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!
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.
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.
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!
It's always better to have her and then not really use her than to need professional support and be without it.
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.
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.
HeatherB ~ mama to 3 wonderful boys: 03/02; 09/04; 09/07 - and Eliana, 11/13/10!
Founder of Houston Birth Alternatives: Be Informed, Encouraged, Supported birth support group and aspiring midwife.
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!
I just want to have things settled, ya know?
Thanks for the thoughts
--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.
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.
“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.” - Marcia Angell, M.D., former NEJM Editor Private Parts are Private Property!
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!!!
Lovin' my four-pack: M, S, a different M, and me.