Doulas - Would You Attend an "Unassisted Birth"? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Doulas-Would you attend a UC?
Yes - Women Should Have Doula Support Regardless Of Their Birth Environment 23 39.66%
Yes - If I Had A Personal Relationship with Them Prior 18 31.03%
No - For Primarily Legal, Licencing or Organization Retention Reasons 9 15.52%
No - For Primarily Safety, Personal Comfort Reasons 8 13.79%
Voters: 58. You may not vote on this poll

 
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#1 of 22 Old 04-13-2007, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Would you, as a doula, attend a birth where there was no midwife or OB present? Not as a stand in in any way, but just for specific "doula type" support?

What if you had UC'd before yourself?

What if they had successfully UC'd before?

I made a poll so that it could be anonymous if someone didn't feel comfortable making a comment.
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#2 of 22 Old 04-14-2007, 10:49 AM
 
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you know, i'm not a doula or midwife but i had a UC. i called a doula in my area just to talk and she said she would come but made it clear she wouldn't be of help in an emergency. in the end i didn't ask her to come because she wasn't supportive of UC, really. she kept slipping in negative comments, which i understand. but i couldn't have that around. if i were a doula i would go to an unassisted birth...from what i know and feel right now..
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#3 of 22 Old 04-14-2007, 10:50 AM
 
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I'm kinda not seeing the point of UC with a birth professional of any kind at the birth. I think I see UC as the mom doing it all herself with maybe the help of the partner. I think it would defeat the purpose of truly going UC.
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#4 of 22 Old 04-14-2007, 12:28 PM
 
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I agree with the above poster... as a doula I would not attend. It would go against my professional philosophies, esp concerning the decision to transport. If I felt as a birth professional that transport was best, but knew that the couple was not going to do it, I would be extremely torn and uncomfortable. I am fine with people doing UC, I have friends who have done them and more power to ya, but if I am there then it is no longer a UC. It would be impossible for me to ignore my training and experience.
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#5 of 22 Old 04-14-2007, 12:35 PM
 
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Here in SC, where direct entry midwives cannot attend VBACs at home (CNMs can, but none will that I know of), a lot of women don't UC for the philosophical "just me and DH" aspect of it. A lot of them UC because they don't want to volunteer themselves or their babies to become the hospital's science project. So, I've personally heard of a few of the direct entry midwives here in SC even attending at-home VBACs as a doula/labor support ONLY, not checking heart tones or providing any kind of other intervention.

Not everyone who UCs does it just because they don't want other people there. Some people do, and I understand that. But some people do it simply because their birth choices are otherwise restricted.

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#6 of 22 Old 04-14-2007, 05:29 PM
 
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No, I wouldn't attend as a doula because I don't ever want to be in a situation where I could be charged or arrested. That's the first point, and due to my training, I am truely limited to how I could help a client if she had any emergency situation that should arise.

I have been asked twice if I could attend UC's, and I absolutely let them know that while I support the right to UC, I could be in serious trouble if I did that due to the birth climate in the south east. I also point out to doula clients that I would be required to call 911 if she had her baby before she got to the hospital.

Before my doula training, I would have loved to attend a friends birth (and still may for a very close friend, as just a friend to her) but now I am liable if I were to attend a UC as a doula and the mother or child became ill or died.
In addition to this, doulas have a professional responsibility to protect our profession. At this time we are not governed by any laws. I like it that way. However, there is a certain responsibility to our profession to keep it that way, and assure the public that we are trustworthy and our intentions are simply to support! It is hard enough explaining what work a doula does, however the public still sometimes thinks that we are really just midwife wannabe's! : )

I believe if a doula wants to do more, she should get clinical skills and find a midwife to apprentice with.

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#7 of 22 Old 04-14-2007, 07:09 PM
 
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I voted no. If something should happen, I would feel responsible for getting the mother emergency care even though I'm only a doula. That's just not a situation I want to be in.
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#8 of 22 Old 04-15-2007, 10:46 AM
 
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Maybe I am ignorant and will be enlightened here, but I would absolutely attend as a doula. I would make sure the parents were very clear that I was only there for support and I would have them sign a contract stating our understanding. I hate that C.Y.A. mindsets are starting to become the norm in many doulas and midwives. That is not directed at PP's, just something I've been really dealing with since a birth I attended this week. I just feel like we all bitch and moan about hospitals doing things just because of protocol and now I am looking around and seeing that same mentality worming itself into the natural birthing world. If a couple made an informed decision to UC and really just wanted an extra set of hands for massage and another voice there to offer love and encouragement than I would be honored to attend.
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#9 of 22 Old 04-15-2007, 11:43 AM
 
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I voted yes, but really it would only be for a VERY close friend. I'm fine with UC, but I would hate to put myself out there legally in the unlikely event that something goes sour.

