How many babies have you helped welcome into the world?
As a doula, not too many! Ten, as of the early summer 2013. As a labor and delivery nurse? That's a very good question! I have no idea. When I first started working, I kept a list of babies so I would know how many boys and how many girls. But then I had a few busy days here and there, and forgot to write some down, and then gave it up. Let's just say it's a few hundred and call it even.
What if I change my mind and decide I want pain meds? or what if I plan on them from the start?
If you want pain meds, I'll help you before and after you get them. I'll help you be comfortable and give you sips of water. If you fall asleep, I'll doze at your side. If you don't, I'll chat with you. Maybe I'll knit something for your baby. The simple fact is that choosing pain medication does not mean that I will think anything less of you, and I will stay by your side until your baby is here and you're ready for me to leave.
One thing to consider - pain medications affect different people in different ways. Some women are completely senseless from the waist down, and some women find that the contractions still feel mild and need to work a little through them. There is no way to know how your labor will go. One thing you CAN know, is that I'll be there.
What if I have to have a cesarean?
I still won't leave you. More than likely I won't be able to go into the OR with you, but I will mind your belongings. I'll also stay with your partner until they are allowed into the OR with you. In some instances, I might be allowed in after your partner has left to accompany your baby to the nursery, but that depends completely on the anesthesiologist. That's the doctor who says who comes and who goes in surgery. It wouldn't hurt to ask.
I will stay with you through recovery, until you are settled into your postpartum room. I'll also help you figure out how to nurse your baby around your incision.
What if I have a planned cesarean? Would I still want a doula?
That is completely up to you. Some people are more anxious in hospitals, and having a doula can help calm your nerves. I can also fetch and carry so your partner doesn't have to leave your side. A scheduled cesarean often involves a lot of waiting around, so if I can make that easier on you, I will! In this case, I would do exactly as I would if I'd been helping you labor and you ended up needing one, right down to staying with you until you are in your postpartum room.
What if I want a minute alone with my husband?
Tell me! I will gladly step out of your room and go for a walk to check out what the hospital cafeteria has on hand. I won't go far. It's not an unusual request at all, and I'm happy to give you all the time you need.
My husband thinks that if we hire you, I won't need him. What do you say about that?
I am not there to take his place. I'm there to take some of the pressure off him, so he can perform at his best. I'm also there to give him little jobs that he can do, so he can feel connected to you instead of feeling like a bystander. Most husbands tell me that having me there helped them just as much as it did their wife. That's good to know!