If I have another baby I will definitely ask for Jay’s support again. Having someone who has supported others through birth before is incredibly helpful. You aren’t trying, in the heat of one of the most intense experiences of you (and your partner’s) life, to remember things that up until that moment were all theoretical. You have someone who is hyper responsive to you and who KNOWS – what positions work; how to create a beautiful atmosphere; that this insane thing you are going through is normal! For me it meant I didn’t end up with a caesarean and actually had a positive experience of induction.
I was planning a water birth in the local low risk birth unit. In the end my waters broke early and there was meconium (baby poo) in them. The midwives wanted to induce me and despite knowing that induction has a reasonably high chance of leading to a caesarean, I just couldn’t dismiss their concerns around the risks to my baby. Breaking waters and an induction! It meant no water birth and being on the labour ward with (mobile) monitors attached to me. Having a Doula made ALL the difference. The midwives said after they’d never seen anything like it on labour ward.
Throughout the labour she helped me find active birthing positions. I had done active birthing workshops, but there is no way, in the intensity of labour, I had the courage to try something I just about remembered from class. I was in quite a lot of pain so moving from something that had been working for hours did not seem appealing! (Despite e.g. it bruising my knees!) But then Jay would suggest something; clearly, calmly and quietly explaining it, and then in between contractions I’d shift to it and lo and behold it would work. It usually involved my partner’s help, and would be something we had practiced before, so it was good for his involvement too.
She also performed what she told me after was ‘myofascial release’ during EVERY contraction. She was massaging my hips and my partner had his hands on my lower back and it really helped – with the speed of my contracting uterus as well as the pain. In fact any time either of them wasn’t there during a contraction I called them back. This was over a period of 7 hours!! What audacity. But it shows just how much of a difference that made to me. On top of that she brought water for me to sip very often (I didn’t get dehydrated) and was very responsive to even a whisper of wanting something else, like a glucose tablet or time alone or quietness.
Jay’s support in advance had helped me think about what I needed to feel at home (and so support oxytocin to flow). So despite the rush to go in I had brought music, soft clothing and some essential oils to sniff. Jay herself brought fairy lights, for both the main room and the bathroom. I can’t emphasise enough how wonderful that was! She also brought an array of snacks. I felt so nurtured and also like it was a ‘home from home’.
I was extremely happy with the antenatal support we received from Jay. She met with me regularly; spoke to me on Skype also. She came to at least one antenatal consultant appointment. She listened to my experiences, hopes and fears and helped me to formulate a birth preferences document.
Jay is very knowledgeable about birth and easy to talk to. She went out of her way to support my choices even when it was starting to look like there could be a lot of medical intervention. She gave me a safe person to talk through the options about birth and looked up extra information for me when I needed it.
She arrived quickly and made sure I was drinking, supported me and created the atmosphere I wanted. She took a step back when my husband wanted to be involved more and that was helpful too! She quietly guarded by choices during labour and encouraged me to keep going. This was not an especially easy birth for me and I don’t think I could have had a natural delivery without Jay or my husbands support. She stayed with us and helped on until we were settled and checked in on us to see how we were doing. I would recommend Jay to any other parents looking for a doula.
Jay has been a tremendously calming influence on me. As time went on I became increasingly anxious about the birth. Jay was very helpful in helping me through these feelings – through discussing things with me she helped me to advocate for me and make me feel empowered to assert myself and my right to choose and ask for a C-section as this felt the right option for me. She was there with me in the room before I went in for C-section and helped me with breathing exercises to calm my nerves. After the birth she was there to hear how the procedure went and help get me comfortable. She was also able to gently help with any feeding questions or logistics. She then came to the hospital on the second day and helped with the practicalities of self-care and caring for my baby. She was able to listen to my concerns and offer practical advice about things. It was great to have her at the hospital and back at home, she was calm and her presence definitely helped my husband and me!
