Hi all, I was wondering if anyone can give me some tips/experiences with hiring a doula. Specifically, what kinds of questions do you ask when interviewing one? And I'd also be interested in hearing your experiences in working with one, if you have before or are currently!
I am not sure yet whether I'm going to go that route or not, but its something I've been seriously considering. The biggest factor is, of course, cost- we're in a bit of a tough spot financially right now so I don't know if we'll have the money for one. But, DH did recently start a new job after being laid off for a month+, so hopefully that will help us out.
With DS, I didn't really consider it because I'm kind of an isolative person and kind of awkward with new people lol, and didn't want to deal with that on top of being in labor. But looking back, I really think I could have benefited from having someone there who was more involved, and trained in providing comfort measures. I am absolutely looking forward to going to the birth center this time vs the hospital- but I am also really nervous about the labor because I remember how much pain I was in with DS (even though it was only at the end!) and that I couldn't handle it and got an epi. DH was there of course, but he kind of just didn't really know what to do and was more on the sidelines so to speak.
And that makes it more tricky this time around, because I'm just not feeling a lot of support coming from him through this pregnancy. He's way more detached than he was last time around. Maybe distracted is a better word- I know he has been stressed about losing his job and having to find another one. But it just feels like he isn't as involved... it was only recently that he gave me any feedback about name ideas, he doesn't care at all when I ask him opinions about baby's furniture or bedding, he hasn't helped me one bit with getting the room ready (I've been scraping wallpaper glue off and scrubbing the walls, and will paint the room all by myself and its taking forever). He's going along with hypnobabies because I want to, but I don't think he really wants to lol. When I try to talk to him about anything related to the baby or birth he just kind of shrugs; its like pulling teeth to get him to talk to me about anything! So, I think that might be another thing that's leading me to want to hire a doula. I know I am going to need all the support I can get, but I'm just not feeling a lot of that coming from him and it makes me nervous about the birth. But at the same time, I don't want to isolate him further or "replace" him- I just want some extra support. Maybe she could even help get him more involved?
Ok wow- sorry that went off onto a big DH rant, didn't mean for it to go there. But, if anyone has any tips or advice I'd love to hear it!
Jessica & Daniel
I think you need to address DH's feelings with him before you can solve the rest. The fact that he has begun a new job is your opening. You can ask him to talk about his feelings about baby #2 now that he is employed, keeping in mind that he may be very nervous about his responsibilities and money. I think you should do what you can on your own in terms of baby's room, and certainly, I'd not pressure him with details of paint color and names. From my point of view, that can wait quite a while. If you need to talk about those things, start with family or friends and give him time. Baby won't mind waiting! Talk to him just enough to make sure he is not feeling excluded. This may be a relief to him, but you must ASK first.
There are things which may be especially important to you, and those I think you must communicate to him. Do not overload him though. If you are feeling lonely and as though he does not care about you or baby#2, then this must be shared. Also, if he feels that he is not needed at the birth, that he is stronger with a 2 year old than with a newborn, listen to his thoughts and concerns. Perhaps you would want to work with a counselor rather than have a doula at this time.
Having a support person can be a husband, a paid doula, a Mom or special friend. A doula in training can also be a less expensive way to go. Supportive midwives at the birth center who are knowledgeable about hypnobabies may be all you need.
In terms of my own experience, DH was not knowledgeable or terribly supportive. He couldn't be bothered learning about the process and wasn't at all sure he wanted to be present. (That was 40 years ago) Once the children reached about 6 months of age, he became an excellent father though!
With DD's home births, her midwives were both very good and her DH was super supportive, better than any doula I'm sure.
You have time to work on these issues. Don't be in too much of a rush to control everything yourself. Baby will be fine without a decorated room, without a name even for a little while. Baby won't be as happy without contented parents. So I'd work on that.
Leo (3 1/2) with Malcolm the cat
I can't for the life of me remember what I asked mine...but she covered a lot, that I would be sure to ask if it didn't get reviewed...
* fees, including deposit, payment plans, etc.
* cancellation policy/what if she doesn't get there in time before you give birth
* will she meet you at home to labor or just at birth center/hospital
* any experience with hypnobabies (or other classes/methods)
* does she have a back up and what are the policies surrounding that
* does she have references
* how long will she stay with you...I know ours stayed the whole time during labor/delivery and then an hour or two afterwards to help with nursing
* how many in person meetings and over the phone consults will you have with her. ours was at least one prenatal in person meeting (since i hired her at 34 weeks, we only had time for one in person meeting), unlimited consults by phone with at least weekly check ins by phone in the last weeks leading up to delivery
* does she charge if you call her to come and she comes when it is a "false alarm"
* maybe what kind of "supplies" she brings if she doesn't mention this - my doula brought a ball, massage stuff...other stuff might include hot packs...we provided our own lotion in a scent that was calming to me and a massage tool
* if it is a long labor, does she take breaks or call back up doula if necessary
hmmm...can't think of anything else right now...
