I am very fortunate to have worked with some amazing women, couples and families over the years who have expressed their desire to help spread the word about the services I offer, and to share their feelings about their experiences of giving birth and of receiving my support.
Click the headings below to read more about their individual journeys…
Anita and Sean’s story…
For the birth of our first child, we were swept into the Private Hospital System. We were very happy with our Obstetrician, but after the hospital childbirth course, it became clear that very few women have a natural birth without intervention in this system.
On our initial meeting, I felt an instant calm and strength from Stephanie and knew that I wanted her at the birth of my son. Stephanie was positive, non-judgmental and supportive of our ideas. She also offered valuable information and experience in childbirth that we were obviously lacking at this point.
My labour proceeded very slowly. Stephanie was not only supportive to myself, but my partner during this long, and at times stressful, process. Through three changes of midwives, it was very important for us to have the consistency and friendly familiar face of Stephanie by our side.
She was compassionate, encouraging, caring and untiring in her role as support person to Sean and myself, giving us confidence and strength that we didn’t know we had. Stephanie was not only an emotional support, but also supportive in the more physical aspects of labour, keeping me active and calm.
I believe that Stephanie went above and beyond her duty as our doula, to stay with us for 12 hours and help achieve the eventual natural birth of our son Kai.
The fact that I managed to have a natural birth and avoid pain relief is definitely due to the support, experience and care given by Stephanie. Without her encouragement, calm manner and positive outlook I am certain, that we would have been lead down the road of intervention for the birth of our son. Stephanie helped us to achieve our goal and assisted in the miracle of bringing our beautiful son safely into the world. Hence, without a second thought, we have asked her to be our doula for the birth of our second child.
We would highly recommend Stephanie Norquay to anyone who is looking for a supportive, compassionate, experienced birthing assistant.
Anita, Sean, Kai & Torin – 2009
Shannon and Dan’s story…
Google a Doula! That’s what we did after a friend suggested we get a Doula for the birth of our first child. Both my husband and I knew nothing about what a Doula was before this. After a few short minutes, we both agreed though, that this was exactly the missing puzzle piece to what we felt we needed for our pregnancy journey.
We decided on a birth in the public system and knew we would see lots of midwives and specialists. We wanted one person who was consistently there by our side through all these changeovers, to help us collect and analyse information, to offer insight and understanding into terminology that was foreign to us, and to help us better understand our options throughout the pregnancy. This person was Stephanie.
When we reflect back on our pregnancy journey, there was so much information thrown at us and at times it was quite overwhelming. Stephanie’s gentle and calm nature always kept us focused on the outcome of our beautiful baby and helped us decipher the information we were given. She listened and empathised, she helped us reflect on our preferences for birth and her antenatal care and education was second to none.
We had established a clear and beautiful plan for birth with Stephanie. Which of course didn’t go to plan! But did that mean all our plans were deemed useless? Not at all! Our baby girl was breech when I went into labour and despite efforts to turn her in the weeks leading up to the birth, she was stubborn and didn’t want to move. Despite the disappointment of not having a natural birth, she was still delivered safely by emergency caesarean at 2:29am. While Stephanie could not attend the birth, she was there with us every step of the way. From the initial ‘am I in labour?’ phone call to constant check ups in the wee hours of the morning, we both felt supported and reminded that despite our birthing experience being different to what we envisaged, we could incorporate as much of our plans into preparing ourselves for parenthood! The scents, music and positive thinking all benefit a new baby and new parents! Nothing went to waste!
Would we use Stephanie again? Absolutely! While she has equipped us with so much knowledge and confidence as parents, one thing we have learnt is that birthing is a new experience every time. And for that reason, we would love Stephanie to be part of future pregnancies, assisting us again to make the best decisions and to enjoy each and every step of the way.
Shannon, Dan & Lucille – 2013
Tam and Jamie’s story…
When my husband & I first met Steph we immediately liked her and felt comfortable with her. Each meeting after that first one I liked her more & more. Her knowledge about pregnancy & birth was invaluable for me. I could ask her things I couldn’t ask other medical professionals & I always felt comfortable and never felt any question was too silly. I always felt like Steph was genuinely interested in me & what I wanted out of this birth experience.
