Oh, where do I begin?! With such a big life change as a first-time parent, my
husband and I felt a little intimidated by the whole experience of labor and
delivery. Not because we didn't feel emotionally prepared with one another,
but mostly because we didn't have your traditional additional support of
family to back us. I think for most women, we want to feel like we have our
tribe of other strong women to coach us through such an unknown time. All
of the questions from what does it feel like, how will we feel before, after,
breastfeeding so on and so on. The questions and emotions are endless. I
like to think of myself as in tune with my body and soul -- both the good and
bad qualities I possess. And knowing that I am a planner by nature and I
open myself to having support when I dont know what Im doing, both my
husband and I decided that a Doula would be a great asset to our birthing
As I went through what felt like hundreds of profiles, dead end leads, and a
few interviews I definitely did my due diligence of finding the perfect fit. I
came across Tiffany Wilson through Doulamatch.net and immediately felt
connected to her for a multitude of reasons. Timing was a bit limited for both
of our schedules when I first reached out and Tiffany did whatever she could
from the beginning to make herself available. She was at a midwifery
conference in Arizona when I really wanted to meet her so we did an
informal Google Chat to get the basics before moving forward with a formal
in person meeting. Tiffany blew us away with her professionalism, holistic
and business approach and overall knowledge of the birthing process. Things
little, “Miss. Prepared,” me didnt even think about. I was already sold on
having Doula support and she sealed the deal. From there, we decided to
hire Tiffany and I didn't look back for a second. She answered questions
from the moment we hired her. From weird little things at the end of my
pregnancy to literally holding me while I cried in the delivery room. I had a
48+ hour labor and Tiffany advised me along the whole way. Things
definitely didnt go to plan for me and my baby in one single way that I had
envisioned. Having Tiffany there was even more instrumental -- guiding me
to make some tough decisions that I really didn’t expect to happen (Ie an
unplanned C-Section). She knew exactly what would be best for me but
didnt push a single thing, and rather made sure I was informed to make the
right decision for myself and baby. After 4 hours of pushing, Tiffany coaching
and all of us delirious at 1am, I was wheeled into the OR for a C-Section,
where they would not let Tiffany in (despite me requesting her be there). So
she graciously waited until I was in recovery and visited us in the wee hours
of the morning with a smile on her face. She's one of the things I remember
clearly seeing and feeling relieved and calm with her after it was all said and
done. She let me breathe and take it all in.
Overall, Tiffany showcased a loving demeanor, a realistic approach on the
process, patience, an abundance of techniques/tools and most importantly
love for humanity as a whole. She is one of those lucky people in life who
finds what they love to do for a living and succeed on many fronts. Her job is
not easy. It's an emotional roller coaster with almost complete strangers, but
at the end of it, she is an angel in your life who you will be forever grateful
Thank you, Tiffany for giving us the best birthing experience we could
have asked for. I highly recommend her and her services to anyone looking
for Doula or Midwifery services.
One of the significant benefits of having a doula at your birth works out great-
not necessarily for you. Doulas reduce the amount of interventions that are implemented at births, overall, and increase resiliency and satisfaction with the birth experience. Who sees the benefit of this savings? Your insurance company!
Doulas have been working for years to be recognized by the insurance companies as a service worth paying for. The presence of a doula reduces the need for pain medication, allows laboring clients to go into the hospital later in labor, reducing the need for labor augmentation, and provide breastfeeding support during the recovery period, and so much more. It seems like a no-brainer that insurance would provide reimbursement for our services, and make it more accessible to families.
Reimbursement is spotty at best, but worth attempting. Parents can go through the process and find that they are fully reimbursed, partially reimbursed, or not reimbursed at all, and there’s no formula for us to know in advance what will happen.
First, know if your insurance company has provided reimbursement in the past. These companies have been known to reimburse for doula services at some level. It would be best for you to check with your insurance company, find out of they have reimbursed for doula care in the past and if not, how you might approach attempting it. The list below was gathered by www.hellosunshineOK.com.
Second, it’s best if your doula is certified, and has a National Provider Identifier, and you will need the CPT code to write on your reimbursement request. There is now a CPT code for both birth doula (99499), and postpartum doula services (99501 and/or 99502), respectively.
Third, it helps to have some personal statement about the benefits (to the insurance company) that having a doula brought to your birth. Did you have a vaginal birth? Perhaps having a doula helped you avoid a costly cesarean! Think about what will move the insurance company (hint… $$$), and speak to that. If your birth was complicated and by all rights, expensive, think about the benefits that doulas bring to births in general. Insurance companies want to save money and one client won’t be as impactful as how a service might a) benefit most clients, and b) save money at the same time.
Got all that? Certified doula with an NPI, the appropriate CPT codes for your paperwork, and the appropriate forms, and you have a chance of having some of your doula fees reimbursed by your insurance company.
We’ve made it easy with the Puget Sound Doulas Reimbursement Packet, the tools you’ll need to request reimbursement. Even if you think there’s no chance, the more requests insurance companies receive, the more likely they might approve it in the future.
Best of luck!
This post adapted from: Taproot Birth Partners
Check out their awesome "how to seek reimbursement" instructions here:
We are so pleased with our birth experience and Tiffany's role in helping us achieve our somewhat hazy goal of an unmedicated birth. Meeting her for the prenatal appointment, we felt instantly at ease with her non-judgmental approach since we were uncertain which path we would purse until labor started. (Although we found her through community referrals, it turns out she is also very well known and respected in our midwives' office and at the hospital where we delivered, which says a lot.)
Our labor was somewhat unusual for a first time birth in that we did not have early labor so we arrived at the hospital already in the very active stages, and Tiffany was there shortly after we arrived and did not leave until well after our son's birth 12 or 13 hours later. She provided invaluable support during the labor and delivery for both me and my husband, always encouraging and supportive of my choices and suggesting multiple options to keep things moving. Her training as a midwife was paramount to the process going as smoothly as it did and I can't say enough how happy we are with the decision to have her there. Although hiring a doula is not an inexpensive venture, I can think of no better way to spend the money in preparation for the arrival of my little one.