Nice things clients say about me...
After my first traumatic birth , I decided that my second experience should be different and that I needed someone to help me make that possible. Alex was a godsend and her involvement transformed my second birth.
My first child was born at 34 weeks, one weeks after my water's had broken, by emergency Caesarean section after a failed induction. The birth(and the lead up to it) were traumatic and the effects on me were long lasting. Many of the hospital staff were kind and friendly but the process was a litany of miscommunications, poor handover between staff, being asked to make decisions without the information I felt I needed, and abysmal post-natal care for myself. I came away feeling bereaved and broken and with the sense of being unable to assess information well or make good decisions. When planning the birth of my second child, I knew I wanted a VBAC and that, no matter how my baby was born, I needed this experience to be different.
Alex helped me to prepare for the birth by discussing the stages of labour and all the possible questions that might arise regarding my birth preferences, my care in hospital, and the potential pain relief and interventions which might be offered or recommended. I was scared that I'd end up with another Cesarean section and we talked about how different it could be this time and how I could be more in control if that happened. We also discussed my options with regard to internal examinations, which I really wanted to avoid as much as possible.
When my waters broke at 33 weeks, Alex was a brilliant sounding board for discussing my medical care and thinking through the various scenarios that might arise. When I became unhappy with my consultant's approach, Alex was hugely supportive in backing up my decision to change consultant and that helped give me confidence that I was making decision on firm ground. In the event, I was able to continue my pregnancy until I went into labour naturally just before 37 weeks.
Preparing for the birth with Alex helped enormously but what made the biggest difference was having Alex present during my labour. Knowing that I was accompanied by someone with extensive experience of birth who could support me and be my advocate if needed gave me so much more confidence.
I also knew that she would support my birth partner (my mother). Alex was caring, practical and encouraging. Half way through the first day of what ended up being a three day stop-start labour, everything slowed down and I was pushed to decide to either have an induction or a Caesarean section. I was tired, upset and confused, and felt unable to make a decision about anything. Alex remained calm and alert, asking if I could have some time to rest before making the decision, and considering all the possibilities when I couldn't think straight any more. When it became clear that we were not in an emergency situation and that, whatever I decided it would happen for at least six hours, Alex suggested that I might wait until the next day to make a decision. The moment we put this to the medical staff, the whole situation changed. From apparently needing to make a decision 'now', it suddenly became possible to wait until the next day, and then the next (by which time my labour progressed naturally). Without Alex I don't think I'd have had the confidence to ask to wait until the next day but her quiet assurance that there was no rush because the baby and I were fine, and that we could wait and see what happened, effectively saved my from an induction or an unnecessary Cesarean section. That decision to wait was a real turning point in the whole birth and I couldn't be more grateful to Alex for making it possible.
Despite some tough elements (no one says birth is easy), my experience of giving birth a second time around could not have been more different from the first. Alex played a crucial part in that and I am immensely grateful for her knowledge and support. I would recommend having a doula to anyone who wants to feel supported and confident whilst giving birth and Alex was wonderful. Her knowledge of the birth process in all its permutations, her familiarity with the hospital, her empathy and calmness, and her quiet confidence transformed my experience of birth completely. I would recommend her to everyone!
To anyone who is considering Sunshine Mama Doula and especially those who may not have thought of it:
The memory of my birth (which was at home, pain relief free and everything I could have wanted) still fills me (and my partner) with absolute joy and such a sense of achievement and pride - and I know I have Alex to thank for that. If your birth goes well you really feel like a tigress afterwards - and I know we couldn't have done it without her. She was absolutely brilliant - I really cannot do her justice in words. I am happy for anyone to contact me should they want to know more. In the meantime I would say go for it! It will be the best decision you will make during pregnancy and the best money spent. Alex is not just any doula - Alex is a wonderful person and her enthusiasm for the power of women in birthing is contagious, her approach feels both natural and professional. She made labour as stress free as it could possibly be and I am eternally and gladly in her debt for it. Memories of birth should be like sunshine - and Sunshine Mama Doula helps you achieve this for your family! [All partners out there who are not sure whether they wish to watch their loved one in labour - or Mammas-to-be who might sense they will want space from their partner to focus - I promise this is the perfect solution. You will feel so supported!)]
The midwife screamed 'You need to push, like I told you, this is serious'. I looked at my husband's colour draining from his face at an alarming rate. The midwife said nothing but pressed a button and a siren type bell rang, within seconds (or so it seemed) a team of doctors of nurses entered the once calm delivery suite. They calmly explained the baby was stuck and the heart rate was dropping they said they would try a ventouse to help delivery. They placed the cap on the babies head and as I pushed they pulled, shouting 'Push now, come on push'. As the baby crowned I looked at my husband, he was engulfed in panic. He went to stand but his legs gave way, a nurse realised he was about to faint and led him out the suite. Within the next few minutes my beautiful baby daughter was born, meanwhile my husband was laid out in the corridors in a state of utter shock!
When I became pregnant again I realised two things, I wanted a better birth with my second child and having my husband there was not a great idea! One episode of 'One Born Every Minute' stuck in my head the lady giving birth had been assisted by a Doula. I recalled that the Doula used more natural techniques to support the mother during birth and was called a mother to the mother, I liked that idea, so with laptop resting on my bump I found Alex.
The moment I met Alex I really liked her and knew I wanted her to be part of this special moment. We talked informally about what I wanted from the birth and run through my health and history. She never put any of her own beliefs forward but instead had some great suggestions. After my last experience I was really worried about the birth of my second child and Alex had a real calming effect on me and I actually began looking forward to meeting my bump.
My husband describes Alex as a rock. Solid and dependable. I had one false alarm but Alex didn't mind she was there to support me and came to the hospital with me to make sure I was reassured. Alex called me everyday before the birth and my due date soon rolled round, the day my baby was due I was up with some faint pains but ended up calling Alex as I was bleeding and this frightened me, it was about 5.00am but Alex came straight round and took me to the hospital, when we arrived I couldn't walk properly that was odd but we slowly walked into the maternity department and waited to be examined. Alex had brought some lavender that I found calming and was really supportive. As they examined me panic ensued, I was 10 cm dilated!!! With Alex at my side and a dear friend, I gave birth to my little boy Beau River at 12.00 midday.
Alex made my second birth a much more positive experience and I would strongly recommend that anyone having a baby considers using a Doula. Not only did Alex support me but also helped guide me through having a more natural birth experience. If I were to have another baby I would want Alex at my side.