So many mixed feelings... finding a doula

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krazykat's picture
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So many mixed feelings... finding a doula

I am having the hardest time deciding on a doula. I am 20.5 weeks and I really should make a move if I am planning to have one. The thing is... I AM a doula, I have great doula friends, there is a great doula network here, and I LIKE doulas. So why do I have cold feet?

I keep thinking, who would I feel comfortable dropping my clothes in front of right now? I never really saw myself as a very private person, but I am afraid maybe I am. Maybe that is what has held me up in the past. I will be a VBA2C. I have an incredible OB that I KNOW will not mention c/s unless it is a true medical necessity. He doesn't want me on meds, no induction, and no epidural. I have heard from other patients that when they got to transition and begged for drugs and he knew the birth was eminent that he would say things like, "well, let's think about that for a little bit. we can't drug up the baby right before you have her." I love him. But anyways...

I don't have any real glowing memories of my last doula. My husband was in Afghanistan, and if you remember I went for an HBAC. Labored at home for 48 hours, and then ended up in a transfer and repeat c/s. My MW went with me to the hospital, but not my doula. I remember a few minutes of support from her. She did Reiki and pumped me full of a bunch of homeopathic tablets. There wasn't a lot of physical support, and I can't ask for it after I get past a certain point. I really don't have glowing memories of anyone who was there to be honest.

So here we are... and I can't seem to find that magical answer. Which doula? Do I even want a doula at all?

Any advice or encouragement or direction at all for me?

Lots-o-Tots's picture
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That's a tough one. I get the sense that you sort of feel like you SHOULD have a doula because you are one?

I was sort of in the same boat a few years ago. I had a doula for my second hospital birth, and then a different one for my third (twins) hospital birth. I had trained to be a doula myself (though it never panned out for me), and was very pro-doula. Then when I was pregnant with my fifth and planning a home birth, I hired the same doula I had had for my twins' birth, only when I was actually in labor, I found that I didn't want her there - didn't want anyone there except my mw and husband. So for No. 6, I didn't even bother hiring a doula, and I don't expect to this time either.

Anyway, this doesn't help you, I'm sure! Maybe talk to a few prospective doulas and see if any of them just "click," you know? Ultimately, you have to go with your gut, and I think if you listen hard, you'll know what it's telling you.

Good luck.

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I've decided against having a doula this time, even though I'm having a hospital birth. I had doulas at three of my four home births. There were certainly positives to having them, but there were also some negatives. My biggest reasons for not choosing to have a doula this time are:

1. I had extreme anxiety last time about calling people. I am looking forward to just being able to show up when I feel like it's time.
2. My labor stalled for nine hours with my last birth. The birth before that was over twice as long as my longest. I think that was "watched pot" syndrome. I'm a private person and I think the fewer people the better.
3. The hospital I'm going to and the CNM I'm using are very supportive of natural birth. I won't have to have an IV or continuous monitoring, etc.

It's ok either way. Have a doula or not and don't worry about if doulas should have doulas at their own births. Smile

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Will your DH be there for the birth? If he will be and you feel like he'll be an active participant then I honestly don't see the need for a doula if you're otherwise well supported. I had DH, a MW, and a birth center nurse. The nurse & MW were only ever in the room together during the final stages and I honestly wasn't paying attention to either of them. During early labor it was just DH and I for the most part and that's how I liked it. I wound up really centering myself within rather than relying on the other people in the room. I didn't want to look at anyone or be touched my anyone. That's just how my birth went. However, I know that if I'd wanted someone to be more "hands on" I had the people there that I needed. If I'd had the MW, DH, and the nurse (essentially a doula) there would have been too many hens in the hen house, IYKWIM. Its totally a personal preference thing though. The woman birthing in the other room that day had about 15 family members there with her and she said she couldn't have been happier. Don't feel like you need a doula because you're a doula. Make the decision based upon how much support you feel you want and then find someone you trust and jive with.

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I totally agree with PP. Aside from the fact that by the time you get to clothes-dropping you will NOT CARE who is in the room (at least I didn't, and I am a very private person in ways like that!), I think it's really more about do you or don't you want or need to share such an intimate time...and while I think doulas are a wonderful resource, I also don't think they're necessary for everyone. I didn't want anyone but my DH and the midwife around--DH was chasing nurses out for hovering until the very end when they were really needed.

As long as you have a strong sense of support--whether it be from DH, your midwife, or even just internally--don't feel like you HAVE to have a doula if your heart is telling you that you don't really need one. Just because doulas are great doesn't mean they're universally required.

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I personally believe a good doula is "a must have" for VBAC moms. Your DH might need to nap or eat or take a poop (my DH takes forever to do that!) and you'll need continuing support at those times that you might not get from the hospital nurses. You've probably heard the stories of a VBAC mom whose DH goes to fetch a snack & suddenly they're being whisked away for surgery. It does really happen. And as wonderful as your OB is, he's not going to be there the whole time, and he won't be with you at home.

