Testimonial from a Grandmother (JW December 2018) : a grandmother gives feedback on being supported by Hilary in her role as birth companion for her daughter
“I want to share my thanks to Hilary for helping us (grandmother and parents) to process a disappointing first birth (2016) and to prepare for the second one which took place in October 2018 in Salt Lake City USA. As a longtime friend of Hilary I was delighted and relieved to be able draw on her experience and knowledge as a doula in readiness for being a member of the birth team again. The first birth ended in a C section, despite making it to full dilation without assistance, because very late on the baby was discovered to be breech. The hospital staff was risk averse and not in touch with UK evidenced informed practice, such as immediate skin to skin contact, seeding and allowing the mother to take time. I had chosen home births for my children because I know how important the birth is for mother and baby. The information I gained from HIlary reminded them of this and, though they definitely didn’t want a home birth, they began to think seriously about which hospital to choose for the delivery of their second child.
Early on in the second pregnancy I had a long telephone discussion with Hilary about what would make a difference second time round. When I visited a few months later she gave me a book to read and links to research findings to answer some of my questions. I ordered the book for the parents and summarised the material I’d looked at to make it quick and easy for them to access. On arrival at their home in Salt Lake City in October I discussed where and when I should be assertive during the birth. They had read the book and had used it to prepare a very clear birth plan with symbols which were clear for everyone. The baby came 10 days early and was born normally with the help of an epidural. I cut the umbilical cord once the baby had all the blood it needed. The midwives were supportive and the routine tests were done an hour later once the parents were ready. He continues to thrive.
For me Hilary’s help meant that; the materials selected were tailored for me and my daughter for a second birth in her unique circumstances. This helped me inform myself and them quickly and effectively. This resulted in a clear picture for them of the birth they wanted and helped them choose the hospital most likely to provide it.
the Birthplan was clear for me to support, as well as for the hospital. The plan came directly from the recommended book using the tools provided.
Reading and talking to Hilary enabled me to identify what I needed to know and to consolidate my knowledge.
My daughter recognised the importance of getting the right information from me:
‘Thanks…with all your research that helped us with the birth and helped us be more informed on the day’
A big thank you Hilary!
“What would you say to other parents considering having a doula?” E and D April 2018 “I would wholeheartedly recommend it – I think too many people underestimate what a big deal birth is and how important it is to strive for the best possible outcome. It can have such a huge impact if you’re not properly prepared and having a doula has definitely helped us to feel confident and ready for anything. D would strongly advise any father who is too proud to consider a doula to leave those feelings behind!”
A (birth) November 2017 “Hilary’s empathy and understanding of the birth process is deep and grounded in research. Her knowledge extends far beyond evidence-based research, her ability to hold space and assist in exploring the emotional challenges pregnancy and birth brings is a true gift. An earthly angel, Hilary gave us so much more than support and guidance throughout the process. I was blessed to have her present.”
E (birth) November 2017 “Hilary provided lots of care during labour – making sure I was fed and watered, comfort measures like cool flannels etc. Helped to create the atmosphere we wanted with personal touches like battery operated tea lights! She also kept tabs on everything the midwives said and made sure we were happy with any decisions we had to make. The single most valuable thing for me though was the coaching that she gave me once my contractions threatened to get the better of me, reminding me to BREATHE!!!!! It was so simple but all I needed to help me keep control at the time. She also took some amazing photos of the birth that we totally weren’t expecting and will treasure forever.”
A (birth) February 2017 “The support that Hilary gave to our family during the momentous time of having a new baby was priceless. She seemed to effortlessly know what we needed from her and was wonderful to have as a ‘go to’ for advice during pregnancy. She is very knowledgeable about anything and everything you might need. We would definitely recommend using her doula services…Thank you Hilary!”
A (birth) January 2017 “We chose to have a Doula following hearing recommendations for Hilary from several people who had worked with her or hired her. I was keen to have a home birth, having had a poor experience of aftercare on the ward last time round, but was concerned that there may be opposition to it due to me having a pre-existing medical condition. Hiring a Doula was something that we were keen to do so that we could feel empowered to push forward our dreams for the perfect home birth; hiring a Doula also meant that should anything happen there would be an impartial third party to help us step back and make the RIGHT choice, not one based on medical protocol or my own stubbornness! As it happened we did in fact have the perfect home birth; Hilary’s presence was fundamental to that and helped to create a calm atmosphere where our wishes were respected. 2 months later our beautiful baby girl is as chilled out as the day she was born – I truly believe that is due to the relaxed atmosphere she came into. We are truly blessed to have had Hilary share such a precious moment with us, and without a doubt would recommend her to anyone thinking of hiring a Doula – or indeed those that have not yet considered it!”
Midwife (home birth) October 2016 “…what a difference it made to have you there. I was able to concentrate on safely facilitating the birth whilst you were able to give J the reassurance and encouragement she needed. I’m sure it made a real difference to J to have a trusted presence with her. It was really positive to be able to work as a team…I will certainly recommend your service Hilary. How great to have that in our local area!”
J and J October (birth) November 2016 “I sensed Hilary was the right person to guide me, and guide me she did, over bumps, deep deep dark moments and out through the other side to enable me to enjoy the last few weeks of my pregnancy and ultimately to trust and believe in my own ability to birth my baby – in spectacular fashion! Hilary is smart, funny and very knowledgeable about birth and all things connected to pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.”
“Having Hilary supporting us over this pregnancy has been amazing because she has helped us overcome some tough memories of J’s last labour and look at the positives for this one.”
E and A (birth) December 2015 “It’s difficult to find experienced, knowledgeable support but a doula provides this…As a mother herself, Hilary was able to understand so much of what I was feeling…She helped me be the mother I needed to be after a traumatic first birth and this experience has healed many wounds. I did it!”
R and A (birth) July 2015 “Hilary is thorough, very caring, gentle, knowledgeable and supportive. She listened to exactly what we wanted for the birth of our daughter and helped to make it a reality. We really felt cared for and nurtured by Hilary from 3 weeks before the birth and in the weeks after…It really helped to put my husband’s mind at rest to have the extra support…We will miss her!”
E and D (birth) December 2014 “Hilary is a very caring and nurturing person who gets on brilliantly with other people. She had the ability to be firm and assertive (to protect our wishes) but without creating conflict. She is extremely knowledgeable about birth, and is obviously passionate about her doula-ing…I loved the way Hilary worked as a team with D to look after me during labour, and the positivity and encouragement she provided was invaluable.”