36 answers

Using a Doula for Second Birth After "Going It Alone" the First Time

I am currently pregnant with our second child and looking to make this one a different experience from the first time. While I was able to deliver "all-natural" with our first, I came away from the experience feeling that I had still missed out on something. It seemed rushed, overly monitored and impersonal. The "on-call" doctor at the hospital showed up in the last five minutes, delivered the baby, stitched me up and said good-bye. I am planning to use a mid-wife this time but am wondering if I would benefit from having a doula as well. Has anyone had a similar experience or worked with midwives or doulas after having a more traditional doctor? I would love to hear your stories!

Thanks,
A.

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So What Happened?™

Thank you all for the wonderful advice and support. I started seeing a midwife at the Eugene Midwife Birth Center and will most likely be delivering there. I REALLY considered having a homebirth, but it made my husband uncomfortable and my family thought I was insane. I plan to keep it on the table for the future. My family can think what they want! Ha. I think I may look into post-partum doulas or other help (as suggested) since we have no family near and no non-working friends. Thanks again for all your wonderful well wishes.

Featured Answers

I sincerely recomend a Doula. I met one and found out after I had my daughter what they do and I wish I had employed her. I didn't even know Doula's existed when I was pregnant.

I never had a doula at my births, but two midwives I absolutely love. Just that in itself is personal, rewarding, fulfilling. I had both my boys at home too. That is really special to me because I love being home. It is the happiest place for me I hope you have a wonderful, fulfilling birth!

I went this way from the beginning because my mom had some horrible hospital experiences and switched to a midwife for 4 out of 7 of us kids.

I used a Doula with my first child. I was a single mother at the time and I wanted more out of the experience. I loved her. It definately made it a very special time. She wrote, record, the birth from start to finish. I have a written transcript of my son's birth that I will charish forever. You will definately have a much positive expereince.

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Hi, A.. I actually had a doula for the birth of both of my children. I hestitated with the second as my having been through it once made me feel like I may not "need" it. But I would not ever go back and change one thing. I absolutely loved my doula and the way she enhance my birth experiences, which were both natural, mostly at home (until 7 and 9 centemeters dialated, then to the hospital). She did much more than just be there for the birth. I talked with her every week, sometimes 3 times a week, the month before their arrivals. She was a mental, emotional and physical support that my husband appreciated, too. I fully recommend having a doula. I hired Debra Sheldon wtih Eastside Doula Care (eastsidedoulacare.com). Good luck!!!

1 mom found this helpful

I had a doula for my first birth, but was in Chicago in a hospital with a midwife. I think everyone in the hospital should have a doula. Mine got a different nurse since the one we had was very annoying. I am pregnant now with my second and plan to have a homebirth so I can guarantee a labor without drugs. I haven't decided yet about a doula but am considering it.

I only have one child but wanted to tell you that I had all the above at the same time: a traditional doctor, and a doula who was also trained as a midwife. I delivered in the hospital and had a fantastic experience and the one thing that I remember throughout was the doula's voice coaching me in a gentle and very supportive way, more than the presence of my mother and my husband!! I think that it was because of having her support that I was able to carry out my wish for a natural birth. The doctor wanted to induce my birth because she was concerned about fetal distress and we compromised because she knew that I did not want to use artificial means. She broke my waters and I don't think I saw her until the moment of delivery and stitching me up. I can't express how grateful I was to have the doula throughout my pregnancy, delivery and she even went and found me some dinner afterwards. She even recorded the whole process for me on paper. So, I am a big fan of doulas. Mine was recommended to me by several friends but I know there are websites for information. I liked the fact that mine was also trained as a midwife.

I highly recommend a mid-wife. I had a mid-wife for both of my births and they were both wonderful experiences. With my second I used Hypnobirthing and WOW, what a difference in pain level. I was totally relaxed and I worked with my labor. I didn't have a Doula, but chose the hypnobirthing as an alternative. The hypnotherapist was willing to be my Doula, as she has for many Moms, but I felt in control enough to not need that. If you are in the Portland area, check out, www.hypnobirthingnorthwest.com. Sharon is wonderful and the class was one of the best things I have ever done for myself (and my son had an awesome, peaceful birth too).