I can't quite tell, have you interviewed doulas & just not "clicked" with them? Or are you stuck with deciding whether or not to hire one before interviewing? I'd suggest interviewing a few, or a few more, and see if you fall in love with someone. Maybe call your midwife & ask for a recommendation, or ask a couple of your doula friends who they used when giving birth? You have a network, use it! Blum 3

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"Spacers" wrote:

I personally believe a good doula is "a must have" for VBAC moms. Your DH might need to nap or eat or take a poop (my DH takes forever to do that!) and you'll need continuing support at those times that you might not get from the hospital nurses. You've probably heard the stories of a VBAC mom whose DH goes to fetch a snack & suddenly they're being whisked away for surgery. It does really happen. And as wonderful as your OB is, he's not going to be there the whole time, and he won't be with you at home.

I can't quite tell, have you interviewed doulas & just not "clicked" with them? Or are you stuck with deciding whether or not to hire one before interviewing? I'd suggest interviewing a few, or a few more, and see if you fall in love with someone. Maybe call your midwife & ask for a recommendation, or ask a couple of your doula friends who they used when giving birth? You have a network, use it! Blum 3

THis made me LOL!! Yes he does take forever to poop ROFL

My OB does have to be in the hospital until I have the baby once I am admitted. And he will sign off on my birth plan which makes it Doc's orders rather than just a birth plan so that's pretty cool.

I am just... stuck. I am working on setting up one interview with a doula I have not met in person. Most of the other ones I know and am personally friends with. I'm feeling like maybe I should go with someone who I don't know so personally, kwim?

DH is totally on board either way, but I do know that once the going gets rough it gets harder for them to stay objective. And I do appreciate the womanly instinct, it's like we are born with it, when it comes to birth and babies. I just want to make sure this time that if I have a doula, it will be someone who anticipates my needs and involves themselves without me having to ask, because I won't. How do I make sure they are that person?

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"Winky_the_HouseElf" wrote:

1. I had extreme anxiety last time about calling people. I am looking forward to just being able to show up when I feel like it's time.
2. My labor stalled for nine hours with my last birth. The birth before that was over twice as long as my longest. I think that was "watched pot" syndrome. I'm a private person and I think the fewer people the better.

I'm in the same boat. Dh and I are meeting with a doula that comes highly recommended by a close friend. We are meeting her Monday and this is the first time Dh has agreed to actually be more involved. I feel like if I want a VBAC then I need the support - but because of the points above and a few more I am not sure if I want to actually hire someone. I need to decide quick since I am about to be full term.

My OB told me yesterday that he loves doulas and they are usually really helpful, so at least I know that he would be ok with her there.

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"krazykat" wrote:

THis made me LOL!! Yes he does take forever to poop ROFL

My OB does have to be in the hospital until I have the baby once I am admitted. And he will sign off on my birth plan which makes it Doc's orders rather than just a birth plan so that's pretty cool.

I am just... stuck. I am working on setting up one interview with a doula I have not met in person. Most of the other ones I know and am personally friends with. I'm feeling like maybe I should go with someone who I don't know so personally, kwim?

DH is totally on board either way, but I do know that once the going gets rough it gets harder for them to stay objective. And I do appreciate the womanly instinct, it's like we are born with it, when it comes to birth and babies. I just want to make sure this time that if I have a doula, it will be someone who anticipates my needs and involves themselves without me having to ask, because I won't. How do I make sure they are that person?

That would be hard. If I were in your shoes, I would pick someone I didn't know previously. Reason being, you are a doula. if they 'disappoint' (as people can be the biggest critics of there own profession, especially if they are exceptionally good at what they do) then it won't hinder a currant relationship you have. And if they are amazing, then you have added a great contact to your network. Smile

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"krazykat" wrote:

THis made me LOL!! Yes he does take forever to poop ROFL

My OB does have to be in the hospital until I have the baby once I am admitted. And he will sign off on my birth plan which makes it Doc's orders rather than just a birth plan so that's pretty cool.

I am just... stuck. I am working on setting up one interview with a doula I have not met in person. Most of the other ones I know and am personally friends with. I'm feeling like maybe I should go with someone who I don't know so personally, kwim?

DH is totally on board either way, but I do know that once the going gets rough it gets harder for them to stay objective. And I do appreciate the womanly instinct, it's like we are born with it, when it comes to birth and babies. I just want to make sure this time that if I have a doula, it will be someone who anticipates my needs and involves themselves without me having to ask, because I won't. How do I make sure they are that person?

Seems to me like you would just have to try in an interview to get the best sense you can. Whether it's asking what they're favorite forms of support are, or how they view their role, or to describe how they were involved in the last birth they attended. Also, I would make it quite clear that you know what you're like during labor, and that you know you won't ask for help, but it doesn't mean you don't want/need it. Ultimately, you won't know until you're in the situation, but, a thorough interview might help!

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"Jbaum2" wrote:

That would be hard. If I were in your shoes, I would pick someone I didn't know previously. Reason being, you are a doula. if they 'disappoint' (as people can be the biggest critics of there own profession, especially if they are exceptionally good at what they do) then it won't hinder a currant relationship you have. And if they are amazing, then you have added a great contact to your network. Smile

I completely agree with this. Also, I'd feel less awkward getting naked around a stranger than someone I'm likely to have over for dinner, at least until after the fact. I definitely think in-person interviews are the best way to assess a personality match, and being very clear (with yourself and the potential doula) about what you are looking for.

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This is tough, but ultimately up to you. Maybe you shouldn't have one since you are one, and I think that if you really did want one there with you, it would be a no-brainer for you? Good luck with your decision!