It was also lovely to go through a birth plan with Steph as I never had that with my first birth.
During my labour Steph was like my personal trainer. Encouraging me throughout every contraction and using her magic hands to get me through. When I had a few pauses in my contractions Steph’s massage was so amazing, relaxing and comforting.
Because of Steph I had the labour I have always wanted but never thought I could have. I got to have an active, drug-free birth. My husband helped deliver our little girl and I had a fantastic recovery.
Our family will never forget Steph and she will always have a special place in our hearts.
Tam, Jamie and Lily – 2013
Jo and Ben’s story…
I feel certain that my labour would not have ended in a natural delivery had it not been for Stephanie’s support. At about 10:30pm on Friday night, after 24 hours of early labour at home supported by my husband and sister, Stephanie joined us. I was somewhat ‘stuck’ at this point, with contractions which were regular but not sufficiently strong or frequent enough for me to go to hospital. However, with Stephanie’s help I was able to engage with the contractions and by 4am Saturday morning I was finally ready to make the trip!
Prior to the front-line business of birth, Stephanie, Ben and I had several birth preparation meetings, covering everything from my family’s birth stories to practical birthing positions. During these meetings Ben and I got to know and trust Stephanie, and Ben gained confidence as a birth partner. Post birth, Steph visited me twice, offering a valuable opportunity to debrief about the birth, an experience which sticks with you in the following days and weeks. I also had three Baby Massage sessions with Steph, which were useful and enjoyable!
Giving birth is HARD WORK. At times labour can feel like it will never end. Doctors and midwives will come and go, but your doula will not leave you. Your doula will look you in the eye and tell you that you can do it. Your doula will hold a face washer to your burning brow. Your doula will massage your aching shoulders and then give you the encouragement and focus you need to work effectively through the next contraction. Your doula will give your partner a break and always has a new suggestion to mix things up when labour slows. Your doula will stand by you when it’s finally time to push and you feel like the universe is cracking in two.
Stephanie did all of this for me and more. I cannot recommend her highly enough.
Jo, Ben and Jude – 2013
Emma and Stuart’s story…
As many couples are, we were very focused on the impending birth of our baby and committed to attempting to achieve a natural birth. We were not initially considering having a birth attendant, but after our birth classes we were convinced that it would help us achieve our goal.
Of course, as they do, plans change and my waters broke at 37.5 weeks and labour needed to be induced due to a positive Group B Strep result. This resulted in being on continuous monitoring and attached to a drip. Gone were the plans of using water – either bath or shower – which I’ve heard is fantastic during labour. (Maybe next time I’ll get to experience that).
Throughout this time when the medical decisions were being made to induce etc, Stephanie was a constant support. She was able to remind us of our initial plans and gave us confidence to question, some of the procedures being put in place. She did this in a way that empowered us, so that we could regain some sense of control over the medical process. eg, getting the Syntocinon started and maintained at a lower dose.
We now reflect back and although having a plan is important, it is equally important to know when to let go of some parts of it. Even more significant is a knowledge of the medical processes and to have someone to support your decisions. Stephanie helped to provide both of these for us.
Stephanie was also a fantastic help for the more physical aspects of labour. As I was not able to use the shower, Stephanie tirelessly rubbed ice on my back during contractions – I’m surprised she didn’t get frostbite!, and her massage relieved the tension between contractions.
This help never got in the way of Stuart and his role as my main support person, in fact it enhanced it, as Stephanie was able to do these things while Stuart could be closer to me as an emotional support. Stephanie was the one who remembered to offer me drinks and remind me to go to the toilet – she even got our camera out towards the end to capture the birth itself, and took the first pictures of our gorgeous baby girl.
In the last stages of labour, I was finding it difficult to direct my pushing. It was Stephanie’s suggestion, that I place my hand on my baby’s head while I pushed, in order to make the connection between my pushing efforts and her movement. This made all the difference, and very soon after, our baby girl was born.
Both Stuart and I agree that we couldn’t have done without Stephanie, and the fact that I managed to avoid pain relief was in a large part due to her. Because we had the confidence to question the medical authority, we feel that our labour was on our terms, and a much more amazing and rewarding experience.
