Hiring a doula for a UC? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 35 Old 11-13-2009, 11:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is this an outlandish idea? My husband will be with me-he plans on catching; he is a wonderful husband and father, but labor support is not his strong suit. He is very much a "tell me what to do, and I'll do it" type of guy, but isn't good at doing what needs to be done without much direction. I don't want to be telling him what/how/where when it comes to every little thing I might need in labor, and I know him well enough to know that may very well be the case. Also, having 3 older children (one of which is a toddler), having a doula would provide someone there to be with me, if/when the girls need anything.

Does anyone have any experience with this? I'm wanting to hear any and all thoughts on the subject.

jamie. crinkly (not quite crunchy) mama to 3 amazing little girls, an awesome little boy, and a baby girl making her debut at the end of this summer.

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#2 of 35 Old 11-13-2009, 11:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by thefreckledmama View Post
Is this an outlandish idea? My husband will be with me-he plans on catching; he is a wonderful husband and father, but labor support is not his strong suit. He is very much a "tell me what to do, and I'll do it" type of guy, but isn't good at doing what needs to be done without much direction. I don't want to be telling him what/how/where when it comes to every little thing I might need in labor, and I know him well enough to know that may very well be the case. Also, having 3 older children (one of which is a toddler), having a doula would provide someone there to be with me, if/when the girls need anything.

Does anyone have any experience with this? I'm wanting to hear any and all thoughts on the subject.
I did it and I'm so glad I did! I had a friend who had gone through doula training, and our birth was actually her first birth! I decided to hire her because, DH is AWESOME and super supportive, but he's only one person. And we were having our other kids present (a 6yo, a 2yo, and a 1yo) and I wanted to make sure there was a second person there to help him meet the kids' needs and meet mine at the same time.

She was tremendously helpful postpartum as well. If you don't want a doula, one thing you could do, is write up a detailed "birth plan" of sorts for DH. I did this, broken up by stages of labor, and things he could help me do, offer me, say to me, etc. that I thought would help. I can PM you a copy of it if you want to see it.

Our birthstory is on my blog too, if you want to see how it went with our doula. www.hippyshire.wordpress.com

Jen...wife to Shawn...Radically Unschooling Mommy to Connor (4/03), Autumn (1/07) Aiden (1/08) and Ella (10/14/09) Just had the of our dreams!
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#3 of 35 Old 11-14-2009, 11:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What a great birth story! Thank you for sharing. I would love to see the birthplan you wrote out too. I figure the more time my husband and I spend talking about how to handle different situations in labor, the better things will be all around.

jamie. crinkly (not quite crunchy) mama to 3 amazing little girls, an awesome little boy, and a baby girl making her debut at the end of this summer.

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#4 of 35 Old 11-14-2009, 02:08 PM
 
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I just saw a thread in the birth professionals area where there were quite against helping a woman UC (for a variety of reasons, feeling liable, wanting to help if they saw a problem...). It kind of reiterated it for me that I am doing this by myself for a reason. And while it would be nice, I think having one of your friends who knows a little about birth would be a better idea. I thought about a doula to take pics and help with the kids, but then I was like "I don't need anyone here besides me and my baby"

People just get in my way LOL I'll take my own pictures.
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#5 of 35 Old 11-14-2009, 09:29 PM
 
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I think there are some BP's willing to help a woman UC, they just want to know what's going on, as opposed being "oopsed" and expected to be a maid to clean up your mess. Or only called in an awful emergency, which is unfair. If we want to UC, we should take responsibility enough to call an ambulance, not the midwife. But to call if you are unsure and need advice (that is non-emergent), or maybe if you need some stiches pp, etc, there are MW's who will help. As a doula, I think I would help a woman UC. I have a special place in my heart for it, as a UC mom. I don't perform procedures or tell people what they should do now, and it would be no different in a UC.

And as far a childcare goes, I would do that if that's what the laboring mom wants and needs. I think a person to take care of the kids is pretty essential if you don't want to spend a large part of your labor alone, so friends, a doula, someone, is good to have there specifically for that purpose. I also really like having women around when I labor, so I wanted some support besides my husband!

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#6 of 35 Old 11-15-2009, 01:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That's I'd want. Someone who was there for me, helping me to work through labor, and just being supportive-but backing off and giving me my space for the birth (and honestly not trying to intervene and lend advice). I figure my husband is there to deal with the kids and life in general while I'm laboring. I don't really have any other close support people that would likely be there, most were uncomfortable when I was talking about a HB with a MW. We were planning on keeping the fact we're doing UC under wraps until after the fact. I just think having someone present who's sole purpose was to calm and encourage me would be a huge benefit.

