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Refund from doula (am I being ridiculous?)

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I wanted to get other womens opinion on this...

 

My husband and I hired a midwife to be our doula. We paid $1,000 for her services. Through no fault of her own, she missed the labor and birth of the baby. Basically, she checked my cervix and I was only 2 cm so we sent her home. The baby was born 1.5 hours later before she could make it back (we were an hour away when the baby was born).

 

I realize that technically, according to her verbal contract, she doesn't OWE us money back... but doesn't it seem like the "right" thing to do would be to give us something back? I figured out that we spent about 5  hours with her total during the pregnancy... so we ended up paying her $200/hr to basically just talk and get to know each other... and she only normally charges about $35 for an hour long prenatal appointment for her moms.

 

She's a nice woman and all (I've always heard such good things about her), but I'm feeling kind of bitter about this. It makes me feel like she didn't care about me as a person... only me as a client. We don't have a lot of money... we live on my husbands teachers salary...and it was really hard to come up with that money! To top it off, since the baby came so fast, we ended up called the paramedics to transport us (and the baby) to the hospital, so now we have a big paramedic bill to pay :(

 

A friend of mine is closer to this midwife and she mentioned the situation to her. I guess she told her that she had thought about giving some of the money back, but her husband discouraged her. What the heck is that?!

 

I don't know. Am I being ridiculous? My husbands upset too, but more because she never even came out to the house for a post-partum visit. She called a couple times, but that was it. Maybe she didn't like me.

 

Honestly, she is the only midwife in the area that is willing to attend a home birth (it's illegal) and I feel so upset about all this that I would consider changing my future plans for a home birth (if God gives us another baby someday) and just take my chances at the hospital again. Insurance covers a hospital birth and I won't have to worry about scraping together a bunch of money....

 

I'd appreciate any input, even if it's criticism (I have my big girl panties on today, lol).

post #2 of 22
I wouldnt ask her for the money back, since she is the only doula in your area. (Is she a doula or a midwife? You posted both, and $1,000 seems high pricey for a doula and too cheap for a midwife.)


I think you'll have to cut your losses if you want her to attend another homebirth for you.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

She is a midwife, but she also does doula work sometimes. The fee is much higher than the doulas in the area, but I wanted her specifically because I am a VBAC and I wanted to find the most knowledgable person I could. 

 

We weren't planning a homebirth last time. We were planning on laboring in a hotel and then going to the hospital to push the baby out. We ended up having an unassisted birth in the hotel because things were so fast (which I loved).

 

 

post #4 of 22

It's kind of par for the course. If it's in the contract I'd suck it up and let it go. It's hard especially when you don't have much money but I have also btdt. I paid $2000 to my midwife with my second child for everything and ended up having a hospital birth so I did feel like I'd been ripped off. It's the way it goes, though.  And actually, my midwife is attending this birth for free (I'm doing prenatals with an OB though) so things seemed to work out. I'm considering it good karma.

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

I'm not planning on trying to get money back or cause any problems. I don't plan on bringing it up at all...I was just wondering if it's dumb to feel bitter about it and if I am being unreasonable. Like I said, she doesn't owe me anything since its not her fault that she missed it. Her policy is to refund half the money if she misses it bc she is at another birth or some other reason thats her fault.

 

I feel like it shows a lack of integrity on her part (or maybe she doesn't like me and is trying to discourage me from coming back to her...probably  not, but the thought crossed my mind) and it does make me feel hesitant to hire her in the future.

post #6 of 22

You should say something about it. If you are feeling this way then you need to honor that it is indeed bothering you and for a reason. Call her or write a letter and address how you are feeling. If you ever did want to use her in the future then all of this latent resentment will create a riff in your personal relationship with her. Work it out now.

post #7 of 22

Honestly, I wouldn't have refunded the money either. I'm really sorry you lost so much money though. :( 

 

The biggest reason why I wouldn't have refunded the money is because 1) I couldn't have come any faster(your labor sounds like it was really fast) and 2) when I take on a client, that means that I can't take on anyone else. So for example, I might take on 3 births max per month, if the 3rd woman had a fast labor, and I didn't make it in time, I can't make that money back again, I can't just take on another client for that month, you know?

 

I would ask her if she would consider applying at least half of that fee to your home birth though. 

 

And yeah, $1k is a lot for a doula, but not if you're in a HCOL area.

 

(But you're feelings of bitterness are ones that I can relate to. I'm one to take the smallest comment seriously "so and so doula doesn't think UC is safe then she must hate me since I do think it's safe")

post #8 of 22

What does your contract say?  My contract explicitly outlines the cases under which I do and do not give refunds, and the amounts which would be refunded in the various instances.  Precipitous birth is actually not a reason for refund under my contract, although I do offer to provide a certain number of hours of postpartum service, if the family requests that.  

 

I think communication is important, so talking with her about the situation might help you both.   FWIW - it is not because she "doesn't like you", most likely, it really is a business decision. She is a business woman - this is how she makes her living.  I have had to become quite mentally tough, since, for me it is a business (although a lovely one and I really do care for the families I support), which is why I have had to make my contract very explicit, and walk through the contract with clients at the first prenatal so that, hopefully, situations like this don't occur.

post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 

We didn't actually have a contract (yeah, bad move, I know) because she was a good friend of my best friend. She took me on late in my pregnancy (at 32 weeks) and it was kind of casual.

