When I think in my head of how in a perfect world, I’d like my labor to go I imagine no pain, my husband and I in a dim room with my OB and nurses, and us anxiously awaiting the arrival of our little Spawnie. My husband and I will be trained in Lamaze, or Hypnobabies/birthing and working together to get out little one out safe and sound. A beautiful experience shared with the two of us. No family in the room, no friends, just us.
I know I’m only 14 weeks pregnant but I figure I’m in my 2nd trimester, and being the “thinking ahead” person that I tend to think I am I’m already starting to think about labor and delivery (heck I’ve been thinking about it since before I was pregnant. I have a labor fascination). There’s a lot of decisions we’re trying to budget and plan for now, and I want this to be one of them.
Initially, I was thinking I’d like to try a “natural” unmediated delivery and do whatever it took to empower me to withstand the epidural. I knew if I went through labor this way I’d really want the support of my husband, but additionally, probably a doula who can help with pressure points, and positioning during hard active labor. Doula: Physical and mental supporter before during and after labor to assist the mother and her partner. (They are NOT responsible for delivering your baby.)
I’ve really heard nothing but good things about doula’s. A friend of mine who’s mom is no longer living hired a doula got after birth and said it was like having a mom that she didn’t have around. Another one of my friends recently had a natural childbirth at a hospital and had two doulas she loved as well as a supportive husband. Reading about her experience was amazing. I told my husband about the experience… How my friend’s doula cooked her and her husband omelets during early labor, how she went on walks with her, and helped her and helped her husband help her every step of the way. My husband, while slightly amused, didn’t bite.
He had a few arguments I tried to take into consideration: 1. Doulas are for rich people. 2. I want to help, I want to be your doula (or my “dulla oblongata,” as he jokes).
The first argument, while I can see his point isn’t necessarily true. To him, if we can make it through labor like many of our family and friends have without one, why spend the money? “Having someone you pay there to help is something rich people do.” Well… Many doula’s I’ve found in my area don’t have rates on their sites because they work with people to set the right price on an individual basis. Most I’ve found prices for seem to range from the $200-$1500s but I hear some are in the $2000s, depending on location, experience, services, etc. Most of my friends seem to either have a friend and get one for free, or paid about $300-$600. Everyone has said it’s worth every penny.
Now, looking at those numbers my husband says no way. He’s rather use that money on things for the baby, or classes, books and material we can take together to be prepared for labor. But I heard you can get doula’s who are getting certified and need live births to help you for free! I wrote to my local DONA lady to get the list of women in my area who will be certifying over the next year so I can contact them about helping me out. I told my husband this and he was a little hurt that I was so insistent on this. Which brings me to the next point… Him wanting to help.
I’ve read great articles and posts here and there about doula’s helping husbands know how to help their wives, but he really wants to be the primary support. He really hasn’t had a strong opinion about too many things in this pregnancy process unless I pry, so having him out and tell me how he really feels about it made me think again. He told me he wants to take classes with me and learn how to help me through it, but he doesn’t want someone with us 24/7 and “taking his place.” I can even picture him shying away because there’s an extra woman there, and not wanting to help as much… If I had other help. I know nurses and OBs come and go, but from my understanding you’re alone most of the time until the end, under normal conditions. Then, I thought more about my labor situation and what I wanted out of it.
As usual, I did some more research, and really thought about why I wanted a natural labor… Then thought more about it realized an unmedicated birth not what I want. I am so inspired when I read the birth stories of friends and women who have done it, and I hear so many encouraging words that I too should do it, but it’s just not what I want for me. If I tried it it wouldn’t be wholeheartedly and with something like that I HAVE to go into it wholeheartedly… Go big or go home. And for me… I’m ending that game a little early. Of course if our training in Lamaze and/or hypnobirthing helps and the pain is tolerable, I won’t get an unnecessary epidural, but I’m NOT afraid to get one either. I’ve read the risks… And I’m willing to take them (don’t judge).
So… Then came the question of a doula again. Most often you seem them helping in the case of natural labors. I’m going into it knowing that’s not that I want. Most of the doula’s I read about are all there to support the woman and her decisions (they aren’t medical doctors or midwives and don’t deliver babies) but most of the bios I read are tailored towards homebirth, birth centers, or natural births. After finding a few doulas who make it pass your initial paper screening, you’re suppose to set up interview and find the perfect match. Looking at my “free list” is a little daunting, looking at my “will charge me” list is intimidating because I don’t want to waste my time if we decide not to do it.
Right now I’m thinking two things but I’m leaning towards the second:
1. Interview one or two doula’s with my husband. Pre-screen her before couple interview and prep her about my husband’s non-eagerness to have one beforehand, make sure she pumps up her services in front of him, and make sure her prices is low enough so hubby is more likely to agree. Also, make sure she’s VERY husband friendly and puts a lot of responsibility on him so he doesn’t feel replaced. Find a doula I like who is pro-epidural and preferably someone I/we meet in a childbirth class that maybe we’re more acquainted with and it’s not a “cold call”… Some arranging may need to be done to complete this task.
2. Find Lamaze ($20 and up) and/or Hypnobabies ($150)/ hypnobirthing ($300) classes, courses and materials around here and study up together… Make the next 6.5 months of our pregnancy about preparing for the next best day of our lives and live up the fact that we’re doing it “alone.” If we crash and burn… I can always say “I told you so” and we’ll hire a doula next time.
So, like I said I’m leaning towards #2 but I can still be persuaded. I’m so excited for the day Spawnie arrives and I’d love to have the epidural work right, a dim-lit room, and us hand in hand as I push the baby out of my vajayjay. That’s my dream as of now (it’s changed a few times) but I also understand things can change any time. I know passionate people who plan elaborate births and have things change… In fact, plans change for a LOT of people. But as of now, this is a blueprint for some of my plans, and I hope to follow through, and end up with a fun birth experience, and most of importantly to me, a healthy little mini-us!
As far as postpardum doula’s go, I think we’ll be good in that department with our moms and my lactation consultant I get to hire thanks to my awesome insurance!
Now, tell me! Did you have a doula? Why or why not? Was your husband supportive? Why or why not? I know A LOT of doula advocates but I’d love to hear from both sides! And for a quick visual, vote in my poll below!
Lucky Parazul bag winner Random.org says *drumroll please* #31!