I really don’t know quite how to thank you for all you have done. You have been such a support, more than I could have possibly imagined before we started upon this journey. You’ve offered unwavering support, wisdom, insight, understanding, calm, non –judgement and just such generosity of spirit. Before birth, you helped me feel empowered to have the courage to not go down an induction route and to trust my body, which totally paid off! I honestly think I wold have broken / lost my resolve when facing such pressure in those final days. I will be eternally thankful for your support and wisdom at this time.
With your support, I was able to have another glorious birth, at the ripe age of 41!!! (ha ha)
I felt I was able to stand my ground and assert myself to the remedial team, with you by my side. The birth was so positive and I feel so thankful I can disseminate that positive vibe to all the female children / younger friends in my life.
Nick really appreciated your support at the birth too. You nudging him when needed, offering moral support and practical support too (without you, there would be no water in that birth pool!) And post birth- the joys and the lows- you were there. Your support when breastfeeding crashed will always be remembered and your practical supportive advice and help, making me able to use formula and getting feeding back on track rather than completely abandoning breast feeding was so valuable.
You are amazing, you have such a gift. You are such a gift for birthing women and a gift to the universe.
I feel blessed to have had you in my life for this chapter, I’ll miss you but hope to stay in touch for a less one sided relationship. Thanks for all your placenta remedies too! CW
I consider myself to be a strong woman but nothing I read or did could have prepared me for the exact feeling of labour and birth. When I look back to that time, I consider myself to be very lucky because I had the support of my partner Nick and my doula Caroline Spear.
Nick and I hired a doula because we wanted additional support along our birthing journey and having Caroline’s assistance was a huge blessing. She provided physical and emotional support,helped us improve our birth plan and spent time educating us about the several stages of labour, delivery options and breastfeeding. From the moment we met Caroline, we were very comfortable around her. She was knowledgeable, experienced and able to answer all our questions. The love for her work helped us to feel more comfortable the closer we got to the delivery date.
The intimacy between us shone through when I embraced her through deep painful contractions whilst she rubbed my back, massaged my jaw and kept me focused and mentally strong. She helped guide me to a powerful place within myself I had never experienced before. Having Caroline there gave me the confidence and a sense of calm that I didn’t know I had, even when we realised my baby was mal-positioned and I needed to have an emergency c-section. When I wasn’t completely present, Caroline continued to advocate for my baby and body as she mediated between the midwives and us. She did everything she could to try and give me the birthing experience we wanted, and I will be forever grateful for that.
Caroline went above and beyond her role as a birthing doula. Her compassionate and caring nature led her to provide delicious home cooked food and frequent coffee meet-ups with our beautiful newborn baby. She helped navigate a smooth transition into parenthood and her presence has been immensely valuable. From VW. 2018
Hi Caroline, I hope you're well and enjoying the summer? Yesterday it was 6 months since Florence was born so I'm just sending you a picture and another thank you :) We're doing really well and Florence is (mostly!) a very happy, chilled baby, thank you for helping that to happen! It really was such a great birth and I'm very glad you were there. All the best, Z,T,E and F
Having Caroline as a doula made all the difference to my pregnancy, the birth and the first few weeks of motherhood.
Caroline had all the time for my emotions, to listen to how I was feeling and offered me a lot of advice and practical solutions to issues that arose, for example, an hour or so after I phoned Caroline telling her of my back pain, she popped in with 2 special back pillows and some homoeopathic remedies. I felt so looked after.
Caroline also recognised my fears from my last difficult birth, and took me to the labour ward, counselling me through all the feelings and memories that arose, moving me onto a more positive outlook on my 2nd experience of giving birth.
She came with me to consultant appointments and was able to help me understand my rights and choices. Because I had only experienced traditional midwives and hospital procedures I had not known how many positive and natural choices were available to me. It was quite eye opening. Everything I was unsure about Caroline had great advice on. This was so reassuring as in the weeks leading up to the birth there are so many unknowns.
