I am trying to figure out exactly who I want with me and DH during labor.
DH and I are planning a natural birth at a birth center. There are 6 midwives, and we meet them all in the course of our prenatal visits. My birth center is set up so that we get whichever midwife is on call when I go into labor. So far, I like most of the midwives - I'm lukewarm about a couple of them, and I flat out don't like one, but there have been 2 others I've absolutely loved.
I'm conflicted re: hiring a doula or not. Here's what I'm thinking: This will be my first baby. I have never been through labor before, I am a HIGHLY emotionally-charged woman, and I can get overwhelmed by discomfort or pain or big feelings. I also keep thinking about the chance of ending up with a midwife I'm not 100% comfortable with, or worse, with the one I don't like. There's also the chance that I won't be the only woman in labor at that time, and that the midwife's attention will need to be split 2 or even 3 ways (although I'm pretty sure there will be more than one midwife on call, I have heard a couple women discuss the fact that they had to share their midwife with another woman in labor at the same time). I am also NOT a very private person, and I love having women/female energy around me, so having more people in the delivery room is not an issue... and might even be desirable for me.
On the flip side: Hiring a doula is not exactly in our budget. We chose this particular birth center because the costs are covered 100% by my insurance. The cost thing is a very big issue - we spend very rarely and very carefully, and any extra money spent is a very big deal for us. We are saving to buy a house, etc., and this is a huge consideration. Furthermore, my DH is extremely adept at handling and balancing out my emotions. He is an incredible support, is a master at staying calm when I'm losing my mind, and ALWAYS knows exactly what to say to me when I'm anything from mildly upset to downright hysterical. But, obviously, he has no experience being with women in labor.
Finally, I don't want to turn this situation into total overkill. I'm a big believer in the power of positive thought, and I think that I can have the labor and birth I want with "just" my DH and a midwife. But... I don't want to reject the idea of a doula if it can be the difference between a negative and a positive experience for me.
Thoughts??? How did you ladies decide? And for those of you who have given birth before, what was your experience?