Thanks everyone for your advice and sharing your experiences! Most hospitals in France are typically against having doulas and mine is no exception. Sages-femmes are threatened by them although they serve no medical purpose and simply act as birthing coaches. We may have a work around as I plan on having a natural birth and the birthing room is plenty big and I'll need 2 people to help hold me in various birthing positions. I highly doubt any of the multiple sage-femmes in the hospital will have the desire or time to do this! And speaking of multiple sage-femmes, I've already met so many it's mind-boggling and I was told to expect to meet even more! Passing my doula off as my translator should help as everytime I show up at the hospital, the sage-femmes get nervous about their English speaking skills.....too cute!
Continuity of support is key for me to having a positive experience - especially without medication - and although my husband is great, he will serve a completely different purpose as he'll be emotionally involved. Plus he almost fainted when my doc examined me at 2cm dilated and told us he felt our baby's head! So I want him to be alive and well throughout with as little stress as possible :-) My doula's purpose is to use various techniques to keep us calm and focussed for a quicker labor and much lower rate of c-section and epidural.
We're calling the OB today to try to get permission for 2 people and I'll post an update soon!