There's not one right way to labor, just as there's not one right birth team to put together. But do consider the benefits of having someone who is trained to support you during childbirth. This person, a birth doula, is familiar with the birth process and how to support you, along with your birth partner (i.e., husband, girlfriend, mother, etc.). She is available, not to replace your birth partner, but to compliment the relationship that already exists between you and your birth partner. She is there to support your needs along with making sure your birth partner feels supported.
Maybe you're not quite sure you want a birth doula, or maybe it's your birth partner that is hesitant to add another person to your birth team. I encourage families that are curious about whether to hire a birth doula to go ahead and schedule interviews with several to learn more. Interviews are done at no charge, and you will have an opportunity to ask questions and share your thoughts and preferences regarding your pregnancy and upcoming birth. You'll also want to meet more than one birth doula, as you may not necessarily mesh well with the first one you meet or you may find that upon meeting a couple more doulas, that in fact the first one you interviewed is the best fit for everyone. You want to feel sure that you will feel comfortable and uninhibited around whoever it is surrounds you on the day of your baby's birth.
I realize not everyone is necessarily interested in having a stranger at their birth, and I understand the hesitations. Keep in mind, the stranger your doula is to you at that first meeting will shift into a different relationship. More than likely, you'll develop a close and comfortable relationship with her as you move closer to your baby's birth, and by the time you call her when you go into labor, you will feel at ease with her presence during such a vulnerable and intimate time.
Remember, your doula is experienced in childbirth (having witnessed it, perhaps having given birth, and is well educated in childbirth), and you will probably not surprise her with any of your noises, movements, requests or behaviors during labor and birth.
If you're unsure you want to hire a doula, but you are interested in the prenatal support you may receive from meeting with one, keep in mind that you may be able to arrange for meetings with a birth doula without necessarily asking her to be part of your birth team.
I offer consultation services, similar to my prenatal visits with my clients, for families that want to discuss birth planning (i.e., preferences, birth wishes, birth plans), comfort measures and movements, and postpartum planning. During this time, you'll have a chance to share your thoughts, ask questions, and have an opportunity for additional support and resources.
Perhaps you are happy with your prenatal care, but you wish you had a bit more time to discuss how you're feeling, planning for your labor, and how to prepare for parenthood with your care provider. While I won't give medical advice, I am available to discuss with you a lot of things that often come up in getting ready for childbirth. Without having to commit to hiring a birth doula, I can bring the best of both worlds for families that don't want to have a birth doula present during childbirth.
And if you do decide to hire me as your birth doula (based on my availability, this may not always be possible to arrange), I will apply the consultation fees towards my birth doula fee.
If you want to set up a consultation meeting, please give me a call or send me an email. Fees are $40/hour and most consultations last 1-2 hours (we can arrange this prior to our meeting).