As soon as I recognised I was in labour, Caroline was at my home, supporting me and also releasing my husband to care for our 9 year old. She never left my side from the house to the hospital and all through the birth.
Because she knew me so well and what I wanted she could speak for me and impart that all I hoped for, happened. She knew exactly how to support and encourage me. I know I wouldn’t have got through the birth so successfully without her.
She and my husband worked as a team. having a 3rd person did not make my husband feel excluded in any way. He found it to be a great benefit and comfort knowing there was an additional person to support me.
When my little boy was born, Caroline had a wealth of breastfeeding advice and came to my home to address all of my concerns personally, showing me how to best feed him. She continued to give homoeopathic remedies to help me heal and even helped me think practically about sleeping arrangements.
I highly recommend Caroline as a doula if you are considering whether it might be the right option for you.
Years before I was pregnant with my first baby, Luca, I had read about doulas in a girly magazine and assumed it was a luxury service only the rich and famous could indulge in having. I was, therefore, very pleasantly surprised when one of my friends from a pregnancy yoga class told me about Caroline and how affordable she was. I immediately arranged for her to visit myself and my husband at home for a reciprocal “getting to know one another” interview, as childbirth had always been something I feared and I desperately wanted support to overcome this.
I instantly warmed to Caroline’s radiant and bubbly nature; she came across as a warm and caring woman, taking the time to get to know us on a deeper level, i.e. what we did for a living, our hobbies, beliefs, outlooks on life, relationship values and ultimately we discussed the pregnancy and views on how we’d like the birth to be. It felt like we had known each other for years as we nattered on for nearly 4 hours!
Caroline really made us think about issues we had never previously considered, such as the potential risks associated with ultrasounds, the fact that we had the right to decline internal examinations, as well as blood/urine tests (we naively thought we legally had to oblige and go along with all the protocols), the benefits of a home birth, as well as the advantages of no drugs and no intervention during the birthing process.
It was invaluable and incredibly reassuring to talk to Caroline about pregnancy and birth as she taught me how to view the entire process as a natural and beautiful experience to be embraced and delighted in, rather than to fear with trepidation. Having had 4 children herself and having been present at over 40 births as a doula was a very impressive CV and it was this extra credibility that made me have ultimate faith in her as one of my birthing partners.
I wanted the best for my babys’ emotional and mental health (i.e.no traumatic experiences) and realised my role in ensuring this occurred was paramount. I wanted to stay as natural and calm as possible and to basque in the wonderment of pregnancy. Prior to the birth Caroline addressed all of my fears by listening patiently and reassuring me when necessary by reminding me of how truly amazing and capable the female body is. She gave me articles, books, videos and homeopathic tips which all helped to reinforce the positive versus the negative associations of birth, which sadly we are subjected to as a society all the time by the media, friends and family.
My confidence and self belief was drastically transformed and within 4 months I had done a complete 180 in my attitude and approach to birth. For example, from vehemently believing I was going to take all the drugs I could get my hands on in a hospital setting as being a martyr was not my style to genuinely wanting a water birth at home without drugs!
When the Big Day arrived our birth plan A was challenged due to merconium being in my waters, but we made the transition from home to hospital with minimal upset as thanks to Caroline we had been mentally prepared to keep an open mind with regards to the birth plan, by remaining flexible, yet still feeling in control by knowing our rights, desires etc with each moving target. Discussing every possible birth eventuality prior to the birth had definitely proved invaluable in keeping us so calm.
