm in pain. But the money thing. Ouch. It's $1200 if I go with their "preferred" doula. And I'm still not sure how much of the homebirth cost my insurance company is going to cover. They won't cover a doula at all, as far as I can tell.
post #14 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ola_ View Post
(hard to predict since I've never done this before).
You made some good points in your response. Thanks. The parenthetical I quoted above is so important for me to keep in mind, though. Neither of us (my husband or I) has ever done this before, so we might be better off preparing for as many different possibilities as we can. And a doula might help us do that, if we find one with whom we "click."
post #15 of 35
It's a good idea to talk to her about why a doula is required, I've never heard of that before. You certainly should be allowed to pick your own.

We decided against hiring a doula with our previous births, it was a good decision in our case. I want to be completely alone with my husband when in labor, my midwife comes in every now and then to check me and the baby, but I strongly wanted everyone but him banished from the room until the birth. A doula wouldn't have been a good use of money for us, and our midwives brought their own help (a student) each time. I know of so many people that have loved having the extra experience and support of a doula there, however.

Keep us posted!
post #16 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverLace View Post
I think you should find out more about why your midwife requires this- especially given the cost.

I have had three home births, but I've never had a doula. I don't agree with your husband exactly... a good doula does know her role and stick to it. However, I have seen/heard many stories where doulas have overstepped- especially at home births. Home births are, in general, so different than hospital births and the typical roles of advocate and being the only one with experience in natural birth really doesn't apply at a home birth.

Does your midwife have recommendations of home birth friendly doulas? Does she expect the doula to help her? In that case it makes her more of an assistant than a doula.
Thanks for your reply. I don't think my husband is afraid a doula will overstep as much as he's just afraid he'll be made obsolete. And, like you say, since there will be a homebirth midwife there, he's not sure exactly what a doula will do that he couldn't do (since he's willing to take classes/read up). I think that the experience of a doula will make her perhaps more valuable to me in pain than my husband, no matter how well-intentioned he might be, but I also want to make sure he feels a part of the birth. So I do think a conversation is in order.

And, yes, my midwife has recommendations of people. I think I might not necessarily go with the woman in her practice, though. I think I might interview as many people as possible and go with the least expensive person we like. Unfortunately, the money issue is a big one for us, though we won't let it be the only factor.
post #17 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TnMsMama View Post
We were all set for a birth center birth (basically at my midwife's home) and things were going along great - the doula basically "ran and fetched" so that my honey could be right there with me - got me water, tea, got him tea, etc... even went out and got us tacos when thing ran long. (From my favorite taco place across town!).
Thanks so much for sharing! Too funny. I think if we end up with a doula who will go get my husband tacos, he will be in love. But I won't let him expect that, of course!
post #18 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeanyMama View Post
It's a good idea to talk to her about why a doula is required, I've never heard of that before. You certainly should be allowed to pick your own.

We decided against hiring a doula with our previous births, it was a good decision in our case. I want to be completely alone with my husband when in labor, my midwife comes in every now and then to check me and the baby, but I strongly wanted everyone but him banished from the room until the birth. A doula wouldn't have been a good use of money for us, and our midwives brought their own help (a student) each time. I know of so many people that have loved having the extra experience and support of a doula there, however.

Keep us posted!
Thank you for your perspective! I wonder if the doula, in this case, really will be more of an assistant to our midwife, like the students in your births.
post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuromancer View Post
I wonder if the doula, in this case, really will be more of an assistant to our midwife, like the students in your births.
Yeah, that's kind of what it's sounding like. Which is not cool IMO, if she needs an assistant she should have one, rather than making you hire her doula so she can have someone to help her (and selling it like the doula will be there just for you).
post #20 of 35
I've met with several doulas at this point, but am awaiting the anatomy scan to find out of I'm a candidate for VBA2C because of the previa.

That said, I didn't really like any of them. I can't imagine I'd be comfortable laboring with them.

I labored for 28 hours with DD, and just a couple with DS before they bumped my scheduled c-section.

My DH was useless, despite having read up on it and taken weeks of Bradley classes with me. My friends were there to help, but they didn't know what to do. I couldn't cope with the exhaustion from the 24 hours of labor and the prior 3 sleepless nights because of the Braxton Hicks. I was scared and exhausted and *very* cranky. Despite all of our training, watching about 794 "A Baby Story" episodes, and reading several books, when I started puking from the contractions and screaming "DON'T COME BACK HERE WITHOUT A F*#&ING EPIDURAL!!", he caved. He was afraid of me and for me. He didn't try to do anything to help me. He read a book.

I think my DH just choked. I don't think he was really prepared for how awful labor was going to be. And the epidural stalled everything and I had a c-section. I really relied on him to support me, and he choked. He was as freaked out as I was. I mean, they had told us about the pain in Bradley and everything, but nothing really prepared me for the pitocin labor I had.

On the one hand, you need to be totally comfortable with the people you're laboring in front of. The last thing you need is to feel miserably judged while you're laboring. I had a mean nurse for her whole shift, and it certainly didn't help. You need to like your doula and want her to help you. A doula you're not comfortable with is not a good match.

If the midwife is asking specifically for her, the midwife must trust her and count on her to help you get through labor. How many labors have they been through together? Why did the midwife pick her?

On the other hand, like everyone said about the extra hands, and all the doulas I've interviewed have said they would help DH figure out how to help me. One example is the double-hip press that I guess a lot of women like. Stuff that doulas know, like when to change positions that your DH can help you do if you agree with her suggestion. In our case, DH is still getting ribbed by me about complaining that his feet hurt too much to walk with me while I was in labor, and doesn't want to go through all that again. I don't want to feel disappointed in him again, so I want someone there that knows what she's doing.

I agree it's a lot of money. Do you have an option of an FSA or HCRA to put the money away pre-tax? Can you agree ahead of time to her role? Call her references to see what she was like in labor. Did she listen to the partner? Help the partner?

Especially since it's your first and it will be in your home, it's hard to imagine what it's going to be like. Nothing prepared me, for sure.

It sounds like you should talk to the MW more about the doula, and also to the doula. Is $1200 competitive in your area? In LA, an elite, experienced doulas is $3K. A doula with 30+ births under her belt is $1200. A doula with 5-10 births is $500-800. What is it like in your area? Can you email around?

It's a decision, for sure. Good luck!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Birth and Beyond
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Birth and Beyond › Husbands/Partners, Doulas, and Homebirth