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#10 of 22 Old 04-15-2007, 12:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by septmommy View Post
I would make sure the parents were very clear that I was only there for support and I would have them sign a contract stating our understanding. .... If a couple made an informed decision to UC and really just wanted an extra set of hands for massage and another voice there to offer love and encouragement than I would be honored to attend.
I'm not a midwife or doula yet (although I'm prayerfully considering becoming a doula in the future), but this was my thought on it. It seems that there's a presumption that an UC-ing couple would only want a doula there to "cheat" or sneak in some extra medical help, when most of the UC-ers I know, if they wanted someone there at all, would just want extra help with comfort measures, etc.

Wife of one and mom of five, including my HBAC twins!
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#11 of 22 Old 04-15-2007, 12:25 PM
 
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If a doula were there, it wouldn't be a UC, would it?
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#12 of 22 Old 04-15-2007, 12:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mama_b View Post
If a doula were there, it wouldn't be a UC, would it?
I think that's for the mama/couple to decide. Anyone who's spent any time on the UC forums here knows that UC means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. It may mean only mama there (not even partner), or it can mean mama and partner plus a few family members with a midwife waiting in the next room just in case they need assistance at any point. I'm not going to decide for someone else what their definition of "unassisted" is since it's a spectrum.

Wife of one and mom of five, including my HBAC twins!
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#13 of 22 Old 04-16-2007, 08:53 AM
 
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If I knew them already, definitely. If not, I'd have to find out why they wanted a doula. I'd be unwilling to attend if they were having a UC because they couldn't afford a midwife, and my fee was lower. That's like them thinking they'll have a "birth professional" there just in case and I'm not qualified to handle "just in case" type situations.

If they were really confident and hands off, afraid a midwife might interfere medically in some way, and just really wanting some additional help, then sure.

Having had a UC, I honestly can't imagine hiring a doula for one. That's me

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#14 of 22 Old 04-16-2007, 08:42 PM
 
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Yes, if I had a prior relationship with them. And not just somebody that I knew casually from "around". Only for someone with whom I had a very close personal relationship, with no consideration whatsoever of a professional or paid service. I can really only think of 2 people for whom I would do this and one is done having babies and one lives overseas, so the point is really moot for me.
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#15 of 22 Old 04-16-2007, 10:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for all of the responses. It is really eye opening to me, to see so many points of view.

A little (long) back story... I never knew about UC until I was pregnant with my last baby. I started researching VBACs and wanted to have a positive hospital birth experience, so I hired a doula. (at this time I was still planning a hospital birth) I hired her pretty early in pregnancy, and she started really talking up her birth experiences and how great her UC was. Then I got the news that my OB wasnt going to allow a VBAC because my records were missing (long story) and no OB on my entire insurance (Blue Cross/Blue Shield) would agree to a VBAC TOL. Then I started contacting midwives and they all said "would love to, but can't" due to the licencing restrictions. (totally understandable) The doula suggested I look into a UC, and assured me that she would be there with me (not as a pretend midwife, just as birth support - the same exact stuff she was agreeing to do for me if I was in the hospital, as my DH and I understood the logistics, but had not been through a vaginal birth before). Right up until about 6 weeks prior to my EDD, she was emailing me, and we were meeting every so often and discussing my birth plan etc, right on schedule. She shared links to all of the boards/groups she found UC information on, and it was very comforting having someone to talk to, because I really didnt have anyone other than DH around me that believed in natural birth. I never expected her to act "medical" just to be there to hold my hand, get me a drink, help me figure out how to best use my birth ball, etc. Then all of a sudden, I get an email, which was CC'd to me and 5 other clients (I guess she convinced most of her client base to go UC or something?) saying that she could not attend any of our UCs, and wishes us the best of luck (oh, and she was keeping the money we paid her - in full) I just felt really betrayed and like the floor fell out from under me. I was fighting w/ my OB at the same time (who I used right up till 36 weeks for shadow care, till they fired me for not agreeing to schedule my cesarean) and it came very close to a legal battle (think my story may still be in the ICAN archives, and I did an interview with a webzine as well over all that drama). It was just a really bad month for me.

Fast forward to the birth. Everything went GREAT. It was just my DH and I, and he was the perfect labor partner. But we were kinda short on hands. I didnt want him to leave my side, so anything that was not in the room when I went through transition, didnt come into the room until after the baby was born. I don't have friends or family that I could invite to my birth (or would feel comfortable with even if they did agree to come) and thinking back, my DH and I agree that it would have really been nice to have another person there, someone who believes fully in natural birth, and that could be a second support person for us, to help with the general comforts of labor and birth. I don't mean checking heart tones or exams or cutting cords or discussing PPH or anything like that. I mean getting me a drink, getting warm towels out of the dryer, keeping me company during labor, holding my hand if DH needs to take 5 etc. Basically the things I would have a friend do, if I had a friend who understood the birth process and whom I trusted to be there.

