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Last week, I found my doula and hired her. Two weeks ago I scheduled interviews with several doulas and by last Friday I had narrowed my search down to one. I chose to go with Penny De Gregorio who is in Sparks.

This is my second child and I did have a doula on my first pregnancy. When you find a doula you don’t necessarily have to choose to go with that same doula the second time around. I found that the energy between my first doula and myself was not exactly right on. I questioned writing this blog as I already blogged about choosing a doula. This blog is a bit different and more about making sure you find who someone who is a correct match. It’s hard picking out the right person to be in the delivery room with you; everyone has an idea of what they want or don’t want. Now that I’ve experienced labor and know what to expect and have spoken with several women who have had doulas, I know a bit more about what to look for in a doula.

One of the things I want to recommend is to follow up and call the references that the doula gives you. Beyond those references, talk to other women! Find out if anyone else who is not listed used that doula. References are nice, but are always focused on the people who had a great experience, not those who had poor experiences. Like I said, I debated on writing this blog today as I don’t want to bad mouth anyone and that is not my goal. However, I’d like to point out some key things that happened to me that were not helpful, resulting in me finding a new doula for my second pregnancy.

The entry I wrote a few months ago on doulas was just a general blog about what a doula is and how you might want to go about finding one–all of the same information holds true. In discussing my experience with other doulas last week and listening to some of the stories they shared about people who had also used my first doula, I felt a need to share my experience. I have to bring to light some of the things that weren’t as they should have been, so you may confirm with your doula that the same won’t happen to you.

My first doula, who I will not name, was expensive. More so than any of the other doulas I interviewed. I took this and her qualifications and reputation to be a good thing. Now I question as to whether I was just another woman scheduled to help her make her quota. Do be careful as some doulas are in need of clients to help them obtain their license and for others this is a full time job and they need clients to make ends meet. This is not an everyday thing, but do keep this in mind and find someone with a true passion for being a doula. A doula should feel like a part of your family. They will be with you during a very intimate time;you want to feel a connection with them and know they care about your best interest. The passion needs to be there. In hindsight, my doula didn’t really possess this, but had a lot of knowledge. I thought that was what I needed. What you need to have is a good healthy combination of both.

In past blogs, I’ve revealed that I don’t bond well instantly with people and am more of an introvert. I have to warm up to people and get to know them. So, when I met my first doula and felt “just okay” around her, I thought it was just me. I only met with my doula twice before the birth so I didn’t pick up on the distance between us until we got to the hospital. Once at the hospital things were fine and I never felt awkward, but there was a distance. She was a stranger helping me with the birth of my son just like the nurses. Now I know I need more than that purely professional side of a doula. I could have gotten past that if everything else was in order, but everything she told me she was going to do never happened. I was told I would be massaged, she would monitor my water intake and make sure I went to the bathroom every hour to keep my fluids up and aid in labor. None of those things happened. She stood next to my bed, asked a few questions, and held my hand; anyone could’ve done that. I got sick and threw up all over the floor. As this was my first birth I didn’t know it was a sign that the baby was getting close to being born. My doula was matter of fact about it and made me feel like I should have known. Don’t get me wrong, she was never mean or unprofessional; she just had a different energy that came out at the hospital.

Fortunately for me, my acupuncturist, Shawna, was there. Shawna is also a trained doula, but doesn’t practice. She ended up stepping in when my doula went to the bathroom, and the comfort level was completely different. She talked to me about breathing and started doing pressure points on my hand. It wasn’t long after that my son was born and my acupuncturist was the one holding my leg along with my husband–not my doula. This didn’t seem to bother my doula. Within 20 minutes my doula helped me nurse my son and then left, promising to come back the next day to check in on me. She never came back. She never called me. Two weeks after my son’s birth I called her to find out if she’d return for her final post visit. She responded that if I needed her she could come back. Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed. However, my acupuncturist did come back unexpectedly the next day, AND called me to make sure I was okay. She filled in where my doula left me hanging. I was very blessed to have had Shawna there (thank you again, Shawna).

To be continued tomorrow…

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