I can see how it might be a tricky arrangement. I suppose I should get in touch with local doulas and open a dialogue about it. Because even though I might find a few on MDC that would be willing to work with a UC mama, I may not find any available in my area who would be comfortable with such a situation.

jamie. crinkly (not quite crunchy) mama to 3 amazing little girls, an awesome little boy, and a baby girl making her debut at the end of this summer.

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#7 of 35 Old 11-16-2009, 12:26 AM
 
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I might actually like this, but in my area, none of the doulas will do it.
They all cite concerns about liability, which I do understand on their parts, but I think it sucks.

CPST
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#8 of 35 Old 11-23-2009, 01:26 AM
 
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If only you lived in Vancouver, BC!

I'd support your UC as your doula.

I might ask everyone involved to sign off on some sort of 'non-medical' support person/friend letter, but that is about it.

You'd think more doulas would. I mean husbands are non-medical support at UC's or friends, or caregivers for older children....

I guess when you toss the word 'professional' in there many worry about liability.

Shame really, most women need support in their births. UC isn't illegal, and neither is a doula helping a woman having her ideal birth.

Sigh.

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#9 of 35 Old 11-23-2009, 01:28 AM
 
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it does suck and I don't agree with it. Most BP don't completely agree with, understand or have had UCs (or would plan them) themselves. Of course they cite "liability", who knows what the real reason is?

I'd search and offer a barter trade. No one wants to be seen as a paid professional or invited as a paid professional to a UC. it smacks of oddness to me. I don't want to ever be looked to for advice, there is a thin line between support as a caring friend and being construed as someone who knows more about birth then the birthing mom.

Even attending hospital births that idea freaks me out--when the nurses and drs leave a post op in my care while the run to grab a bite to eat. Or they thank me after they just worked their behinds off bringing their baby here. All I do it witness and rub backs with a reminder or two 'cause being in the hospital is weird and instincts do sometimes get lost in protocol and routines and cords and tubes, you know

just interview well, there are doulas out there (same with mws, CPMs OBs etc) that believe they DO know more or "better" then the birthing mom. while they may sometimes see a bigger picture and can guide if needed, they don't know more or better.


I love UCs but it takes the right fit.

Carrie, The Birthteacher CCE and Doula, real mom to five; and womb-mom to G. born at 23w by emergency C. 12/09
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#10 of 35 Old 11-23-2009, 01:58 AM
 
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I'm just going to delete what I said....

ahem.

I still would, yes. But don't feel like arguing and getting into a deep convo about liability.


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#11 of 35 Old 11-23-2009, 04:20 AM
 
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My 2-cents. Having a doula is the only option that I have to have someone that I can depend on while I labor in my upcomming UC. As a single lady without the use of a doula I will have no choice but to labor alone. Although being by myself has some appealing aspects, for my first pregnancy I think it would be nice to have someone around to grab me a glass of water if I wanted one or help me fill up the birthing pool. Other than it being super intense I don't know how I will experince labor. So yeah, doula + UC is a big one for me. But maybe my need is greater than some other women who have partners or family that they could use for support if they wanted it.

That said it has been very difficult to find doulas who are willing to attend my planned UC birth. Finding a support person who also have faith in my ability to labor well and make responsible choices for my own health and my baby hasn't been easy and I'm still looking. I'm sure she's out there somewhere!

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#12 of 35 Old 11-23-2009, 11:31 AM
 
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It's unfair for a women who does not want a midwife to complain when doulas don't want to be at your birth. Hire a midwifes to provide labor support if you want someone supportive there, why look to hire a doula? Many hbmidwives do sit in the background if that is what you want from them.

The doula carries all the liability in the situation and the birthing women does not. If you want a UC have one, invite a friend. But when you're hiring a doula, if something was to happen the doula could be charged with practicing medicine or midwifery without a licence.

Having her sign a document does not release her from the states laws and that is what matters.
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#13 of 35 Old 11-23-2009, 11:41 AM
 
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That said it has been very difficult to find doulas who are willing to attend my planned UC birth. Finding a support person who also have faith in my ability to labor well and make responsible choices for my own health and my baby hasn't been easy and I'm still looking. I'm sure she's out there somewhere!

It has nothing aobut having faith in your ability to birth normally. IF you want a uc have one. It's more about you feeling the need to have and hire a support person, then maybe you want to examine hiring a midwife, she could be the appropriate person for you to have not a hired doula.

