I've just been in talks with a doula, lovely lady but swithering over whither to hire her or not.
I want another home birth and midwifes are very supportive but they do like a birth partner to be there and I haven't got one. My sister has offered but she would have to bring her 5 month baby with her so not ideal. I could have a homebirth without a birthing parner but midwifes get a bit antsy about it and potential haemorrage after they leave... last time my sister left about 30 mins after they did and can't imagine a doula would hang around too long either (or even if I would want them to).
My last birth was lovely, my body just took over and aside from keeping the pool at an even temp and taking photo's of the birth there was precious little for my sister to do. This is the only doula I can find who covers my area and she'll be unavailable for 3 days around the 39 week mark (although I don't expect to give birth before 40 weeks there is always a possibility).
£450 is a lot of money for someone to sit around making small talk with the midwifes, it would give me an extra 2 weeks of mat leave if I didn't hire her. At the same time it's a small price to pay to help achieve another great birth..I just don't know that she has anything to offer other than her presence and the loan of some books if I wished
Ack, I'm actually less sure I need/want her after our meeting than I was before.
Not sure if I'm qualified to answer as not pregnant (DD is 15) but its something I've looked into a lot since hubby and I were discussing our hopes for a home birth when the time comes.
I would like to hire one to help with the practicals - helping with the pool, massage, snacks etc and support for my hubby as it would be his first. All of the ladies I've come across clearly state they will stay at least until feeding is established or longer if you need them.
£450 is a lot of money, if its more a companion that you need could you try and find a student/mentored doula? They tend to be cheaper.
For someone wanting a natural hospital birth I would almost consider a doula a necessity. For a woman wanting a home birth after already having a home birth, while a doula can still be amazingly useful, I would be less inclined to recommend one, especially if it would put a strain on finances. The Douglas in my area do stay for 3 hours postpartum (if you want them to that is, but they can be put to work tidying up the house and cooking a meal etc) so would be a fair bit longer than 30 minutes.
However when you don't have continuity of care from your midwives (ie knowing and meeting with the midwife you know will be at your birth consistently in labour ) having a doula present who is familiar with you and your desires ahead of time is definitely highly beneficial as you just never know how supportive the midwife you'll end up with will actually be, and you may not click with them and could feel pushed around a lot more than you would with a doula there focusing only on you.
Have you got a friend you could call on to be with you? But if your sister didn't end up doing much last time and has offered to come again - even with a baby that sounds like a good option to me. You'll be comfortable with her, she's done it before, and it doesn't sound like you'd expect her undivided attention the whole time anyway so having her baby with her shouldnt really prove to be a problem.
I was going to hire a doula - even met with the one that was going to be my doula but they expect $650 up front and then $400 after baby is born for the entire thing which I think is ridiculous. I need to afford to get my placenta encapsulated too lol!!
But I am having a hospital birth and like NDH said it is a good idea to have a doula and I agree that it is basically a necessity if you want natural med free birth - I'm just torn as I don't think I can afford her. Especially when I think about all the things I could use that $1,000 for, for baby or savings etc. I guess I'm just hoping I'll be able to do it on my own this time.
Is yours only $450?? no other pay? I think 450 euro translates into our US dollar around the same amount. Don't quote me lol.
I would have someone there with you who can be fully focused on supporting you. That doesn't have to be a doula as it doesn't necessarily sound like you need birth support specifically, as you have had a home birth before and you sort of know what you expect, but I would think it would be beneficial to have someone, including someone who could even stay over with you that first night if needed. That could be a friend or family member too, though like you said, your sister with her 5 month old probably isn't the most ideal birth partner. Is there anyone else you could ask? Or what about a mentored doula who is in training who would do it for a reduced fee or free?
I think the most important thing is that whoever you choose you have to be 100% comfortable with them being the person to support you. I did hire a doula for my first birth (a home birth), and I actually had reservations about her from the start. She was just really hard to get a hold of, and would disappear for weeks at a time and not respond to me. My gut just said it wasn't right, but it was my first baby and I was planning a home birth and I just felt like I wanted someone else there who knew what to expect (she'd had a home birth and attended several) and who could support me. There was no one else in my area who was available or who had attended a home birth before. As it turned out, my gut was right. She went on holiday (to Africa!) when she should have been on call for me. She only just made it back, literally had to drive straight from the airport to my house, and missed most of the birth. Though she did do helpful things during the time she was there, she left about the same time as the midwives did and provided no postnatal support (she mostly just showed up, talked at me for an hour about her kids, while I could have been sleeping, and then left). It definitely wasn't a good match. I won't hire a doula next time because I think I preferred to be on my own, but I did at least have my husband here to help when needed and to stay after with me.
In your case, yes, I think I would want another person there, especially if you have an older child, but I don't think it has to be a doula. If you do feel like a doula would be the best option, find someone you feel is totally right for you, and look for mentored doulas too as they tend to be less expensive, and even though they are in training, you might just click with someone who feels right. Mine was mentored, and though she sucked, I don't think that was because she was in training (I think she was just flaky and unreliable), but she was 200 quid total.
Considering it sounds like you're not actually interested in the services the doula provides other than her presence, it sounds like it's perhaps the wrong place to put that money. If you were happy with your sister's help and emotional support last time, and suggest having her come again, even with the baby. ...Maybe if there is someone else your sister knows who could entertain the baby in another room for part of the time it would help?
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