My doula charged me $250, because I'm a single mom. It seems like a lot now, but just think, if you put away $5/week for the next year, you'll have enough!
Plus, like others suggested, you can try to find a doula-in-training. That will be me next year, and I really hope I can help someone like you!
My period cramps were KILLER. I was a complete write-off for the first day of every period. Vomiting, almost passing out, lying on the bathroom floor praying for God to take either my pain or my life....all that good stuff.
But, the BIG difference with contractions, is that the pain only lasts a minute or so! After that minute, I felt like I could FLY! I remember joking to my doula, as we were walking the halls, that I felt soooooo good in between that I wanted to sprint down the hall! lol
I had painful contractions for 49 hours without medication. The last 7 hours of that were oxytocin-induced, which were even worse than period cramps. But, I still did it! Finally, I did get an epidural because I needed SLEEP, but I did really well handling the pain.
Keep practicing your techniques, and maybe look into Hypnobirthing, too! I can't wait to try that next time!
Good luck TTC'ing!