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Mothering › Groups › April 2013 Due Date Club › Discussions › Doulas?

Doulas?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

A must? Nice to have but not really the return on the investment?

 

I'm hoping to have an active, unmedicated labor and delivery. My hospital doesn't offer much in the way of preparatory classes with relaxation and coping techniques. However they are very supportive of active labor, including the L&D tubs and a staff of 5 midwives. 

 

My concern is that for much of my labor, it will be my extremely amazing and supportive husband and probably nurses. I'm guessing the midwife won't come until later?

 

So in this case is a doula highly advisable, or just a happy perk, if you have the money to spend. Like getting a manicure?

 

Would love to hear your experiences with and without a doula!

post #2 of 25

I can't comment from experience but from what I've read it sounds like a doula is really just an extra support person to offer any comfort you might need, give you a massage, bring you water or things like that.  I decided I didn't need one because my husband wants to take over that role and doesn't think he will need any extra help with that.  Since he is willing to be there for me like that I would prefer having him for comfort rather than a stranger.  But I can see why some might want one.

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

Yea, I know my husband will be my #1 support- just thinking in terms of knowing my options for relief and will the nurses know, will I intuitively know if I don't take any sort of class- like my body will take over and just start walking, or repetitively doing what it needs to cope...

post #4 of 25
We were dirt poor when Dd was born, so our doula worked pro-rated. But I don't know how I would have gotten through 36 hours of labor and the asshole doctors on call. She was so, so crucial. She made it possible for DH to get some sleep, and stay calm. She knew all sorts of things for me to o to help with pain. I knew a lot going in, but once the contractions begin, the brain sort of shuts down.

This time we won't have a doula as I have a midwife team, and this is our second time doing this. But if I highly recommend them for first time moms if its at all in the budget.
post #5 of 25

A good doula - one who knows the ropes, the system and how to NOT intrude on the bond between your and your partner - is worth her weight in gold, and then some.

 

You might get lucky and have a relatively easy/short labor card, cooperative nurses, a doc that you mesh well with and hospital policies that are in line with your beliefs about birth. And you might not. If you are in labor for 36, 48 OR MORE hours, how is your husband supposed to support you that whole time, by himself? And who is going to support him? To remind him to eat and drink and give him a chance to walk away and go potty, get a breath of fresh air, etc.

 

Most dads want to do right by you, but when they see the love of their life hurting, all they want to do is make it stop and they usually don't know how. Maybe you'll be the mama that will keep it all together, labor quietly without too much discomfort, and maybe you wont. Maybe you'll be LOUD, scream and moan and ask him to make it go away even though what you really need is some reassurance that everything is working perfectly and it will be ok.

 

There are a lot of doulas who don't know how to do their job with grace, but the ones who do are absolutely invaluable. If you're delivering at a hospital you have no idea what your nursing staff is going to be like until you're there - you might get an awesome nurse you supports your birth plan, is as hands on or off as you need her to be and isn't pushy. Or, you might get the nurse who thinks it's ridiculous for any women to go through labor without pain meds (no one gets a tooth pulled without meds, right?) and therefore feels the need to offer an epidural or "something to take the edge off" every time she walks in the room. Will your husband know how to handle *that* nurse? Probably not. But a good doula will! Will your husband know what positions you should try laboring in? Or remember to recommend a potty break or sip of water regularly?

 

A good doula will NOT interfere with your husbands ability to help you - she will mostly likely give your partner suggestions on how to help you more effectively. Many doulas (in my area at least) will come to your home in early labor before you're ready to head to the hospital and help you determine when might be the best time to go in. (Getting to the hospital too early can lead to unnecessary interventions.) Many are also *trained* in added services like photography, massage therapy, aromatherapy, TENS units, Rebozo, lactation aid, birth classes/philosophies such as Bradly, Birthing From Within, Lamaze, Hypnobirthing, etc or have additional training for special circumstances (adoption, c/s, single parenting, LGB parenting, etc)

 

There is NO CHARGE to interview a doula, or 10 doulas! I recommend you interview SEVERAL and see who seems to be a good fit for what you're looking for. Not all "seasoned" doulas are good doulas, and not all students are bad ones - interview a bunch and go from there. They should be able to tell you what makes them special/different and WHY you should work with THEM. They should also be able to provide references to other clients so you can call and ask them what sort of impact they made during their birth.