Caroline’s emotional support throughout the birth was invaluable. From 2.30am till 8.45am she never left my side and knew as only a woman does when it was appropriate to give me a reassuring hug, offer me water, stroke my back, massage my shoulders, encourage me to move into more comfortable positions, give me appropriate homeopathic remedies, tell me how well I was doing, and give me breathing techniques to stop me from hyperventilating and manage the contractions better. It was so reassuring to be able to look into the eyes of a woman who has experienced birth 4 times herself, as well as having been an active support in countless others, as I knew she knew how I was feeling and that if she wasn’t panicking I didn’t need to either. Caroline literally was the metaphorical rock I could cling to when things got a bit more intense as I knew it would all be alright if I listened to her advice. We even managed to have a few giggles! My husband felt so relaxed and supported that he managed to have a power nap, as HE was so exhausted and tired being kept up in the middle of the night!!
Some things Caroline said that really empowered me during the intense periods were the following:
- To visualise welcoming each wave of a contraction rather than fearing them as it was bringing the baby closer to us, like a drifting boat coming into shore.
- To take each contraction as a single wave and to just deal with that 1 at that time, allowed me to not feel overwhelmed or panic struck, as it made it a manageable, bite sized task.
- To realise that the contractions were being produced from my body, and that my body would never choose to create something that was insurmountable to itself. This allowed me to place all my trust in my body and its abilities and to just go with the flow.
- Making deliberately long and powerful outward breaths when a contraction was at its peak really helped to manage any discomfort I was feeling.
The midwives commented on how calm I was and how well I was doing by just employing the breathing techniques and body positionings Caroline had taught me. They clearly weren’t used to a labouring woman not making much sound and pretty much left us to it!
When the baby finally decided to make an entrance into the World I was standing up and it all happened rather suddenly as in 1 “whoosh” of a massive contraction he was wriggling on the hospital floor, much to the midwives surprise and amazement, even though I had said 20 seconds beforehand that I thought it was about to happen! Needless to say we have called him “Bungi Boy” ever since! Thankfully Luca was absolutely fine but it was still very reassuring to have Caroline with us, as as per our request she had taken photos of Luca’s head crowning and of him being born minutes thereafter (which could have been used as evidence of negligence on the midwives part of not being ready to birth him appropriately). Caroline also reminded us of our choices when an entourage of at least 4 paediatric obstetricians arrived checking Luca for any cranial damage and started pressurizing us to keep him under observation for 48hrs, do X rays on him, inject him with vitamin K etc…all of which we decided were not measures we felt happy taking, as our instincts told us he was just fine and that we could monitor him just as well at home ourselves (i.e. he was breastfeeding beautifully, able to squeeze my fingers with both hands, opening his eyes, had no bruising or swelling even after 6 hrs of observation and was a calm and contented baby boy). Caroline gave us the confidence to follow our intuition and the courage to see it through by reminding us that Luca was our baby and that we knew what was best for him. The whole experience could have been much more traumatising for Luca and us had we bought into the drama being spun all around us; at one stage they were even making a huge deal about the fact that Luca had a slight heart murmur saying it might be indicative of a hole in his heart, but thankfully Caroline reassured us that this was actually very normal for a newborn during the first 6hrs of life and that it usually self-regulates itself thereafter….which thankfully it did.
For the 6 weeks that followed the birth Caroline would visit, call or text us a couple of times a week to see how we were all doing and she continued to help me with various queries and challenges that cropped up such as: *breastfeeding (i.e. helping me ensure Luca’s latching on was correct, as my nipples had begun to crack and bleed after a few days), *advice on co-sleeping with the baby, (not something we had planned, but just spontaneously happened) *discussing vaccination concerns, *contacts for other natural health care providers such as a cranio-osteopath, herbalist etc. She also volunteered herself to help with any housework or shopping, but thankfully we were able to spare her that! My point is that she would have done if we had needed her to, and just knowing that her support was at hand so readily was incredibly comforting.
I am now 6 months pregnant with our second child and will definitely be having Caroline at my side for the birth. To claim that I did not have drugs with Luca feels like a bit of a fib, as Caroline’s coaching and mentoring was the best drug I could ever have wished for and I wouldn’t want to do it without her!
Giving birth was definitely the most amazing and positive experience of my life so far and as wierd as it may sound I am genuinely very excited about the next time. Now I never would have thought I would hear myself saying that 2 years ago!!
