Dithering over whether to get a doula

(19 Posts)
RattieOfCatan Tue 31-May-16 09:38:40

I'm currently 17+5 weeks (due early November) so I have a bit of time to make a decision about it. I'm leaning towards wanting an additional body there during my birth and for support before/after but I'm not really sure if it's worth it.

The support before and after are probably just as important to me as during the birth. DH is much better than he was but he is inclined to freak out a bit in stressful situations. I'm really worried about ending up in the hospital to have the baby and would much prefer an MLU with somebody there to advocate for me and my preferred circumstances, a lot of people I know have had shite experiences in the maternity ward where we'll be going, particularly after the birth. I'm currently down as high-risk but I'm hoping that can be 'down-graded' in light of recently medical tests and notes.

We're going to be relocating at 30 weeks and living with my parents for a while as long as they don't drive me up the wall so I will have some live-in "support" once DH is back to work, especially for the practical elements, but I don't know if I can rely on my family for emotional support or support with things like breastfeeding and I know I'm prone to depression which my family likely won't pick up on at all if it does start to sink in. I don't want masses of after-birth support but maybe somebody to pop in a few times in the weeks following and make sure that I'm doing okay.

I'm also worried about the birth and the time leading up to it, preparing for it and so on but would a doula really be that helpful before the birth? Would I be better doing some form of hypnobirthing course or something?

MindfulBear Wed 01-Jun-16 13:31:56

Saw this. Will reply more later but basically - go for it.

We had a great doula first time round. I didn't want my folks overly involved as they are not the emotionally supporting type. The doula was great in the run up to the birth and supported DH and me brilliantly during the labour itself.

Afterwards she came round and did some post natal work for me too. Mainly supporting me and encouraging me and thus building my confidence - getting out of the house, breastfeeding whilst out, supported me on a trip to the paediatrician, introduced an ibclc (best qualified lactation consultant) etc

Was amazing.
So much so that I am getting another one for the birth of #2 in a few weeks.

RattieOfCatan Thu 02-Jun-16 15:28:43

Thank you smile I contacted one shortly after posting but she's not got back to me, There are only two others close enough really but she's my preferred one so I'm hoping that she does get back to me!

MindfulBear Thu 02-Jun-16 21:42:08

Best of luck
Where are you?

RattieOfCatan Fri 03-Jun-16 07:33:16

I'll be in Essex but at the arse end of the A12/A120, so whilst there are a few doulas around there aren't really that many, especially within 30 miles (the one I would prefer is actually 40 miles away so probably pushing it a bit!)

MindfulBear Sat 04-Jun-16 01:08:39

40m is ok. How long would it take for her to get to you? Or to the hospital?

I'm in london where distance means nothing! Could take 20 mins or an hour for mine to get to me!!!!

Our 1st doula was amazing. Made me feel confident. Enabled DH to be amazing. Dealt with hospital staff so I had the time to birth vaginally. Am pretty sure she is the reason I avoided a CS.

FastWindow Sat 04-Jun-16 01:44:36

Or you could do what we do in the provinces... Have the baby, by yourselves. Husband and wife. Just a thought?

Doulas are a swizz.

Portobelly Sat 04-Jun-16 02:12:42

Doula. No doula I don't know.
But I do know I thought my husband would be useless, but he wasn't, he was great. And I'm so very pleased that we had the chance to do it alone (despite the eventual cs) it was great for our relationship.
What really helped prepare us was both doing a hypno birthing course and practising together. Even tho it couldn't be further out of my husbands comfort zone.

RattieOfCatan Sat 04-Jun-16 09:15:04

FastWindow Not even going to rise to that. But thanks for helping me feel even more shit about the fact that I have mental health needs that I'm considering now to try and avoid PND, or just depression generally.

Mindful Probably about an hour? More during rush hour though! She's still not got back to me but it's not the end of the world. I will give it a few more weeks and then contact the other two I think.

Porto That's reassuring, thank you smile I think he will be fine but I also think that if/when things didn't go to plan he may flounder or he may not know when things are truly needed or not, for example I want to keep internal checks to the absolute minimum as the thought of them terrifies me (past abuse) and I think that a doula would be in a better position to determine if they are really needed or if the midwife/doctor is pushing for one for the sake of it. I hate being touched without warning and I understand that it'll likely happen during birth but it's another thing that both DH and I would struggle to explain without potentially causing offence.

Basically it's things regarding my consent, I have heard things about the hospital and they are apparently shit at explaining to the parents what is being done and why and shit at asking for consent before doing anything. I do get that there are going to be times where things will be done without me really knowing what's going on and so on but I want to try and minimise it as much as possible because it's only going to lead to me freaking out a bit if I'm constantly being touched and moved around without being told. That's mainly why I am thinking about one being there during the birth.

