Doula at a homebirth? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 07-12-2010, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So, I am trying to decide if I want a doula at my homebirth. There will be a midwife and her assistant, DH, and then someone dedicated to DS. If I add a doula, this may start to get a little crowded.

My midwife seems pretty handsoff and practices more like a CPM than a CNM (which she is). I have an appointment in a few weeks and I am really trying to sort out the doula thing. My due date is during the holidays, so I have to kinda decide quickly (since there are a fair amount of doulas not taking clients when I am due).

DH and I had a pretty traumatic birth last time. C-section after getting to 10cm, then 5 days later I was readmitted to the cardiac unit for 5 more days for pneumonia, septasemia, and early cardiac failure. I was not allowed to breastfeed for 1 month and it took a long time to get DS to nurse well (but we did it!). DH is nervous about me giving birth anywhere (hospital or home) and so we definitely have a lot of "baggage". I am planning on doing hypnobabies, so that should help.

I know it is up to me, but I am having a really hard time deciding. So, help me sort out whether I should have a doula or not. Thanks!

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#2 of 21 Old 07-12-2010, 11:10 AM
 
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I would definitely recommend a doula, especially given your history. I am a doula, and I still had one, plus the midwife's apprentice, who was a doula, plus the midwife, plus a friend to watch DS. Oh, and DH. It didn't feel crowded at all, because each person there had a role to fill and was there by my invitation, in my home, and was respectful.

SAHM to Declan (12/12/06) and Blythe (2/9/09)
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#3 of 21 Old 07-12-2010, 01:10 PM
 
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I would definitely hire a doula (and have) for homebirth. I also feel the birth might be a bit crowded, but have discussed that with everyone and how I can get some more space.

I also will not have a separate support person there for our kids. There will be my husband (who is a SAHD), who can trade off with the doula if I really want him (she knows she may do some little-kid entertaining), and if the kid thing is not working, their grandmother who lives 20 min away will come pick them up and take them back to her place.

I think it's well worth having the doula, especially since transfer to the hospital is always a possibility. Also, IMO the roles of midwife and doula are not the same. Even a very holistic, hands-off midwife is still there to do a midwife's job. I personally still want a doula; someone who is there just to support me in any way needed.
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#4 of 21 Old 07-12-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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I've hired a doula for my upcoming homebirth. And I'm also using hypnobabies.

For me it's well worth it because I had what I consider a traumatic hospital birth (long induction). DH and I had a lot of issues with each other during it and discovered we do not work well together in that situation. He folds under the expectation of providing support, lashes out as a result, and just can't be there for me like I want/need. So the best thing for me and for our relationship is to hire someone who is there for whatever I need, to help me and focus on me during this time.

I also chose to hire a doula because although my midwife was a doula first, there are so many other things she'll be paying attention to and she'll be filling the midwife role above all else. It's not fair for me to expect her to be my doula as well.

Wife to 8/07, SAHM to DS1 12/08 & DS2 7/10
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#5 of 21 Old 07-12-2010, 04:10 PM
 
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Do most people get a doula recommendation from their midwife so that they know each other ideally?
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#6 of 21 Old 07-12-2010, 04:52 PM
 
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I live in a large metro area and the homebirth/natural birth community is still pretty close knit. I would be surprised if your MW didn't know most (if not all) the doulas in your area. I would ask for suggestions from your midwife, interview, and choose who you feel the most comfortable with.
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#7 of 21 Old 07-12-2010, 05:01 PM
 
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I had a homebirth with my first, and while I am not using a doula this time I would recommend one. I'm skipping this time only because I labored so fast that she barely made it and I don't feel I need the additional support this time. However, my DH found her useful - she helped him support me (once literally - he was holding me and she took over the spot so he could catch the baby).

If in doubt, get a doula. It's always better to have her and then not really use her than to need professional support and be without it. Having one with my first was excellent for my peace of mind, which clearly made my labor faster!

