In regards to Doula's (not from personal experience, but I worked in a large OB practice for 3 years) I would be careful. Our practice didn't allow doulas in the delivery room because when emergencies came up, their opinions tended to be biased and uneducated. They are not medically trained, many dish medical advice like they know more than the doctors, and I am aware of some that are willing to pressure you to give birth unmedicated, even if it's not your wish.
As far as husbands go, I've spoken to patients that have said they think their husband was relieved not to do the work, but I've also spoken to husbands that wound up resenting the doula's presense because she took over the situation and the husband felt left out of and uninvolved in his child's birth.
It really depends on the individual doula, and if you're going to take recommendations, make sure they are from women in a similar situation, that had similar desires in terms of a birth plan.
Like I said, be careful. Doulas are NOT medically trained.
"A goal without a plan is just a wish." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I had my first in a hospital during med school, with an OB that was my mentor and a friend. She still didn't respect my wishes as far as interventions, and there was really no medical need to do what she did. Still, I felt very happy overall.
When I became a peds resident, I attended hundreds of deliveries. I saw that interventions by OBs seemed to create a lot of complications. I began to look in the literature, since so many women in Europe homebirth. MW care is the standard, you only have OB if high risk. The literature shows again and again that for low risk women, morbidity is lower for mom and baby at home (for planned hb) and mortality is equal for mom and baby. I found a phenomenal HB MW who was a CNM. She had oxygen, suction, ambu, IV (for emergencies), doppler. I gave birth in my bed. My third child was born in a tub in my bedroom.
My dh is a doc, too. He was opposed at first, but read the literature, met the MW, and after the HB, he is touting it to all his colleagues as well.
Many of my doc friends have had HB as well. We are all in the NYC area.
My opinion is that the more you know about hospital birth, the more you realize that the hospital is not necessarily safer at all. There are risks, different ones, in each setting. Ultimately, if you are low risk, homebirth is a great experience.
Read Henci Goer's The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth. Look up homebirth ?maybe homebirth.org.uk?
PM with me questions; I'm happy to talk more in depth about it.
I wonder if this is a "too late" reply to this thread but I wanted to add another positive midwife experience- I'm a gen surg resident & for that matter the daughter of a great OB/GYN father (2 reasons I suppose might stereotypically lean to OB/GYN care) but I chose a midwife for my recent delivery. I chose hospital tho seriously considered birth center & ultimately was not a candidate for home birth-- long story short after 4 1/2 days of labor was not progressing & had a section, so I ended up with an OB/GYN anyway! BUT, my midwife was also in the OR, her & my philosophy of childbirth permeated even an operative delivery & certainly the difficult labor. I'd make the same choice again in a millisecond & I think it was primarily for the 'philosophical ambience' for lack of a better descriptor (that, & the fact that my midwife's practice was structured such that I had a much better chance of having HER instead of a covering CNM/MD compared to that chance with the OB/GYN I considered). I think that a "sympatico" philosophical approach is available from many health care providers, whatever the letters after their name, & is NICE to find wherever you can. I wish you well with this.