Thank you Caroline Xx
(Christina Long, 33 years old, Bognor Regis)
I found Caroline invaluable because she took a lot of pressure off me as a first time dad to be, by helping and coaching Chrissi through the birth. She was totally unintrusive and we felt like it was a very intimate event, whilst it was very reassuring having her support throughout.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Caroline to anyone going through birth, whether it’s their first time or whether they’ve done it before.
(Bradley Long, Bognor Regis)
Thank you so, so much again for your amazing support and words of encouragement and wisdom.
I can’t imagine birthing a child without you there and am so grateful you were with us for our first hospital birth ( after 2 homebirths).
You helped empower me and you dealt with all the tricky hospital stuff so that my husband and I could just on with meeting our lovely little girl.
THANK YOU!! K and J and family October 2014
Thank you so much for helping us achieve the birth of my dreams. It was truly an amazing experience
With Love S, D and family
Caroline was my doula at the birth of my son, in June 2005. I had
my first baby by elective caesarian and decided that I wanted a vaginal
birth with my second. The more I examined the issues, the more I
realised that not only did I want a vaginal birth, I wanted a home
birth. The more research I did, the more I realised that I needed a
doula if I wanted to have any control over my labour. I met Caroline in
a chatroom about vbacs – and then had her recommeded to me by my
ante-natal teacher. We met and both me and my husband got on really well
with her so I booked her. It is strange, having to involve a stranger in
your labour and birth – but I would recommend it to EVERYONE.
Having booked Caroline, I felt doubly supported and was able to stand up
to my critics ( midwives, consultants, parents) and really started to
look forward to labour.
I went into labour 11 days late – so poor Caroline was getting constant
texts from me – and was so supportive about the overdue baby when the
consultants were getting their knickers in a twist and sharpening the
On the day I went into labour she came over at about 5pm ( my waters had
broken at about midday). It felt like a really exciting occasion which
everyone was gathering for – not something scary at all. She constantly
threw homeopathic remedies down my throat. But she was unintrusive and
kept in the background when I just wanted to be with my husband. When
the hospital said they didn’t have a midwife to send me Caroline gave me
the confidence to wait a bit longer – which I would never have done if I
was alone with DH. I never had to have any pain relief and that was
due to Caroline helping me with my breathing. She made me breath slowly
and gently instead of huffing and puffing. She held me when I was
pushing – suggested positions I could get into etc. She and the midwife
and DH seemed to be very peaceful and getting on just fine.
She noticed me starting to push before the midwife did, now that I think
about it and was quite active in getting me into the bath to rest me,
and helping me through the pushing – which took nearly three hours. She
also took photos of the birth, which I’m so grateful she did!!!!
All in all, Caroline was a mental and physical support, someone who took
any panic or urgency away from the experience and made it as special as
it was. If I’d had to go into hospital, she would have been even more
All in all, I think every woman should have a doula – provided by the
But hey, that’s just me.
From a dads’ perspective
Having spoken to a number of Doula’s, my partner, T and I found Caroline very knowledgeable in vaginal births after caesarean (VBAC) and very easy to talk to, which we felt was vital in selecting the right Doula.
She involved me from the very beginning, which others had not and I immediately felt I was part of the team. She explained her experience and her own life very clearly to both of us. She also explained how homeopathy could help and though we were pessimistic at first, she answered all our questions to alleviate any of our fears about it.
T contacted Caroline on Friday night, as she had been having niggling contractions all day and Caroline advised what to do. Caroline rang on Saturday morning and said that she would pop over to see how we were. Upon her arrival T was having heavy contractions. I was not helping much myself, but Caroline immediately took control of the situation and placed T into a far more comfortable position on the stairs. She was very calm and made sure I was helping as well.
During a bath, Caroline noticed that something was not quite right and the baby was unhappy. I immediately called the hospital and they asked us to come straight in.
