Welp, I hired a doula. And i’m really excited about it! But I did want to document and share why I decided to hire a doula. First, I guess I should explain what exactly a doula is for those who don’t know. By definition, a doula is a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born. Doula’s are a support person for mom (and dad!) during labor and delivery. A doula is different than a midwife or OB. They are there to support you and keep you comfortable during labor – not to delivery the baby or make medical evaluations. Different doula’s offer different services but most will help you draft a thorough birth plan, are trained in massages/relaxation/pain mangement techniques, and ensure your birth team (midwife or OB) follow your birth plan and any deviations are explained to you.
So, with all that said – here is why I chose to hire a doula this time.
- I didn’t have a doula last time, nor did I take a birth class. I know that my lack of being prepared hindered our labor/delivery and if I knew then what I know now, I don’t believe LB would have required a C-Section. And even if he did – I would have been confident in our decision vs. feeling fearful and persuaded into it.
- I had back labor with LB. I am planning on having a natural, no pain medication birth and want someone familiar with massage techniques with me in case I experience back labor again.
- I am laboring at home as long as possible and want someone with me that can let me know if they think it’s time for me to go to the hospital (whether it be close to pushing time or because something seems like it isn’t right).
- When I labored with LB, we had a fabulous supportive nurse. Then around 8 cm we had a shift change, and I really missed her. I felt like I needed (or wanted) a constant person around.
- In the chance that there are any complications once at the hospital, I need someone with a level head to explain to me what is going on and what our options are.
- I need someone to keep hubby calm while I transition so he doesn’t try to ‘save me’ with pain medication.
Statistically, women who hire a doula are less likely to need pain relief medication, less likely to require a cesarean, and reported more positive birth outcomes :). Studies have shown that having a doula decreases the overall cesarean rate by 50%, the length of labor by 25%, the use of oxytocin (to induce or help labor progress) by 40%, and requests for an epidural by 60%.
Though our insurance plan does NOT cover doula services, we CAN use money from our health savings account to pay for our doula :).
We interviewed several doulas and settled on Deb (visit her page at http://www.doulabydeb.com) and are so excited. Deb has a really calming presence and thats one of the things I was looking for. We have hired her as our birth doula and will decide later if we chose to have a postpartum doula. As our birth doula, we have unlimited text/email contact with Deb, plus we will have a meeting in about 8-9 weeks to discuss my birth plan. Then, when I go into labor, I’ll give her a call to come join me at home. She will attend the labor with me at home and the hospital, stay up to 2 hours post-delivery, and come to check in on us about a week after the birth.
If you’re interested, my main questions when interviewing doulas were:
- How long have you been a doula? (ideally I wanted someone with 2+ years experience).
- How many births have you attended? (I wanted someone who had attended at least 20 births).
- How many of those have been VBACs? (I didn’t want to be someone’s first vbac client).
- How is a VBAC different from any other natural birth? (I was always looking for someone who would typically say that from their standpoint, it wasn’t much different. The hospital has procedures in place to manage the risks – doulas don’t really need to).
- Do you have a backup doula? (this is important to me just in case an emergency prevents the doula from being able to attend the birth)
- How many times have you needed to use your backup doula? (I was looking for a very low # of times and a reason)
- How do you go about scheduling? (I didn’t want anyone who would take on another client due within 2-3 weeks of my due date)
- How long would you be with me during and after labor?
- What pain relief techniques are you familiar with?
- What steps do you take if a mom is experiencing back labor?
All these questions mattered, but my main concern was someone who I felt calm and relaxed around 😊❤️