I know when we hired ours, she happened to be the first to reply to my email...when we met, I just knew that she was a good fit for me, personality wise...just got a good feeling, if you know what I mean. So we didn't end up interviewing any others...and since it was late in the game for me, that was a good thing that I connected with the right person!
anyway, like gardenbug mentioned if you can find a doula in training, you could get free or low cost services...some doulas do provide discounts if it will be a finanacial hardship for you to hire them at their usual rate...or like mine did, you can pay in increments (since you still have some time, you could definitely spread out the payments to make it more manageable)
We didn't get a doula last time b/c I wanted it just to be DH and I. Well....once back labor hit and DH was having to do everything himself, I knew right then a doula (or other support person) was going to be at our next birth!!! But I've been very, very clear every time I've talked about getting someone that basically that support person will be there to support DH. DH will be the main support and will guide the doula into which way we want. Of course we want the doula's suggestions when we get to a point, but if all goes ok, we want the doula to just support DH.
I have a doula in training that needs so many births before getting her certification and is doing a a few births for free, so we're going to meet with her. She worries me since she's so black and white with her opinions (which I normally like with people) and I'm afraid she's going to want to control the situation too much. BUT that being said, I have no problem telling her to back off or just leave. I think she'd be fine b/c she's so wanting to get this certification and has to have the births to do it, so we'll see.
I've not been impressed with the doula's I've met so far. None seem to "fit" So we're considering having just a couple of support people if none of the doula's work. But we're starting now and sending them videos (homebirth, gentle birth, natural birth, etc.) and making them watch "The Business of Being Born" and other things of that nature to understand what we are trying to achieve.
And definitely ask any doula you talk to about financial assistance!
I think the most important thing you need to know is if you feel comfortable with her or not.
That said, since you are doing hypnobabies, you want someone who either has experience with it or is interested in learning. Sometimes doulas don't buy into hypnobabies and take it upon themsevles to try to prepare you for labor, and that is not their role. Her philosophy of birth is important to you. So, be sure you ask about that.
Too bad you live on the other side of the country--I'm looking for births for my certification and not having much luck (and I am doing them for free)
I knew from the start my DH wouldn't want to be involved (because of going the HB route), maybe I shouldn't say he wouldn't "want" to be involved but the less I "need" him the more comfortable he'll be... if that makes sense. Paying for one is all on me, and I'm a SAHM with a side-WAHM/online thing so I had to find someone who was in a price range that I could come up with funds for. I had a very hard time and emailed everyone I could first to get an idea to prices and realized I can't pay someone $600! As much as I'm sure they are totally worth it, since we have a $5,000 deductible (with mat coverage) DH's paychecks go towards that (and the mortgage and everything else). I had just about given up then I had 1 more interview, she was in my price range, but we didn't click. I joined a local mom's group and low and behold, there was a doula in training (since then she's become certified) and she was in my price range! We hit it off and so far it's been working out well.
I think the biggest thing is to find someone who's in your range and who you feel comfortable with. You can always ask if they do payment plans (many do) or if they'd be open to bartering with you. I'm planning a HypnoBabies birth, doing the tracks on my own because DH won't do them with me (and I'm not making him). My doula used HypnoBirthing with her last daughter so she has a general idea, but in all honesty, I haven't been very good about doing the tracks so who knows how good I'll even be at it.... I might just utilize having a doula and that extra comfort/support.
PP have covered your doula questions I think, but I wanted to comment on your comments about DH. I just want to let you know that my DH was quite detached about this second baby at first. I had to sit down with him and figure out what was going on. For my DH it was two-fold: Money & worries about having two kids under 2 years old. It was very much worth it to talk to him about it and he's been much more supportive and helpful since. Your DH might just be worried about something that he hasn't been able to talk to you about yet. Give him some time, and then sit down with him to let him vent/talk. I'd wait until your son is in bed and DH is in a good mood before trying to address. good luck!!
Ethan - June 21, 2009
Olivia - December 5, 2010
5w3d - October/November 2012
My Ovulation Chart
I would suggest getting a doula who is knowledgable on hypnobabies. If you go to http://hypnobabies.com you can find a doula trained in hypnobabies. A doula in training will cost you less money. Best of luck to you!
Christy birth doula, Hypnobabies instructor, small business owner & most importantly MOMMY.