Meeting the doula…

So, today I finally had my first meeting with a doula. Unfortunately, she’s going to be going to Germany for a training course around my due date. She said she likes to be around and ready during the two weeks before and after the due date, so it doesn’t look like we’ll get to work with her for the birth. But, there’s another doula she works with, an American woman who’s lived in Turkey for years and speaks Turkish, etc., so she’s going to put me in contact with her.

Despite that, it was a nice hour long session. She talked about the general birthing situation in Istanbul and gave some recommendations on doctors who are supportive of natural birth. Our current doctor seems fine, but we are going to the most expensive hospital possible (!), so we want to look into some other options. So, it would be nice to arrange to meet a few of these doctors and see if one of them might work out better for us. She was also helpful in giving some general information about the typical approach to birth here, and the usual course of events once you get to the hospital. She made some good suggestions about talking to the nursing staff at whatever hospital we decide to go with, to learn the usual procedures and talk about what we’d like to happen with the whole birth and post-birth experience. One thing she definitely says is in our favour is that we’re foreigners and we can play the ‘crazy foreigner card’, as she called it. Basically, if we ask for or demand something, since we’re not Turkish, we’re much less likely to be challenged by hospital staff etc. It seems that most people here are just used to saying yes to whatever the doctor says and going with the flow, but people will be less pushy with us because we’re foreign. Sounds funny, but if it works, why not?!

So, I’m hoping to make another appointment with her sometime soon, when Richie’s free too, so we can learn a few things about preparing for labour, pain coping techniques, and that sort of thing. We don’t have the time to actually do a birth preparation class, so at least this way we can get the most essential information in a private session.

Anyway, it was a productive meeting and besides all that, I got to see a new part of Istanbul. The place was in Emirgan and it was quiet, with old-style houses and lots of trees and some nice green spaces and flowers. It didn’t feel like bustling Istanbul at all! It was quite refreshing. I’m looking forward to taking Richie over there!

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9 thoughts on “Meeting the doula…

  1. Boo that she’s not available, but yay for someone to talk to all about natural birthing!! And yay that she has a recommendation for you. It’s gotta be so nice to have someone there to talk to about how things work there. So exciting….

  2. Yeah, it was great. And this morning I emailed one of the doctors she recommended, so I’m hoping we can meet her really soon and maybe make the switch from our current doctor. This one sounds the most pro-natural birth, so I hope it works out. She works over on the Asian side of the city, which isn’t the most convenient, but it does mean that our baby might be born in Asia, which just sounds cool 🙂

  3. Hello! My name is Melody, I am Belgian and I live in Istanbul since a bit more then 2 years. I just landed on your blog and loved what I read! So happy to find another woman trying to have a natural birth in Istanbul. 🙂
    I’m not pregnant yet but I am doing the research before. I need to find a doctor attached to Sifa Hastanesi, Memorial hospital in Sisli or in Atasehir. Unfortunately I can’t choose for an independant doctor because we have an arrangement with the insurance to pay less if we go to a doctor attached to one of those 3 hospitals. 🙂
    Do you know one? In which hospital are you going to give birth?

    Looking forward to read you answer.

    Cheers

    Melody

    • Hi Melody,
      Unfortunately, I don’t have too much advice to give you. Our insurance doesn’t cover any of our pre-natal costs or delivery, so we’re paying for everything ourselves. I was going to the American Hospital in Nisantisi, but it’s just too expensive for us to keep going there. I’m now going to an independent doctor in Kadikoy, who likes to work with a hospital in Bostanci called Bayındır Hastanesi. At this hospital apparently delivery only costs around 1200TL.
      I don’t know what your insurance is like or what your priorities are for labour and delivery, but for me it’s worth it to be able to choose my own doctor (since this doctor is very pro-natural, unmedicated birth, which is so hard to find here in Istanbul!). You might investigate a bit more about the costs of different doctors and hospitals and see if you could afford a doctor of your choosing, even if your insurance doesn’t cover it.
      I’m sorry if this isn’t very helpful, but it’s all I know at this point. I hope you find a doctor that you really like and that everything goes well for you!
      Good luck and all the best,
      Kim

  4. Thank you Kim for your answer. I’ve maybe found one in Kadiköy Sifa hastanesi but still I’m gonna investigate a bit more.
    All the best,
    Melody

  5. hi Kim Im a doula but unfortunetelly not living in Turkey at the moment but have friend of mine who is a doula lives in Istanbul Uskudar.She is an american lady.can help you out during yourt birth.Anyway you should start ur meeting with ur doula around 34th week.Im looking forward to read ur lovely posts.Ps my email address is elcinmut@hotmail.com

  6. Hi Kim:)
    Glad you are enjoying Istanbul… I am 6 weeks pregnant and looking into natural birthing methods. Could you pass on the contact details of the two doulas you mentioned in your post?

    Cheers,

    Asli

    ps. Emirgan is beautiful indeed I lived there for two years before. We are now located in Beyoglu which is pretty central though very crowded.

    • Hello Asli,

      One of the doulas I met is named Nur, and she is the co-owner of the ‘birthing school’ DOUM. Another doula who works there is named Amy. You can contact both Nur and Amy through the DOUM website.
      I might also recommend the doctor I’m going to. Obviously, I haven’t given birth yet, so I can’t tell you about my total experience, but she is a very wonderful doctor and involved in active and natural birth. She is also very kind and supportive. Her name is Dr. Gulnihal Bulbul and here is her email:gulnihalbu@gmail.com. If you want a natural birth, she might definitely be the best doctor to contact! Thanks for visiting my blog and I hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your pregnancy and birth 🙂

  7. Cheers Kim:) Your help is much appreciated. Good luck with your birth as well. I’ve bookmarked your blog so will keep on reading:)

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