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What questions to ask prospective doula for 2nd birth after horrific first birth.

(21 Posts)
Thandeka Tue 19-Jul-11 09:41:47

Am meeting a doula tommorrow. She sounds nice on phone. I have been promised ELCS by hospital due to bad tokophobia after horrific first birth however I have decided to explore my options for a VB too as there is a slim possibility I may try VB again. (nb this isn't a vbac situation - first birth was forceps etc).

So what questions should I be asking her?
(I am only 15weeks and won't be making any definite decisions re. Vb vs. Elcs til 34weeksafter growth scan as if this bub is a monster size like dd then no chance am I VBing!)

Secondtimelucky Tue 19-Jul-11 10:03:04

The biggest thing is whether you like her - could you spend 24 hours in a room with her. Also, does her birth philosophy chime with yours. Some doulas are focused on a particular discipline (homeopathy, for example, or hypnotherapy), and if that's not your thing, they won't be right for you.

I'd also look for someone who is experienced and positive about dealing with birth trauma and planned sections. She might help you decide to go for a VB, but you equally want her to be good at preparing you for the section, since it's unlikely she'll be allowed into theatre (unless your DH/DP doesn't want to).

There's a great list of questions somewhere with more practical stuff and I cant find it. Sure someone will link soon. Stuff like how she charges, when you can contact her and what happens if she's not available (e.g gone down with food poisoning!).

My doula was SquiggleyWiggler, who is on here (we've both mentioned it on a few threads, so I don't think I'm compromising any anonymity!). If she's about, she might know the list of questions I'm on about. In all honesty, I ended up just having a chat and she automatically went through all the practical stuff.

Oh, and finally, I had a hideous forceps birth for DD1, and had DD2 at home in the pool not long ago. An elective may well be the right decision for you (I was not phobic, and really wanted a better VB this time), but I'm just sharing that as a positive story for what it's worth!

Thandeka Tue 19-Jul-11 10:18:58

Am very clear on wanting epidural next time and not wanting to "breathe baby out" with no pain relief etc. I am after moral support more than anything and so far it seems she is okay with that. I live near Glastonbury so if I smell any insence on her I fear she maybe bit too hippy dippy doulary for me ;)

thanks very much for replying. Will rummage for the list.

Flisspaps Tue 19-Jul-11 10:23:33

I was about to come and recommend PMing SquiggleyWiggler smile

squiggleywiggler Tue 19-Jul-11 10:25:15


I always reckon it's more about the feeling you get from them. You'll know it's right or not I think.

I also think they should be letting you do lots of talking - if you feel comfortable doing that it's a good sign. If she really listens to what you're saying another good sign.

squiggleywiggler Tue 19-Jul-11 10:25:53

Basks in glow of popularity smile

Thandeka Tue 19-Jul-11 10:47:05

:D thanks for list - will print it out. I alread met my perfect doula/IM she was my breastfeeding counsellor (and qualified mw) and was incredible. Sadly she is in London so I need to find her South West based identical twin! Trouble with South West is there's an awful lot of hippy orgasmic birth types (which while maybe fab for some people defo isn't what I want or need!) about so is an interesting mission!

Secondtimelucky Tue 19-Jul-11 11:29:28

If an epidural is the plan, I'd definitely ask about her experience of supporting women with epidurals, whether she has any experience of the hospital's policies/availability of anaesthetists, her views on support in early labour, etc. If she's good, hopefully she'll get you talking about that side of things naturally.

I didn't want someone too hippy either. I have a fairly high tolerance for hippy, but DH does not at all, and I knew we needed someone he could trust and feel comfortable with (though I am sure Squiggley can do hippy if requested!). I was after a birth as low in interventions as possible (my experience of DD1 made me feel the opposite to you - one of my biggest fears was another epidural), but not too orgasmic birth/no one should need to transfer/you'll definitely breath her out. I hope you find someone who suits and the interview goes well.

Secondtimelucky Tue 19-Jul-11 11:30:24

Oh - and have you spoken to your London doula/IM to see if she knows anyone? I assume you have. There seems to be quite a lot of networking goes on, so you never know...

Thandeka Tue 19-Jul-11 11:37:23

Hurrah for second birth being better! For me I still want epidural as could not cope with that level of pain again (but was as was contracting every 2mins no respite and waters had gone so no steady period pain type pain getting increasingly worse but releasing endorphins - I was straight in 7th circle of hell. This time though I would try and delay epidural until more dilated and refuse too many top ups and demand to be on all fours to push- sod their H&S guidelines on back nonsense- pushing a 9.5lb baby up a hill with muscles I hadn't used before was never gonna happen!

Malvapoeding Tue 19-Jul-11 11:40:55

Thandeka - me again, if you are at the RUH I can't reccommend Noreen Hart highly enough, she was our NCT teacher and although not our Doula was available for calls from DH during labour and after. She was fully understanding of our wishes for an epidural/worries about intervention and our preference for CS instead of intervention.

Secondtimelucky Tue 19-Jul-11 11:45:05

Yes- that's pretty much how I ended up with forceps too. Although in my case the epidural was massively topped up because DD was OP and, as soon as I was on my back, it was unbearable. I couldn't let it wear off enough to get up as the pain hit first.

Sounds like you've got a clear plan what you want. I think it might help to check out of if your doula has a 'polite but firm' voice she can use on the healthcare professionals to help get the things you want. Squiggley deployed hers at one point in my labour. It reminded me of what I wanted and had written in my birth plan at a crucial moment!

Secondtimelucky Wed 20-Jul-11 15:01:12

How did it go OP?

Thandeka Wed 20-Jul-11 18:42:30

Thanks Malvapoeding. Will phone Noreen too probably.

Hi Secondtimelucky- Doula arrives in an hour so will let you know. smile

Secondtimelucky Wed 20-Jul-11 19:48:21

Oops, sorry, evening meeting. Jumped the gun there blush. Hope it goes well.

Thandeka Wed 20-Jul-11 20:58:49

Was really fab. She was lovely really lovely but might meet Noreen too just to compare who am most comfortable with as having "the best fit" is most important for me.

Secondtimelucky Wed 20-Jul-11 21:04:06

Great! Not too hippy?

I think meeting a couple is a good idea. I only didn't because I liked Squiggley so much and am too lazy to meet someone for the sake of it.

Secondtimelucky Wed 20-Jul-11 21:05:43

Sorry, also meant to say I am really pleased for you. Whether a planned section or a VB is best for you, a good birth can be a really healing experience. I found it one anyway.

Thandeka Wed 20-Jul-11 22:40:23

She had a herbal tea- I admit I judged ;)
she does seem slightly more natural birth leaning than I'd like but would support me on epidural so that's ok.

Secondtimelucky Thu 21-Jul-11 08:32:14

But that means you had herbal tea in the house grin. Test her out again at 9am and see if she goes for a black coffee!

Thandeka Thu 21-Jul-11 08:59:39

Ah yes we did (never drink it though!) and she did ask for a decaff or a herbal tea. So yeah prob a no caffiene after 3pm rule like my DH has. I was being very unfair ;) I guess it's being wary of "hippy dippy" that made me seize on it as a clue. She didn't smell of inscense though and looked for a granny. I liked her shoes and scarf! smile

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