Hi Karen! I have hired a doula with my current pregnancy. I've been told the going rate is about $800-1200 for around here, though I have a friend who used one who was $1500. Typically their fees are based on their experience (how many births, what types of birth circumstances, what types of birth places, etc.) as well as other factors such as when they will join you during your labor (some will come to your house while some only show up at the hospital), how many clients they take on at one time around the same due date, how many meetings you'll have, etc. My doula offers the suggestion to people who are looking to pay less that they may be able to find a newer doula who is looking to gain experience who would do it for a reduced rate. Also, I know that my doula has her fee broken up into three payments -- one when I hired her, one at 36 weeks, and one at the postpartum visit -- so it makes the cost not quite as bad. I don't know if you've used a doula before, but I had considered one with my first but never got around to really pursuing it, and I cannot express how glad I am to have done it this time around (and I haven't even had the baby yet!). While the cost is definitely significant, the peace of mind she has brought me already is astounding. She not only answers my questions, but is so reassuring in the way she does it that I already feel so much more relaxed and prepared than the last time. There's something about hearing things from someone who's been there and done it so many times (and who I know will be there with me through it) that you just can't get from a book or your doctor. Feel free to private message me if you have any more questions -- I know the process was a little overwhelming at first and it really helped me to hear from a friend who had used a doula before.
Check out OC Mommy Becky Facer, she is a doula. I used a doula for both of my births & it was a lovely experience.
My friend is a doula and charges about half that rate. Here is her website: http://websd-peacefuljourneybirthingcom.webs.com/