Emma, Stuart & Hanna – 2007
Casey and Jason’s story…
We have had the advantage of knowing Stephanie for a number of years, and her passion and desire to give prospective new parents the knowledge and confidence to make informed decisions during their pregnancy and the birthing process is inspirational.
Very early on into the course we knew the exact path that we wished to follow and decided to aim towards having a natural childbirth, preferably a water birth at a Family Birth Centre.
As a result we needed a very supportive and understanding person, who we could communicate openly with and feel at ease when discussing any fears and concerns that we have had about the pregnancy and the manner in which we decided to bring our child into the world. For us Stephanie was the perfect and only choice.
Throughout the pregnancy Stephanie gave me the confidence in my own ability to feel more ‘in touch’ with my body than I had ever been before, and was extremely informative and supportive in explaining what my body was able to accomplish during the birthing process. Stephanie also has the ability, to allow new dads to feel confident, about what’s happening during the pregnancy and the birth, and gave Jason the confidence to feel comfortable about the ways in which he was able to assist in the birth.
The birth of our beautiful baby boy Oliver was very quick for a first labour – only lasting 4 hours. In the early part of the labour I was in need of some quick reassurance, and found Stephanie brilliant in her ability to calm me and allow me to focus once more.
Once at the Family Birth Centre, my labour progressed quickly and Stephanie continued to be the most supportive and calming influence on me, giving me the power to remain focused, relaxed and reassured until the arrival of Oliver into the world.
We highly recommend Stephanie Norquay, to anyone who is looking for a compassionate, supportive and understanding birth attendant who has the ability to talk openly and honestly about any topics involved in the pregnancy and birth of their child.
We are more than happy to discuss our experience of working with Stephanie in more detail at any time.
Casey, Jason, Ollie & Alex – 2013
Christine and Aaron’s story… a father’s doula experience.
My first comment was : “What is a Doula?”
After she explained to me what a Doula is and does, I reluctantly agreed… not really wanting a stranger involved during this very special time.
First Labour (No Doula):
My wife’s 1st labour was quite traumatic for her. As a result of a blood clot being found in her leg during the pregnancy she was told to have 2 injections daily, and was then medically induced at 39 weeks.
She was given cervadil to ripen her cervix which then hyper-stimulated her uterus creating overly strong contractions. This was done in the afternoon, causing her a lot of pain throughout the night. She was unable to sleep during the night due to the pain and was told not to eat anything just in case. In the morning she had her waters broken and shortly after was given syntocin. This was turned up to make the contractions stronger and consequently more painful throughout the labour. My wife and baby needed constant monitoring and she was told she had to lie in the hospital bed unable to move around due to all the leads attached to the machines. My wife used the gas, then had an epidural to help manage the pain of this labour. Our son was born at 3pm.
Both my wife and I went into this birth with closed eyes, believing solely in the hospital system, the doctors and their advice. Neither of us oppose the medical system – my wife is a nurse and I care for people with disabilities, but on reflection of the first labour, we weren’t presented with options just told what to do by the doctors. We believe that some of their interventions used had a cascading effect, causing other interventions to then be required throughout that labour, and simple options such as wireless machines etc weren’t even mentioned to us.
Second Labour (With Doula):
Stephanie was a great source of wisdom, support and companionship, as we had built a great relationship through the prior meetings and the many telephone conversations.
During the meetings prior to the birth, one of the things that we did was complete a very in depth birth plan. That created a lot of discussion and allowed us the time to think of what we wanted in the event of lots of different scenarios, as opposed to the hospital’s tick a box birth plan which didn’t leave any room for flexibility or things that were important to us.
My wife was again induced and needed constant monitoring, but Stephanie and I were able to support my wife to get cordless machines, and to assist her in a more active labour, which helped with the pain management.
Due to Stephanie advising of less painful techniques and positions and most importantly the support and knowledge that she has, this whole birthing experience was just beautiful, and my wife was able to have a drug free birth that we are extremely proud of.
I couldn’t recommend Stephanie’s Doula services more highly.
Aaron, Christine and Chelsea – 2013
Lou and Steve’s story…
For the first birth we wanted someone present, mainly because Steve thought he might not be able to meet all my needs, and we also wanted to have someone to help us make decisions when required, if all did not go to plan. We did not want this person to be a family member or friend.
