We met Rachel through a hypnobirthing course with the Mindful Birthing Group and we knew after just one session that we wanted to hire her as our Doula. Rachel embodied everything we were looking for in the support for the birth of our son – always calm, compassionate, positive, empathetic and supportive from the start, and a champion for our decisions about how we wanted to birth – at home, in our own environment, as naturally as possible.
Rachel made herself available to us 24/7 after 38 weeks, and she was always quick to answer any of our questions and provide constant reassurance – she consistently checked in with us to find out how things were going and to find out how we were feeling in the lead up to my due date. Her support in the last days of pregnancy really helped calm any anxieties or nerves about my upcoming labour (including those of going over my due date), and she always had resources and knowledge to hand if we did have any particular questions. She was integral in shifting my mindset about birth from one portrayed in Hollywood movies to that of a natural, peaceful and empowering experience.
We ended up having a home birth, as we planned. During labour itself, Rachel was completely invaluable, so much so that I genuinely believe that we could not have birthed in our ideal environment without her. She provided us with immense support both practically, emotionally and mentally – she ensured the birthing pool was topped up and kept to a perfect temperature, she made sure I was well hydrated and provided snacks to keep my energy levels up, she timed and monitored contractions without any intervention, she suggested movements and positions to help labour progress when things had slowed down, made cold compresses throughout the night to keep me comfortable, and she physically supported me throughout labour.
Beyond this, and what really stood out, was Rachel’s continual positive attitude and emotional support – she regularly checked in with me to see how I was doing, provided positive affirmations throughout to remind me that I was capable of birthing in the way I wanted, she reminded me to utilise my breathing techniques, particularly during the pushing phase, to relax my face and jaw, calmed me in my moments of anxiety and provided useful visualisations. It was these measures that really enhanced my birthing experience and enabled me to birth in the way I wanted.
Most notably, Rachel’s indispensable help relieved me and my partner of the practicalities surrounding birth, meaning we could work through each contraction as they came and be in the momement together. I truly believe this mentality, which was fostered and protected by Rachel, enabled us to really focus on birthing our son in the most positive way possible and in the way we planned and hoped for.
Even after our son had arrived and Rachel had been supporting us for over 14 hours, she gave us the space and time to enjoy our first moments together as a family of three, a moment which will live with me forever. Her work didn’t stop here however – she once again made herself indispensible by chaperoning the midwives, sustaining the calm atmosphere, and taking care of the practicals such as sorting out the birthing pool, helping me get dressed, cleaning up, and getting us ready to go into hospital.
Our son was born in the back-to-back position after 28 hours of labour, utilising only hypnobirthing techniques – certainly a feat I never thought myself capable of achieving, but from Rachel’s initial support and guidance and the environment she sustained throughout labour, she was essential to the strength I was able to draw upon and I know that I could not have made it through my labour without her.
Rachel was beyond integral to our birth experience – she knew just what was needed and when – and there are not enough ways we can thank her. We already know that we would love Rachel to be present and support us at the birth of all our future children – we really could not have asked for more in a Doula and we will be indebted to her for life.
Elizabeth & Deji