We met our Midwife and Caroline was translating everything she was saying into English. She was informing us what we could do, but not imposing herself. All the decisions were left to T and me, but we were making more informed choices. The midwife was sticking to the hospitals policy, but Caroline gave me such confidence that I could overrule any decisions that I knew T and I didn’t want. The midwife was certainly being firm why I wasn’t taking her advice, but I knew it was T’s and my baby and we wanted it delivered our way. Without Caroline, I would not have had the confidence to even challenge a midwife.
During this time Caroline was continuously helping T. She seemed to massage her back for hours, but she knew exactly what to do and when. Caroline made sure I was helping T as much as possible and she demonstrated how to massage her back. She also provided a number of homeopathic remedies during the labour.
T and I were both getting tired as the day wore on, but Caroline did not slow down or seemed to stop for a rest. Her energy lasted the entire day without any complaint. I believe this energy was passed onto T and myself and kept us both going.
Sadly, as hard as we tried for a natural birth, it wasn’t to be, but Caroline came with us to the theatre, at our request and she stayed with T after the birth of the baby.
T was allowed home the following day, which was fantastic considering she had had a caesarean. T felt the homeopathic remedies Caroline had provided had made a huge impact on this. With T’s previous caesarean, T felt a lot of pain weeks after the event, though she still felt pain this time around, it did not stop her from doing basic tasks.
This was all possible because of Caroline’s help and support of which we thank her very much.
Thank you!! we are all so grateful to you for helping to make Rosa’s entry into the world so special. You’re worth your weight in gold. Love from the I family
Katie’s HWBAC As told in an email:
Hello Everyone I have just got back from supporting Katie, who gave birth at home, under water at 15.12 to an 9 lb 11oz daughter after a c/s for ftp to a 10.10 son. She woke up at 2am with mild contractions, and G phoned me at 8am. I went over and the pool was filled Katie was gently labouring in the water by then G used accupressure throughout the labour Her sister and best friend arrived and her son quietly played in the same room as Katie was labouring and in the garden throughout the whole day. Friends were sending messages of good luck and reiki energy. She also used aromatherapy on a flannel, and by 14.50 was pushing She had a tight sensation across her scar up to about 6 cm above. We called the hospital She did not want the midwives anywhere near her, so they sat in the garden. After a while she was feeling that nothing was happening, so I suggested that she feel between her legs, and she could feel something hard high up in her vagina, later, when she was feeling a little despondent, I suggested that she feel again, and explained that the head does move up and down during labour. Then she had another feel and exclaimed "I can feel hair!" Several more pushes, and a change of position, and she pushed hard and kept pushing. Katie said that the head was out. G looked into the pool and said he could see the head, and I could then see the head and body. With another push, Baby was out, face down in the water, guided towards Katie back under her leg and she lifted her baby. Surrounded by Papa, brother, auntie and friends, Tai was lifted by her Mamma into the sitting room. Then the Midwives were asked to join us. The placenta took 2 hours to come, and was fine, birthed into the toilet after one Aconite 30 (I used this as she had not peed for about 4 hours). The hospital had not been very supportive to her plans for an HBAC, but the day before she had met a midwife who was, and she was the 2nd midwife to arrive. The only daft part was when G phoned the hospital and the midwife was adamant she should talk to K, who was so into her labour she just did not want to talk to anyone, so G held the phone next to K as she had a good push!! Mother and Baby were doing beautifully when I left. My follow on email later went as follows X After some thought on the birth story I sent earlier what strikes me is how normal everything was life carried on people popped in and out for things that had to be done one woman came in for keys to take over a class as Katie was in the pool and returned the keys after the baby had been born, so congratulated the parents and saw a new born still in the pool Katie's perception of time was so altered .. this did not matter normal conversation and laughter between contractions respect for the mother to be alone A natural withdrawal and space for her. No rush. No panic. life carried on as baby was getting born . People ate and drank, almost as needed everyone just supported each other as needed, looks of joy and concern between people, reassurance time and space for mother and father to start their new life with their new baby no embarrassment with normal bodily functions, mother and father were able to be loving, unhindered, spend time together, brother getting to know new sister, just a part of ordinary family life. Freedom to move around and time, no hurry OK. I witter on, but the comparisons between the hospital water birth I attended earlier this year and the HBAC today are enormous. Yours deep in thought Caroline
I had my first child by c section as he was breach 4 years earlier. I had been prepared for my world changing as I embarked on motherhood but had not planned for quite how ill I was. It took a good 8 weeks to recover from the surgery and it was something I never wanted to repeat. So…pregnant with my daughter I was a woman on a mission to have a successful VBAC delivery. Caroline spent time with both my husband and I to understand what my ideal labour would be like and to get to know us. She also made me face my demons and talk through my previous birth experience. This was useful as it helped me prepare just in case I ended up back in theatre again.
