BACKGROUND: When I was pregnant with my first child I had determined that I wanted a natural birth and wanted someone with experience there to help me through the labor and try to help it go the way I wanted it to. Obviously my midwife has experience, but she has other things to tend to during the birth and is not able to fill the role I was seeking. I also didn't want all the weight of my labor support needs to be on my husband because he wouldn't have a clue what to do. The last thing I wanted on the day our son was born was to get mad or frustrated at my husband during the labor.
THE STORY: Upon recommendation of my midwife I contacted a local doula and scheduled a time to meet with her. She came to my house, introduced herself, and stated her rate which was $300 regardless of how long the labor is and/or how long I wanted her to stay after the baby was born. That price was kind of eye-opening because as it turns out she arrived at midnight and he was born at 2:19pm the next day! She stayed until 4:30pm.
Here are just a few things she did for me during labor:
-Held my hand through every single contraction.
-Talked to me during contractions to remind me to slow down my breathing and encourage me to keep going.
-Made sure my music was playing.
-Made me get up and walk around (though at the time I hated it, it help progress the labor).
-Made sure I was staying hydrated so I could continue to produce amniotic fluid and eating to keep my energy up.
I enjoyed her company and support so much that I used her again for the recent birth of my daughter on January 5th, 2011. This birth was much easier and she again provided amazing support.
IN MY HUMBLE OPINION: Birth doulas are so incredibly important and useful for everyone that is expecting another family member, regardless of the type or method of birth they want to have.
You may also be interested in reading about my first birth:
When My Water Broke
Arriving At The Birth Center
After Dylan Was Born