 

Here's a neat story to read: http://birthwithoutfearblog.com/2013/01/05/the-difference-a-doula-makes-a-birth-story/comment-page-1/#comment-12517

post #6 of 25

Here is a link to the fb page for my doula/friend/mentor. She has some A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. photography that really does a good job of "showing" what a doula can do for a family. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Patti-Ramos-Photography/261348520580426?ref=ts&fref=ts
 

post #7 of 25
Oh, yes! I forgot about the photography thing! We wouldn't have any photos from the birth if our doula hadn't been there! Totally slipped our minds!
post #8 of 25

If you are using a midwife and have taken any kind of birthing class that teaches pain management, I think a doula (especially if you have a supportive husband) wouldn't be needed. We took a Bradley Method birthing class and had a midwife with DS1 and while in labor at a hospital I didn't feel I needed a doula. I had an intervention free natural water birth.  And yes, my midwife didn't come until about an hour before the birth.

 

For women who have OB's and are looking for a very natural intervention free birth, then I highly recommend a doula. Because I've seen many "natural minded" OBs do a 180 once you are actually in labor - then comes talk of breaking your water, pitocin, c-section, etc. 

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenlea View Post

For women who have OB's and are looking for a very natural intervention free birth, then I highly recommend a doula. Because I've seen many "natural minded" OBs do a 180 once you are actually in labor - then comes talk of breaking your water, pitocin, c-section, etc. 

 

If I had to have a hospital birth, I'd absolutely have a doula for this very reason...the rest I can deal with on my own, but I want someone to be on my side (actually, I'd create a TEAM for that because who knows how ridiculous the staff might be! LOL) since I want nothing to do with most of what the hospital would consider necessary.  So I'd definitely get a doula who already agreed 110% with my own beliefs about birth.

post #10 of 25

I can't stress enough how much your nurses (at the hospital) matter though and you have so little control over that. Even if you have an awesome MW, she has to report to the OB in charge and you aren't likely to see either of them very much, especially if you're not the only mama in labor at the time. Nurses can be amazing and helpful and wonderful, or they can "ruin" your whole experience. You do have the right to request a different nurse if you're not clicking, but a doula is extremely helpful in that sort of situation.

post #11 of 25

Very true. When I first got to the hospital with DS1 I had a horrible nurse who kept trying to push an IV on me 'in case I needed drugs" - I'm not taking pain meds, then "in case I needed pitocin" - I'm not getting pitocin, then "in case there's an emergency" - ugh. Luckily her shift was ending and I got an awesome nurse after that.

post #12 of 25

I thought long and hard last time, but felt that DH and mom were a good enough team. Now I regret not having one. My team worked fine for supporting me, in fact mom did almost nothing at all since DH was so wonderful, however, I wish I would have had a doula to help me deal with the hospital staff. I had taken classes, done a ton of research, but in the heat of the moment, accepted pitocin as soon as it was offered. WTF?? No questions, just fear that they would say c-section if I didn't listen to them. I think a doula would have helped us to follow to stick to our plans and better manage the hospital staff. As someone mentioned, most work on a sliding scale if it is a concern for you.

post #13 of 25

I worked as a RN in two different L&D departments that were TERRIBLE when it came to incorporating birth plans, and accepting people who wanted intervention free labors and births. The nurses would sit at the nurse's station and watch everyone (EFM strips) up on the big screen, and snicker and make fun. And these were supposedly "family birthing centers" and "baby friendly." The midwives rarely had better attitudes. After being on that side of things, I really have no desire to step foot on another L&D ward again, EVER. But, in Nebraska you can't have a homebirth without going under the radar...and with my diabetes, this being our first one, and living 45 minutes from the nearest hospital, we really don't have much of a choice. The point of all this: I wouldn't even consider doing it without a doula. I'm counting on her to be my voice when things get intense- she's my insurance policy against  unnecessary intervention!