 

It did cross my mind that maybe she would discount a future home birth. I feel like she probably would... of course, I don't know if there will be a future birth. I guess it's just that money is so tight right now that a future discount kind of stinks.

 

That's true about it having to be a business. Maybe I need to think about that more. It IS how she makes her living and it might be just as hard for her to have $1,000 to return as it was for us to find $1,000 to pay her. I suppose it's easy for me to say that I would return some of the money when the fact is that I have no idea if I would since I am not in that business.

 

I guess I just need to get over it. Maybe I need even bigger big girl panties :) My butt DID grow a lot this last pregnancy....

post #10 of 22

My doula/monitrice explained that if we had a situation like that, we wouldn't get any money back because we were paying her to be on call for us.  She can only take a limited number of clients, so if she gives us a slot then she is counting on that money and has to be prepared to drop everything for us.  She said the only way she'd refund some was if she and her 2 backups all couldn't make it and she had to send over a doula who couldn't provide monitrice services.

post #11 of 22

Sounds like she owes you some pp care, tho - right?

post #12 of 22

I can understand feeling like you wasted your money, but I agree with other posters that I would not expect to get any money back.  I would not offer a refund if I were in her shoes.  I think it is kind of a common feeling that money was wasted if the doula wasn't really needed, but since there is no way to know ahead of time it's a chance we have to take as consumers.  This is part of why we have chosen not to hire our prefered care provider... I know I would resent paying the money if she didn't make it or wasn't needed, and both of those are highly likely.  If my situation was different I might make the other choice though, there are many factors.

 

Congratulations on your UBAC :)

post #13 of 22

I agree with the other ladies.

 

In this situation, I wouldn't offer or grant a refund either.  I'm sure it was in her contract.  It's unfortunate, but sometimes things just happen.  I'm sorry :(  I have it explicitly in my contract what does and does not warrant a refund.

post #14 of 22

I wouldn't ask for the $ probably, but yeah I would feel bitter. I don't get why she went home if she was acting as the doula though isn't she suppose to be there to comfort you while you are laboring?

post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View Post

I wouldn't ask for the $ probably, but yeah I would feel bitter. I don't get why she went home if she was acting as the doula though isn't she suppose to be there to comfort you while you are laboring?



Their doula was also a midwife and was acting as a monitrice. She checked OP's cervix, and she was only at 2cm. 4 is considered active labor(but we know that dilation doesn't usually mean squat). 

 

OP, I know this wasn't your first labor, but if it had been, I would have personally expected to be there for around 20 hours, especially if you were only at 2. Since this was your third labor, I would have expected to be there for around 8 hours, especially if your previous labors were long. If you have a history of short labors, I would be surprised that she left, but it seems like you asked her to leave?

 

I probably wouldn't have left any client of mine at 2cm, unless they asked me to.(not that I would known though, unless someone else had checked her cervix, since I do not check cervices)

 

But, OP, I am a little confused as to why you went to the hospital. Baby was already born, right? I dunno, maybe it's just the UCer in me ;)

 

ETA: I wouldn't have expected my midwife or doula to leave me if I was at 2cm, unless I had specifically asked her to. 

 

post #16 of 22

Yea IDK why you went to the hospital either.

 

post #17 of 22

Seeing as this wasn't a planned UC, maybe this mama and daddy felt it necessary to get both mama and baby checked out to reinforce in her mind that all was well.  For someone who did not have intentions of UCing, I think that is perfectly acceptable.

post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by cinderella08 View Post

Seeing as this wasn't a planned UC, maybe this mama and daddy felt it necessary to get both mama and baby checked out to reinforce in her mind that all was well.  For someone who did not have intentions of UCing, I think that is perfectly acceptable.


I think it is perfectly acceptable too, I was just wondering. If I had an accidental/unwanted UC and wanted to get me and baby checked out, I would have transported in my own car especially since we would be in a similar financial boat as OP. shrug.gif

 

I was thinking that this was a planned home birth(mainly because they didn't seem to call 911 when mom was pushing...but I just remembered, this wasn't even a planned home birth, right? It seems like it was a planned hospital birth, but OP hired a monitrice to assist her (another point being, the monitrice's job wouldn't have been to deliver the baby anyways, still resulting in the ambulance fee) 

 

post #19 of 22

I don't think you should feel put out that she's not offering to give you the money back.  She would have had to clear her schedule around your due date - not take on other clients, etc. and quite possibly rearrange/reschedule/cancel appointments she had on the day you went into labour, in anticipation of spending that time with you.  $1000 is rather high, but I paid £500 for my doula.  She didn't make it to the birth in time either but I don't feel at all bitter that I paid her for it.  I had the reassurance throughout my pregnancy of knowing that she would be there if I needed her and she turned down another client who was due around the same time as me, because she only takes on one client per month.   

 

Think of it this way, if you were working a job that required you to 'be on call' you would expect to be paid for that time, regardless of whether or not you actually had to answer a call, right? Because being 'on call' is not the same as not working at all.  Similar situation IMO.

post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View Post

I wouldn't ask for the $ probably, but yeah I would feel bitter. I don't get why she went home if she was acting as the doula though isn't she suppose to be there to comfort you while you are laboring?

 

In the OP it says that they sent her home.
 

 

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