Mom to two intact boys, born at home. DS1 11/07, DS2 9/10
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#8 of 21 Old 07-12-2010, 06:15 PM
 
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Loved having a doula at my HB. I'd recommend mine to you in a heartbeat, but she moved. I also had a MW, her 2 assistants (an extra since I had twins), DH and mother there. It was crowded, but my doula was at least the second most important person. She stuck by me and coached me through the whole thing. As a first timer, she was invaluable. With your history, I'd definitely go for one too.

Mom to : Belle and Izzy
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#9 of 21 Old 07-12-2010, 06:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lit Chick View Post
It's always better to have her and then not really use her than to need professional support and be without it.
That's what I was thinking for you.

I've never used a doula for my HBs, but I have friends who have and loved it. Considering your traumatic birth history and your DH's (understandable) nerves, it seems like a doula would be a great asset for you. Like another poster said, also express your need for space with everyone ahead of time.

And can I just say KUDOS to you for sticking with breastfeeding after that unfortunate start! I can't wait to hear how your birth goes. I wish you the absolute best.

Angela -- mama to Jack (11/03), Adeline (6/06), Ella (11/08), and William (1/11). Accredited Leader: Attachment Parenting International of Orange County.h20homebirth.giffly-by-nursing2.gif homeschool.gif
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#10 of 21 Old 07-12-2010, 07:11 PM
 
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We are definitely having a doula present for our homebirth. Same doula we had for our hospital birth with our DS.

We have also hired a birth photographer, who just happens to be a doula too. (She's a very close friend.)

In attendance will be my MW, Doula, Photographer, DH, son (if he wants to be) and someone to care for our son. At first I thought it seemed a little crowded too, but honestly I'm friends with all of these women (including the MW) so that makes a difference to me. You just need to make sure you are 100% comfortable with whomever you decide to have present.

SAH Mama to Cooper (3-9-08) and Sawyer (9-3-10).   
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#11 of 21 Old 07-12-2010, 08:55 PM
 
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I've had two uncomplicated natural births without a doula, and if I had another baby I would hire a doula (now that I'm a doula myself I finally get it). They make births better, simply put.

Christian SAHM & birth doula.
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#12 of 21 Old 07-12-2010, 11:12 PM
 
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I really wish I'd hired a doula for my homebirth (my midwife had advised me to and I didn't want to spend the money). I didn't need her to advise the midwives so much as I did to keep dh in line as he was distracted by a lot more stuff being at home. In our case, he'd discovered a huge mess that needed to be cleaned up but it just as easily could have been some TV program in another room that he wouldn't get up from. I also was unable to think clearly after the birth. There wasn't enough litacain to last the entire time I was being stitched. The midwife offered to use more and I declined because I didn't want a needle down there....but there was already a needle down there! If I'd had a doula she might have been able to talk to some sense into me! Dh had already run off with the baby and I couldn't seem to scream loud enough to get him (and the baby!) back in the room with me. I'm sure everyone might have a different need but next time I will definately have one there.
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#13 of 21 Old 07-13-2010, 02:19 AM
 
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Doulas can be awesome additions to home birth. I think if you feel the desire to have one, you should go with it. I haven't had one at my HBs, but know women who have and think it can be really awesome. Especially after a traumatic birth, the extra support can be invaluable.

HeatherB ~ mama to 3 wonderful boys:  reading.gif 03/02; modifiedartist.gif09/04; sleepytime.gif 09/07 - and Eliana, babygirl.gif 11/13/10!  
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#14 of 21 Old 07-13-2010, 07:17 AM
 
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I will be having a doula at our upcoming HB. We had a very traumatic birth last time, including hospital transfer and a useless MW. DH is very squeamish about birth, so I've learned that I can't really rely on him to provide me with the support I need in a long difficult labour.

Honestly, even though we're strapped for cash, our doula has already earned her fee - and we haven't even had the birth yet. She's been amazingly reassuring, knows the ins and outs of the local birthing culture, and just generally knowing that I will have someone at this birth whose job it is to just be there for me, and who has enough experience to know the sorts of things to do that might help has put me much more at ease this pregnancy.

She's also providing my 'continuity of care' because the system here is such that there is a team of 9 MWs who might attend my birth, and I may not have met the one who does come. They are also quite medically minded, as they usually work in hospitals, so we're not planning on calling them until the last minute - the same way a hospital birthing couple would use a doula to help them to labour at home for as long as possible before going to the hospital, so they can basically show up pushing. I hope it works out for us!