A.,
Congratulations on the birth of your next baby! I hope everything goes as well as you would like it to! I didn't have time to read everyone else's reponse but I would just like to say really quickly...
regardless of where you give birth and with whom... make sure you choose/pick a caregiver that you feel that you can trust. The place of the birth isn't so important as the trust issue of those who are attending you. Your baby will come out wherever you feel most safe. Figure out where that place is and with WHOM you feel safest and have that place and those people at your birth. If you feel you would like ot have a doula, interview as many as possible and try to choose based on your comfort level and your level of trust. A good doula will help bring you and your husband closer together and will not usurp your husband's role. A good doula will make him even forget that she was even there! :]
Good luck with your birth and I hope it's as beautiful as you desire!

With love,
S.
Childbirth Educator, Doula
www.empoweredbirthing.net

My first birth I had a c-section. If I wanted to have a vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC), I could only deliver at certain hospitals. Because of this, I thought that I could only have a doctor. I hired a Doula. She was great but the doctor was never there. They missed that part of my placenta was attached so I ended up loosing half of my blood volume, needed 4 units of blood and had a dnc. My third birth was the best. I had another natuaral childbirth but this time with a midwife. With the midwife that I had I did not need a doula. The midwife was with me as much as I needed. She was nuturing and strong at the same time. I would recommend a midwife to everyone!

I had a midwife with both of my first two boyz. I will have the same one with the third. I love her . . . but having a doula was THE MOST AMAZING THING!!! What a difference!! I can't even explain it. She was so comforting. And my second birth process was so different from my first. Had she not been there, I don't think I would have made it. I probably would have begged for a c-section. My second was HOURS upon HOURS, 12 LONG hours, longer than my first. I never dialated past 8. She kept calming me, and rubbing me. She made it go by so much faster. I never was able to go to the tub with my first, she got me in there and rubbed my hands. I didn't have candle scents or soothing music. She had all of those with her! I was busy counting breaths, she taught me to moan through the pain. Such a difference, so much more natural! No one massaged my hands or feet, until she did. My second was so much easier with her being there for ME, she was not there for the experience or the baby. She was there for me and only me. That may sound greedy, but it made the whole experience so wonderful through all the pain and trials. While my hubs and Mom were worried about me and the baby and the delivery, she could just focus on me!! Which meant that I could focus on the baby!

I am sorry that your first birth left you with a bad "taste". First off I promise that from a switch to an MD to a midwife you will notice an incrediable differance!The care is always more personal and you feel like there is a relationship/kinship with you midwife. Are you going to a hospital midwife or birthcenter? Personally I prefer birthcenter midwives, the enviroment is more intimate and there is less "red-tape".
As far as a doula goes, it nevers hurts to have a doula no matter what type of birth you plan. They are 100% there for you and your family. I didn't use one for my first but I had a dear friend who stepped up to the plate, she was amazing. We took Bradley with hopes that my hubby would be my primary but it ended up being too much for him. Next time we will probably have a doula.

Best of luck,
L.

Yes to Hypnobirthing with Sharon in Portland. (no pain) I had a midwife and wish I had the Doula, Carol Gray that taught Birthing from within 8 years ago. I didn't connect with my midwife very well, so I wish I had spent the money for Carol. After reading all the responses, I would encourage you to listen to yourself and do what you know will be best for you. I knew in the middle of the 40 hours of labor that I had made a mistake, because it was my husband that could have used some assistance at the birthing center. I was doing great because he took great care of me. Someone to get him some food etc. Some midwives will do that, ours didnot. So I think it depends on who you have and what your needs are. Trust your intuition on this one.

Hey there -

Congratulations on your pregnancy. We used both a midwife, but at the hospital, and a doula and consequently had a great experience in my opinion. I think having the using a midwife and or a doula, your experience will already be different. talk about your feelings about both your past and what your ideally want your current birth to be like with your mid-wife, that way they will be much more aware and in tune to your needs.