As soon as we met Stephanie for the first time, we knew she was the right person. We had a few meetings, and were provided with some great reading and preparation material as well as talking through fears, hopes, and our birth plan leading up to the birth. For the second birth, simply we could not imagine giving birth without Stephanie being there, so fantastic was her presence at the first.
The continuity of having Stephanie with us from the beginning to the end of labour, meant that I could really focus on managing the contractions and birthing my babies. Both of the births were a really positive experience because of this, even though they were completely different in what I required for support at each.
If we decide to have a third, Stephanie you are expected in the birthing suite!
Lou, Steve, Elvie and Iggy – 2008
Renee and Sam’s story…
Steph is a holistic practitioner and also has an excellent understanding of the challenges regarding birthing within the public hospital system and she understood my position perfectly.
During my labour, Steph worked in partnership with the hospital midwife and skilfully helped us negotiate a plan with the Obstetrician that supported our wishes for a natural birth.
After the birth, Steph also taught us infant massage which was incredibly helpful for strengthening our connection even more with our little lady.
We feel so grateful to have found Steph – I don’t think we could have delivered our beautiful baby naturally without her!
Renee, Sam and Adalyn – 2013
Laura and Juan’s story…
We had multiple sessions with her before the birth, which helped to establish an easy rapport and sense of trust. She was a wealth of knowledge and prompted us to reflect on our preferences for the birth. I wanted a natural birth but what I loved about Stephanie was that she made it very clear from the beginning that she was there to support us no matter what we preferred.
When I went into labour it meant so much to me to have someone I knew and trusted to talk to about what I was experiencing.
I have no doubt that I was able to labour for as long as I did because of Stephanie’s support both physically and psychologically. Her hands-on approach literally increased my pain tolerance and had it not been for her guidance and support I would certainly have felt much less control and possibly even discouraged by the experience. As it was, I have come away feeling so empowered and with only positive associations with my birth. It has been such a beautiful place to come from to begin raising our son. This is a particular testament to Stephanie, because things did not go as I had anticipated and I ended up getting an epidural, then shortly thereafter an emergency c-section 17 hours after being admitted to hospital.
Words cannot express how grateful we are to have benefited from Stephanie’s wisdom and experience during my labour. She worked tirelessly and was able to anticipate my needs, suggest positions, and serve as a role model for my husband, all while providing a calm presence, positive energy and much needed vocal support. My husband did an amazing job supporting me, and in retrospect it would have been foolish to expect him to support me at the level that only a doula can.
I highly recommend Stephanie as a doula. She is passionate, skilled and truly has a calling to help women in labour.
Laura – 2013
We wanted to have a natural birth due to the medical benefits it brings to mum and bub, and Stephanie supported and respected our choices. Stephanie is neither militant on her views nor follows or promotes any agenda. She was always supportive of our own choices during the process.
When my wife was in labour Stephanie and I were very busy supporting her. Stephanie worked tirelessly for hours ensuring the well-being of my wife. Importantly also, Stephanie’s presence allowed me to take regular breaks during my wife’s labour. Those breaks were crucial as I feel that otherwise I would have felt exhausted and unable to properly help my wife. I felt confident leaving the birth centre for a few minutes knowing that Stephanie was caring for my wife.
Stephanie was always calm during the birth of our child, even during the most frantic moments.
Juan – 2013
Jo and Josh’s story…
Steph helped Josh and I to navigate our way through the many birth choices available to us without an agenda of her own. She gave us access to her extensive library of books and DVDs to help us on our journey and she also gave lots of practical advice, including ideas for the hospital bag and a practice session for active birth positions!
Steph was always quick to respond to our calls and emails. She showed a genuine interest in our birth and went out of her way to meet our hospital midwives and care providers. Steph also took some amazing photographs which have forever captured the final moments of our son Lionel’s beautiful birth.
Lionel’s birth experience was more than we could ever have expected and Steph continued to support us with a few very welcome visits through the early weeks. We can’t thank Steph enough for being an integral part of our team. Stephanie’s professionalism, coupled with her warm and nurturing personality, made her the perfect doula for us.
I have already recommended Steph as a doula for a number of my closest friends and will continue to recommend her to anyone who asks!