But, yeah, I'd say in your situation there's no harm in getting a doula. We'll have the same number of people in our house too - DH, DD and I, doula, my mom or MIL to look after DD, and two MWs. But I'll have the birth pool set up in our dining room and will be encouraging most of those people to go and hang out next door in the sitting room for most of the time, while I have either DH or doula with me. I can also escape upstairs, where I'll be setting up a birthing nest in our room, or I can sit on the loo (which by its very nature will exclude everyone else as it's so small!). Depending on the time of day DD might be sleeping, or she and my mom/MIL might go out to the park or for a walk for a while, and since we're not planning on calling the MWs too early, hopefully they won't be there for all that long anyway...

Good luck with the decision and with your birth - I hope it's a beautiful healing one for you!

Lisa - mama to Eleanor Rose 01/08 and Saoirse Lily 09/10
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#15 of 21 Old 07-13-2010, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Awesome! It sounds like having a doula is the way to go I have talked to 3. One is pretty far away, but she gave me a recommendation for someone closer. One I really, really liked talking to. Another was ok, but she is apparently pretty popular and is almost full for December. I think I am going to have the one I really liked to come over and talk to us.

I just want to have things settled, ya know?

Thanks for the thoughts

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#16 of 21 Old 07-13-2010, 05:59 PM
 
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I looked at it this way:
--get the doula & I DON'T want her:
worst case scenario: I'm out the money. Not too bad, I can live with that.
(No halfway decent doula would be offended in the least if you asked her to leave the room because you decided you wanted more privacy & fewer people around!)

--DON'T get the doula & I DO want/need extra support:
Hm, this is WORSE than the above, IMO.

So I got one for DS birth, even though I didn't think I'd "need" her.
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#17 of 21 Old 07-13-2010, 08:55 PM
 
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I would totally suggest a Doula. they can help in ways you would have never imagined

SAHM to D ( 10/06 ) A (10/08) & C (03/11)
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#18 of 21 Old 07-13-2010, 09:51 PM
 
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I'm going with a doula my midwives recommended, they work together a lot. The kicker for me was the doula pointing out during our interview that you want "fresh" midwives - so they don't come when you're losing your mucus plug and feeling crampy, they come when you're full-on in labor. The doula comes whenever you want her, then she can decide when it's time to call the midwives (so that decision isn't on you, or DP, or mom or whoever).

And someone already said this, but if it's too many people and you need privacy, the doula should have NO problem leaving the room.



Living and loving in ATX with DH (of 7 years) and DS (3.5)
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#19 of 21 Old 07-13-2010, 10:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sellendie View Post
Do most people get a doula recommendation from their midwife so that they know each other ideally?
Not necessarily. I loved my MW and trusted her implicitly. But I still wanted somebody more objective than a good buddy of the MW. The most important thing is that your doula attends 1-2 prenatal appointments to get acquainted with your MW. If I were a MW, I wouldn't want a doula showing up that I'd never met.

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#20 of 21 Old 07-14-2010, 08:31 PM
 
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Get a doula!! I just had a HB 2 weeks ago, my first baby, and I had a midwife, her assistant, DH, my Mom, and my doula there. It didn't feel too crowded to me. My labor ended up lasting 52 hours & I pushed for 4 hours - and my doula and DH were my main supports. My doula was able to physically and emotionally support me in ways that the midwives are just not there to do. I LOVED my midwives - but keep in mind that midwives do tend to stay more in the background. It is their job to make sure you & the baby are safe. It is the doula's job to give you, the mama, anything else you need!!

I don't think it's necessary for the midwives & doula to know one another in advance, mine didn't - but in that case, it can be good to have the doula attend the home visit with the midwives so everyone can meet before the birth; at least that's what we did and it worked out well!!

Best of luck!!!
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#21 of 21 Old 07-14-2010, 11:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sellendie View Post
Do most people get a doula recommendation from their midwife so that they know each other ideally?
I don't think so, but it turned out in my case that my doula had been a client of my midwife, so they knew each other.

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