maybe with we can think of other similar situations
If I hired a design and build contractor, to design then install my kitchen. Met with him several times to discuss my needs and wishes, reviewed resources that s/he provided me, emailed and spoke on the phone over time to discuss the project and then decided not to use his "build" service, but still benefited from his design support, I would still feel a need to pay him for his time and expertise.
I charge a 1/3 2/3 fee situation. I view the first third as covering my pre and post natal visits (4 total, not including the interview) I view the 2/3 as the "birth fee" and I would NEVER leave my client without a doula. If I was for some reason (and it would have to be a MASSIVE reason) was unable to go to the birth, I would without hesitation send my back-up! And, just in case, I have several tiers of back up support.
As I mentioned in a previous post, if I missed a birth due to rapid labor..(true story, I am thinking of a call at 5 am, at hospital, 2 cm but please come...I dress, drive, park and quickly go to l&d by 6 to find out baby arrived at 5:30, well, certainly, I was available!) I would offer to add additional postpartum hours, because I want to be fair, but really, I have met the terms of my contract.
Please do not underestimate the "cost" to a doula of being on call and always ready for her clients. It is immense.
Here is an interesting article about what goes into a doula's fees. Not totally relevant to missing a birth, but an interesting read nonetheless. http://www.bigbellyservices.com/doul...s%20detail.htm
Also, I have a message on my phone that tells clients, if you need me urgently, have left a message and do not hear back in ten minutes, please call again. Sometimes, the cell phone does not ring, then you find you have a message. My goal (and responsibility) is to be totally available to my clients and I take that very seriously!
I encourage the original poster to have an open dialog with her doula, expressing her views and coming to some resolution that feels good and fair to all.