Jo, Josh & Lionel Presser – 2013
Alice and Tim’s story…
Stephanie, thankyou – we could not have completed the journey of meeting our little Grace without you.
Your support, encouragement, wise words and hours of massage will never be forgotten.
Thank you for assisting us to be active participants in the birth of Grace… Our invaluable sessions together and your guidance and wisdom helped us through the mass of birthing information so that we could make informed decisions that allowed us to be present and together during labour.
And finally thankyou for staying with me for hours while my beautiful girl was in the neonatal unit.
Tim and I can not thank you enough, and we are looking forward to having you with us on the journey of our next child.
Alice, Tim and Grace – 2014
Amy and Lee’s story…
Naturally I felt apprehensive about the birth of my first baby and after doing some research and speaking to other women about their birth experiences, we decided to hire a doula.
Steph came to us highly recommended by another couple… upon meeting we felt immediately comfortable with her calm and supportive manner, and engaged Steph to be part of my birth support team.
Steph’s knowledge and support leading up to labour assisted both myself and my husband to feel relaxed, confident and excited about the birth. Both my body and mind felt more adequately prepared after our pre-birth sessions with Steph.
My desire was to have a natural birth and Steph was instrumental in achieving this. The labour progressed very slowly and had potential complications which could have resulted in a C-section. Steph encouraged me to be active and calm throughout, always by my side to boost my confidence and help me unleash my inner strength. I believe that without her presence, the birth of our little girl would not have been the amazing experience that it turned out to be. She stayed with us for around 15 hours providing untiring support and encouragement.
We thank Steph for all she has done for the three of us and would recommend her to any couple who are seeking a positive and rewarding birthing experience.
Amy, Lee and Sienna – 2014
Erin and Adrian’s story…
Both my partner and I feel that our joyful birth experience would have been completely different without Stephanie.
Before the birth Stephanie helped us talk through fears and anxieties as well as providing focus and practical, realistic advice. During the three preparation sessions, we discussed everything from the psychological adjustment from career to motherhood to which surfaces in our house would be useful to lean against during contractions.
I also found the information and insights into the medical and hospital system Stephanie provided invaluable when I was induced at 12 days “overdate”. Hoping to avoid needing the syntocinin drip, I was very disappointed when my established labour all but stopped after I was examined and judged not to have progressed enough. Stephanie provided calm advice and support that enabled me to get through a difficult few hours whilst ensuring all the decision-making remained with me and my partner. While I did end up requiring the syntoncin drip, Stephanie’s experienced and caring work played a big part in my ability to avoid other medical interventions and drugs.
Stephanie’s follow up sessions and care were also very helpful when my healing process was slow and different to my expectations.
Stephanie and our hospital midwife worked really well together, and we received very positive feedback from our midwife about this. While it was obviously very important to me to have my partner with me, I really appreciated having two experienced women with me to bring our baby into the world.
Erin, Adrian and Jose` – 2014
Nicole and Christian’s story…
I was over half-way through my first pregnancy when I came across a fabulous book by Rhea Dempsey called Birthing With Confidence. I knew then that I needed and wanted an experienced Doula whom I could build a relationship with leading up to the birth and who I could trust through the whole process. While searching through the list of people trained by Rhea Dempsey, I came across Stephanie’s details and I knew I had found my special person.
Stephanie was amazing to have on our team. With her wealth of knowledge and experience, she was so gracious with her time and care in getting to know my husband and I and our birth plan. I had a clear idea of what I hoped would be my process during the labour and with Stephanie’s help we went through the many possibilities and outcomes, our thoughts and feelings, hopes and fears, and what may happen in things didn’t go to plan.
My husband and I felt as prepared as we could, and very confident that with Stephanie by our side we could navigate our desire to have a drug-free labour spent predominantly at home with the final stages in the hospital birth suite.
