"I started to attend Dee's yoga classes from about week 20 of my pregnancy and continued weekly throughout. What I instantly enjoyed was the hour and half set aside for just me and my baby. It was a great bonding opportunity to really focus on my body and unborn and take the time to relax and concentrate on my pregnancy. Dee is excellent, not just at the yoga but also covering many subjects and issues surrounding pregnancy, birth and postnatal. The yoga itself is a good workout and I personally like the fact that my body was still challenged - the moves were similar to yoga I had experienced before pregnancy but with a focus on antenatal relevance i.e. breathing techniques. The most amazing personal experience for me took place when I was 40 weeks pregnant. I attended Dee's class 2 days overdue and after an hour of yoga and a lovely hypo birthing relaxation.....3 hours later I was in labour.
I have loved your classes Dee - it has been fab’ participating in antenatal yoga so thank you very much."
"As soon as I fell pregnant with my second child I planned to have a natural home birth. However, my previous birth experience (in hospital) had been far from ideal and I had concerns about whether I would be physically able to give birth to a baby without medical intervention. After my first antenatal yoga session with Dee I knew I wanted her as my doula. She helped me to prepare my body and mind for labour and birth, worked through my fears with me and gave me the confidence to trust in my own body. During labour she worked alongside the midwives and my husband, cared for me, relieved my back pain, helped me stay focused with hypnotherapy cues, and was a fantastic calming presence. The recent birth of my daughter (at home and in water) was everything I hoped it would be, and Dee's contribution was pivotal. I feel that every birthing woman should have a doula and Dee must surely be one of the best!"
"It’s now almost six months since our little boy, Beck, was born at home in a birthing pool. The time has flown by in a lot of ways, but we still think of the night he was born- it was incredible.
It was incredible, not because, as some people tell me, I’m ‘lucky’ and had an easy time, but because of all the time and energy that went into creating a good pregnancy and the birth we wanted. A big part of this preparation was hiring a Doula.
Our midwife wasn’t exactly anti- home birth, but she wasn’t exactly encouraging either. This is one of the reasons why we decided it would be helpful to work with a Doula; someone who could be uninhibited by the medical machinery in their encouragement and support.
We knew we wanted to work with Wendy when she replied ‘Oh, how exciting!’ when we told her we were planning a home birth. From that moment (before we had even confirmed our booking) Wendy was a calming, wise and enthusiastic supporter. She did not make assumptions about what we wanted or advise us on what we should choose, but found out from us where we were coming from and then worked to support us with the choices we made. The Ante-natal support was invaluable in the birth-planning, and crucial to this was the availability of ante-natal yoga classes with Wendy which not only gave us weekly contact with her, but taught us techniques that were useful in the lead up to the birth and in labour itself. This weekly contact meant that we could build our relationship and provided continuity which the NHS did not. The Reiki was an additional way in which Wendy and I connected during the lead up to the birth. One thing my partner and I really appreciated was how, although it is clear how much Wendy enjoys working with women, she was a source of support not only to me but also to my (male) partner. She was always very patient with our questions and anxieties as the big day drew closer.
When my waters broke Wendy was the first person we called. She had been on call for a week before the due date; but Beck came on time. She encouraged us to take our time, but came to ours when we decided we needed her in person. The midwives were called soon after, and Wendy was professional and respectful in her interactions with them. This worked really well and I felt that I had a very competent team around me: the midwives who took care of the medical examinations and monitoring; Wendy, calm and encouraging wise-woman, and my partner to support me emotionally (and sometimes physically!) and indulge me with all the TLC I could handle.
During the labour and birth, Wendy was an unobtrusive, peaceful presence in the room. She offered me advice with breathing techniques, active birthing positions and homeopathy. She was able to be assertive with me in a way which the midwives felt unable to be having never met me before that night. My partner and I also observed that she was able to be respectfully assertive with the midwives, too, when their approach was not compatible with our wishes. She also supported my partner in finding his role during the process and with the practicalities such as helping him fill and maintain the temperature in the birth pool and organise refreshments for me and the rest of ‘the team’.
