Babies: 0 - 3 Months

What was your experience with a Doula?

I am thinking about hiring a doula for my first birth in September but I wanted to hear some personal stories first. I have asked some friends who have given birth and none of them had doulas but they all had different opinions about it. Some said they wouldn't want anyone but their husband in the room with them during that time. Others have said a little added help would have been nice.

My main goal with a doula would be to see if I could have this birth naturally, without an epidural. The idea of her being able to ease the pain with massage is also very appealing. I just don't know if I will want her there in that moment. How am I supposed to know how I will feel during labor??

Thank you in advance...

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Re: What was your experience with a Doula?

  • We hired a doula for our first birth as well.  It just made me feel better to know that someone who knew what to expect would be with me the whole time.  It just seemed to take the edge off of the "unknown" aspects of labor/delivery.

    Long story short...I ended up with a scheduled c-section due to a breech baby that would not turn.  BUT....that being said, I still was glad we had hired our doula.

    We had a prenatal visit with her at about 36 weeks and she gave us such great confidence & preparation that I had very little anxiety as I approached my due date.  I knew what to look for and felt confident that we could do this!

     So, I recommend one.  But hopefully, you'll actually get to use her for labor! 

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  • I hired a doula because I wanted someone who knew what was going on to help guide us through the process. I love my DH, but as I started reading a ton and generally getting into the whole learning about birth thing... he really didn't. I mean, he knew I was going to have a baby, and he's a great help with said baby, but he had no desire to go to 13 weeks of Bradley classes or read a stack of books. So I figured it made sense to hire someone with lots of birth experience to help guide us through.

    She was great - she helped DH help me. She kept us calm and positive. She showed him how to do counterpressure and hip squeezes, which is what I needed. I wouldn't have known that, and neither would have DH. I had an OP baby, though, so it was exactly right. 

    As for the "just you and DH" thing... well, you've also got a doctor and a nurse and possibly a resident. It's not just the two of you. One more person that is entirely on your team and working to get you the birth YOU want is fantastic. I ended up going entirely natural, but a doula can support you in whatever birth choices you want. I was also a "let's see how it goes" person, so I wouldn't have cried if an epidural was the right choice in the moment.

    I can tell you that I definitely wanted her there. She came to my house and things just felt more in control. And, like most people, by the time I was at the end and actually naked.... I really didn't care. I don't think I'll give birth without a doula in the future.

  • I don't think I would have made it though my birth without my doula.  We did a home birth and she was there for hours before our midwife came.  I had massive back labor, so she and my DH took turns massaging my back between contractions.  She also let me DH take breaks when he was tired and because she was a Bradley instructor, she helped me remember all the techniques I had learned.  I would definitely recommend a doula.

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  • I had a doula at both deliveries and I would never want to give birth without one.

    Big sister {September 2008} Sweet boy {April 2011} Fuzzy Bundle {ETA July 2014}

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  • My doula was awesome. It was wonderful to have someone who knew how the hospital worked and could recommend various labor positions and massage techniques. A doula will NOT REPLACE YOUR HUSBAND. In fact, what they should do is give your husband the tools to better help you. For instance, it was my doula who recommended that I get into the shower. But it was my husband who was in there with me for 45 minutes and who supported my body through contractions (while freezing because I was the one under the water).

    The doula made us work better together. She also allowed him to feel comfortable leaving the room to get food, use the restroom, or (in our case because it was a surprise induction), run home to get our hospital bags. If she hadn't been there I don't think he would have left me for a second. Which sounds really sweet, but labor is a marathon. I didn't want him to get rundown. I wanted him to have energy for when I really needed him.

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  • YES, YES, YES! Get a doula, especially one that is also educated in massage. My doula helped me have an easy birth. I can't insert a link for some reason so here is my super long birth story lol

    Summary of my fast easy birth:

    I have to start out by saying I feel elated! Giving birth was one of the most amazing experiences of my life :o) I can honestly write a birth story without mentioning a lot of pain, because I didn't feel much discomfort. My labor was fast, easy and enjoyable. I used Hypnobabies to prepare for labor. It?s medical grade hypnosis for childbirth. Sunday night I made spicy eggplant Parmesan to try and jump-start labor. It worked and my water broke at 11:45PM that night! 15 mins later contractions were 3 mins apart. I labored at home for the next 5 hrs. Around 5am Todd and I left for the hospital. We arrived at labor and delivery and I pushed for 55 mins. At 6:55AM Grayson Motter Sussman was born!


    Contractions came on so fast after my water broke. I thought I?d be able to sleep for a few hours; instead Todd did the sleeping for the both of us. I labored downstairs for 2 1/2 hrs on my own. I had a funny conversation with my sister over the phone in early labor. She asked if I'd wanted my Doula to be at home with me during these strong, early contractions and I said no. I was spending most of my time in the bathroom. I didn?t care that I spent hundreds of dollars for the Doula service; I did not want an audience in the bathroom! As labor progressed I felt most comfortable on all fours in the family room and was handling labor really well using my hypnosis queues. The one thing that was really bothering me was my feet, they were freezing! It was cold downstairs! Contractions were coming closer together and I couldn't stand up to get a sweater or socks. I was amazed how immobile I became in such a short time. Todd woke up to my hollering for socks and half asleep ran downstairs to help. He got one long black sock on my foot when another contraction hit. I had a feeling things were progressing fast. I told him to start packing the van, call the Doula and get my Binsi skirt. The Binsi skirt is an article of clothing that?s hospital friendly and easy to labor in. It?s comfy and a lot prettier than the hospital gowns. I wanted to look good while in labor lol. As he raced around the house collecting our bags, the most intense contraction hit and I felt this incredible urge to push. I lost my hypnosis focus and screamed. My body took over and I began involuntarily pushing with all my strength. I yelled, "We waited too long, I?m pushing, I can't move!" I continued to push and feel panicked. Interestingly the more scared I got the more discomfort I felt. Todd rushed to my side and calmly said ?relax? placing his hand on my shoulder. This put me back into a calm state of mind and I could handle the contractions again. Todd then instructed that I had to get up. We attempted shoes until I started to push again and Todd said, "Screw the shoes!" we forced myself onto my feet and hurried to the minivan.