The big day came and I was on the phone to Caroline unsure if it was a false alarm or the real thing –thank goodness I phoned when I did though, as by the time she arrived I was desperate for her support.
I went into labour with complete confidence that I had all the tools needed to give a VBAC a good attempt – I had both Caroline and my husband teed up on exactly what I felt I would need. Caroline arrived and gave me a homeopathic remedy straight away and went straight into massaging my back. Both helped immediately and just Caroline’s calming voice made me feel like I was in safe hands. I had the confidence to stay at home and I would probably been too nervous to stay at home for as long without her. She was able to suggest positions to try to make me more comfortable and relieve my husband so he could cook a meal. (I felt a desperate need to eat before I would consider going to hospital)She clearly felt relaxed in our home and we felt relaxed having her there. She was always there whenever I needed her, and I needed her for every contraction! Her massage eased the pain and the homeopathic remedies kept on coming! My husband felt at ease with her and they worked as a fabulously supportive team. I couldn’t have done it without either of them. As Caroline has had 4 children herself she was totally able to empathise with how I might be feeling and that became invaluable during our car journey to hospital as she was able to ask my husband to slow or to pull over during contractions. She became my voice.
We were welcomed at hospital by a midwife who was clearly of the opinion “ once a section, always a section” and this is where Caroline came into her own. She whispered RCOG and legal info to us and gave me the confidence to say I didn’t want this midwife and gave my husband the confidence to go and speak to the Head of Midwifery and get our team changed. I really don’t think we would have done this is if we were on our own. Caroline made us feel important and that it should be our wishes that were respected and not whatever “hospital policy” was. We felt that if we met a challenge Caroline had the counter argument to support what we wanted. We ended up with a midwife team that were 100% supportive. Caroline made the whole experience as comfortable as she could for me – it is the little things that she does that makes all the difference like switching off the florescent lighting in the hospital, opening windows, finding a CD player to play my music etc.
Her confidence, touch and soothing voice gave me much reassurance as labour progressed. Caroline’s enthusiasm for her job never falters, she was with me for nearly 24 hours and yet her energy remained constant. I actually sat on Caroline’s knees for hours as this position felt the most comfortable – I must have weighed a ton but Caroline never once moaned and just carried on massaging!
Mission Accomplished, Emily May was born by successful VBAC on 28th May . THANK YOU CAROLINE!
Caroline Having you there meant I could get some sleep, go to the toilet and get food & drink, and know that my wife was constantly supported. That alone made a huge difference to our first birthing experience. BL
Reference for Caroline Spear from Anstey & Stuart
After having my first child by c-section I was determined to avoid having another caesarean section with my second child. We had felt distanced from the birth of our first child and my recovery had been very slow. I started research into vaginal births after a caesarean (VBAC) and felt strongly that this was the right route for me. I had already decided that I still wanted to labour in hospital as my local birthing unit was closed, but this time we chose a hospital that felt more suited to our needs. It wasn’t until after my first ante-natal appointment that we realised how much conflicting advice there was about VBAC deliveries. It became clear that a c-section was going to be offered to me far more readily than support and information on a VBAC delivery – which seemed madness due to the cost to the NHS and the implications for my recovery It was time to get some help!