Midwifes are trained to be your labor support.
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#14 of 35 Old 11-23-2009, 04:10 PM
 
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IME midwives and doulas do very different things. So saying she should hire a mw is like saying she shouldn't UC at all. I think the OP should keep looking into hiring a doula if that is what she thinks is best. It may take a while, but they are out there.

When I was having trouble finding a BP to help me out (took my ins, would see me even though I was considered late care....) I took it all as a sign that it just wasn't meant to be.
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#15 of 35 Old 11-23-2009, 04:16 PM
 
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Sounds exactly like my DH and my situation as well - which is why I am having a wonderful friend as a labour/birth support partner!

If a doula could do that for you - why not!!! That could work out wonderfully! Just make sure shes comfortable with the idea of you going unassisted! hehe (obviously lol)

Mummy me : > Thats Ann! and my beautiful SONS Duncanand Hamish 19/09/05 & 22/04/10!
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#16 of 35 Old 11-24-2009, 11:28 PM
 
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Midwifes are trained to be your labor support.
ime, even hb mw's do not provide actual *labor support*. they are your medical support person. most mw's i know will just sit in the corner or the other room while mama labors, checking her every so often. they are no necessarily providing the labor support a partner or doula does.

that said, just keep putting feelers out.

i am a student midwife and doula and i have had 1 hb and 1 uc. i advertise on my website as a uc doula. i feel comfortable in this role. the last uc i attended was in trade. i refused to accept money, and the family bought me a beautiful oak birth stool and baby scale.

i personally feel that the most important "thing" any person can do at a birth is to be excellent support, with birth exp/knowledge.
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#17 of 35 Old 11-25-2009, 01:17 AM
 
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I am a doula and am very active in my local birth community so most of the doulas are personal friends. I am very seriously considering uncing this birth and I have had doulas tell me they would do anything I needed. This feels nice to feel supported.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweet.p View Post
It's unfair for a women who does not want a midwife to complain when doulas don't want to be at your birth. Hire a midwifes to provide labor support if you want someone supportive there, why look to hire a doula? Many hbmidwives do sit in the background if that is what you want from them.

The doula carries all the liability in the situation and the birthing women does not. If you want a UC have one, invite a friend. But when you're hiring a doula, if something was to happen the doula could be charged with practicing medicine or midwifery without a licence.

Having her sign a document does not release her from the states laws and that is what matters.
I'm not sure this is true. If you sign an agreement with a doula, it specifically states that you as a doula are not providing any medical care...you are there for emotional and labor support. How would a doula be liable?
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#18 of 35 Old 11-25-2009, 01:26 AM
 
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I don't really get the idea of a doula at a UC. Having had 3 freebirths I know it would have been detrimental for me personally. Having that person there with "birth knowledge" there can lead down so many paths that lead you away from your own intuition. Isn't that the thing that makes UC safe? The ability to listen to your body's own inherent wisdom about birth?

It seems that if a situation arose where a birth-knowledgeable person would presumably come in handy, that would be that exact time the birthing mother would need the least amount of interference with her own natural instincts. Isn't that the point of UC? To be able to listen to our OWN birth wisdom?

If you want that paid professional there during labour, hire someone who's job it is to attend you during labour. If you want to have an unassisted birth then don't hire an assistant of any variety. Or at least carefully examine your motives, your fears, and your innermost thoughts on birth. Be sure your desire to hire a doula is coming from a place of need for comfort during labour and not just fear of the 'what ifs".

Admittedly, I don't even like my dh at my births (I am a solo birther by nature) so I am sure my opinion is rather strong due to my own experiences and personal bias. But the OP asked for any and all thoughts, so there ya go!


 

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#19 of 35 Old 11-25-2009, 07:54 PM
 
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Be sure your desire to hire a doula is coming from a place of need for comfort during labour and not just fear of the "what ifs."
I had to come to this realization. You can't expect your doula to provide services which are beyond her scope of practice. That being said, I don't think there's anything wrong with having a doula at a UC birth, just as long as you are clear about your expections and she is clear about what she will be doing to help you during and after the labor & birth.

I think a good compromise to having a midwife, would be to have one on-call, that you could telephone if you were unsure what to do, with the agreement that you would call 911 instead of her if there was a dire emergency (hemorrhage, baby not breathing, ect.).

I was lucky enough to know a doula with some midwifery training whom I was able to call when I needed some advice during the pushing stage of my 1st UC labor. I was pushing but the baby wasn't budging, and she suggested another position for me to try, and voila! out came baby. Would I have been able to get the baby out without her help? Yes, but I was tired, in pain, and upset and DP was freaked out and it was REALLY nice to have someone knowledgeable and supportive to talk to right then. So I can see the value of having some kind of back-up system besides calling 911. I know that goes against the ideal of perfect intuition and trusting yourself to know how to give birth without interference, but I guess I'm far from perfect!