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by firespiritmelody View Post

A good doula - one who knows the ropes, the system and how to NOT intrude on the bond between your and your partner - is worth her weight in gold, and then some.... (edited for length)

Well said Firespirit!!

 

While I am a FTM all of the reasons you listed above are exactly why we are going to have a doula at the birth. Our midwife practice does strongly recomend it and we are so happy with the doula we have choosen.

post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the responses. What kind of an investment, in your experience is it, monetarily?

post #16 of 25

I'm on birth #3 and this is the first time I'll have a doula :) I'm also a doula, so definitely think they are a must ;) 

Anyways, reasons I hired a doula:

 

I want DH to get as much sleep as possible BUT also have that extra support if I desire it during the long stages of labor(this is especially if I go into labor in the middle of the night or if the labor is just dragging on and on and on and DH needs some rest)

I don't want my MIL there to babysit. We live in a small condo and she's annoying. She's even more annoying when I'm in labor. With 2 midwives, 2 doulas(I agreed to let my doula bring someone who is shadowing her), and DH around, this really eliminates the need of a babysitter. 

 

My doula is great at keeping calm and reassuring mama during the hard parts, don't get me wrong, DH could be worse during labor as I've read many horror dad and labor stories, but he gets all panicky and scared at every.little.thing. 

 

God forbid we need to transfer and it leads to a c-section(or something before we even attempt homebirth leads to a c-section), I want DH with the baby but I want someone in recovery with me as well. He obviously can't be in two places at once and I feel like baby needs and deserves a parent with them at all times after birth and be held and cuddled. Our hospital either lets dad in the nursery with baby or with mom. Baby can't go in the recovery room at all, and if dad chooses to stay with mom, poor baby is all alone in there :( 

I think the extra labor support of someone who has actually gone through birth is just important. They know not to take a big "EFF YOU" personally in labor, they can calm down mama and daddy's nerves, help with massages or getting water, just be a friend, etc. 

post #17 of 25

I had never given much thought to having one.. because I have to have a c section.. but my DP is scared to death of being in there when babies come out.. and I am very anxious and not good at keeping calm.. so one of our good friends is a L/D nurse at the hospital we will deliver and she offered to be my doula.. she knows me and will hopefully help keep me calm during the surgery..

 

I have found there are a lot of volunteer doulas as well!

post #18 of 25

I had never given much thought to having one.. because I have to have a c section.. but my DP is scared to death of being in there when babies come out.. and I am very anxious and not good at keeping calm.. so one of our good friends is a L/D nurse at the hospital we will deliver and she offered to be my doula.. she knows me and will hopefully help keep me calm during the surgery..

 

I have found there are a lot of volunteer doulas as well!

post #19 of 25

I had never given much thought to having one.. because I have to have a c section.. but my DP is scared to death of being in there when babies come out.. and I am very anxious and not good at keeping calm.. so one of our good friends is a L/D nurse at the hospital we will deliver and she offered to be my doula.. she knows me and will hopefully help keep me calm during the surgery..

 

I have found there are a lot of volunteer doulas as well!

post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cananny View Post
I have found there are a lot of volunteer doulas as well!

 

I'm sure TONS of doulas would volunteer to be at your birth Cananny! Triplets isn't something you get to be a part of very often!! I think you MOST DEFINITELY should have a doula! I assume your babies will head to the nursery since they're going to be early. Your partner can go with the boys and your doula/friend can stay with you! 

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