I'm 18 weeks along with my first baby and my on the recommendations of friends, we have decided to look into having a doula. I have some basic questions written up to ask her tomorrow but I'm curious if anyone has recommendations on how to talk to her about my T1D. Or just general questions as to how doula's deal with high risk pregnancies. Any advice on the topic would be great.
Luckily I am acquaintances with the woman we are interviewing so hopefully that will help with avoiding the scary stuff you mentioned. I think that's my biggest fear is having a third party (doula) try to step in and manage my diabetes when that's not what I want. I think particularly there's a fear that everything will go fine in discussing it with her pre-birth and it won't be until I'm actually in labor that I start getting crazy advice. I guess I just want to be sure that a doula will help with the stress of the situation not make it worse.
I think doulas probably vary a great deal in how comfortable they are with high-risk pregnancies. You might want to ask her how many clients she's had before who were high risk or had more "medical" births, which even if you don't want it, is more likely because of the big D. You might want to ask her what happens in case they end up recommending a scheduled c-section for you--will she still come? Do you still want her to come? Will her fee be different?
In general, it would probably be helpful for you just to clarify to yourself what, if any, role you want her to play regarding your diabetes management. Do you want her to be aware but completely hands-off in that area? Do you want her to step in if there is an advocacy issue that comes up that's related to your diabetes (i.e. the medical staff wants to manage you a certain way and you disagree but are not in a position to advocate for yourself since you're in the middle of labor)?
You also might want to ask her how exactly she would assist you if you aren't able to move around due to being attached to a fetal monitor. Does she have relaxation exercises she can help you with, or massage, or position changes you can make while in bed?
Finally you might want to ask her what her general style is--does she sit quietly with you unless you request her help? (My friend had a doula like that and was very frustrated by her). Or is she more of an active coach?
I have never had a doula and have only gone partway through labor before having a c-section, but we thought seriously about hiring one, hence all of the suggested questions. :) Best of luck!
I'd just be up front with her about what role you want her to play and what role you don't want her involved in. If she seems willing to meet your needs, then it sounds like it could be a good match. You are hiring her, so you can always un-hire her if you end up not liking how she's doing things. Additionally, keep in mind that many doulas offer post-partum services as well, so even if she won't be much help in the hospital because of how "medicalized" the nature of a diabetes delivery can be, you might find her services more helpful once you guys are home. Good luck!
When I was pregnant with our first baby, we also considered to hire a dula. We interviewed two and actually liked both of them. When we met the second one, we just had a good feeling about her, and she seemed more experienced than the first one. We asked her about the process of having a dula, how she can be helpful in our situation and if she had had experience with other type I pregnancies.
We ended up hiring her even though she had a only a couple of cases with diabetes. She helped a ton mainly because she knew so much about every step of the labor. She could tell how close I was to having a baby and if the baby was doing ok according to the monitor, etc.
People have dulas for different reasons. Some want someone to help them to deal with labor physically or psychologically. We needed someone who could be an intermediary between us and the doctor, because we were a bit concerned that my doctor wouldn't let me go through the labor on my own and intervene. You should decide what your reason of hiring a dula is and make sure she is the one who matches your needs.
My experience with dula was very good.