Monica shares her thoughts about the differences she noticed between her midwife-supported birth and her midwife-and-doula-supported birth. There is good information about roles here as well -- helpful when trying to explain to family and friends what your midwife will do, and what your doula will do.
I had a doula at my second homebirth. A lot of people asked me why. Here is what I have come up with.
1-First, a doula is not the same as a midwife. Your midwife takes care of all your medical needs and your baby’s medical needs. Your doula isn’t a medical professional. She gives understanding and support for you while you are in labor. She also gives support to your husband.
2-After my first birth at home with a CNM, everything was great. My midwife came with all her supplies. She was perfect at helping me get the birth I dreamed of in the medical way. But I did feel I needed more of the kind of support a doula could give, meaning, just focusing on me and my emotions and physically having labor and my baby. My midwife was taking care of me and my baby, but it was hard to get the support I needed to cope with everything I was feeling.
3-My doula came before my midwife. This was great for me and my husband. He was very worried the first time around. He kind of hung around not sure what to do. I know he was worried and even with good classes he didn’t know what to expect. When our doula came it helped my husband see that laboring was going smoothly. He was also able to relax and know we were both being watched out for.
4-My midwife wanted me to tell her when things were happening with labor. But that didn’t mean she was ready to come and stay with me yet. My doula was able to come be with us earlier in labor and just hang out. She went for a walk with me, and she made me and my husband some sandwiches. She suggested I lay down for a while to rest. She helped remind me of how to take care of myself.
5-My doula and my midwife made a great team. They had worked together at births before. My midwife said I might want to look into a doula the first time but I felt secure with my midwife and her help. Even if the second birth was just like the first with only my midwife, it would have been good. I wanted to try a doula the next time. And I am glad we did. With a doula, I felt like I was being catered to more and taken care of more. It was the difference between a homemade chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven, or a homemade chocolate chip cookie from the oven with ice cold milk. I am glad I had the full experience. Now I know the best combination for me is a doula and a midwife.
Monica is a Respiratory Therapist who currently stays home with her two girls. She often worked on the OB floor of a major hospital in Florida. She became friends with, and developed a deep respect for the midwives there. When she was pregnant with her first baby, the midwife she wanted to see was relocating across the state, but this midwife suggested a friend who offered homebirth, and Monica was hooked. She, her husband, and their girls love hiking, camping, and of course, the beach.
♥ four young boys and a boy dog (offspring)