Posted in Parenting

To Doula Or Not To Doula?

It’s a question that I’ve been asking myself for a little while now.  In fact, I started wondering about this shortly after giving birth to Charles.

You see, though his birth went well, there are a few things that bugged me about the whole process and now that I’m pregnant again, I would like for Peanut’s birth to be different in some regards.  I know I don’t have control over everything that goes on, but I would like to keep what control I do have when I’m going to go into labour.

For instance, with Charles, I had initially thought of going for a home water birth with a midwife.  After discussing this option with my partner though, we ended up deciding upon a hospital birth.  Since this was our first experience with birth and so had no idea what to expect exactly, we ended up concluding that we’d be safer in a hospital environment in case anything went awry.

I had also filled out a birth plan in which I had decided that I wanted the least amount of interventions.  I was gunning for a med-free birth.  However, when my water broke during the night at 40 weeks, I followed hospital procedure, gave the labour and delivery wing a call and we made our way there at 3am.  I started to have very weak contractions for the first time in my pregnancy (no Braxton Hicks for me, it seems) on the way there.  Upon arrival, I was checked (I was 1/2 a cm dilated!), strapped to monitors and told to try to get some sleep until 8am when the first ob/gyn would start their shift.

I listened to the nurse and managed to squeeze in a few more hours of shut-eye that night.  Then, at 8am, when the nurse realized that my contractions had become weaker and more spaced out, I was started on the hell that is Pitocin.

Had I known that I’d be leaving the comfort of my bed to go to a hospital bed, I probably would have stayed home.  In fact, had I known that moving about was likely to get my contractions going naturally, I probably would have stayed away from my bed and done just that: move (cleaning the house or even going out for a walk).

I pretty much stayed strapped to my hospital bed during labour as I tried to work through the pain of the contractions.  By 1pm, I was going into shock from the pain and was given an epidural (poor anesthetist who had to get his job done through my uncontrollable back muscle spasms).  After that, it was pretty much smooth sailing until I delivered at 6:26pm.

Now this time around, I can’t have a midwife.  You see, out here in Quebec, there are only 15 midwifes that graduate annually.   Here is a great article about the reality of natural birth with a midwife here.

Anyway, that got me thinking about having a doula this time around.  A doula, or labour coach, can be hired to help a mother/family before, during and after delivery.  Befor labour, they can help with a birth plan and preparing older children to the arrival or a new sibling.  During labour, they can provide physical assistance by the means of massage or just suggesting different birthing positions and emotional support.

I’ve actually started researching doulas and have found a few that have experience, references, a doula certification and other types of training (massage, rebozo…).  Now, I just have to call to see how much a doula costs.

I still haven’t made up my mind yet though, because I *did* enjoy having just my partner (and medical staff that kept popping in and out) with me during my son’s birth.

Did you consider a doula for one of your births?  Did you ever consider hiring one?

Author:

Thirty-something year old discovering the joys and bumps of motherhood.

13 thoughts on “To Doula Or Not To Doula?

  1. Yes. I could see where the doula might interrupt that feeling between you and yours that you describe. I wonder how they handle that? I’m sure they do? Wouldn’t they have thought about ways to be unobtrusive yet still be effective? My first labor was like yours–water break no/few contractions. I knew once that happened I would be delivered so hubby and I had a very nice dinner out on the way to the hospital. The last time just the two of us. Fun memory. Good luck with the decision and choosing if you go that route! I always hate choosing providers! So many “what ifs!”

    1. My first labour completely surprised me. I had no idea that at 40 weeks I could be not dilated and have had no contractions. I’m actually relieved to hear that someone else out there has experienced the same thing.

      I’m thinking that doulas must have a part of their training that focuses on “staying out of the spotlight” when the woman needs some time with her man.

      I definitely still have some thinking to do. Of course, I still have some time too so it’s no biggie 😉

  2. Tu fais la bonne chose, tu questionnes et recherches l’information et peu importe la décision, ce sera la bonne. Le plus important c’est de faire du mieux qu’on peut . Je suis certain que la naissance à venir sera aussi remplie de joie pour nous tous, peu importe la méthode que tu (vous) choisiras (ez). xxx

    1. Effectivement, on ne peut jamais être certain que les décisions qu’on prend sont les bonnes tant qu’elles ne sont pas prises, mais comme tu dis, on fait toujours du mieux qu’on peut.

      Ce dont je suis certaine, c’est que ce deuxième enfant va naitre au sein d’une famille (proche et élargie) pleine d’amour et c’est surtout ça qui est important.

  3. I feel conflicted about having a doula too (if/when I EVER have another baby!! lol). I know exactly what you mean about it possibly changing the closeness/personal-ness between you and your partner. For me, I want/need support AFTER the baby has been born so that my wishes are easily & clearly communicated to the medical staff (in a considerate way, of course). I *think* I am going to ask my sister to be with me during and after the birth, and stay overnight if necessary because the hardest part for me is the long stay afterwards (only 24 hrs but that feels like FOREVER!) 😛
    Sorry, to answer you’re question, I like the idea but I don’t think having a doula is for me.

    1. I don’t think I could have someone from my family with me. My sister is too young (7 years younger and are ages away from children) and I think I would find it really weird to have my mom with me. If I am to have someone to help me deal with the labour, I’m thinking more and more that I would prefer someone that is not in my family. Once the baby is born though, I know I will prefer having just my partner with me. We’ll see though. I think I will phone a couple of doulas and get a feel for things and think about it for a while. It is a big decision to make.

      1. I felt that way when I had Maggie and also with Joshua. Even with Samuel, I really only wanted my husband with me. Idk what it is, I now feel differently somehow. ?? My sister is almost 10 years younger than me and I don’t know that she’d want to actually be there for the birth (she miiiiight), but I know I could count on her to help me afterwards.
        I hope you find the perfect woman for the “job” (I can’t imagine it feels like your typical 9 to 5’er, though!) XO

  4. If your doula is DONA certified, she’ll be trained to advocate for you, give you lots of ideas about other options for you care and help you have the birth you want. A lot of times doulas guide your partner in what comfort measures to try, so she wouldn’t be getting between the two of you, but rather helping you work better together. And a good doula will give you space if you need/want it. It sounds like a good option for you, so I’m interested to see what you decide! I’m actually pursuing my doula certification, so obviously I’m a bit biased. 😉

    1. Thanks for your comment! I’ll look into DONA certification and see if it’s something that exists ’round here. I’m happy to hear from a doula-to-be about how a doula can help my and my partner. Great to hear that you are pursuing your certification!

  5. Getting a doula to help us was literally the BEST decision we have ever made. She was an angel and helped our birth to go smoothly – I was very scared of childbirth – she massaged about 80 percent of the pain away from those contractions! It was seriously a wonderful experience. I think everyone should have one – they should be provided by every hospital and OB office.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing! I’ve been uncertain, but now am thinking more and more about it. I think I’ll email a few just to get a feel of things and give myself more food for thought.

      Did you post about your birth experience with a doula? I’ll love to read about it!

  6. I did the Bradley Method classes that teach husband coached childbirth. That way my husband was my doula. We also did a water birth at home and I wouldn’t do it any other way after that experience. It was calm and drug free. I was able to move around as much as I wanted. The only thing attached to me occasionally was an oxygen mask to keep my energy up. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a more natural birth.

    1. The Bradley Method classes sound really interesting! It sounds to me like it’s a great compromise between having a doula and just having your partner at the birth. I will definitely look into it, thanks!

      It’s so awesome that you were able to do a water birth at home!

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