Wendy stayed with us from 10pm ‘til the early hours of the morning when Beck was born (in the pool with no other pain relief, as we had wanted). She also visited twice post-natally which was fantastic as she was able to help us establish breastfeeding and gave us the valuable chance to debrief.
We would have no hesitation in recommending Wendy as a Doula and we may well be calling on her again in a year or so time!"
"Michael and I decided that we needed a doula because we were so frustrated with the maternity service. We had no continuity of care and felt that we were not listened to. This was extremely frustrating and worrying when thinking about birth which is such an intimate but also potentially powerless experience. So in asking you to be our doula we were primarily looking for an advocate, but also who would not make my husband feel excluded.
I really valued having the time before the birth to get to know you, this was often through Reiki but also through chats and texts, this meant that by the time we got to the birth Michael and I were already comfortable with you in our home.
The labour was very long, and although we had planned a home birth, in the end this was not possible. You were very important in helping us make the decision to go into hospital. Also importantly you maintained our privacy (and kept the midwives busy) so that we could make our own decisions. This was a really important aspect of sensitively ensuring that my husband was included and encouraged to take the primary supporting role.
When we got to hospital you formed part of a team with the midwife present to support me. Because it was such a long labour your presence meant that my husband could have a break, and therefore also support me more effectively. You also supported us in requesting that we had minimal medical intervention, this was very important to us and ultimately resulted in supporting a “normal” vaginal delivery. Most importantly you stuck with us throughout the 40 hours of labour and managed (somehow) to maintain a sense of humour and sanity!
Finally your visits post-natally were really important in supporting breast feeding. I found it much easier to maintain after we had followed your advice of skin to skin contact.
We are all very grateful to you for your support and would thoroughly recommend your services to others."
"I knew Wendy through her ante-natal yoga classes that I attended during both my pregnancies
Although my partner is brilliant and was a real support in both my pregnancies and labours, I felt I needed a familiar female around who could have a calming influence if I was struggling and my partner panicked! I lost my mum last year and she had been present at the birth of my first little boy. I don’t have any other female relatives whom I feel close to and no close friends in a position to be around. Wendy had met my mum and also knew my dad as he was her doctor as a child. I therefore felt she had a connection with our family and when she decided to do the doula course, I knew I would want her to doula for me at the birth of my second child.
She also attended a Hypno-birthing class with me and my partner so that she was well informed and well prepared for the type of birth we were planning
My labour pains accelerated very quickly and Dee arrived just before the midwife. I think I was almost in a state of shock when she arrived as I hadn’t actually believed I was in labour until all of a sudden the contractions kicked in. As soon as she arrived, I think I breathed a sigh of relief just knowing she was there! During the labour, she was great at encouraging me to do as my body was telling me and reassuring me that all was fine and I was doing just fine. I think she helped to keep the atmosphere calm and quiet, which was as I had wanted.
Dee helped practically with getting me out of the pool and onto a cushioned floor to have some skin to skin and quiet time with the baby, and encouraged for us to be left alone for some bonding time with Max. She was the rationale in the midst of our euphoric state, when it came to decisions about when to introduce our 3 year old to his new baby and other matters that you’re really in no state to think about immediately after giving birth! I think she made us all tea and toast too!!
Having Dee there was definitely the next best thing to my mum being by my side!
Dee has offered me emotional support and always been at the end of the phone if I’ve needed to chat. I have had problems with breast feeding and she has offered support and guidance.
My partner, Darren was very happy for Dee to be involved. He was pleased when she arrived as he felt there was someone there who was on our side! Although the midwives were excellent, Dee knew exactly what we wanted for our birth and was able to bat for our team where necessary!
I think having a doula is a great idea if it is someone who you connect well with and if you are in a position such as mine, with no female family member who you are close enough to to be there for you."