My labour began with a bang and continued at full speed. There was little time between contractions and they were strong from the beginning. Stephanie arrived after some hours and I immediately felt a sense of relief knowing she had experience this many times before. I felt sage and able to let go in my labour freely. For the first 14 hours our little team were deep in the heart of the birth in our home. After this amount of time I was exhausted, the contractions were so strong, I had started to vomit. I felt completely out of control and I still needed to get in the car to get to the hospital, so we headed off on our way. The car ride was very difficult but on arriving at the hospital thing settled a little. After many more hours I was unable to cope with the discomfort I was in so I opted for the water injections as they were in alignment with my plan for a drug-free labour. I was not prepared for how painful these would be. My lower back pain did diminish dramatically but I felt I had shut down somewhere in the process with the level of pain these caused. With adrenalin now charging through my system, my dilation went backwards.
I had to make many choices from this point onward which were not in my plan, however because Stephanie had been so thorough in covering all of the potential outcomes I felt that with each choice I faced I could make clear and conscious decisions about the next step forward. This was very empowering, as I would have really struggled had I not been as prepared or had I felt that I was being pressured. Stephanie held the space for me completely… I felt very supported and nurtured by her. I also had full confidence with Stephanie by my side that I could be in control of my decisions at the hospital – a vital element when in labour, especially for the first time.
After 27 hours our beautiful daughter was born into this world. Stephanie was right by our side and we will be forever grateful for her amazing level of calm and nurturing throughout the whole process.
I would highly recommend Stephanie as a doula – her assistance to both myself and to the needs of my husband were priceless.
We will always have such a special connection with her…
My husband I I often say “God bless her” for being our strong guiding light during the birth of our daughter!
Thank-you so much Stephanie xx
Nicole – 2014
Suzee and Perry’s story…
We actually didn’t know what a doula was before our friends recommended Stephanie to us. Looking back now, I know we couldn’t have gotten through the natural birth of our baby girl without her…
Being first time parents my partner and I knew nothing about pregnancy, giving birth or babies! Stephanie supported us through the whole process, and her knowledge and experience with natural birth and hospital protocol was very comforting for us. I was able to voice my fears to her and she provided me with lots of information to help educate me and allow me to move past them. She was also amazing for my partner, helping him to understand what I needed from him and how to be that foundation or ‘rock’ throughout the labour. From the moment my waters broke we were on the phone to Stephanie and she was there for us until the very end – 28 hours later!
I didn’t think I could do what I did… Before I met Stephanie I was afraid of giving birth, but with her guidance I felt empowered and prepared.
I think every woman should have the opportunity to give birth with a supportive and loving team around her, and Stephanie will be a part of that team again if we have another baby.
Suzee, Perry and London – 2016
Kylie and Mark’s story…
My labours are textbook..! First one was natural, drug-free, 6 hours and no complications – it was just the pain that I couldn’t wrap my head around. The experience was overwhelming, excruciating, and full of panic, pain and fear.
I went into this first labour and delivery experience somewhat ignorant and naive, thinking that I had a pretty high pain threshold and could get through it myself – well did I underestimate what it was going to be like!! I panicked. It was painful beyond what I could have ever imagined and I still shudder thinking about that experience – even though it was one of the best days of my life welcoming my son into the world. When I reflected on this experience afterwards I considered not having any more children because I couldn’t bear to do it again, but my love for my child and the love I had to give another baby outweighed the pain I had to endure…
Once we got pregnant with my second child, I found myself having anxiety and panic attacks about going through labour and delivery again so I looked into the services a doula could offer. I had friends and family who could be there for me but I wanted and needed a professional support person. Then Stephanie came along… She came to our house and instantly I knew that she was the right person to take us through this experience again. I understood that she wasn’t going to stop the pain all together, but she was going to help me cope with it mentally, and help my husband and I prepare for what was to come.
On the day my daughter was born Stephanie took charge without taking over. She helped me with pressure points and physical touch to alleviate some of the pain, but most of all she was there to re-centre me when the panic would creep back into my mind so I could stay strong and focused and powerful. In the end my all natural labour was very quick – only 4 hours – and I I walk away this time with a really beautiful feeling about my labour and birth, and of welcoming my daughter into the world – not of sheer terror and pain!
Without Stephanie I really don’t think I would have mentally coped as well as I did because she was there with me every step of the way. We prepared together, we did it together and I’ll be forever grateful to her for helping make my experience truly memorable. I highly recommend having Stephanie as your doula!
