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
Arlene as a doula was amazing, she really made my partner and myself feel confident and calm throughout our pregnancy. This was our first pregnancy so we had loads of questions and concerns that were not being answered by our midwives, so it was reassuring to have Arlene a phone call / email away to answer all our questions. During labour we could not of asked for better support, Arlene helped create a safe, calm and happy space for me to labour in. She was there to hold my hand, guide my breathing and as she would say “dance my baby out”. She helped us put everything we had practiced into action so effortlessly, I honestly wouldn’t of had such a positive birth story without her support.
D & son July 2021
Arlene helped me be much more calm and confident about the birth of our daughter and to navigate the changing plans from home birth to cesarean. She tailored her services to what I needed, for example giving a wonderful massage after the attempt to turn my breech baby by the doctors failed and left me and baby really uncomfortable. Before the massage I was so uncomfortable I couldn’t sleep, afterwards both I and the baby were so much more relaxed. The other aspect I found most helpful was having Arlene help in the early days of breastfeeding and making sure I got off to a good start. I have recommended her to several of the other new mums in my NCT class who were struggling with the lack of one to one support in this area due to Covid. Arlene made sure to include my partner throughout the whole experience, this allowed him to get the guidance we needed and make him feel part of the process.
Katherine, John & Daughter Evie July 2021
I cannot thank Arlene enough for her unwavering support during the birth of our son, Ayomide.
I was in labour for 3 days and Arlene was there to provide support, comfort and invaluable advice. The original plan was to have a home water birth, things didn’t go according to plan BUT it was still a positive experience, largely in part to Arlene’s influence and guidance.
From pain alleviating showers to wonderful pressure point massages, I felt totally supported. Really appreciated different techniques she taught me to get things going even further e.g. walking up and down the stairs sideways. Even the showers helped bring on more contractions as I was stood up most of the time.
Things didn’t go according to plan as I became exhausted after 3 days with no sleep but Arlene didn’t go home, despite being exhausted herself she stayed with us.
I eventually made the decision to go to the hospital for an epidural, so I could sleep as I wasn’t progressing, she made sure I knew it didn’t make me a failure. She reassured me it was my body, my choice which made me feel empowered!
Unfortunately my local hospital has a very silly one birth partner policy, which meant Arlene could only go so far with myself and my husband. Didn’t stop her from appearing in the labour room however! Love the fact that she still found her way in to give last minute words of encouragement before they made her leave. Don’t mess with Arlene!!!
Arlene was one of the first people to contact me after Ayomide was born, asking questions about feeding and she also came round with cake once we were out of the hospital. She gave some great advice on breastfeeding and getting Ayomide to latch, which has been really useful and reduced the amount of pain I feel when breastfeeding. Still practicing the latch but her support has made it so much better!
Arlene, thank you so much for your support, kindness and strength during this time.
Mujeeb and I really appreciate everything you’ve done for us and I hope to see you again for our next one.
Teni, Mujeeb and Ayomide September 2021
To book your appointment for a doula consultation please go to www.doulaessence.co.uk