Post # 1
Im about 23 weeks preggo and (because people keep mentioning/asking about this) wondering about hiring a doula, midwife, whatever (as you can tell, I’m pretty clueless about it all, since I don’t really know the difference). The reserarch I’ve done so far makes me feel like its very touchy feely, do things naturally kind of thing. I think thats wonderful, but my personality is to just get things done on my own, and im feeling like I won’t benefit the way a lot of people seem to. Im in Canada and where I live the process is you go into labour, you go to the hospital and you give birth. There are no birthing centres or anything like that, theres no birthing pool/tubs in the hospital, its pretty standard issue.
In terms of what I want, I don’t intend to have a birth plan, I do hope to stay away from the hospital as long as possible once I go into labour, walk as much as possible and try to let things progress naturally. Then hit the hospital, get an epidural when needed, and hope to god things go alright. Obviously anything can happen and there is no point in banking on anything. I do plan to educate myself as much as possible and explore techniques for staying calm and reducing fear.
My question is, does everyone benefit from a doula? I’m having a hard time justifying it. Feels like I will be giving someone $800 to be nice and supportive to me, maybe massage me during labour and …what else? I in no way mean to minimize the work these people do, because I know there are people that wouldn’t dream of not hiring a doula and I completely uderstand that. I just am struggling with hiring someone to help me through a birth thats going to happen anyway (and that my body knows full well how to do on its own, presumably).
So, I guess I’m looking for your thoughts, experiences. I’m especially interested in the basic ladies like me who never wanted, thought they would need a doula and got one anyway, were you happy you did in the end?
Post # 2
babym : I had a doula but wanted one right from the get go. I’m also in Canada. Although I’m also a very independent woman, I was so inexperienced with birth/hospitals/children and my Darling Husband is shy so I really wanted someone who could advocate for me with the medical staff to make sure I was being treated fairly and that the decisions that were made were for the benefit of my baby and me not the timeline of the staff. My doula had quite a few births under her belt.
My daughter’s birth went haywire right from the get go so in the end I barely used my doula. We were immediately put in high risk due to her heart rate dropping with every contraction. It was very early that I was likely going to have to have a c-section. Also due to allergies to pain medication, they recommended I get an epidural to make it easier to administer the spinal in case of emergency. Once I got the epidural there was no need for my doula as she is basically there to help you through the pain through massage and moral support. No pain once I got the epidural!
I also could only have 2 people in the room so I chose my mom and Darling Husband. My doula was there for half an hour maybe. In the end, I didn’t need the doula and it was a bit of a waste of money but you truly never know how labour will go. Had it gone easier, I would have really benefited from her. Her massage techniques were amazing!!
She did visit me in the hospital the next day, helped with breastfeeding and visited me at home too with food! She was much cheaper than $800! That sounds crazy to me.
Post # 3
jjbeebee : thanks for the insight. I am pretty sure I’ll be having an epidural (hopefully not too early), so thats something to consider as well. I do agree with having someone to advocate for you, but my Darling Husband has no problem speaking up and we have a lot of doctors (immediate family and close friends – who work at the hospital where the baby will be born) to ask questions of. 800$ is the going rate here for a certified and experienced doula. It can be as low as $300 but that would reflect experience and qualifications.
Post # 4
I met with a few different doulas and basically let each of them tell me their philosophies and what they would bring to the birthing experience and let that guide my decision to hire one. For me what it really came down to is the benefit of having someone else in the room (other than my husband) who I know will advocate for me and help keep me calm and focused. I know my husband will do his best, but I am not 100% confident he won’t panic if things start to go crazy (and who could blame him!)
I’m in the US so I think our rules are a bit different, but at the hospital where I will be, you can either have a midwife (who has authorization to make medical decisions) OR a doula in addition to your doctor (the doula cannot make medical decisions). So one thing that was really important to me when I selected my doula was knowing that she understood her boundaries in the delivery room (and also that I understand what she can and can’t do) so that there are no missed expectations on any side. My doula has delivered at my hospital many times and knows the nurses and other staff, so I have no concerns that she will act totally professional and also provide me the best service.
The doula I chose is very direct, calm, and straightforward – some of them were a little hippy/earthy and that wasn’t what I was looking for. So I think a lot of it is just personal connection.
As the PP mentioned, the aftercare is a huge bonus, too – my fees include at least two home visits to help with breastfeeding, sleeping tips, etc. We will also meet with her twice before my due date.
It’s a personal decision but I fully expect it to be worth the money, now that I’ve carefully chosen the right person.
