Real World Feedback on the On-Call Doula Model
“Are your clients typically pleased with the idea of the on-call rotation vs hiring a specific doula and knowing who will be there to attend the birth? I know this is sort of a loaded question but I guess I’ve always thought of a doula as someone the woman/couple develop a personal relationship with which then helps during labor. I like the idea of your group being very familiar with my OB group and of course like the lower cost options offerred but am a little hung up on the on-call schedule. I’d appreciate any thoughts/feedback you have on this.”
This is one of the most common questions we receive from many moms out there. The way our doula practice works is a little bit different form a private traditional doula.
Our clients are usually pleased with the on-call rotation, more so than they thought they would be. We agree with the sentiment, a big point of having a doula is having someone to support you that you trust completely and that you have a relationship with. We can say that there are times where we’ve walked in to a labor room without ever having met the mom before, and have been able to develop instant rapport with her, it has to come with the job or else our model just wouldn’t work. But that’s an exception and not the rule. We make a great effort to provide face time for each client with all of our doulas. You can come to Meet the Doulas night and spend time talking with all of us (in fact we implement a speed dating portion into the evening so you’re able to get face time with everybody). In addition to that, we all teach different classes at the collective, and we book you with different doulas for your birth plan session than ones you meet at the Meet and Greet or the class you choose. So by the time you have your baby, at a minimum you’ll have met 3 out of 5 doulas on the rotation you choose (CD or apprentice). Finally, we do a good job of being your virtual doula, we all share responsibility to answer your calls, chats, texts and emails as you have them, so instead of having just one doula that you have a relationship with, you have five who are invested in your pregnancy, labor and delivery and who care about you.
That said, close to 50% of mamas do opt for the “preferred doula upgrade” option. For $150 extra, you can choose one doula that is your doula, she does your prenatal care, she is there for labor and delivery, and does all of your follow up. It’s the same as having a private doula, with the benefit of known backups and all of the other perks of our collective. So if you feel strongly about choosing a specific doula, that’s totally an option. Some of our VBAC mamas go this route so they are able to set themselves up for the best possible birth experience and have everything that they can control about birth in their favor before the big day. Moms wanting to upgrade to a specific doula will often come to our Meet the Doulas Night and use this as a “shopping” trip to talk to us all and get a sense of if there is one doula that she has a connection with, or if she feels good about any of us attending her birth, and this helps make her decision on which option to go for.
We posed this question to a mom that had just recently had a baby and had used the on-call rotation option. Her words are better than ours:
“Initially the collective idea was the best option for me to save time since I decided late into my pregnancy to hire a Doula BUT I probably would have chosen this route anyway for this reason alone: it felt stronger to have a “team” of women backing up my birth.
Here’s why I think the “on-call” Doula works:
1) Instead of 1 opinion you get a wide range of experience from many women who could offer their advice prior to the birth. (also during and after if necessary?)
2) Knowing I would have a Doula that was ready for her shift and well-rested was also a big plus. To expect one Doula to be ready at any moment for a birth adds a lot of variables, what if she got sick? what if she was up all night with her kids? what if she gets stuck in a traffic jam? It gave me a better sense of confidence to know if the one woman assigned to me couldn’t make it, she could call up not just one Doula, but a group of 3-5 as backup.
3) The experience of birth is an immediate bonding force between women who have gone through it. It’s difficult to describe this commonality to women who haven’t gone through it, but I think it’s nearly impossible for a woman to not bond with another woman about their birth experience. With that said, it’s very easy to trust and have a great rapport with a Doula you haven’t met because of this bond.
4) It was very clear to me after meeting the Doulas that everyone was “on the same page”. I noticed different personalities between the Doulas, but every Doula I met was very clear about how to support a woman through birth with the best intentions in mind. I would have been happy with any of the Doulas because I could tell they all put the needs of the birthing Mother first.” – Katie Nott, new mom.
“Our experience with Get Babied! and using a collective doula was everything we could have asked for and more. We went to one Meet the Doulas night, and attended their child birth education classes and the caring for your newborn class. Through these interactions we met with almost all the doulas. However, when the time came the doula that was on-call was one we had never met.
My doula began developing a rapport with me over the phone while I labored at home. She went out of her way to put me at ease and assure me that she was there for me. She met my husband and me and the hospital and I immediately felt at ease with her. She was with me for the next 10+ hours and provided me with an amazing amount of support through her words, her touch and insurmountable knowledge. I can honestly say that I would not have made it as long as I did without an epidural if it had not been for her. She could find the “magic spot” every time to make the pains of labor bearable instead of excruciating.
I had to have a c-section to deliver my healthy baby girl. This does not reflect on the doula services at all. My baby was simply stuck. This is when my doula shined the most. She put my mind at ease that this was what needed to happen to deliver a healthy baby. She remained with my husband and me for additional hours while we waited for the surgery to happen. During that time her presence was our rock.
In short, the doulas at Get Babied! know what they are doing. So much so that they can arrive at any time and jump right in without skipping a beat. I never once felt there was a stranger in the room. My doula was at times my mother, my sister, my best friend or the strength of every woman who has ever given birth. Most times I just had to look into her eyes and I knew I could do “it”. Don’t worry about the collective doula concept. They know what they are doing.” -Molly Gully, new mom.