i first heard about doulas when I was pregnant with my first baby. ALthough very tempting to hire one, I decided my husband would be enough. That didn’t quite work out the way I expected. He has intense anxiety about medical procedures, needles, hopsitals etc…, so after he fainted while the nurse talked about putting in my heplock for the IV (I was being induced at 42 weeks), he was pretty much gone for my entire 22 hours of labor. In fact, when the baby was born, he was asleep in the car in the parking log, fara way from the hospital itself. I, therefore, insisted on a doula for baby number 2.
I lived in Bakersfield at the time, and there was a doula program there to give people free doulas. The doulas were in training and the cost was nothing. I selected the doula with the most experience, she was a licensed midwife in New Mexico, and didn’t meet with her before. I spoke to her on the phone, but not in person. I was again induced at 42 weeks (doctor wanted to induce me early, but I talked her out of it as the ultrasound showed the baby wasn’t huge), and went in at 10pm to be induced. I ended up going into labor before any pitocin was administred, and at 3:30 a.m., the nurse advised me to call my doula. She arrived at 4:00 and the baby was born at 4:30. Didn’t really need her all that much. A few days after birth, she brought me a casserole and the pictures she took, which was nice, so when I was ready to have baby #3, I called her again.
What I remember the most about my labor is how much the doula annoyed me. My labor was about 17 hours long. I found out that she had never given birth before, but she had two children she adopted. She was not married. She treated my husband with open contempt. She told her life story to EVERYONE that came in. OMG. I was so sick of hearing that life story. She basically ignored my contractions, or at least seemed like she didn’t know what to do. I was so focused on hating her, that it helped me get through contractions. She complained that my labor wasn’t going fast enough. Being a third baby, she expected to be done quickly, so I felt guilty. She said “If you have the baby by noon, I can still go to Magic Mountain.” Yes, she said that.
During labor, the doctor was telling her what to do. He told her to get me to focus and to hold my hand. When I saw him later, he told me she was an awful doula. Yeah, I got that.
As soon as the baby was born at 12:30, she bolted. She did take some pictures, but man, did she get out of there fast. Even my doctor said I need to get a new doula for another baby.
When I found out I was pregnant with baby number 4, I knew I wanted to get a better doula.
TO BE CONTINUED.