Doula, round two-la

(I couldn’t help myself.)

As I mentioned before, it’s been nicer to go into this pregnancy with a more relaxed and trusting mindset. As I think it’s expected with first-time moms, during my pregnancy with Liv, I couldn’t read fast enough. I happily swam in pregnancy books, could easily tell you which fruit or vegetable size she was at the time, and was immersed in our Bradley Method classes, which we really enjoyed. This time, I’m going to refresh a bit of the information, but am happy I *studied* so much last time that a majority of the information has remained with me. 

There are a couple of things that I’m starting to worry/focus on now, and here are the major two:

1) Figuring out a plan for someone to stay with Liv, depending on whether I go into labor during the day or in the middle of the night. We have a fairly quick drive to the hospital, but I’ve heard second babies can arrive faster, so I have vivid mental images of delivering on the side of the freeway, which is slightly alarming. Also, it makes me sad that she won’t be able to come with us to the hospital right away, even though I know it wouldn’t be enjoyable at all for her. I’m hoping that as soon as the baby arrives a friend or babysitter can bring her to the hospital so our family can be together.

2) Finding a doula. When we moved to San Diego, as with any big move, I instantly began to research doctors, dentists, preschools, etc. Out of curiosity, I googled for doulas and midwives, long before we were pregnant or started trying. There are a LOT of doulas here in San Diego, and none of my friends here have used one (word of mouth is usually the way to go for recommendations like this). Thankfully, Whitney put me into contact with a group of mamas here in San Diego, and they gave a few highly-recommended doula options. I’m meeting with one next week! Since I’ve never had to interview a doula before (ours in Tucson was a friend of a friend, and happened to be observing our Bradley class towards the end of her midwifery training, so it worked out perfectly), I thought it would be helpful to put together some questions beforehand, or simply chat with her about some things that are important to us:

-Supporting my goals of another another medication-free birth, but obviously the health of mama and baby are the #1 concern. I want to try to let things progress on their own, but at the end of the day, do what you need to do to get baby here safely. 

-Preventing episiotomy (I didn’t have one last time and would like to avoid it) 

-After-care for baby: reminding doctors that we’d like the baby to stay in our room if possible for testing and her first bath, and nixing the eye drops 

-Placenta encapsulation. Our doula did this for us last time, and it would be awesome if this one is able to do this for us, since she’ll be there for the birth.

-Postpartum visits. Last time, I was in this weird postpartum cloud and had problems with breastfeeding. Many doulas offer support after the baby is born to check on the family and help with breastfeeding. I’m taking all the help I can get. 

-Going by the general vibe. I’m a huge believer that I’ll know right away if it’s a good fit.

I would love to hear your experience with having kids and not living near family. How did you arrange for help with your other kiddo and bringing them to the hospital to meet their new sibling?

Did you have a doula or something similar?? 



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  1. “Her” first bath?! Is that a hint or a random pronoun choice? 🙂

  2. Heather J says:

    We used a doula and she was great. We met through a sort of speed dating type event, held by a local doula association. We met 5 different doulas for 20 mins each that day and picked one. it was a great way to hear about their different services.

    • Fitnessista says:

      that sounds perfect! i’ll have to research and see if they have something similar here. thank you!

      • Heather J says:

        No problem. It was especially helpful to us because we could ask people how much they charged for their services. Most doulas don’t post it on heir web sites (if they even have a web site). Price was the major deciding factor and I liked how we didn’t have to set up individual meetings only find out the doula didn’t seem like a good fit and/or charged too much for our budget.

  3. I was about to say the same thing 🙂

    Excited to find out! Though rooting for a healthy little one as the #1!!

  4. Definitely be ready to go for number two! My first baby took 24 hours and needed pitocin to help (after laboring for 14 hours stuck at 4cm). My second baby took less than 3 hours and was born 5 minutes after we got to the hospital! It was a pretty intense morning!

    I had a doula, the same one as for my first, and though she didn’t really support me through the actual labor (it went too fast!), she helped me calm down after the birth and gave us lots of post partum support managing the transition from 1 to 2 kids.

    We lined up some neighbors who could stay with big brother until my parents could arrive, then they brought him to the hospital. We packed birthday party plates, hats, etc in the hospital bag and had my parents pick up some cupcakes so we could have a birthday party for the new baby when he came to see her for the first time. We made sure the baby was in the bassinet and not being held by mom or dad (supposedly prevents some immediate jealousy?) when he walked in to see us for the first time. Best of luck! Two is more of an exponential change than an additional change!