Having thought about it more, after the birth is probably more important for me. Both DH and I are prone to depression. I'm not sure if he'd notice if I were sinking into it (I would notice with him though) and he'll be back to work soon after the birth as he'll be in his graduate year. My family are definitely not going to notice, they will also be of no help emotionally potentially making things worse but there you go. I don't have any friends who can come pop in and say hi either or even call and say hi, so I'm in a position where I'm going to have to pay somebody to do that.

I will look into the hyponobirthing courses too, see if there's anything we can do!

FastWindow Sat 04-Jun-16 23:56:53

rattie i retract my post. Birth is hard. Im sorry i upset you, im also suffering with my mental health right now but that doesn't excuse what was a completely illconsidered post.

I believe doulas do a fantastic job actually, i was having a very bad day when i posted that. I hope i havent upset you too much.

Anything that gets you through birth is ok. Drugs, no drugs, voluntary csection, whatever. Tis your body and your baby. Do whatever feels right and helps you.

flowers

BettyBitesBums Sun 05-Jun-16 00:57:24

Rattie I'm a hcp and if I'm completely open and honest I can say that Doulas more often than not piss me off royally because they try and get between me and my patient when she is who I really want to be explaining things to and communicating with, but I have the opposite problem of some HCPs and have a tendency to explain and talk too much as I have a huge bee in my bonnet about informed consent, and this can piss patients off just as much. The truth of the matter is that the absolute best thing for you is to go into birthing your baby with as much confidence and belief in yourself as possible, keeping calm and keeping stresses out as that's the perfect environment for you all. If you think that a Doula would help you with that at all then it's a good choice for you and having extra postnatal support certainly doesn't go amiss as I think that's where we often fail miserably in the NHS and a Doula would be the one person that would be there just for you postnatally.

RattieOfCatan Sun 05-Jun-16 08:12:41

fast thank you for the apology, I can appreciate having a shit day! I was panicking a bit a my Mum has been making me feel crap about the idea of having somebody come hold the baby a morning a week so that I can get out of the house for ten minutes and to check on me, she seems to think that she can make sure I'm fine, despite spending my childhood denying that anything was wrong with me, ignoring her own depression and telling me that as an adult I'm just a bit down and it will all be okay when I get over it hmm

I'm usually mostly okay, especially since I had a load of counselling about 2 years ago before my wedding (both to help me with my family issues and standing my ground and also because I knew that at some point after the wedding, children would come along!) But sods law a few things and triggers have come up recently that have made me uncertain, and obviously the normal nerves about birth start kicking in when you actually have to think about it!

Betty thank you for your opinion, that's really helpful actually. I think that I'd be happier if I got to meet the midwives who run the centre and get to know them a little before which, if I was local, I would get to do as there are around 6 midwives who service the area and they are apparently keen for you to at least meet all of them before the birth in that town which I like. I can't do any of the local NHS classes run by them either as you have to sign up by 25weeks, I don't move to the area until 30 weeks and I'm not allowed to sign up until I live there. Catch-22!

Another option I have is asking DHs mum to be around in the early stages of labour, she's great and would stand my ground I think, she's also a nurse (albeit a mental health nurse) so she's used to being in a medical environment so theoretically would stay out of the way when needed.
That would then leave me with the postnatal stuff. Both of our mums are happy to be on hand for practical things (first grandchild on DHs side!) But with DHs mum still working full time and mine being crap with emotion as mentioned I will need something postnatally, so at the very least I'll ask the two more local ones about postnatal packages.

MindfulBear Sun 05-Jun-16 08:20:18

Rattie in your position I would definitely interview some doulas. Don't worry about distance as they should have plenty of time to get to you. An hour is fine.

My doula empowered me.
She also empowered my husband to be the best he could be.
She made me feel looked after. She was a constant. Whereas the hospital staff changed every few hours. I had no continuity of care which I would have found stressful without her presence ( by phone & text at the start & physically present later - I was in hospital for 3 days having DC1!!).

I also hate being subject to "things". & get stressed if I don't feel I'm in control. She made sure the HCPs explained everything before they did anything and kept checks and interventions to a minimum. She did this NOT by actually intervening but by asking questions which then meant me or my husband would consent or not to the exam or whatever was being proposed.

Interview a few tho. They are all different.
1st time I emailed about 20. Interviewed 6. Only 1 was a fit.

This time I reached out to about 20 that were recommended by local mums & my previous doula (who sadly was already booked as I dithered too long!). Interviewed about 6. 3 were a good fit and fingers crossed the one I've chosen will be fabulous. She has already accompanied me to a consultant & MW appointment and ensured I got more out of the appointment than I would have on my own - just by asking questions!!