We had a doula because I wanted to take the "pressure" off of my husband. He gets queasy very very easily and I wasn't sure how he'd do during the birth and I knew I needed support. Besides, I absolutely love my husband and he is extremely sensitive and supportive but there is just something about women helping and supporting women that is just different in my opinion. Also having our doula gave him someone to ask questions, and just be dad and husband during the birth of our daughter. I think trying to add in birthing coach on top of that is a lot to ask of anyone.

last but not least, creating a birthing plan helped me clarify what my needs were during the birth but I also realized that in two seconds it could just become scrap paper. The book Birthing from Within helped me write it (and an experience with a nurse that was so not the direction I wanted to go) pulled things into focus for me.

Hope that helps! T.

Oh yeah after reading some of the other responses, if you are at the hospital -- your doula can run interferrence for you -- like getting different nurses, advocating for you (if you don't want meds ect), stear the pushy mother in law in the other direction if that is an issue. And yes, some doulas do do post-pardum care. If you are having a non hospital birth, you may want to re-think it because your mid wife will be there for you in a very different way.

I had a nightmare delivery with my first child, because the doctor at the time (20 years ago) was administering the Epidural, and he was always gone when I needed a "refresher" and on top of that, he didn't know what he was doing with the Epidural. Now they have separate Anethesiologists, thank God. But I decided I would NEVER subject myself to an MD by himself ever again. I chose a mid-wife - mine was Sheila Easton Hummel in Edmonds. She was AMAZING. She stayed wtih me throughout the whole deliver, and she is a midwife, which means, she is MEDICALLY trained. And when I needed an emergency C-Section at Stevens Hostpial they were EXTREMELY responsive, just as if my own doctor were performing the emergency C-section.

I believe a Doula is only trained to help out the mom- she is not a mid-wife. I suggest having a mid-wife so you have the medical expertise, instead.

I sincerely recomend a Doula. I met one and found out after I had my daughter what they do and I wish I had employed her. I didn't even know Doula's existed when I was pregnant.

Hi A.,
My first birth was a c-section, quite a dissapointment in almost every way. The amazing little boy was the only redeeming thing about it.
For out next two births we oppted for home-births with a mid-wife and doula. Well worth the money even if insurance does not cover it. (suprisingly a lot of them do now, that's progress!) I will always say, a home birth is the way to go if you are healthy and don't have medical issues that forbid it. I really don't think we were ment to have babies in institutions where we are just a room/patient number and a potential insurance risk. This is the most incredible thing you will ever do as a women and it should be with people who appreciate life itself. The philosophy of the mid-wife community is so utterly different than your modern day OB doctor, even at her best she can't really compete.
Note: it is always a good idea to have two sets of hands at a home-birth.(your husband does not count in the "hand count", he is your advocate in all things and can enjoy the wonder of the birth better if he is not under pressure to catch his own baby...unless you both decide to do that)
side note: sitting in warm water helps ease labor more than you can possibly imagine :-)
Happy Birthing!

Go with a Doula and if you are in the Corvallis area I can recommend a GREAT one! Definitely interview them first before committing, make sure you feel comfortable with them. Also I recommend the book Hypnobirthing as well. Good luck!!

I have heard great things about mid wifes! Good luck

A doula is primarily an advocate for your wants and wishes. I hired a doula and would absolutely recommend it for anyone! I had a hospital delivery with a "conventional" doctor who wasn't so conventional and it was a great experience. My doula was with me the entire time and I still had the medical expertise that my doctor could offer for my somewhat high risk pregnancy. If you call PALS, they can give you numbers for doula's in the area. Mine was Shari Luchino and she was great!

