Looking back on my birth experience I would have most certainly hired a doula. Since I was a teenager I had always known I'd have a home birth or at the very least birth at a midwifery center. It wasn't that I thought hospitals were wrong or bad, it simply just never crossed my mind to go to one. Both my mother her partner of many years are doctors. I associated the hospital with illness or emergency and childbirth is neither.
When I became pregnant my husband was interested in interviewing a few OBGYN's in Miami. Like many husbands (and I say this in a supportive and loving way) they think "The more gadgets, computers, machines, screens, the better". Something about technology makes people feel safe. Do 4D sonograms, cell phones, desensitizing drugs (epidural) etc really help people feel connected, or just in control? If you can follow me for a moment, imagine how these things that grant us control actually disconnect us from what is really happening in that moment. Spending energy watching the screen kind of takes away your power. Did you know you can tell what time of day it is or what direction you are driving in by looking at the sun? (for people in Seattle I'm not sure how this works). Did you know that if you tell yourself that you are amazing and trying your hardest then you don't need likes on Instagram to dictate your mood or sense of self worth?
Needless to say we interviewed a doctor at a very prominent Catholic Hospital in Miami. Some times its good to do these things to get them out of your system. I've had a fibroid in my uterus for many years now. Depending on the hormone levels in my body sometimes its the size of a pea and sometimes a chia seed. This doctor found it during the time it was deciding to be a chia seed. Right off the bat he said I'd need to have a c-section because said chia seed was "blocking the birth canal". There was a large chance of a hemorrhage and he didn't want to take that chance. It was a sign I needed to get a second opinion. He wouldn't budge. When you start to feel like you're someones liability you know it's not going to be a pleasant relationship.
Either way we met a few midwives and after receiving months of prenatal care from a certain birth center in Miami at 8 months gestation we switched to a birth center in Hollywood. I'll save that story for another time. There we were met with competent, and compassionate midwives who didn't bat an eyelash about our plan to labor and birth at home.
After taking our childbirth education class my husband was so excited to be part of this experience. At the time this instructor was the only person teaching the Bradley Method in South Florida. The class was empowering. We thought we didn't need an additional support person, a doula. Through our journey we felt like we had learned enough about child birth. Knowing what I know now it's not about everything we know. And if you have a 36 hour labor like I did, your partner is going to want to tap out once in a while to eat, nap, pee or breathe! What many couples don't realize is that the partner needs the doula too. When it comes to making a decision the doula offers a time out. She brings everybody to a grounded focused place, she summarizes the options the midwife or doctor has presented and asks the parents what they want.
Some couples are concerned that a doula in the room is too many people, they are not. When it comes to sisters, mother-in-laws, etc that can certainly feel like a lot of people because there is history with those individuals and whether you believe in vibes or energy or not, that history can feel like 10 people in the room. When I was nearing my "due date" one of my dear friends said to me, "There shouldn't be anyone at your birth that you have to take care of" That refers to physical and emotional care. If you have a highly critical (or even slightly critical mother) your birthing room is the last place you should be managing her behavior.
At certain points the partner isn't what the birthing mom is looking for. They want, or even need someone who they have no history with, a neutral presence that brings support, compassion and knowledge. This can even happen at a hospital with nurses although it's incredibly rare since they often have 6-10 patients (I dislike that word because its synonymous with 'sick person'). Don't get me wrong their jobs are incredibly important and hard to do! but they are not support people, nor do they know the birthing mom or partner at all.
During my labor, my husband really stepped up and I mean, he was working with the midwife to move my cervical lip to make way for my daughters head, and he was bringing me snacks and smoothies and he was rubbing my back and filling the tub, and holding me on the toilet while I pooped and ... you get the picture. Thats a lot of physical (and emotional) work for one person who is also there to have their own experience and welcome their child into the world. A doula figuratively and literally relieves the pressure!
If you're looking for a doula in Miami or live elsewhere I would love to hear your questions or comments below.