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To doula or not to doula?

Posted by Monkaroo , 02 June 2012 · 839 views

When I decided to start out on this crazy journey alone, I knew that my sister would be there when I delivered. I had never even considered anyone else. I was there when my nephew was born (on my birthday!) and she wants to be there for when my baby is born.
One small problem. We are both pregnant and she is due 7 weeks before me! I can`t ask her to leave a newborn at home for what could be a very long time! Her husband will be back at work by then and I don`t think it would be fair to leave him with a 2 1/2 year old and a 7 week old, especially if it`s during the week. She will also be breastfeeding. Bottom line - I don`t want to impose.
So where does that leave me? I have a few options. I considered just doing it alone. Everyone tells me that`s crazy but hey, I`m about to be entirely responsible for the raising of a child, why not take that first step alone also. I recently found out that a girl who I went to elementary school with is in the middle of getting her doula certification. I`ve asked her some questions and we are going to meet for coffee to discuss it further. I have a few friends who have offered also. I just can`t see it. Then there is my mother. She wants to be there, but there is no way I could survive that! It`s completely out of the question! I`d prefer to deal with her hurt feelings that I chose a doula over her than deal with her in a delivery room! She has her qualities, but being calm and supportive are not in her character!
I guess I`ll figure it out. My first parenting curveball :)

Jun 02 2012 10:10 AM
I've heard very positive things about doula's and midwives. You won't be alone though, there will be nurses and I suspect if you are alone, that they will likely give you extra care. With that said, it's such an emotionally overwhelming time, that knowing you have someone specific there, who's job it is to support you will likely be more rewarding then you think.

Good Luck finding that person.
Jun 02 2012 02:05 PM
I had my cousin "doula" for me. What was most valuable that I could not have predicted was that I got sick after delivery (planned c-section due to a previa so unavoidable) from the narcotics and having someone there that I trusted made it possible for me to get the rest I needed to recover. I learned so much just watching her change, feed, swaddle, soothe and dress the baby. I highly recommend that you do have one if you can find one you really trust and like.
I thought for sure that it would be me and DH and that's it... but we went to a presentation called Creating Ideal Birth and realized how incredibly inexperienced we are. This is going to be our first so we're pretty excited about having someone there who only goal is to support us and to make sure we're comfortable. It's not a cheap way to go, especially with the particular doula we've hired but we truly believe she's worth every cent. If you decide to go with a doula, I hope you find someone you can trust completely. :)
I think if you and the doula are a good fit and that's what you want go for it....for me I wanted dh and that was it...but my room was full enough with dr's, nurses etc.....I wanted the moment to be just b/w me and dh....
Jun 03 2012 09:38 AM
I think that you should talk to your sister before deciding anything. She may have already thought about all the things that you are concerned about and may already have a plan in her mind.
You also never know how you are going to labor.... For me personally I want to zone out, I am not a fan of being touched or spoken too and even my closest family members drove me bonkers, that being said after delivery I was sooooo sick and I vomited for hours, they had to give me doses of IV gravol which made me sleepy. My husband spend the first night with the baby in the family lounge because I was absoutly out of it..... I'm sure that if he wasnt there the nurses would have filled the void but it was a nice time for him to bond with his son.
No matter your decision I think the first step is to chat with your sister
I would agree with supermom, talk to your sister...and see what her plans are. Doulas are fantastic...I would want one there ...they can advocate for you and help you after the delivery as well.
Jun 04 2012 03:43 PM
I agree that you should probably talk with your sister first. But for perspective....I had a doula when I gave birth to my DD. It was the best decision I made and if we are able to add to our family I will do the same again!
She taught me exercises to strengthen my 'area' to help in labour & delivery, taught DH pressure point massage to help relieve some of the pressure in my back, talked to our Dr. about the birth plan, was an emotional support for DH when I was in no place to carry on a conversation, and also helped with breast feeding after we had DD.
I think they are a wonderful addition to your birthing options...but ultimately you need to feel comfortable with anyone in the room with you....that's the main thing!
Good luck with your decision and with your pregnancy!
Jun 04 2012 06:20 PM
If I hadn't been with a midwife, I definitely would have hired a doula to help with labour. Having someone who is there just for you and knows what to expect and what to do and takes a bit of the pressure off my husband was important to me. We both were really glad we had that support - labour was really intense (I was completely unmedicated; if I'd had an epidural I think it would have been less so, obviously) and you (or at least I did) go into this zone that's completely different than you can imagine beforehand. That said, I think part of it is just trusting that you're in good hands so if you feel that way about your medical team (whoever they are) and you feel your husband will be there as needed, then maybe you wouldn't need it as much. I feel that I never would have made it through without my husband's support, even him just being there made a huge difference in how I was feeling.

I agree with the others - talk to your sister, and maybe interview some doulas and see if you like them. Maybe meeting some will help make up your mind for you.

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