I ABSOLUTELY ADORED having a doula. I'm still not sure that I would have made it through without drugs if I hadn't had her. My husband was not able to calm down enough to provide stability for me, though I was still very happy to have him there. My doula really helped me focus and calm myself. She was always there with a hand to steady me or just a soothing touch. She wasn't there to help with medical decisions or anything like that, but she was there just for ME. Everyone else had other jobs to do, but her job was just to take care of me, and I really needed that. I've lost touch with her since and I feel like I lost a part of my family.
We found her through an ad at our birth center that she posted. She was in training to be a professional doula, and just needed a few more births under her belt before she was official. That meant that we were able to hire her at a reduced rate, which was important considering we were very poor college students! After our delivery went so well, we gave her the most that we could afford.
I'd never do another birth without a doula, and I've even thought of getting some labor assistant experience myself because the experience was so powerful and wonderful.