    • Fitnessista says:

      ahhhh i’ve heard so many stories like this! with my aunt, she delivered 8 minutes after arriving to the hospital. i’m hoping for a fast labor, but definitely hoping we get there on time
      that’s awesome your doula was still able to help you. i’m hoping ours will be the same way and can stop by at least once after the baby is born
      love that you threw a little birthday party, too! we’ll have to borrow that idea 🙂 also great tip about having the baby in a bassinet when the older kiddo arrives

  5. I’m also a military wife. My husband is a drill i structor and we had our second baby a few months ago. We live no where near family. I spoke with my ob about not having anyone to keep my three year old and she and the hospital I delivered at were very accomodating. My daughter was able to come to the hospital with us when I went into labor and was in the room with me until I started to push. While I was pushing a nurse colored with her at the nurses desk. And she came back in as soon as the baby had a bath and I was stitched and cleaned up. The doctors were very understanding of us not having family or friends to keep her. We had no choice but to take her with us though. Im very thankful a nurse could keep her so my husband could be with me when I deliveres. My second labor was also much faster but much easier. My first labor was only 6 hours, no meds and included a 4th degree episiotomy. This time around it was 4 hours and I got an epidural so I could have my daughter in the room with me and not be a mess. Although the contractions up until the epidural were easier tolerated than with my first. My second labor was also much more enjoyable and I credit that to the meds. Haha And I know a lot of hospitals aren’t using the eye drops anymore. My son didn’t get them. Good luck finding a doula!

    • Fitnessista says:

      that is so wonderful to hear that they were accommodating for you and the nurse was so sweet to color with her. worst case, i’m hoping that ours will have a similar option or something we can do

      • It was a huge relief for me to have her with me at the hospital. And to know she was right outside in the hallway while I pushed. My mom started to travel to sc once i was in labor and she was able to keep her the remainder of me being in the hospital but the hospital was willing to let her stay with me over night if needed. Hopefully with you being in a town with military your docs will be as understanding if you need to bring her.

        • Fitnessista says:

          perfect. good to know!! as of now, think i would be stressed/sad/worried if she wasn’t there

  6. We had my MIL bring Lanier to the hospital the morning of my discharge because I was worried about it being upsetting for her to have to 1) leave me after being away from me for more than a day (I was induced this time just like with Lanier, and because of Clair’s situation/position, I knew it wasn’t going to be quick) and 2) leave me while the baby got to stay. So, she came about an hour before I was discharged and we gave her her big sister gifts and then we all left together as a family.

    I also didn’t have to have an episiotomy with Lanier, but when Clair’s heart rate started to decelerate, the doctor apologized and said that he was going to have to make a cut. I told him I didn’t care, to just get her out safely and it honestly hasn’t been a big deal.

  7. Dominique says:

    we don’t live near family and are expecting #2 the end of August. Our son’s babysitter is awesome and super flexible so depending on the day/what time/how fast I’m progressing, she’ll take him until my parents can get here (they live about 2 hours away)- although I’m with you- I went about 12 hours start to finish the first time and like you, I’m pretty sure I want to be at the hospital as soon as I realize I’m in labor to prevent the highway birth fear

  8. Out of curiosity, why are you choosing to forgo eyedrops? I’m a med student and have never heard of a patient requesting to opt out of them (for the record, I promise not to try to talk you in/out of it, just curious <3 )

    • I’m really curious too! 🙂 Would love to hear more about this!!!

    • We skipped it because my husband is allergic to erythromycin. When we mentioned it to our midwife, she said there was such an extremely low risk of the baby getting an eye infection that it wasn’t a big deal to skip it. She also said a lot of people pass on it now.
      I forgot to say anything about it when my daughter was born, but they didn’t do it. (Maybe my husband said something, I never asked.)

      • Natalie says:

        I’m a pharmacist- the erythromycin eye ointment is to protect against gonococcal eye infections contracted as the baby is born. So if a couple knows they have no history of gonorrhea, they shouldn’t be needed.

    • Fitnessista says:

      they’re really only necessary if the mom has tested positively for STDs, as the bacteria can be passed to the baby through the birth canal. it can blur their vision during an important bonding/connection time, so if you aren’t ask risk for transmitting bacteria/infection, from what i’ve read it’s NBD to skip it

  9. Monica C. says:

    Can you talk a little about placenta encapsulation and why you want to do it? (Or if it’s something you talked about in a previous post, can you link to it?) Thanks!

  10. While I know nothing of the Doula stuff. I had all 3 of my babies with a Dr/midwife.

    I did however have an episiotomy (sp?) with my firstborn. With his labor I had no pain meds whatsoever, I do remember right after he came out I looked down at the Dr and he was stitching me up. Again, no pain meds. My body was sooo in shock from the birth I didn’t feel it. The healing part wasn’t bad either. Stung a little when I peed.

    When my 2nd son was born I didn’t have meds or an episiotomy either. I was worried too about who would watch my oldest when I went into labor. We had no family around at the time. But thankfully we have a group of friends we hung out with that took my son for the few days.
    Then when my middle son was a year I deployed to Iraq so my mom moved out to help my husband and literally never left. Its been 7 years and she is still here. So last year when I delivered my daughter she was home with my boys (17 yo and 7 yo).

