Last night I had a talk with the hubs, hoping that he would see eye-to-eye with me and agree to consult with a few doulas. Things didn't go quite as I had hoped. I was under the impression that he was coming around to the idea and would let me do whatever I felt was necessary, but apparently I was wrong!
I shared with him the many reasons that I felt a doula would be helpful to us:
(Many of these reasons were things I learned from Dou-la-la's blog in response to Baby Making Machine's post about her doula dilemma.)
1. Labor can be LONG, and Mike will want time to nap, shower, eat, etc. The doula would be with me during that time to give him a break.
2. I (and Mike) am very likely to forget some of the pain management techniques I have learned, and it would be very helpful to have a doula there to remind us.
3. I will probably get crazy towards the end and struggle with pain, etc. Mike will probably have a hard time watching me in pain, and will get worried. A doula can reassure us both that things are okay. She can help him know how to help me so that he won't feel helpless and/or concerned about my well-being.
4. The doula can help Mike stay focused and calm.
5. If the doctors or nurses say medications or interventions are necessary, the doula can help us decide for ourselves whether we actually need them or not.
6. The doula can be the liaison between the medical staff and us so that Mike is free to stay and support me and not get caught up in the technicalities.
7. Labor is usually shorter, and natural births are usually more successful with a doula.
8. A doula could help save money by helping prevent unnecessary interventions which may not be completely covered by insurance.
9. A doula can be more objective and can help in stressful or scary situations whereas a husband may himself be too scared or nervous to think clearly.
10. I often have a hard time taking orders from Mike. I am afraid that when I am in extreme pain, if he tells me what I *should* be doing, I will get irritated rather than receptive. In that case, I think I would have an easier time "taking orders" from a woman who knew physically what I was going through at that time.
11. I'm not so concerned about MY doctor - he is supportive of natural childbirth. However, during the long process of labor, I will have several different nurses and members of the hospital staff attending to me. I have no idea what their views on childbirth will be, or what their bedside manner will be. If I have a doula, we will have a consistent source of support and not have to worry about shift changes and possibly getting a nurse that we clash with.
Unfortunately, he doesn't see things this way. I tried to reassure him that my desire for a doula has NOTHING to do with my level of trust in him. I simply want a doula because all the research I have done shows that natural births are more successful with a doula. I want a doula for the additional benefits, not to replace my husband.
However, my husband does not see it this way. He sees my desire for a doula as a personal insult to him. He feels that all these things I have listed as the duties of a doula are things that should be HIS role in childbirth.
So for now, all thoughts of hiring a doula are OUT. I was very upset about this last night, but I guess we'll just have to work through it and hope things work out for the best. I asked Mike to please pay VERY close attention in our childbirth classes, as he is going to be responsible for reminding me of all pain management techniques, and treating me in a gentle, supportive, and understanding way. I am hoping that this childbirth class based on "Birthing From Within" will teach him what he needs to know. He does not like to read, so this class will really be the only way he becomes aware of the roles I need him to play.
Maybe through this class he will find that a doula would NOT be replacing him, but rather would be an added help for us both. By the time we are finished with the class I'll be towards the end of my pregnancy, but I suppose it's not too late. And who knows - maybe we will learn a lot and find that we don't need a doula.
I'm really nervous about childbirth again. I'm scared that with just the two of us, we won't have luck with an unmedicated birth - wish us luck! If anyone has any reassurance in successfully having an unmedicated birth with their husband as their only support, please share it - I need it right now!!!