I am a now retired labor and delivery nurse who worked in Labor/Delivery at Portland Adventist for 28 years full time. I can understand what you mean by the doctor just arriving 5 minutes before the delivery and gone shortly afterwards. That is common for both OB-GYN doctors and family practice doctors. Their lives aare so full with office/surgery etc. that the patient's don't realize how little time they will actively see their own doctor during their own delivery. I can recommend a Certified Nurse Midwife who delivers at Advetist and also Providence Milwaukee as well. Her name is Peggy Hayes CNM. She is very hands on and does an excellent job of coaching and also getting to know your family too. She does have an OB-GYN physician group that backs her up in case of complications. i'm sure there must be other good midwives in the city but this is the one I've seen for many years. Chris P

Although I had my babies at a Hospital, I had a midwife and loved it. Never felt rushed, listen to me, I trusted her her.
D.

Hi A.,

Congratulations on your upcoming birth! Amazing that you listened to and responded to your body, baby and the power of labor naturally. I have been a doula to women in very similar situations. While you are not looking to hire a doula from here, and I understand that; if you would like to speak with some former clients who have told me they would be happy to share their stories with other women considering a doula, I would be happy to offer your their contact information in private of course.

I believe that you would find birth, with the right doula a very empowering experience. You will be supported, respected, and she will stay with you throughout your birth, unlike hospital staff. A doula is there to support you from the waist up, and the medical team take care of you from the waist down.

If finances are a consideration there are doulas who lack experience, but are not less dedicated to supporting women through labor that will attend births for free while they gain their certification.

I wish you a most empowered and joyful birth!

Warm regards,
T. CD (DONA)

A.,
I've been thinking about your message for a few days now and have lots to tell you. I will try to make this short since you are probably like me, have little time.

With my first pregnancy, we went through the birthing classes. Our instructor was a doula and she had a lot of information to share with us about being a doula and so forth. For most of my OB appointments, my OB wasn't available and I had two other midwives seeing me. (I refused to see their male OB and made it clear that he wasn't to be near me when I gave birth. NO MALE MEDICAL STAFF PERIOD) One of my favorite ladies was new to the clinic. She had just finished her residency and had conducted all of her assisted live births with approved OB doctors. Since I really liked her; my husband too, we had hoped to have her deliver our 1st child. As luck would have it, she was there at the birth. I really enjoyed having her smiling face in my presence even when I was in hard labor. Where I delivered, the staff was awesome. Our son was her first unsupervised live birth and it was an incredible moment for all of us, including her.
When I became pregnant with our second child, we had just changed to my husband's insurance and I went to her. I had been reassured by my husband's work that my pregnancy was not a pre-existing condition. After I had many appointments with her, I found out that it was considered pre-existing and I had to wait 6mos for insurance to kick in before they would pay her (she wasn't on their preferred list) Needless to say, I had to find someone on THEIR list in order for them to pay right away). I was so upset because we couldn't afford to pay out of pocket for her so I had to find someone else.
We found a clinic closer and I went to my first appointment with the midwife. I disliked her from the moment she walked in the door. As soon as I left my appointment, I cried hysterically in the car. I called my previous midwife and cried oceans of tears to her. She gave me words of wisdom and encouraged me to try and forget my first impression. (All I could say was, "She's not you." Well, there were two midwives in the office as well as an OB. I saw all of them and there was only 1 I liked. She was the other midwife.
On the day of birth, she was there. Her smile, attitude and overall being was such a joy. I smiled with her throughout my delivery and truly felt that GOD had meant for her to be at my delivery.

I have had nothing but awesome experiences with midwives and recommend them highly. They are so different than OB doctors and have more humanity and gentleness than I have ever experienced. (We are talking the difference between a new pair of loafers and old sneakers)

I wish you the best of health with you and the family. Just know that it is your delivery, not the doctors and it is your decision as to who you want around.

Be well.