I found Caroline’s information on the Doula UK website and she offered exactly the type of support I was seeking. I met Caroline with my husband and we instantly knew this was the person for the job! For the first time we were excitedly talking about the delivery of the baby rather than worrying whether we knew enough about hospital policies or procedures that were troubling us. We booked Caroline and never looked back – she was there every step of the way with helpful information and towards the end homeopathic remedies to keep me going!
One of the biggest reasons I wanted to book a birth assistant was for consistency of care. I got this with Caroline and I am convinced this is one of the key reasons why I felt so confident about my labour and ability to birth my child vaginally. More importantly, Caroline made me face all eventualities and made me realise that if intervention was essential it was just as important to have expressed my preferences for these situations too in my birth plan. This made sure that I had addressed the possibility of repeat surgery, but was clear in my own mind about what I wanted so I could remain in control in any situation. Caroline patiently listened to all my anxieties about having a VBAC delivery and made me realise that I had all the tools and intuition within me to find the best way to birth my child. This proved to be invaluable as it enabled me to express my preferences firmly, which turned out to be essential on the day!
Caroline ensured that the birth was everything we wanted it to be. The labour started off slow but she was there with advice and aromatherapy remedies to keep me sane. In the end I had a beautiful baby girl who came very quickly and with no intervention. The experience was amazing and very intimate despite being in hospital for the delivery. Caroline stayed with me whilst we were waiting to be discharged and I was back home in my bed five hours later! This was the complete opposite to the experience first time around and we couldn’t believe how closely we had followed our birth plan which was how we had seen our perfect birthing experience.
Caroline not only made me face my labour positively but enabled my husband to enjoy the birth of our second child by being able to relax and concentrate on me, knowing there was an experienced birthing assistant to tackle anything that the situation may throw at us.
Using a doula – a male perspective!
After our initial meeting with Caroline our attitudes to the birth of our second child seemed to change overnight. My wife had been very concerned about the possibility of another c-section and felt that we needed support if we were going to get the birth choices we wanted. We addressed the fact that last time the experience had been quite traumatic for both of us and that we wanted to approach a VBAC armed with information and an understanding of what support we both wanted. As my wife knew my strengths she was determined that I would be able to concentrate on providing the type of support I was best at. Caroline enabled us to get just this. I was able to support my wife without the worry of having to know what I should be stating or checking with the medical staff. Ironically though, as I knew our birthing plan so well it was impossible for those questions directed at my wife to slip past me. I found I actually did know the answers and was able to respond appropriately.
As soon as Caroline arrived at the hospital it allowed my wife and I to be in our own bubble and to concentrate on birthing our baby. We left everything else to Caroline who was incredibly focused and supportive. After what was a very quick birth (we stayed at home as long as we could to prevent any unwanted medical intervention!) Caroline looked after all of our needs and even made us a cup of tea.
We both want to say a really big thank you to Caroline, as Caroline made it much easier to achieve. Seeing the difference in my wife this time around and me being less worried about the implications of surgery etc has been incredible. We have all appreciated the care and support that Caroline provided afterwards too and we couldn’t have had a better start to family life with our new daughter.
