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Did you use a doula for your birth?

By July 15, 2008 - 10:09pm
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What was your birth experience like with a doula? Do you feel it made a positive difference? Would you recommend a doula to a pregnant friend?

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I agree whole-heartedly in using a doula, even though we were not able to use ours!

My husband and I went to a free seminar were we used to live, where six doulas answered questions, gave basic information and were available afterwards for individual discussion. We were able to talk with three doulas that night, and "officially" interviewed one that we "clicked" with the best.

Well, my son was born 2 months early, within 2 hours, and we were not even able to call our doula! (I thought the doctors were going to stop my labor when we reached the hospital, but when they checked me, the head was already visible!!). It was a sad call to our doula, to tell her that we had our baby. I would have liked the after-care, as we were 2,000 miles away from any family at the time. I also heard it is great to talk with them about the birth; my husband and I were in such shock we didn't really know what had happened, and it is definitely an event that you need to "debrief"---haha!

We live near our families now, but we would likely still hire a doula to help us with the end-stage pregnancy, labor, delivery and post-delivery of our next child (in a few years...). I would still choose a hospital-delivery, and it is great to know that a doula can help navigate the system and be your voice when you are too weak/in pain to have a voice during contractions. One piece of advice I would give: make sure your OB/GYN feels OK with having a doula, and some doctors have doulas they work with on a routine basis. For me, it just felt better to know there weren't any professional-dramas going on behind-the-scenes and that my doctor was not "threatened" by my having a doula (if she were, I probably would have changed OB/GYN doctors).

July 17, 2008 - 1:09pm
EmpowHER Guest

I actually had a postpartum doula help me with the birth of my youngest daughter. I had a 5 and 6 year old at the time and really needed the additional help. Plus, I'd previously suffered from PPD and wanted to avoid having a repeat experience.

It ended up being one of the very best decisions I've ever made. My postpartum doula helped me nearly every day and night for the first three weeks and then I gradually "weaned" myself from her service the fourth week until I could handle everything myself. Anyone who is at risk for PPD or who has older children to care for along with a newborn should definitely consider a postpartum doula.

How about you -- have you used a doula?

July 16, 2008 - 10:09pm
(reply to Anonymous)

I used a birth doula with my first baby, born at the hospital. She was my Bradley Method teacher (and inspired me to become a Bradley teacher and doula). She helped so much, I just can't imagine what my experience would have been like without her. My husband (who was completely wonderful at the birth) loved having her there. He didn't feel as scared and didn't feel the pressure he would have if we were alone. My labor was fast and furious and Rebecca kept reassuring us where we were on the labor path. She recognized when I was in transition (just 1/2 hour after 5 cm) and when I was pushing and convinced a reluctant and busy nurse to come and check on me. Luckily the dr got paged just in time to catch her. Her cord had been compressed for a few minutes and she needed a lot of help. It was very frightening for both of us (no medical people in the room were saying anything to us). Thankfully Rebecca explained just what was happening and that she would be ok because she heard a nurse say she had a heart beat (she looked very very blue, limp and my first thought was that she was dead). I felt this huge wave of relief because I trusted Rebecca so much. It was so wonderful to have her support. It was great later to talk about our birth with her too.

When I had my second daughter, at home, we couldn't find a doula (Rebecca had moved). But we really felt that Rebecca's influence was still with us. My husband felt very calm, even when I began pushing before our midwife arrived. He knew how to handle everything and felt confident because she had taught us so well. And I felt completely safe and into my labor because I had had such a good experience the first time. My midwife got there just in time, and joked that we didn't really need her.

I didn't experience any PPD with either baby (other than one crying jag!), and I consider myself very lucky with that, but I also think it's because of the wonderful supportive birth experiences I had. That doula support really helped me transition to motherhood.

I advise all pregnant couples to find a doula who is a perfect fit for them. Interview lots. She can make all the difference in the world, no matter what kind of birth you want for your baby.

July 17, 2008 - 7:19am
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