Finding a doula ............. √
A bit apprehensive about finding a doula (I always get stressed over things like that) I talked to sister #6 about it and she mentioned her friend who has just recently completed a doula course! I then got a number of another doula from a friend of mine, but as I do know my sister's friend, I' rather start with her. So I met with her today, and I am pleased and we are to meet again around month seven to practice positions and all.
I liked the fact that she also gave birth in the hospital I intend on going to (and just over three months ago, though she said it was a very quick birth as she was already with a nine opening when she came to the hospital [not her first birth, but the older ones were born in another hospital]), it does add to the feeling of comfort that the doula knows this place and from personal experience. Added bonus is the fact that she is ultra-orthodox (as in very very very religious) as is the hospital. Feels good that my doula is "one of them". But that was also a point of concern for me - what happens if I am to deliver on Shabbat?? Concerned both on me getting to the hospital and on her being there for me. She calmed me down on both issues. This hospital is situated in an ultra-orhtodox town and the roads going in are basically blocked on Saturday, and it's really not a place to be driving around in on a Saturday. She said it's o.k if I'm heading to the hospital, and what's more she suggested going by ambulance. As for her, she said that there should be no problem as she won't turn her phone off on Saturday so I could SMS her if needed. She then explained that a woman giving birth is "stronger" than the Shabbat even to the point of (for eg) turning the air-conditioning on/off if I request. I do hope I won't be giving birth on a Saturday, but good to know that it's not too bad if it does happen.
She said she came into being a doula after assisting her sister in birth and liking it, and then being there again for her and for her SILs births. All in all I'm not sure how many births she attended as a doula (her baby was crying at this point), but I think she does have some experience. And on the other hand she is quite new at it, so she is not exhausted and worned out and probably eager to do a good job.
As for paying her, she said that as she is still in her apprenticeship, she is only asking me to cover her expenses (like a baby-sitter for the kids, etc.). I do plan on giving her a nice sum (assuming of course all goes well..), but, well, nice that there isn't a high price tag on her service :-).