Having Jay as my doula was a great support both emotionally and practically. It was a wonderful support unrivalled by any other relationship I had; a deep understanding, woman-to-woman and mother-to-mother.
Jay has a great passion and dedication for her work. She is incredibly calm, and holds emotion well. She is great with my son and has a vast amount of knowledge to call upon. She is very good at listening, and helping with practical situations.
I decided to have a doula because my husband was going to be too unwell to attend the birth and I have no immediate family of my own nearby.
Jay is a wonderful person, kind, caring and considerate to my personal situation and experience of a previous birth. She had a vast amount of knowledge and brought lots of literature for me to look at. During labour she was there, she literally held my hand throughout and helped me have a very positive pool birth without any drugs!
Jay was incredibly insightful talking to me about mindfulness and breathing and yoga techniques, which really helped because I had a bad birthing experience last time.
She was incredible encouraging me and helping me feel as comfortable as possible and ultimately I had no interventions because of the help and support of Jay.
Afterwards Jay came and chatted to me about the birth and gave me some lovely breastfeeding chocs! They were amazing and Jay had lots of breastfeeding tips, so helpful.
To anyone thinking about having a doula – do it! It will make the whole experience much more positive. I have done with and without and would definitely go with next time. Worth every penny! I would 100% have Jay as my doula again because she helped me have a positive birthing experience by encouraging and making it wonderful.
Its great to have someone there with a steady hand. I had support in exactly the way that I had asked for (and more) and I felt that Jay could fulfill a role that my husband and I were too shell-shocked to!! I wanted a third wheel so that my partners role wasn’t too loaded. I knew that it would be a quick delivery and that Jay would be much more instinctive and have a calming influence for my partner and myself. Jay offered lots of calm advice, or more accurately she asked questions that prompted my thinking and planning for things that I had overlooked. My husband was very pleased she was there, she added to the experience, supported him, empowered him and was sensitive to the intimacy of the birth, and there were also a lot of laughs!
She gently but firmly held my corner, exactly what I wanted and was expecting. I was glad Jay was there to gently assert my concerns and wishes. She mirrored my rhythm. She pre-empted what I needed and was alert to my signals (ie. Massage, refreshments etc.) She was lighthearted and easygoing along with me but was encouraging and focused when I was struggling. Once my baby arrived she focused on our having contact (skin to skin) as he was taken for observations for a while. She was really supportive regarding feeding, dealing with my baby’s tongue-tie, my own recovery and my new family dynamic.
I can’t think of anyone better to have at my side – she’s patient, caring, fun, thorough, considered and emotionally intelligent enough to respect in the moment! I can imagine her being a valued asset to a birth team whatever the circumstances.
(Postnatal) Jay exudes calm and clearly gives everything of herself when she is in her doula role. I wish I had known her before the birth as I feel that her support immediately after birth would have meant that the fear, sadness and distress I felt a week to 10 days after the caesarean could have been lessened. However, the lessons I have learnt through working with Jay means I feel even better equipped should we have another child. Jay is clearly passionate about her work as a doula and that is evident in the way that she speaks about the different aspects of antenatal and postnatal life.
Her knowledge is very good and I feel that Jay is well suited for the role of a doula as her care feels almost all encompassing: she would bring lactation biscuits and lent helpful books that I could read at my leisure. I was so well-read that the National Breast feeding helpline praised my knowledge and were unable to give me further support or advice!
In our final session, Jay left me feeling empowered and appreciated. Whilst family can tell you that you are doing well looking after baby or that you need to be kind to oneself, personally it took the views of an outsider to fully feel that. Not only that, but the discussions and emotions I shared with Jay were possible due to her role as a doula. At the time where husband and mother were supportive of me, it was difficult for them as we adjusted to life with a new baby and grandchild. It seemed like Jay just knew exactly what I needed to know or do to help adjust and deal with the birth experience we had had. I believe this comes from her ability to empathise and her natural ability to support.