I didn't use a doula for the birth of my son, but I had a wonderful, relatively quick (6 hours from absolute beginning to finish) at a hospital with my midwife. I labored at home for the majority of it and was only at the hospital for the last 90 minutes. My husband memorized The Birth Partner and was the best labor partner I could have hoped for, I used my Hypnobabies homestudy course to pretty good effect, and my midwife was wonderful. There was even a med student who asked me, very respectfully, if she could stay in the room because she'd never seen an unmedicated birth before (!). She totally cried when my son was born and hugged me after, telling me what an incredible sight it was to witness. So...a really good birth! I have high hopes of replicating that experience this May when I give birth to our new baby.
But...but...I keep having these nagging doubts about this time around, and I wonder if I might want some extra support. Our son will turn two the week the baby is due, and I wonder if my husband will be able to concentrate as much on me this time! I have several friends who've volunteered to take DS for the day while I'm laboring, but...I don't know. I guess I'm a little nervous. What if I have a much longer labor, what if it's not as "easy", will my husband and I both be as prepared this time around? Etc, etc. We had thought to have a doula the first time around, but we didn't have $1000-2,000 to pay, so we were pretty limited in our options. We interviewed a few of the less experienced ones, but didn't "click" with any of them, so we decided to do it on our own.
How did your 2nd birth go? Did you feel like a doula was helpful or would have been? Did you feel more distracted or less focused because you had an older child around? I don't know why I'm doubting myself all of a sudden, but I am.