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Experiences with doulas? Or hospital births without a doula?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

There have been threads about when to hire a doula, interviewing a doula and prenatal appointments with a doula.  But I'd be really interested in hearing about your experiences with a doula, or having a hospital birth without a doula.  What made you choose to work with a doula?

 

I'm pretty sure that I've never read anything where someone who worked with a doula didn't benefit from it, and find it helpful, but I'm also trying to figure out if it's the right thing for me.  Will the support be helpful, since I've never done this before?

 

Thanks for all your thoughts.

post #2 of 11

NOT having a doula for my DD's birth is one of my biggest regrets EVER. I could not find one, even though I searched online and so I just settled for reading as much as I could and relying on my husband. 

 

My husband, is yes, great but I had a LOOOOONG labor (28 hours) and he was not taking care of himself because he was *trying* to help me. He barely ate, drank, or even went to the bathroom. I tried telling him to go do these things but he wouldn't go. At my 20 hour mark I was exhausted and he was sleeping and no longer helpful. I was SO MAD. I tapped out and got an epidural, which helped me get the rest I needed to continue dilating and eventually pushing out my girl. He was so fatigued and hungry he almost passed out during my epidural insertion. That bugged me even more. I was blessed with having a great hospital who didn't push ANYTHING on me but they didn't help with pain management by suggesting positions or anything like that. 

 

This time I told him, "we are hiring a doula FOR YOU. So YOU can eat, drink, take a walk, get rest, pee, do whatever and NOT feel guilty." So we are spending $300 on one and I'm looking forward to it. It will be nice to have another knowledgeable woman in the room who can help me, who can help my husband, and make it known that it IS OKAY for HIM to take a break. They can tag team if it's a long labor. 

 

So...having a doula in my opinion is crucial and honestly anyone can be a doula. Your mom, a close friend, a cousin, a sister, etc. just having some OTHER support their so your partner can take a break and not feel guilty because even though they say they are fine...they aren't. I cannot STRESS ENOUGH how important they are because I know how hard it can be without one. 

 

That's my experience. I know some families do just fine with a husband and wife team but in my experience it's a crucial asset to a ~stress~ free, well tended birth. 

 

ETA: I have read stories where women hired a doula and the doula did not participate in the labor. The laboring mother didn't want anyone touching her but every so often she would ask a question and the doula would be there to gently answer and guide her. Hands on support is not the only support. So even if she comes and you don't "need" her but to answer a question here or there, that's still support and that's still beneficial. 

post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by greentomato View Post

What made you choose to work with a doula?

 

I'm pretty sure that I've never read anything where someone who worked with a doula didn't benefit from it, and find it helpful, but I'm also trying to figure out if it's the right thing for me.  Will the support be helpful, since I've never done this before?

 

this is our first one as well. we don't have too much support from family or friends, family is far away (although we might get DF's dad to visit after the birth and stay with us for a few weeks - fingers crossed) and friends in this new area are zero, and the others are further away. that, paired with the midwife asking about our "village", paired with how i've been feeling like i'm always playing catch-up on pregnancy-related topics.. made us decide that we would really like some emotional and organizational support before and during the birth. 

 

another reason was.. about two weeks ago, i had a really bad migraine.. probably the worst one i've ever had. DF really tried his best, brought me meds and a cold wrap, .. but was quiet next to me. i said to him "talk to me!" - i thought my head was gonna explode and i was freaking out. but he later said it totally clamped him up. of course i don't know if i'll be the same during labor, but i thought ok, DF probably has his own level of comfort with regards to what he can do for me in labor - and what he can't.

 

so we're both gladly hiring a doula to give me eeeverything i need in terms of support, a calm head, suggestions for laboring positions, making the birth plan and packing the hospital bag with us.. they also range in price ($600-1400 where i am). in fact, we're meeting this friday with a FREE doula agency, where we'll have a consultation on what we're looking for and then we'll get doulas recommended to us, we'll set up interview times with them and pick one.  

 

EDIT: wow, Mama Ana, only read your post now.. what happened with your partner could totally happen to me with mine too! what IS it with this self-sacrificial behavior.. they will go full-force on something and then forget how long the whole thing can take, get exhausted and in the end THEY will need to be taken care of! 

post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by vc2013 View Post

  

 

EDIT: wow, Mama Ana, only read your post now.. what happened with your partner could totally happen to me with mine too! what IS it with this self-sacrificial behavior.. they will go full-force on something and then forget how long the whole thing can take, get exhausted and in the end THEY will need to be taken care of! 

