Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The doula hunt

We are finally back home after a long forced vacation. Vacations are supposed to be fun, but this was no fun vacation, what with Ava falling ill every week or so including a bout of viral fever accompanied by severe vomiting that almost got us in the hospital.

Its good to be back. And now I can finally focus on my current pregnancy. As you all know, I had a really traumatic labor and delivery with my first. I have never posted the complete labor story here, some day I hope I will. Even if I did end up with a vaginal delivery, I do blame the OB and hospital for decisions that I believe got my baby girl into the hospital NICU, fighting to live.

This time around, we decided we wanted nothing to do with that hospital, or the OB practice. We had our first OB appointment in the States with a new doc at 14 weeks. We will be delivering at a different hospital. So far so good...but I'll never trust any doctor ever again. Everything here onwards will be taken with a grain of salt.

After the experience I had with my first birth, where we felt so lost, lonely and helpless, I felt that I really needed a doula. I had never heard of doulas till my first pregnancy. But even then, it was just a passing glance. I thought, if I had so many nurses and doctors at a hospital, why would I need one more person, who is not even medically qualified to add to the mayhem. I now wish I did have a doula during my first delivery. The more I read about doulas, the more I feel that a doula would have helped us take the right decisions, supported us emotionally, and helped me get through the worst of the pain. It may or may not have changed the outcome of baby girl going into distress, but one can only wonder.

Doulas are expensive, anywhere from 500 - 1200 $ (less or more depending on training, number of births attended etc). Its hard to convince oneself to part with so much money, especially when one doesn't know how well spent the money will turn out. Still, it seems a fair amount for some peace of mind and support during labor. The other reason I would really like a doula is because this time, I am hoping for as unmedicated a birth as possible. Last time, the epidural was a big reason things went from bad to worse. As much as I would love another epidural, I am all too aware of its side effects and complications, especially on me. So I hope to labor with minimal pain relief. But I feel like I can only get through that pain if I have a labor coach, someone who will help me through those killer contractions.

So far, I have picked 3 doulas to interview (one person charges 500, one 800 and one person 900). I have met with one person so far. She is also an instructor for childbirth classes, so I am sure she has a lot of tricks up her sleeve. I like her. I don't know if I love her. She tends to push "all natural" a lot, whereas I am of the opinion that interventions happen for a reason. I still wonder if a C-section would have actually helped baby girl as opposed to the stress of the vaginal delivery. I am not sold on her yet. We are meeting with the other two doulas soon, so we'll see how that goes.

I have heard some negative stories about doulas as well, but then again, everything has a positive and negative angle to it. I hope I can trust my instinct and pick the right person to help me through labor this time.

As far as pregnancy goes, its been similar to the last time. I rarely if ever feel pregnant. I guess I am lucky that way. I've always loved being pregnant, and I feel the same way this time. This time I had mild nausea, but nothing to complain about. 3 weeks of feeling nauseous on and off and minimal interest in food is nothing compared to horror stories I have heard. Just today I was talking to a friend who said she was so sick of throwing up, she almost wished this would end (she didn't really mean it, but you can't blame someone who is head down in the toilet most of the day).

A few things different this time is I started to show much sooner. I had a small belly from week 13 and I actually look pregnant, not just fat, at 17 weeks. Last time, even at 20 plus weeks, I was barely showing. I also started feeling flutters from week 14, and I can feel some movement on and off, though not very consistent.

Last, but not the least, I keep thanking my stars that this time around, we were saved all the heart ache of trying to conceive.


  1. We had a doula and she was amazing. She prepared us for all the things that might happend and helped us form plans for every eventuality. In the hospital she helped us advocate for what we wanted and even when I chose and epidural and then when the baby was in distress and we ended with a c-section she was a constant support and encouragement. Find someone you LOVE and trust. It is so worth the investment in your birth experience - especially since the last time was so traumatic, a good doula would talk with you about baby girls birth and how that may impact your fears about this one. Bless your search and so glad you are home!!

  2. Glad to hear you are back home and feeling good! Hope you find the perfect doula!

  3. Congratulations on your pregnancy! SO happy for you and you are smart to take matters into your own hands re: the birth. I do want to hear more about your birth story, so please share when you have time!

  4. Just dropping in to say hi and see how your pregnancy is going!