Post # 5
DuckInBlue : I’m glad you found someone you’re comfortable with. Yes, the hippy/earthy vibe is what I get from most I’ve encountered. And that personality type is lovely, but in a situation where i’m in pain and overwhelmed, I would probably go into a murderous rage. Thats just me though 🙂
Post # 6
babym : Ok – you sound EXACTLY like me. And I’m in Canada too. I can tell you that I was all for the hopsital birth and had no interest in a doula. What we did have was a breastfeeding consultant that came to our house 2x times and showed me how to breastfeed. I HATED it. I hated having somebody in my space all up in my grill when I was at my most vulnerable. I was so glad when she was done and left. And to be perfectly honest I did not gain anything from her services that I couldn’t have figured out on my own. All she did was stress me out and make me feel like my instincts were wrong. She pinched my newborn baby’s feet and put a cold cloth on him because he fell asleep while feeding. He cried, I cried. It was awful. I was so tense. She layed down in bed with me to show me how to nurse lying down. I did not like that much of a hands on approach. I still get uncomfortable even now thinking back on it! It was a humongous waste of money for us. We had also paid for her on call services during the birth and I found out later that she had completely stressed my husband out because he called her several times from the hospital and she basically got mad at him for me having an epidural. Never again. I like listening to doctors who get in and get out and leave us alone.
Post # 7
In hindsight I would have liked a doula to have helped my while my husband was parking the car, getting organized, sleeping during labor (I could have killed him), and afterwards when he was sleeping again because he was “tired.” My husband is very supportive but he doesn’t function on no sleep and can be a bit ADD (inattentive) at times so the focused help would have been nice.
Post # 8
babym : Not pregnant yet but I love the book “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” It has helped me be a lot less freaked out. I love her birth stories and her advice on labor techniques. I will be going with a midwife through my doctor’s office. And I will probably hire a doula as well. So there is a buffer between me and FI/DH. Just because he often tries to help but is clueless and sometimes it gets on my nerves. I’ve noticed this when I am sick of have a migraine. It’s just him trying to help but when I am not feeling well I like to be given space.
Post # 9
I am glad you brought this topic up! I am also in Canada and I think things are a bit different up here. I know SO many people who have used midwives but my best best friend and 2 other close friends are all nurses and have scared me off of using them with their stories. But I am still interested in having a doula as someone else for moral support and pain management.
My eventual birth “plan” sounds a lot like yours. As in, I won’t have a set plan – I trust medical professionals and want them to do what needs to be done to get us both through the process safely.
Post # 10
MrsBG : cracks me up that your husband did that!
Post # 11
Also in Canada – I don’t have any experience with doulas, but regarding midwives, it depends on which province you are in. Some provinces regulate it, others don’t. I’m in Ontario, so they are regulated here and fully covered by the Ministry of Health, but you have to choose between having a doctor monitor you throughout pregnancy OR a midwife – can’t have both.
I opted to go with a midwife instead of a GP or OB because I found that my GP spent very little time with me in my initial appointment, whereas the midwives seem to be willing to go into far more detail in appointments and don’t make me feel rushed. Also, with an OB, I wouldn’t be guaranteed to get my actual doctor on delivery day – the midwives work in pairs, so I will definitely be getting one or the other during the actual delivery. They also provide aftercare for 6 weeks, including home visits during the first week. I’m still going to be doing a hospital delivery, though, so I still have the option of getting pain meds or an epidural even though I’m with a midwife.
Post # 12
- Wedding: March 2016 - Surfer\'s Beach, Grand Cayman
I’m in Ontario, we won’t be using a doula but we do have a team of midwives, instead of an OB. I love it honestly, because they allow you so much more control over the process, they listen to you, go into a lot of detail about how everything works, really explain your test results, you can page them in any kind of emergency or call the office with regular questions, something I’ve never been able to do with a doctor. I’m the kind of person that really needs to know everything, and feel in control so it has been great for me. I feel more in charge of the whole process which I think will translate into birth as well. At the time of birth we will have 2 midwives and are given the option of a student midwife as well who can in some ways do things a doula might, she would be there to learn and help and grab things, keep me relaxed etc but nothing medical.
Post # 13
In the US here, using midwives for care (instead of an OB), and delivering in a hospital (with OB’s on call for back up/emergencies). I’ve been very happy with the care from the midwives. I feel like they really listen to me, want to educate me, and support me through the process. A doula is a support person for both you and your spouse/partner – and are usually on call for you through the pregnancy process and into the early weeks post-partum. Doulas can provide great support (not just pain management), but to be your advocate, to give your partner a break during labor, and to inform you of what’s going on (especially if complications arise). They cannot make a medical decision, but can let you know what’s going on – so you and partner can make a decision WITH the doctors/midwives. My mother was a L&D nurse for years and has acted as our defacto doula, but I would totally consider hiring one to help support me and my husband through our first pregnancy and delivery. But, yes, you have to find the right one with the right approach/philospophy.
Post # 14
Not trying to threadjack, but just curious to the Ontario bees – how did you find your doula or midwives? Did you need a referral from you OB or just choose one on your own? And are you paying for their services on top of your regular healthcare or are they your primary provider?
Sorry for the questions, we are just starting TTC and I am clueless!
Post # 15
- Wedding: March 2016 - Surfer\'s Beach, Grand Cayman
LeBonbon : You don’t need a referral for a midwife, you just find a midwifery and contact them, it’s covered by OHIP and they work as your primary provider, unless you end up with complications in which they will refer you to an OB or high risk OB but continue to see you for support as well. Doulas are not covered, you have to pay out of pocket.