Doula brings experience, love and empathy, advocacy, confidence and compassion to the birth...
Doula: is just what you need to reassure, and bring you back to your strength and resource.
Doula: is in your corner 100%
“We made the decision very late in the day that we would like to have the support of a doula and were beyond lucky to meet Arlene. I immediately felt a connection with Arlene, despite or perhaps because Arlene is in some ways the absolute opposite to me in terms of being such a natural, calm ‘earth mother’ of a person. I on the other hand am a mid-thirties, City-working stress head who, prior to being blessed with pregnancy, felt pretty lacking in maternal instinct. The birth terrified me and before the process of birthing our baby began, I would have sworn I’d be reaching for an epidural at the first opportunity. Oh how one doesn’t know oneself before labour…
Having been terrified of being turned away from either the birth centre or hospital (because, as I kept saying to Arlene, I would only make that decision once I had a handle on my ability to deal with the pain and I didn’t hold out much hope on that front), once labour began, the last thing I wanted was any medical intervention. Much to my own surprise, with her guidance I was close to fully dilated by the time we got to the birth centre.
Unfortunately, as sometimes just happens, progress from the point of reaching the birth centre wasn’t quite so smooth and when I ultimately had to go into theatre at 5 am, instead of leaving us to go home to bed, Arlene actually waited until we were out of theatre and was the first person to meet our son. All said, we spent almost 24 hours together and the phrase “above and beyond” doesn’t get close to doing justice to the ‘job’ Arlene did that day/night/following day!
Arlene has a unique gift of inspiring total calmness and self-belief in you while at the same time being totally no-nonsense tough when it comes to standing up and advocating for you with medical professionals. I felt total trust in her for my entire labour and will always be immensely grateful.
You made me feel “mighty” Arlene and after that labour I’ll never question my own strength or the sheer power of nature. That said, I won’t be trusting nature to go it alone because I wouldn’t be without you if we ever have a number 2.”
Anna Birtwistle & Andrew, July 2016 (baby Enzo)
After a failed induction and emergency c-section with my first child, the second time around I was very anxious but determined to make sure things went differently. After looking at different options I decided to use the help of a doula, and chose Arlene given her wealth of doula experience and the extra services she offers as a therapist. Arlene was on call for support 2 weeks before the birth and kept checking in with me once contractions started. At home she helped me progress as much as possible before having to face the stresses of the labour ward. In hospital she stood up for my wishes to be as active as possible in the birth, despite all the VBAC protocols and I eventually gave birth after 3 hours in hospital, without the need for pain relief in labour. I could not have done this with my partner alone – it was Arlene that was there to guide me and give me confidence through her calm words, knowledge of active birth positions and use of aromatherapy and massage. After the birth Arlene stayed with us to ensure breastfeeding was established and over the next few days kept in touch to see how things were going. Whilst having a doula is an expense, I thoroughly recommend it to help towards a natural delivery, especially if you have had previous negative birth experiences. I am really grateful for Arlene’s support in having a more positive birth experience the second time around and feel it has led to a happier mum and baby postpartum.
Samantha and Isabella, May 2018.
My first birth experience ended with an emergency c-section following induction. It left me feeling confused as I had had an easy pregnancy and hadn't anticipated any difficulties, yet the process of being induced led to a conveyor belt of intervention. At the time I hadn't realised that some medical professionals worked on the basis of reducing risk, rather than what the mother wants, and because I was over due, I had become more risky. I was determined that this scenario would not take place for my second child, but I quickly realised that my previous c-section meant that once again the medical professionals were calling me 'high risk'. I knew that if I wanted to have a natural birth I would need to fight for this, and not be dissuaded just because a consultant said so. We felt ill equipped to question medical professionals so we sought an experienced and knowledgeable doula who would be there to support us in making informed decisions. We found this in Arlene. She really worked to understand our needs and supported us throughout the pregnancy even attending a meeting with a consultant due to my 'high risk' and supporting me in getting my message across that I would like as little intervention as possible.
With Arlene we had a successful VBAC, my beautiful daughter was born within five hours of active labour and I truly believe it was successful due to Arlene being there. At one point we had four consultants wanting me to have a cannula inserted, to lie on my back for monitoring, the beginning steps of the conveyor belt I feared, but with Arlene we held firm, as I knew that my baby was safe, and that these interventions would slow me down. My husband was able to do the job of making me feel loved, supported and safe, and Arlene was the wrap around ensuring that our wishes were followed through in a warm, supportive manner. Giving birth second time round was everything I had hoped for, and having Arlene as my doula ensured that my wishes were adhered to.
Tracey & daughter 2017
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