She was an older lady, very experienced (500+ births!), and very comforting without being saccharine. She recounted her own crappy birth experiences in the 60s & 70s where they just knocked you out and then handed you the baby (which honestly doesn't sound that bad to me - but that's me for you!), so she gets the bad birth experience. She also was the first person I've talked to who said she *might* be able to arrange transport for me if necessary - she said she got stuck driving herself to the hospital one time because the neighbor that offered to do it got stuck with no car at that moment. I'm sure I have people who would agree to drive me if I needed - but everyone is at least 1/2 hour away (most more like an hour or more away), most have kids and jobs and things that can't just be dropped at the last second. So even with the best of intentions I may find myself with no way to get to the hospital. It would be nice to know I could use a doula's resources as well as my own. Or worse comes to worst - cab it, or drive myself!
So I really like this lady but she's twice the cost of anyone else. I can cut the fee by a few hundred if I agree to have a trainee along as well (totally cool with that), but still. Ouch. But then I ask myself - is a few hundred $$ more than another doula that much money, in the scheme of things, for the sense of comfort and protection this person could offer me? Ten years from now am I going to look back on this birth and wish I'd saved a few hundred dollars to work with someone I felt less comfortable with? Probably not.
So I am definitely leaning towards her. But I meet with another in an hour and have one more I can call; I also may meet with the one I just talked to on the phone.
For the most part, I'm finding these ladies are all very similar. They're all nice women who love birth and think the way it's done in this country is largely all wrong; they want healthy babies and happy mothers. They go with your wishes even if you want super medical. They just want you to have the birth you want. So beyond that it's just a question of their fees (ranging from $850 to $2000 so far) and your level of comfort with them. But after yesterday I'm beginning to think age and experience are worth paying for.