Good Luck!

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#20 of 35 Old 11-25-2009, 08:40 PM
 
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That said it has been very difficult to find doulas who are willing to attend my planned UC birth. Finding a support person who also have faith in my ability to labor well and make responsible choices for my own health and my baby hasn't been easy and I'm still looking. I'm sure she's out there somewhere!
another option that might be helpful is another woman who has UCed. A lot of mothers may not be doulas but they could support you. Is there a yahoo group or something for unassisted birthers in your area?

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#21 of 35 Old 11-26-2009, 12:06 AM
 
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We're having a friend come and doula for us (she isn't a doula, but reads enough about birth-stuff and is VERY UC friendly).

I personally don't feel I need the support. I definitely felt observed with my last birth, and I know it had a detrimental effect on how everything progressed and my ability to follow my urges and instincts (there were also a LOT of people there!).

DH feels he needs an extra person for UC to be in his comfort zone. He can't get his head around the fact that he doesn't really NEED to be doing anything for me, most of the time. He was awesome with our first child but it was nice, not necessary.

The benefit for me is that with one other body there, he can attend to the other stuff- like the dog and our daughter, if she's around- without feeling like he's abandoning me.

Grace - wife to Jeff and mama to Nigella (11/08) and Orrin (01/10)- expecting a new addition (05/12)! Life is a whirlwind, but I'm learning to enjoy the ride!

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#22 of 35 Old 11-27-2009, 04:14 AM
 
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well i haven't done it yet but i have hired a great doula for my planed UBAC coming up. I like having the idea of someone to keep me with it whos been there and done that and i jive so well with my doula it will be like having my sister there with me.'

if you can find a doula you like and she is willing then i say go for it. Even if you don't use her for labor she can hang with the kids or go get stuff you need...whatever! ands i'm a big supporter of having lots of good female vibes around for birthing.

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#23 of 35 Old 11-29-2009, 02:20 AM
 
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It drives me NUTS to see people get all huffed up about a doula being liable because she's 'the only professional there'. As long as the doula is only doing things within her scope of practice, then there's no liability. If she see things getting 'out of hand' (ie mom asks her to deliver baby?) then she should be calling 911 or leaving. No one forces her to perform professional birth 'tasks'.

If you want a doula to do 'doula things'... then go for it! Even if it's not a trained doula, that doesn't mean they're not a doula. A doula simply put is someone who 'mothers the mother'- she's there to support you while you give birth, whether she's your mother, your best friend, a fellow UC'er or someone you met on the street.

It makes me sad to see women being turned down from doula care when they want it, because people are worried about liability. I wish we all trusted each other a little more!

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#24 of 35 Old 11-30-2009, 11:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OP here .

I haven't managed to speak to a local doula yet, but in the process of discussing doing so with a friend, she asked if she could act as my doula for my labor and birth. It's wonderful because she is someone whom I would have invited to the birth anyway, and knowing that she's wanting to be there to support me just makes it that much better.

I really appreciate all the different perspectives given-it's always nice to be able to see both sides when making a decision. I think like anything else involved with childbirth, everyone has their own comfort level of what they would and would not want for their UC, as well as birth professionals having their own comfort level with the types of births they are willing to take on. I don't think there is a definitive right or wrong answer, especially when dealing with something as personal as one's childbirth choices.

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#25 of 35 Old 12-01-2009, 01:43 AM
 
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To the OP: I'm glad you have the support of your friend.

But this:

Quote:
It drives me NUTS to see people get all huffed up about a doula being liable because she's 'the only professional there'. As long as the doula is only doing things within her scope of practice, then there's no liability. If she see things getting 'out of hand' (ie mom asks her to deliver baby?) then she should be calling 911 or leaving. No one forces her to perform professional birth 'tasks'.

If you want a doula to do 'doula things'... then go for it! Even if it's not a trained doula, that doesn't mean they're not a doula. A doula simply put is someone who 'mothers the mother'- she's there to support you while you give birth, whether she's your mother, your best friend, a fellow UC'er or someone you met on the street.

It makes me sad to see women being turned down from doula care when they want it, because people are worried about liability. I wish we all trusted each other a little more!
From a uc'ing mother who is also a doula--I agree with the sentiment of outrage. Yes. It is outrageous that a doula doing only "doula things" should not hold any liability...however...

The problem is that families are not typically the ones who press charges.