I am not one of those "UC means I birth alone" people. I am just a girl who was given a set of options and picked the one that was best for my baby and I (agree to a cesarean, refuse a cesarean and interventions repeatedly for my entire hospital stay-at a hospital where they were very clear that not having interventions or eating/getting out of bed was not an option, choose to UC)

Quote:
Here in SC, where direct entry midwives cannot attend VBACs at home (CNMs can, but none will that I know of), a lot of women don't UC for the philosophical "just me and DH" aspect of it. A lot of them UC because they don't want to volunteer themselves or their babies to become the hospital's science project. So, I've personally heard of a few of the direct entry midwives here in SC even attending at-home VBACs as a doula/labor support ONLY, not checking heart tones or providing any kind of other intervention.
BTW, I am in SC as well, and not wanting to be the hospital's next science project had a lot to do with my decision. I wasnt even aware that CNMs could do homebirths, as my CNM at the practice I was going to told me that they were not allowed to attend hospital VBACs and that I would have to have a doctor. (guess that was just an office policy and not a legal issue as I had thought) If the restrictions were not as they were, I would have just had a hospital VBAC and never learned about UC, or possibly had a homebirth with a midwife. But all the begging in the world was not helping me get a midwife last time, so I had to choose another option, and a cesarean for a 10 yr old scar was not on my list of acceptable options.
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#16 of 22 Old 04-16-2007, 11:11 PM
 
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What an, ahem, INTERESTING doula you had.

What on earth? She convinced lots of clients to UC and then dropped them all for listening to her? Odd.

Sounds like you birthed perfectly for you and your husband and baby. And, it also sounds like you wanted a friend there who (whether or not she was trained as a doula) would have supported you emotionally and physically. Not medically.

I'd attend a friend in your situation. Probably not a stranger though, just based on my own weirdnesses.
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#17 of 22 Old 04-17-2007, 09:35 AM
 
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Wow-- I can't imagine a doula would just drop you like that! I would have been so frustrated! Very unethical on her part.

Yeah, CNMs can attend them here IF they can find an OB to back them up on it, but none of the CNMs that I know of have found an OB to back them up on a homebirth at all, much less a VBAC or twin one. So, this Saturday, I'm relocating to another state to a temporary home we've rented for a month to have my twin HBAC with a CNM there who was more than happy to work with me. I'm having a doula (who has worked with my midwife in the past), and a friend there, for a lot of the same reasons you mentioned-- just wanting some extra hands to help out.

Wife of one and mom of five, including my HBAC twins!
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#18 of 22 Old 04-17-2007, 10:21 AM
 
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To drop you AND keep the money is pretty darn ridiculous! I hope you got your money back.

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#19 of 22 Old 04-17-2007, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No I never got it back. (she claimed she was due for all of the pregnancy advice she gave me - which I could have gotten for a lot cheaper if I had known, lol) But really, I had so much bad stuff going on at the time with fighting with the OB and the doula and having midwife after midwife tell me they couldn't help me, with the baby's due date coming quicker and quicker I just reached a point where I decided it wasnt worth it and I didn't want to spend my last days of pregnancy or my first days as a new mom focused on all that negativity.
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#20 of 22 Old 04-17-2007, 01:15 PM
 
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As a newer doula, I might have attended a family with an unassisted, as comfort support and a second set of hands for food and child support. As an apprentice, there is no way. And even as an experienced doula, there is no way. I have learned way too much not to step in if there is something dangerous happening. Having seen some scary things, like dystocia, there is no way I could sit back and watch some-one with no experience (including myself in theory) try to get a really stuck baby out by only giving pointers. I would want to do it myself (in theory) based on having seen it on more then one occasion and taking an in depth seminar with Gail Tully on it. I would feel like I could help more then someone with no birth experience (the father or other support person).

So no, I wouldn't go. I couldn't seperate the two.

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#21 of 22 Old 04-18-2007, 10:07 PM
 
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I'd absolutely support a freebirthing woman. It irritates me that we don't think twice about accompanying women to the most dangerous options of all, hospitals births and caesareans but we get scared off by a little real birth. What's with that? If it's what the woman wants, I'm in.
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#22 of 22 Old 04-19-2007, 12:19 AM
 
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Never. Ever. Under any circumstances. Period.

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