It's a guy thing I swear! I don't need a super hero who can't take care of himself right now! I need a healthy, "with it" husband who won't pass out from low blood sugar lol!  The length definitely surprised my husband, he says often he didn't think labor would take over a day. I was stressed so I know that slowed some things down but hello! we were at the hospital, you have access to basically EVERYTHING! 

post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Ana View Post

It's a guy thing I swear! I don't need a super hero who can't take care of himself right now! I need a healthy, "with it" husband who won't pass out from low blood sugar

 

 

I don't know if it is a "guy thing" so much as a "Someone I am in love with needs me!" thing. I can definitely see my wife letting her blood sugar get low, refusing to sleep, refusing to take a break, etc. 

 

I hired a doula as much for me as for her. I know she might need to check out a little, not be my primary support the whole time, take photographs, etc. It is her experience as well as mine, and as much as I know she will be there for me, I want there to be room for her to actually have an experience too. She has labored and had a natural birth herself, but I think it is completely different to see someone you love in labor (plus - every labor and birth is different!) We met with a couple doulas and I picked the one who had the most experience. I have no idea what kind of support we will actually need - hands-on massage/pressure? emotional support? Keeping our moms and families at bay? supporting my wife with extra comfort measure ideas, positions, breaks, etc? serving as a buffer between us and the medical professionals? our doula also says that sometimes her place is just to slow things down and ask "dumb questions" to make the decision-making/negotiation/intervention process easier for me to understand while i'm in labor. like, "oh, she's not any more dilated than she was several hours ago? is she more effaced? has the baby changed position?" so i can see that things are happening and labor is progressing, which might inform my decision making around pain medications, etc. 

 

Also, i have a deep (not totally irrational) fear that one or both of the twins will have to go to the NICU. the idea of our family unit being separated and my wife having to choose who gets love and support KILLS me. I started weeping every time I thought about it! I want her to go with the baby/babies so they are not alone, but I also don't want to be left all alone right after giving birth! So knowing that the doula will be there for us, my wife can decide whatever she decides and the doula will be there for the other parties - that knowledge has really helped me relax about the potential of us being separated after birth. 

post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsandmrs View Post

 

 

I don't know if it is a "guy thing" so much as a "Someone I am in love with needs me!" thing. I can definitely see my wife letting her blood sugar get low, refusing to sleep, refusing to take a break, etc. 

 

 

You're right and it was really rude and inconsiderate of me to make such a blanket statement. I'm sorry about that. 

post #7 of 11
Mrsandmrs I know many hospitals have chaplains, I did a residency as one, and sat with families in similar situations. Chaplains are not supposed to be preachy and should meet people where they are. They are usually good listeners or quiet companions. Just an option if needed.
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Ana View Post

You're right and it was really rude and inconsiderate of me to make such a blanket statement. I'm sorry about that. 

 

No offense taken, just saying that all support people can get tired and its good to have a plan. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by OceanSolitude View Post

Mrsandmrs I know many hospitals have chaplains, I did a residency as one, and sat with families in similar situations. Chaplains are not supposed to be preachy and should meet people where they are. They are usually good listeners or quiet companions. Just an option if needed.

 

That's a good point - you can find support in places you may not initially think of. Thanks for the reminder. 

 

 

Also - I wanted to add that I don't think someone NEEDS to hire a doula necessarily to be that extra support for your birth team. Maybe you have a BFF or a sister or a mom who would be great at it, has experience with birth, feels very close to you and yet rational enough to actually be helpful. I dont think I have that person in my life. Our mothers are definitely not the right candidates. I have several friends who have offered themselves up, and as much as I love them as my close friends, I feel like the experience would be more about their experience of my birth. They don't have much experience attending births, and I don't feel like being a learning experience for anyone, even my bff's. I wanted to hire someone who knew a lot more than we do, someone who attends hundreds of births and who I paid (so she works for me) so I can have expectations of her that I might feel guilty putting on someone who was volunteering their energy and time. 

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsandmrs View Post

Also - I wanted to add that I don't think someone NEEDS to hire a doula necessarily to be that extra support for your birth team. Maybe you have a BFF or a sister or a mom who would be great at it, has experience with birth, feels very close to you and yet rational enough to actually be helpful.

 

this is one of the reasons we ARE hiring a doula - because we have literally no one who could or would offer their support. i'll be lucky if anyone even comes to visit in the hospital. it's a constant reason i whine and feel sorry for myself, but by deciding to hire a doula i feel like we're handling the situation in a healthy, productive way. 

post #10 of 11

vc, i think it is great that you can see your own needs and realistically address them. that is hard for a lot of people. 

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses.  It's given me some topics to discuss with my partner and with my midwife at my next visit as I try to figure out if it's the right choice for me.  Unfortunately, I don't have anyone local who would make a good labor support person.  But, I also may just keep it to me and my husband.

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