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Saturday, July 24, 2010

bad doula: the doula who knew better

I forgot to hire a doula.

Mind you, I'm only 13 weeks pregnant and I have some time before I am set to give birth. However, I also know that I should have hired one before I left Arizona. Now, I will have around 2 months to find a doula when I get back.

The reason I forgot to hire one is because I forgot I needed one. Or, even worse, I thought I didn't need one.

I know.
bad doula.

It's hard to explain. I know doulas are amazing, and I'm not just tooting my own horn. Ask any woman who has had a doula and she'll tell you that they made a difference in either a small way or in the biggest way possible. They help. It's obvious.

Maybe, for a weird reason or another, I considered myself immune to doulas. I plan to have a lot of people at my birth. I know a ton of women who have never witnessed a birth like the one I am having, and I feel honored to have them there. I also feel more comfortable in groups - and I know I won't have an issue telling people to get the Hell out if I change my mind. I have people there who will give massages and rub my back. They will fill the birth tub and get me water. Take photos and video tape.

(doing the doula thing and rubbing some feet)

I know doulas do emotional too. However, as my husband said, I "
know all their mind tricks." I know what they might say and I figured this was a disadvantage. Then it hit me.

I'm scared. I'm scared. I've never had a homebirth. I'm terrified of transfer. I'm terrified that I will change my mind. I fear the unknown and, though I have seen homebirths up close and personal - I have never had one. The only people at my birth who have witnessed a homebirth are my midwives and, God willingly, if she can make it - my friend over at Birth Faith.

So, why was I convincing myself I didn't need a doula? My job is normally to convince women and men that they do need a doula. In spite of my knowledge and even though I "know" what doulas say and I "know" what they do - I
need that.

I am probably going to say something like, "
I'm scared"
and I need someone to say, "
I'm here."

I am probably going to say something like, "
It hurts too much"
and I need someone to say, "
I know, but it won't hurt forever."

I am probably going to say something like, "
I can't do this"
and I need someone to say, "
But, you are. And, you can. And, you will."

I then sat there, pouring over names of doulas and thinking, "
Damn. I'm picky." Then I questioned - wait. Are most people this picky? Are people this choosy when they opt for me as their doula? Just as I was contemplating this notion, a client of mine back in Arizona, who is pregnant with a 2nd and planning a VBAC delivery, sent me this message on Facebook:

"[my husband] said he feels confident in being my doula since we can't have you. He's kind of funny that way, it's hard for him to connect and feel comfortable with people. That's why his instant comfort with you was very unlike him but quite a blessing.

I wish you could be here too...but I know it will all work out."

First and foremost, bring on the doula guilt! I wish I never had to move because then I would never have to leave my clients. Secondly, wow. My job just felt even more important than the pedestal I thought I was already putting it on. Three - I need that. Of course I need that, and, of course, I have the right to be picky.

So, doulas - did
you have doulas? Will you?

Or non-doulas - what did you think about
your doula if you had one. If you didn't - did you wish you did?

And, most importantly, how did/how would you
choose your doula?


  1. I wish more than anything that I would have had a doula with my first birth. I had people there, but I didn't have support. I remember my mom and Tom being there, but I can't say they played a huge role in comforting me, helping me focus, or helping me fight for the things that were in my birth plan. They didn't know how. I was the most knowledgeable person in the room when it came to all things birth. I was all on my own and that's a hard position for a laboring woman to be in.

    That said, I'm scared too. It's so hard to explain. I am confident that my body can do what it was made to do. I'm not afraid of dying or the baby getting hurt. It's the little things. I had back labor the entire time with Arianna. What if I have "normal" labor with this one and it hurts so much more and I can't focus? What if I'm still as nauseous as I am now? I can't even imagine laboring while feeling this crappy? What if, What if, what if.....I could drive myself crazy with all of the little what ifs.

    I think it also bothers me that there is always that small possibility that something could happen and I might have to transfer. I feel like I've got a small group of people who will be there like I need them to be and say things like, "It's ok. It happens. You NEEDED to transfer and thank God you did. You're not a failure." But for every one person who will be reassuring, I'll have another five there waiting to say, "I told you so. I told you homebirth was dangerous. How could you make such a decision? How could you take such a risk with yourself and your child?" I just....don't want to deal with that. Not to mention, what happens when I say I want to homebirth the next one? I know that for me, if a transfer happens it's because it's 100% necessary and that having to transfer this time is no indication that I would have to transfer with #3. Try convincing other people of that though. I can already hear the, "WHAT!? Didn't you learn the last time? Are you stupid?" Look how much grief some of our friends are getting simply for wanting to have VBACs =/

  2. Oh and the reason that I made the back labor vs normal labor comment is because I ALWAYS have back pain. My back constantly hurts even when I'm not pregnant (especially when I'm unable to regularly see a chiropractor). So I'm used to my back hurting and back labor only made it hurt slightly worse. It was completely tolerable.

    When I have stomach cramps or a stomachache though? Oh man, ou would think I was dying. I just don't handle stomach pain well and that's what I've been told that labor feels like for most people.

  3. Well, I am super glad that you're going to have a doula there this time. I'm thinking she'll be more help for your husband though (or, is that just my thinking?) It's okay though. Rumor has it she's pretty good. Heard her photos weren't that bad either ;)

  4. I didn't become a doula until after my own daughter was born and then I completely immersed myself in it because of my own amazing experience. However, I didn't have a doula at my birth, but I definitely wish I had. Thankfully, I was at a birth center with a fantastic midwife all to myself, but next time, it will be at home, WITH a doula. I already have her picked out! Hah.

    And you're right, bad doula! Tsk, tsk. Hah, just kidding!

  5. I picked my doula this time based on the fact that she offered to make me cake. That's also how she got me to drive across town for her viewing of Orgasmic Birth. Srsly, she plays the cake card and I'm instantly sold.

    I do hear that she has awesome doula skills, she has attended a very diverse range of births (home, hospital medicated, hospital c-section), and as a bonus she is an AMAZING photographer. But really, it was mostly just the cake ;)

  6. I chose both my doulas (two different births) for lots of reasons but one was that my husband really liked them and felt a bond. This worked well because deep in labor the doulas communicated a lot with him, and helped him to help me. Having a doula we both loved made the experience very smooth, and communication easy. Very best of luck, you will do great!

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  8. I chose my doula because she didn't give me a choice :D I don't think I could have kept her away even I had wanted to.

  9. Who else would have told your husband to be quiet or to sit by you or to kiss you during contractions? I thought I was going to have to brace him from passing out while you were pushing.

    Who else would have broken hospital rules and then deny it ON FILM.

    And who would have known to get the awesome 'proof that it hurt' photos?

    And who else would have questioned the anti-breastfeeding nurse?

    and who was the only one there who was sitting next to you while everyone else was crying and staring at baby?

    AND I WAS THERE AS YOUR BEST FRIEND. Best friends are mandatory at births. Do I get a choice in my birth photographer? I think not. (I will try to will myself into labor during the day to give you better lighting, though)

  10. I should note that Maysa and I have a special relationship and we've been friends for years. That tone is a unique, joking tone. Not my normal doula voice LOL!

  11. Sometimes you aren't picky at all, take a chance on a random girl you met at doula training, and it works out really well! ;-) I really hope I can make it to your birth, and I'd love your mad skills documenting my next wee one's grand entrance.

  12. Lani - good point!

    I hope our timing works out perfectly for the both of us :)