Hi A.,

I'm sorry you had a bad experience with your first birth and hope this one is better. I think changing to a midwife alone will make a huge difference. I had a natural first birth and I wanted a doula. I told her what I wanted from my experience but even as I was preparing for the birth, I wasn't convinced she was going to help me all that much. Unfortunately, I wasn't sure if my husband was up for the task as he gets a little squeamish about things as well. I wanted to labor at home for as long as I could - I wasn't sure when I should go to the hospital so I called her (it was 11:30pm, she did not answer and called me back after 5 minutes!)... Then I got to a point where I threw up (sorry TMI) and my husband wanted to go to the hospital and we called her again (and she did not pick up right away again). She was there shortly after we arrived. To be honest, I don't really think she helped me. I almost had 2 doulas because the midwife kind of seemed to take that role, and as well I had my husband. For me, it was kind of a waste and I wouldn't recommend it. However, you have to do what's right for you. I think the midwife will probably be all the support you need.

HTH

Good luck and congrats on your new little one,
A.

If you are using a midwife, I don't see the need for a doula. If you were going to the hospital for another birth then I would highly recommend a doula. But if you are planning a home birth or a birth center birth, then a midwife will provide you with everything you need. They form a relationship with you from day one, they come when you are in labor and stay through the entire birth process and stick around afterwards to help you settle in with your new baby. The loving support is amazing. My midwife was everything I could hope for and she attends my daughter's birthdays each year because we truly view her as a part of our family now. Interview a few midwives, I am sure you will totally click with one and I bet you will have an amazing birth!

I look back at my pregnancy, labor and birth and all I can say is that all of it was amazing. It's incredible how the proper support and knowledge from a midwife can make you feel safe, powerful, comfortable and at peace with the entire experience. I could easily give birth a hundred times the natural way as long as I have my midwife there!

Hey, I am sorry for you hospital experience. It happens to mothers to often. A doula would be very beneficial. Doulas can work as mediators when you are to exhausted to explain things or describe your needs to the midwife. They provide comfort and emotional support. I work wo0rk for a non-profit called the International center for Traditional Childbearing. We train Full Circle Doulas, meaning they provide prenatal, perinatal and post-partum care. We are here to help women of all economic status and cultural backgrounds, meaning it's as low as free for our doula services. Good luck. Good for you for trying something new and traditional by using a midwife.

i'd suggest that you continue to really consider homebirth. this is, after all, your birth! - and the only birth this child will have, with lifelong repercussions! if you are interested, i have a huge library of books about birth in general and homebirth in particular which i would be happy to loan to you (i live in eugene). having some good written information could help win over your husband and parents. and there are lots of good homebirth midwives in eugene, as you probably know, as well as lots of good doulas. and i think that even with a midwife and even with a homebirth, it is always good to have a doula there with you as well.

I never had a doula at my births, but two midwives I absolutely love. Just that in itself is personal, rewarding, fulfilling. I had both my boys at home too. That is really special to me because I love being home. It is the happiest place for me I hope you have a wonderful, fulfilling birth!

I went this way from the beginning because my mom had some horrible hospital experiences and switched to a midwife for 4 out of 7 of us kids.

You sound a lot like me. I am going with a midwife for the second birth. The midwifes say they are in the delivery room much more than dr, just how much probably depends on the midwife and where you deliver.
I looked into midwifes, which cost $###-###-#### depending on services. WE decided we would use the money for help after the baby's arrival instead.
i read and took a class to prepare me for my first birth so I am reading different things to prepare me for the second. "Ina May's guide to Childbirth" was an encouraging book. I've watched a few baby stories on TLC.
But most importantly find who and what you will be comfortable with.

I had the same midwife for both of my babies. My oldest was at a waterbirthing center and the second at home. I had enough of an awesome relationship with my midwife that I didn't need extra help during labor and delivery. What I did need help with was dishes and laundry for a couple days afterwards. If you have a little extra cash to spend on support that is the help I would opt for.

I am a midwife and one of the things that I would change about the American birthing process is making sure EVERY woman had a doula during labor. It's like having a best friend who knows exactly what to do or say to help you. I believe we put too much pressure on the men in a birthing situation. We tell them to be "coach" and so they approach it like that - just like a man - and unfortunately that is not what we women want or need. I have seen that a doula is great at helping the woman, and teaching her husband to help her so that he can relax and be part of the birth.