Deep in the heart of Sussex About 10.30 pm on Sunday Sue felt a change in the expansions around her abdomen, of the type that said “we are not going to stop until baby is born.” She didn’t want to wake up Chris, but excitement took over and she urgently whispered “Chris! I think you might want to start filling the pool up.” For the records, Chris had been filling and emptying the pool for about a week by now, to avoid using hideous chemicals to keep still water fresh and clean. On the Borders of North Bersted. Caroline was interrupted by the welcome ring of the telephone and a far off voice said: “I think this is definitely labour, well, I woke Chris up just after 11 to fill the pool and I feel bad calling you just after midnight” I asked if Sue wanted me to come over and she vaguely suggested that I “could come over in an hour or two”… a big surge took Sue’s voice away and Chris took over the phone call and we agreed I should be over within an hour. The house was calm and still. My son Ethan was fast asleep. Sue asked if the pool was ready. There was urgency in her voice which said that it was time to sink into water. Upstairs she walked, and sat on the loo. She wanted to pee, before getting into the pool, but couldn’t. So Caroline told her it was safe to pee in the pool. Chris helped Sue climb over the high sides of the pool and she sank with relief into the warmth of the water. Chris came in and hugged and kissed Sue. The atmosphere was positive and gentle, just right for a baby to be born into. Chris asked Sue if he should call the Midwife, but Sue did not feel it was time. She changed positions, and then sat on her bottom. She found this very comfortable, and then remembered labouring in the same position with her son. Not wanting to repeat her first labour, she moved, changing position from squats to knees to hanging off the side of the pool. As Chris left the house with an excited Ethan, happily chattering away, he noticed how still, clear and crisp the night air and sky were. This was the first cloudless night in over a week. Sue reached a stage where she had had enough. Transition. Doubting her ability to continue yet realizing the benefits of staying positive. When it hurt, as she felt a head wiggle, and the over whelming urge to poo. At the same time Sue and Caroline both said “she’s on her way.” They had talked about this baby in the feminine from when they had first met. Caroline asked if she should call for the midwife but Sue did not want her to leave her side. It was hurting Sue, and Caroline said “It hurts now, then it will hurt more and then it will be so much easier.” Caroline suggested that Sue lower the tone of her voice to an uhhhhhhhhh.” Then Sue could feel the head, and some membrane too, that floated around in the water. Sue felt and thought “that’s not the head, that’s grungy!” The she realized what she was feeling, and her face broke into an ectastic ray of triumphant joy. Sue cried out in joy “I’m doing it. I’m doing it!!” Then she spoke words of welcoming encouragement to her baby. Sue did not want to move in case she hurt her baby and her body took a short break before building up for another surge. She slipped to one side, was pulled back by Caroline and then held onto Caroline’s neck as another surge pushed out the shoulders, followed by the body, arms and legs. It was 03.45. Monday 25th . Baby floated at the bottom of the pool, with arms and legs apart like a star fish. Sue instinctively scooped her up into her arms to greet baby, who was quietly calm. At the same time, Chris felt a drop of water on his lip. With such a dry sky, and Orion so clearly in sight, he knew that his baby had been born, and he and Ethan headed back home. Father and son arrived within minutes, to meet daughter and sister, and family was fully together. Within minutes, their Midwife arrived. Sue got out of the pool when the cord stopped pulsating, and Caroline and Ethan re-wove another tie for baby’s umbilical cord, which Chris then cut. Baby had latched on beautifully and was happily breast feeding. After their midwife had left, Sue was tucked up in bed with her baby, ready to start their new lives together.Post Natal Doula Comments: Caroline, can we keep you till R is 18?? LP You were invaluable – nurturing (making snacks, soup etc), reassuring (breastfeeding advice, encouragement, knowledgable) and willing (I know toddler-wrangling wasn’t your favourite subject but you got stuck in!!!). S and C Caroline: Many Thanks for all that you have done over the past 2 ½ years!! We couldn’t have done it without you and have learnt so much from you, so a BIG thank you from all of us. A, D, I and O You were my friend, my confidante, I trusted you with my children and you helped me recover in the post natal period. When my mum had to go home you cheerfully got on with the chores that allowed me to rest. A S We had a set routine to follow and you did exactly as asked. I really appreciated the little extra things you did too, Sorting out the flowers, getting the right food for my breakfast. My husband was able to get our daughter to school on time, so was not late for work once. Nothing was too much trouble. You really helped us have a smooth start to our enlarged family. All families should have a post natal doula. E D