Btw also worth looking into Hypnobirthing. It's named wrong as it is really about learning relaxation & coping techniques. DH also joined in & to this day can still use one particular technique to calm me down.

FastWindow Sun 05-Jun-16 23:53:14

Thank you rattie for accepting my apology. I was worrying if I'd made you worse and hoping not, so much.

It seems from what you've said that you are under some serious expectations from people you consider important. But i think you will cope, and you are being offered help, but the help is coming from a source you don't trust.

Birth, and the immediate few weeks after, are really about two people. You and the baby. Both of you will have done a job of work bringing baby into the delivery room: Noone else matters at that precise moment!

I think your dm can help, the way you put it. She seems to want to, despite her mh background. It's your gut reaction that is frightening you? flowers

MindfulBear Tue 07-Jun-16 06:54:11

Rattle you don't have to have your mum around you after birth and I wouldn't recommend it if you will find the interaction stressful. We kept our mums at arms length after the birth. It worked well for us, despite my DH being away a lot on weekdays.
But I knew I wouldn't cope with his mum
(Means well but high needs & eccentric & rude) and my mum and I are not close at all and her issues are always more important...,

I had a postnatal doula, which was wonderful and really helped my confidence - as a mum generally, learning to breastfeed, dealing with tongue tie & inadequate weight gain, just getting out the house, attending a paed appointment, breastfeeding in public etc.

RattieOfCatan Thu 09-Jun-16 10:48:50

Thank you for the replies, I should have responded sooner!

I still haven't heard back from that doula so I'll contact more and see if we can interview them when we are there for a week in August.

RE my Mum, this will turn into a bit of an essay as I want to try and explain but it's hard! I thought I'd said but I haven't, we'll actually be living with my parents as long as they don't drive me mad before the birth so they will be around. Surprisingly my Mum is quite excited about me moving back in, we agreed it before starting TTC and we actually asked if it would be okay with them to bring a baby in, we didn't expect it to happen so quickly though!

I do find her stressful but I've been slowly building contact back up over the past six months or so (I had gone very low contact after my wedding last year), she knows that our relationship is on very thin ice and if she does anything again I'm out. She tried to guilt trip me about my wedding after the fact and basically lied through her teeth about everything and wasn't happy that whilst I'd been wasted, I actually remembered most of the evening so I could tell her that I knew that she was lying. The whole family seem to have a lot more respect for me since my wedding really, they know that I refuse to take the shit they've put me through in the past any more, but it does worry me that I'll be around them in my most vulnerable state and basically be relying on them for social interaction as I don't really have friends in Essex, only two old school friends who I may or may not see.

We will have our own living space and bedroom on the middle floor though so it's only the kitchen that we're 'sharing' and I will be placing very firm boundaries on our living space. It's actually my Dad who would be more likely to try breaking those boundaries as we've discovered recently with my nephew (never leaves him alone, wakes him up, takes him from where the parents think he is sleeping and wanders off with him without telling them, etc) and we will leave the house if they can't respect our space and make that clear before moving in. It does help that we have pet rats who my Dad hates so I think if they are placed strategically in our living room he will avoid the room wink

I'm also going to be extremely frank with them when we move in and tell them that I'm not playing petty games, if there is an issue I expect them to talk to me about it and god forbid they start contacting other family members asking if we're offended again, which happened at Christmas because my Mum turned a simple trip of me visiting my older sister into a massive family palaver which sister didn't want and so refused and said we were going back to the original plan (her, me and nephew then our husbands joining later for a film!) Up until last summer my Mum puppeteered mine and my sister's relationships, she hates that we've gone past it and now organise to see one another without her "supervision" as it's led to us all realising how she's manipulated us into the roles she wants us to play so that she can be the poor helpless Mum stuck in the middle of her bitchy warring daughters.

I am hoping that DH and I living with my parents will be a positive experience, but I'm fully prepared for it to go horribly wrong and we'll have the finances to just go. But it's part of the background as to why I just don't trust my Mum when my mental health is in mind, it's only recently that I've come around to the idea of her caring for my child because of things she said to me when I was a child, but she seems to be much better with my nephew from what I've been told.

AliceInHinterland Mon 13-Jun-16 13:10:09

I found a doula so helpful - they can do whatever you want, practical and/or emotional support with no hidden agendas or emotional investment. My DP and I still had an amazing bonding experience, and I think it allowed him to enjoy it more, as he knew I wasn't on my own if he needed to leave for a few minutes. Having a doula statistically reduces your risk of intervention too. Good luck with it all.

AliceInHinterland Mon 13-Jun-16 13:12:52

The family situation does sound complicated, it's nice to have someone there who will just do what you want!

Coldest Mon 13-Jun-16 19:46:48

I would recommend going for one wholeheartedly. Best decision I ever made for my second birth.

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