A midwife I know was recently convicted of practicing nursing without a license. Her fault? She attended a VBAC mom, transported due to suspected rupture. Mom had indeed ruptured, c/s, mom and baby were fine (midwife was on the ball and got them there in plenty of time,) but the attending ob had a bone to pick with homebirth & filed charges.

The midwife did nothing wrong--she was totally within her scope of practice, and she performed her duties flawlessly. The legal costs, the trial, the potential for jail time just devastated her life. She lost her house. Her family (5 little children) suffered enormously.

I really hate seeing doulas (or any birth professional) dragged through the muck like this. It's not an issue of trust. It's an issue of risk.

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#26 of 35 Old 12-01-2009, 02:41 PM
 
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I guess I just fail to see how a doula acting within her scope could be doing anything she could be charged for. Giving praise, or rubbing a back, or holding someone's weight up... there's no grounds for liability here as long as all you are doing is support. They wouldn't charge the woman's friend with practicing medicine just for standing watch...


And I'm glad you found someone. Even as a doula myself, that is my desire for my UC birth-- I want a 'doula' that I know, probably in the form of my mother or my best friend, since I'll be able to get the support and guidance, without having an extra person there. You get the best of both worlds!

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#27 of 35 Old 12-02-2009, 04:12 PM
 
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You're right, a doula shouldn't be charged... but she could be, and then even if she is found not guilty, she has gone through he** and spent a fortune on legal fees. I don't live in fear, and would attend a UC myself, but I am aware that I am at risk.

BC Mum of four ('05, '07, '11 and 06/14!)     
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#28 of 35 Old 12-14-2009, 07:47 AM
 
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I did this for a friend - I'm a doula and a friend so it was great. it was such an awesome experience that it inspired me to have a UC with my last baby!! I am SO glad I did it!

the "rules" were a bit different I guess. we talked beforehand to make clear what my personal comfort was (as in I was NOT to be viewed as an emergency midwife - b/c I am NOT a midwife) and what her desires were (for me only to help when and if she asked me to and not try to control things). I respected her wishes and she assured me to not ask anything unfair of me and everything was great.

you could always put this sort of thing in writing so both parties are clear. there is nothing illegal about UCing, and nothing ilegal about doualing... and nothing illegal about doulaing at a UC. the only iffy part is letting a client think you are there as an emergency stand in for a midwife, instead of for support, encouragement or whatever you all decide.

transtichel.gifMom of three - (2.5 yrs, 7yrs, and 11yrs). Birthing Doula, editor, and wife to my soulmate. I've had a c/s, hospital VBAC, UC and not yet decided what I'll do about this next little one

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#29 of 35 Old 12-17-2009, 08:59 PM
 
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I'm a doula who supports UC's (have yet to be hired for one) and I had a doula twice (once who got here when baby's head was already out, and the other time, after baby was born - I had lightening fast labors, we called asap but they just didn't/barely made it).

Lots of doulas are not supportive (they are afraid, worried of litigation of something happened, of the responsibility to do more if something was going on (more than just doula)) of supporting UCs - but there are those out there who do. I would, for the prepared, right couple.

Good luck!!

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#30 of 35 Old 12-18-2009, 12:25 PM
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it is a good idea to find a birth support person if you think or know that you will want one.

but it isn't necessary to hire someone to do it and go that birth professional route. you could find a supportive friend or family member, another UCer or HBer to be there for you.

i do agree that for some BPs, there are major liability issues that they do not want to face because it could easily put their practice under. and it's not from *you* or, i should say, necessarily the UCer, but that they could be held somehow criminally or related liable. here in PA, a well known and beloved midwife to the Plain communities in particular was "charged" with "practicing medicine without a license" because she attended so many births or some nonesense. none of the families had a problem with her, the state/medical board just chose her to set a precident and shut down midwifery here.

so, it's not that much of a leap for a doula to be considered "practicing midwifery or medicine without a license" and to get into a lot of legal trouble--which could include jail time, hefty fines, and lets not even talk about what the *legal fees* for her to defend herself would be.

it's not really fair to say that all doulas or midwives should put their practices on the line for us. i wish that more would be more bold and more supportive, but i can understand that this is hteir calling and livelihood, and they can't uphold or maintain themselves with that kind of legal situation.

for my own part, i am looking at getting doula training to do PP doula work and doula work for UCs and HBs. I will provide child care and help out with labor and help around the house after and so on, but i won't be going into hospitals or what have you (i would in event of transfer of course).

and, i don't plan on using it at as 'career' per se. i want to help women (particularly UCers) with their births, but i would not take on many clients. in my own mind, i see it being one or two births a year, tops.
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