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Did you have a doula *and* a DH/DP? I want one, DH doesn't see the point

(8 Posts)
DitaVonCheese Sat 11-Dec-10 23:09:36

I have quite a while to fret about this blush but would be grateful to hear from anyone who has used a doula.

With DD, I was really really hoping for a home water birth. On the night, the MWs refused to come out as they were overstretched so we ended up going into hospital and then pushing on my back for 90 minutes as the MW said it was best, despite the fact DD had gone back to back so I was much more comfortable on all fours/leaning over the headboard, and everything I'd read suggested lying on your back makes it more difficult.

So for next time, when we eventually get there, I really wanted to hire a doula (prob a trainee, money is tight). Neither DH or I are particularly assertive people, so I feel it would be someone to "fight" on our behalf, plus it would mean that I wouldn't be so frightened of being abandoned mid-labour (home birth websites say you should just stick to your guns and say you won't go in if they cite lack of staff, I was too scared of giving birth without medical support ).

DH doesn't see the point - I think he feels that either he or the doula are going to end up as a spare part. DD would probably be in the house as well, so it would mean one of them would be free to look after her, but he wasn't totally convinced by that argument. Also first labour was quite quick (8 hours total) so it's unlikely he'll need to go for a rest at any point next time round. Also I don't want to give the impression that he failed me last time round (he didn't!).

If you had a doula, how did they interact with your DP/DH and was there a lot of duplicating of roles? My impression is just that she'll know a lot of stuff that DH and I don't, like good positions etc.

Is the answer just to meet a few with DH as well so that we know we all get along and she can put DH's mind at rest?

Any insight welcome! (And thanks for reading this essay blush)

Hazeydazey Sat 11-Dec-10 23:53:43

I booked a doula for my second birth (3 yrs ago now)
The great thing about them is they are willing to do as much, or as little as you want. You can decide at what stage to have them around - and they'll give you confidence to remain at home for much longer than you probably would dare to otherwise.

That said, My labour was so quick, the doula, midwife and ambulance all turned up for the last 30 sceonds of an unplanned home birth!!

However, the time spent talking the birth through before hand with my doula was invaluable. I felt more prepared and calmer than numerous NCT sessions I'd had with the first birth!

I think doulas are really worth considering even if you go to hospital for the birth, as rarely are there enough midwives to go around.
They can suggest positions or things to try, to get more comfortable and they will go with whatever you want to do, rather than persuade you to do what is easier for them as some midwives do!!

cardamomginger Sun 12-Dec-10 13:51:15

We booked a doula for birth of DC1 in hospital 10 weeks ago. There was no duplication of roles. She was superb in supporting both me and DH and enabling us to have the best possible birth experience under what turned out to be pretty yucky conditions. She helped keep us both calm and focussed and the support she dave DH meant that he was better able to give me support and encouragement. She was great when it came to fighting my corner - probably better than DH would have bene on his own, because she'd seen it all many times before and wasn't as emotionallhy involved as DH. It ended up being a longish labour, so she was able to give DH some time off to get some sleep when we were still at home and to go out for a breath of fresh air and to have something to eat when we were in hospital. I agree with Hazey that the prenatal sessions talking through my birth plan and what I wanted were really valuable. And as I had a traumatic birth, being able to talk it through with her afterwards was also a great help. I think a lot of it hinges on the personalities involved - we instantly had a rapport with our doula. So I think, yes, meeting a few and seeing how you all click could be vey helpful. I think it is important for you DH to know that a good doula will only do as much as you want them to - so there should be no danger that he will end up feeling like a spare part or otherwise pushed out. Does he feel that you wanting a doula is a criticism of him and his ability to support you? Good luck X

Wholelottalove Sun 12-Dec-10 21:01:08

I'm due on Friday with DC2 and have hired a trainee doula who will be there as well as DH. I had very similar reasons to you after a long first OP labour where we both (DH and I) felt frightened and intimidated in hospital.

This time around planning a home water birth, and part of the package we got with hiring our doula was getting to use her birth pool, tens and other bits and pieces - e.g. she has leant me various bits of literature and books to read. She's also been there via text/email/phone and come over for a couple of visits to talk everything through which has already been invaluable.

Neither DH nor I forsee there being an issue with duplication of roles. Our doula is there to support us both and will be doing lots of practical things like blowing up and filling birth pool and emptying it, ensuring there are snacks and drinks to hand, ensuring DH gets something to eat as well as me and toilet breaks etc. Plus the emotional support. My DH was never going to read up on optimum fetal positioning or transition, and I feel very reassured knowing there will be someone with me all the time, no matter whether I am at home or transfer in who does know about these things and can suggest positions, massage etc.

I'll pop back and post after the birth to let you know how it all worked out in practice, but I would say go for it! (PM me if I forget!)

squiggleywiggler Mon 13-Dec-10 10:06:58

HI Dita

as a doula myself this is a really common issue that comes up.

Could you show DH some of the responses on this thread?

There are also some really great mini videos and extracts from a film about doulas here: www.youtube.com/user/realbirthstories which may give him a better idea of what doulas do.

You could suggest that you meet a few doulas so he can get a better idea of what they do. Almost all doulas will do an initial meeting without charge so you can see if they might be right for you etc and this will be a chance for DH to pose questions and get a better understanding of the kind of support they can provide and how they can support him.

A doula will never take over from DH but will fit in to the gap between DH, the midwives and you to give you all what is missing.

Feel free to PM me if you have more questions. I can also help you find some doulas who would be available around your due date if that would be useful.

morethanasong Tue 14-Dec-10 09:12:04

I had a (trainee) doula for my second birth and she was wonderful. She came to our house when I was in early labour and stayed until after the midwives had left (it was a homebirth). While she was here she did lots of practical things like inflating and filling the birthing pool, and clearing it up at the end, and running me a bath afterwards. DH's main memory is that she made tea and bacon sandwiches after the birth!

I thought I would want her for emotional support but what ended up happening was that she took on the practical stuff and freed up dh to look after me. She brought me drinks etc. so that dh didn't have to leave me to get them.

She also had a copy of my birth plan and made sure the midwives stuck to it - as an example, the midwife wanted me to have an internal exam when she arrived. I didn't want any, and had put that in my birth plan, but I felt awkward saying that to the mw when she'd just read it in my birth plan, so I was grateful to my doula for stepping in. Thinking about it, she also helped me write the birth plan, and talked to me about my previous birth experience, both of which were really helpful preparations for the birth.

I think my dh felt similar to yours before the birth, but he was definitely convinced afterwards (the bacon sandwiches helped though smile ). As for me, I'm convinced that my doula helped me get the homebirth I wanted.

DitaVonCheese Tue 14-Dec-10 12:10:46

Many thanks for all the replies, they're very helpful (though DH is a veggie so bacon sarnies might not work so well on him wink).

dinkystinky Tue 14-Dec-10 12:13:53

Yes - I did for DS2's birth. DS1's birth did not go the way we wanted it to for a whole host of reasons - with DS2 we wanted someone in our corner fighting our space so engaged a lovely doula I met after having DS1. She was great - didnt interfere in the birth or DH's role in the birth but just gently encouraged from the sides. And was a lovely calming presence. And she fought our space, outside of the birthing room, with the midwives to ensure I had the birth I wanted for DS2 - and I did, and it was lovely.

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