    With my middle son, he stayed in the room with us the whole time with the exception of the testing. My daughter however had to be rushed to the NICU an hour away otherwise she would have stayed in my arms the whole time 😀

  11. Traci W says:

    I have a friend who just had baby #2 last month. She did not have any family nearby. I told her towards the end of her pregnancy to call me if she needed me to watch her older son for any reason. Thankfully, she listened and called me once she was in labor! I watched their son and brought him to the hospital once things calmed down. I was more than happy to help!

    • Fitnessista says:

      you are an awesome friend 🙂 thankfully a couple of my friends have offered, too, so i’m hoping it will work out

  12. Omg I just googled episiotomy to see what it was. I DO NOT want one of those! ahhh

  13. I’m due with my first in August and curious about the eye drops — why don’t you want your baby to have them? I thought that they were necessary to prevent infection, but maybe I haven’t done enough research!

  14. We’re having a doula for our birth in August, and I’m so thankful we found the woman we did. Just like when we searched around for a midwife, I think it’s pretty easy to know whether or not a particular person is the right fit for you, your family, and your birth wishes. I hope you find that right person sooner than later!

  15. Yvonne Jones says:

    Second Baby came easier but not necessarily faster? I was better prepared and knew the contractions weren’t serious at first.. I was able to lounge in the bath and bounce on the ball for a good while before I went and got checked. Here is a timeline for our experience if that helps. 6am first contractions start but are 25 minutes apart.. they continue at a tolerable pain level until noon. Now they are about 10-13 minutes apart..I call the doctor and they tell me to hop in the bath and set an appointment for 230 to come get check. Hubs was at work and my Mom was driving up so I drove myself. Not always recommended but like I said they weren’t bad at all. By the time I got to the appointment and took a stress test I only had one contraction. I was super sad and prepared to go home. They checked me anyways! 6CM! So I headed to the hospital which was across the parking lot from the docs (convenient eh?). Little man took his time though I had them break my water and he still didn’t want to come out until 11 that night. But he came out in maybe 7 pushes? Just slipped right on out. Even recovery was easy the second time around. I was quite shocked that I had next to zero pain and was walking just fine the next morning. Unlike my first, which I felt like walking was torture for two full weeks after. Good luck! I’m sure you will make it just in plenty of time.

  16. I never used a doula so this is very interesting to me. Did you ask your Tucson doula if she knows any she would recommend in the SD area?

  17. I have a doula for my second pregnancy (39 weeks Sunday!). I did not have one for the first pregnancy. I’m very excited and eager to compare the two births!

  18. My 2nd baby arrived 6 weeks early this October – my water broke at night! Surprising to say the least. Our kindergartener didn’t get to see her until she came home from the hospital 2.5 wks later. The hospital initiated a no kids policy in the NICU due to circulating influenza — whether vaccinated or not. It was difficult since i needed to line up childcare whenever we both went but I’d choose a virus-free zone to protect the babies. Regular maternity floors often have similar policies in the fall too so those summer babies may be the way to go.

    • Fitnessista says:

      that’s interesting. i’ll have to check into that, because during flu season at our hospital, no children under 12 were allowed. i wasn’t sure if it was different in the birth center; definitely something to check into

  19. My doula just moved to SD! Her name is Ashley Jones and a fellow Navy wife. I believe she’s doing placenta encapsulation now in San Diego. Here’s her Facebook and website if you’re interested 🙂

  20. We had home births with all three and don’t live near family so with baby #2 we had friends on call ready to take our daughter for the day. If it was the middle of the night she could just sleep so that wasn’t a concern. I went into labor at 545 am and they came over at 730 am to pick her up and our 2nd daughter was born at 4:45 pm so they brought her home for dinner! It was great.

    Don’t be fooled by the ‘baby #2 comes quicker’. That was really disappointing to me as my second labor was easier but longer (11 hours as opposed to 9 with the first) and I kept expecting it to be quicker. The only part that was better was pushing but baby still has to come out a small space 😉 It will take a while.

    Baby #3 we had a similar plan for our girls to spend the day at a friends. My son was 2 weeks late so we had a psuedo ‘induced’ birth at home and knew exactly when we would need childcare. They played for most of the day and then came home and played in the house (I was in the bedroom, they had no idea what was happening) and our son was born 20 minutes later.

    My parents live 3 hours away so they were able to make here in time for all births but we needed our friends to fill in the gap. They were a fantastic help.

    I would also research some local midwifes to see if they can recommend a doula or a nurse midwife in the hospital. They could also give you info on the placenta encapsulation. Many of them are connected within the same community. Or a local birth center may be able to give you some great advice too.

    Good luck!

  21. What is the difference between a doula and a midwife? What made you choose doula instead?

    • Fitnessista says:

      We’re using both. A midwife is the medical professional who does prenatal care and delivers the baby. The doula supports you and your partner during the birth since the midwife will be in and out, depending on the number of patients in labor

      • Thanks for the info, that is so awesome you get to use both! I will definitely look into that when the time comes for me 🙂

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