I used a Doula with my first child. I was a single mother at the time and I wanted more out of the experience. I loved her. It definately made it a very special time. She wrote, record, the birth from start to finish. I have a written transcript of my son's birth that I will charish forever. You will definately have a much positive expereince.

I had a home birth with midwives for my son. There was also a doula-in-training that came along with them. It was great to have the extra person, as we really needed everyone (2 midwives, a doula, my mother, and my brother). Every person was doing something to be helpful, as I was in labor for 27 hours and then pushing for almost 3. I am not a private person, so I thought all help way great. The doula rubbed my back, helped to support my weight and talked to me. If you find someone that you really like I say go for it.

I haven't used a doula or mid-wife....My doctor is Richard Beyerlein on 7th street - at Pacific Women's Center, ###-###-####. He is wonderful, funny and just a fabulous doctor. I always tell people about him and two of my friends went to him in the last two years and loved him. If you are having different thoughts on your OBGYN - I would definately look for another person to care for you. I would call up the doulas in town and ask questions on what they do and what to expect from them. Same for the mid-wives too. I believe there is a birthing center in Eugene somewhere - I have heard good things about them. I believe that they provide different ways to deliver. You might be able to deliver at your home too if you are in good health and there are complications with the pregnancy. I hope that this helps.

Dear A.: I am a devoted grandmother, and have to tell you that my daughter just had her second child. The first time she had nobody but the ob/gyn who showed up at the last minute. This last time, she had a doula, and it made all the difference in the world. The process begins before the deliver and continues after it. I can't emphasize how wonderful it is to have a doula. (I am assuming that you want to have a hospital delivery) If you are exploring home delivery, you might consider a midwife. Just be sure that your doula is certified.
Martha

We used a doula for the birth of our first child, and while it was helpful, it didn't add quite as much to the experience as I would have hoped. I actually got the most benefit from the doula in the pre-labor support, when she met a few times with my husband and I to talk about what would happen, practice breathing and visualizing, and just answer any questions we had. In actual labor (all-natural as you say), I really, really leaned on my husband the most. And I was lucky because my doctor came in and spent a good hour and half with me in the pushing stage to help me get the baby out - so the doula didn't have too much to do. When we have our next baby, I am not planning on having a doula there at all. I would think a good midwife would more than fit the bill for helping you have the birth experience you want.

Congratulations on your pregnancy! That is so exciting! Having two close in age is challenging for sure, but so much fun! Never a dull moment!
I'm sorry your first birth was so impersonal. I'm glad that you've decided to use a midwife this time! I can't say enough about midwives. Mine was amazing and litterally changed my life! I had a very traumatic hospital birth with my first and I just had my second in June with a midwife, at home and it was FANTASTIC! It was such a healing experience for me. I would totally recommend having a doula! I had one at my last birth because she was also an assistant to my midwife. Having the support of two strong, fabulous women was really amazing. I felt so loved and cared for. It made all the differnence in the world!
Now, because of my birth experiences, I've developed a passion for birth and I'm studying to become a doula. Doulas are such an invaluable resource and every pregnant women should have one!!!!

Hope this was helpful!
if you would like more information on midwives or doulas please feel free to message me on here and I'll give you my phone number!

I delivered all three of my children at home with a midwife, and have experience with two different midwives. I don't have experience with a doula, but both of my midwives were all the support I needed for prenatal care, the birth & postpartum. I also know that they would have advocated for me if we had had to transport to the hospital.

You're going to love the care you get from your midwife! Best to you,
D.

Are you having the baby in a hospital? If at home or in a birthing center, you probably don't need a doula - as the midwives have support staff. If a hospital birth - the midwife acts much as the Doctor - just there to catch the baby.

If you are having a hospital birth I would definitely recommend a doula. I had the same wonderful doula there for the birth of both of my babies, both natural childbirth. I didn't need her quite as much with the second, as everything moved too quickly for drugs to be an option, but I still wouldn't have wanted to be without her. She was also a wonderful support to my husband - he recommends doulas to his guy friends when expecting.

If you want to email me, I can recommend the specific doula I had.

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