    Drive to the Hospital:

    On our way to the hospital, I continued to handle the contractions really well with Todd?s help. He?d repeat my hypnosis queues and labor was surprisingly tolerable. Contractions felt like a stomachache.I remember a car slowing us down. It wouldn't let us pass. I could sense Todd's panic and I remember saying, ?Todd it?s ok, this is only labor, we'll be ok". I was thinking my recent Google search would come in handy on how to deliver a baby in the car. Looking back I?m amazed how calm I was! I definitely feel Hypnobabies had something to do with it. While we drove to the hospital, each contraction made water gush out of me, soaking my Binsi skirt! I was a mess, dripping wet, shoeless, with one black sock on and freezing by the time I got to the hospital. The skirt was quickly dumped into the corner of the hospital room. I could care less on how I looked. The hospital gown was a welcomed comfort because it was dry! My entire body continued shaking. I thought I was still cold but the shaking was from all the hormones. I was in transition.


    Once I was situated on the bed in my dry hospital gown, the Midwife checked me and I was already 9 cm! I felt so much relief and excitement. Nurses came in and set up the baby warmer. I couldn't believe how wonderfully fast everything was happening. They didn?t even give me an IV or heplock. After hearing how far along I was, Todd was smiling ear to ear. I was beaming and he said, "Great job honey, we're going to have our baby soon!" I was relieved to see my Doula (Annette) show up in the nick of time. The Midwife gave me the ok to continue pushing. I kept raising my shoulders up to my ears with each contraction and Annette would remind me to relax them. This made the contraction even more powerful and effective. We played the Hypnobabies scripts out loud on my iPod and everyone in the room listened. Annette said, ?You?re so calm and controlled?. It was great hearing how well I was doing. The Midwife said, ?You look like you had an epidural?. The Doula was incredible. She not only is a Doula but a Hypnobabies instructor. Annette was very familiar with all the hypnotic queues and easily made any pressure I felt, melt away by pushing on my hips and reminding me to use my Hypnosis techniques. She gave great tips on effective breathing and pushing; I can?t stress how awesome it was to have her there. Sweet moments, it was so helpful hearing Todd say that we're going to be great parents and I am going to be an incredible Mom. Todd was so helpful and read me positive affirmations between pushes. I was scared I was going to have a huge baby. Todd would repeat that this baby is the perfect size for my body and the contractions are giving him a warm hug. I remember how funny it was that contractions spaced out to 7 or 8 mins apart. While waiting for a contraction everyone would just sit there and relax. I even told my body "Ok I'm ready for another contraction?!" I thought how bizarre this all is, so relaxed and quiet. My hair done up in a mess, teeth not brushed, I had envisioned that I'd be laboring for hours at home. I thought I'd get a shower in and brush my teeth before heading to the hospital. How wrong I was! While laboring at the hospital I asked for mints. The nurse thought that was funny and assured me I didn?t have morning breath. I wasn't convinced and ate mints between contractions. I rested my eyes between pushes and sometimes talked. My way of dealing with the contractions was to just breath through it instead of screaming. Before the final few pushes, it was mostly peaceful and calm. The baby started crowning and I reached down with my hand and felt the top of my baby's head. I remember saying, ?wow it feels squishy? and everyone laughed. To help prevent tears, the midwife placed warm washcloths on me and I was surprised to feel nothing. She also did some perineal massage, using baby shampoo. Todd helped by applying the shampoo to her gloves. That entire area was numb! With another strong contraction I pushed baby out. I felt a warm, slippery, wet body pulled out of me and placed on my tummy. Grayson was wiggling around and screaming! Todd cut the cord after it stopped pulsing and Grayson scooted up my stomach, past my chest and started to latch onto my chin lol! I couldn't stop laughing, I felt amazing!Nurses were all impressed and continued to tell me how great of a job I did. Shortly everyone left and Todd, Grayson and I were alone. For the next hour and half, I held Grayson skin-to-skin and nursed. We ordered a big breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and toast while streaming music from my iPad. It was a really sweet moment in time. We spent one night at the hospital and went home the next day. Todd and I are ecstatic on how well everything went. Grayson is an adorable sweet baby and is bringing us so much joy! We can't stop staring at him and loving every second of being his Momma and Daddy. :o)

  • I had a doula team of two ladies. They both had been baby nurses, one is a lactation consultant at our hospital and the other is a prenatal massage therapist... They were AWESOME!! We hired them initially because none of our family lives near us and we wanted the extra support during labor by someone we trusted and knew what to expect. They had great advice for us as we had to make decisions at the hospital over this, that, or the other. They helped my husband be involved and calm and were great with helping me pain manage. And they respected mine and DH's time with LO. We don't regret having them at all.

    Plus, during labor, you stop caring who's around and what's exposed after a few hours of steady, hard labor. ;)

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    BFP #1: 9-20-2010 EDD: 5-25-2011 DD #1 born: 5-23-2011
    BFP #2: 6-14-2012 EDD: 2-15-2013 MC: 6-19-2012 5w5d
    BFP #3: 7-18-2012 EDD: 3-26-2012

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