Kylie – 2016
Marika and Joel’s story…
After undertaking hypnobirthing classes, we decided to seek out a doula to join me on the ‘birth support team’ for my wife. While I was initially unsure about having someone else at this very intimate occasion, it was important for my wife that she have someone also supporting her who had experience in childbirth. Stephanie is the type of person that you feel comfortable with right away, she is warm and friendly while also being professional throughout.
Our baby boy Elmore decided to come into this world earlier than expected and with a few challenges that we hadn’t 100% prepared for. Stephanie came to the birthing suite straight away and was invaluable with both the emotional and practical support that she provided – assisting us with massage and positions, gentle suggestions to make my wife more comfortable, reassuring words, and even little things such as packing up our belongings for us when my wife was rushed off for an emergency caesarean. For me, Stephanie was a wonderful -team-mate’!
The follow-up postnatal visits proved to be even more valuable than we anticipated. She is generous in sharing her great knowledge and wisdom, and providing links to helpful information about topics that we were interested in. We also learned some baby exercises that we now do with Elmore every day.
When Elmore was 8 weeks old, we organised with some friends, who had recently had babies also, to join us in baby massage classes. A friend hosted the classes at her house and Stephanie taught us all a full body massage sequence over three weeks. Everyone loved it – including the babies! It was a great opportunity for us as new parents to socialise together, get to know eachother’s babies, and to learn a wonderful new skill.
I can’t recommend Stephanie highly enough and found the addition of her presence and expertise to be an instantly calming and never intrusive. Stephanie’s care and confidence really helped the experience and made it easier for us to focus on the things that were important, knowing that she was there to help guide us when we needed it.
Joel, Marika and Elmore – 2016
Kassy and Andy’s story…
For our third pregnancy we agonised over the need vs expense of a doula…
Our first son was born by misinformed elective caesarean. We had moved, pregnant, from the UK with dreams of a home waterbirth to find the general feeling amoungst our family, friends and society very much against this. Regrettably I begged for a caesarean when pregnancy became too much for me. It was not an easy birth or recovery and the ‘black dog’ paid us a visit. Our second son was born naturally… we researched widely, joined a VBAC support network, engaged the services of a doula and birthed vaginally. An exhilarating, soul changing, primitive journey and rite of passage. It healed us and restored our faith in how things could be.
So I pendulumed with the third. With our first doula unavailable I dithered. – Was the first birth really that bad? Did I really want another primitive soul moving birth? Maybe one was enough. Shamelessly, I sought an easier path and couldn’t decide what it would be. Then finally at 35 weeks I called Stephanie and she came for a chat. It felt so easy to be around her, it seemed so natural to have her with our family, and just like that our decision was made. It couldn’t hurt to have someone experienced on our side.
When I was 37 weeks and 4 days Steph came for our prenatal preparation meeting. We were surprised how much we had forgotten in the last three years about birth and pregnancy in general. It felt good to openly admit and discuss our trepidations and get our heads aligned with reality. The talk must have settled something for me as the following night my waters broke and from that moment on Steph became our rock in a shifting tide… 24 hours of no labour – will it ever happen?, what are my options?, and fear of induction were eased by her confidence, clarity and the meditation CD’s she had dropped off. Then followed a night of warm-up surges… Steph answered the phone whenever the intensity stepped up, but I still wanted to be on my own at home. Our conversations reassured me and centred me… I let hubby sleep and woke him in the early hours when things were getting too much for me, when I needed his warm hands on my back during the surges to help me breathe and accept them. We met Steph around 7am in hospital expecting another 24hour long-winded birth. Well we were wrong…
Our three incredible births are as different as our three individual and unique children… and we were fools to have thought we should do this without her. Why would you? ..Really? It was another intense, incredible, primitive life journey and we were blessed to have an experienced guide. Someone to cling to when I was afraid, someone to remind me I could do this. While the midwife came and went, Steph stayed with me. While my husband love me and cried with me and rode the waves as dizzyingly as I did, Steph just was. Her hands worked magic easing my pain even while I fought her verbally to let me give up. I heard ridiculous words from my mouth – “I can’t, I won’t, You don’t understand I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE” and her replies “but you are Kassy, and you’re doing it beautifully.” My husband was there for me always and loves me unconditionally but he is not impartial… and he does not have magic hands. Steph understood, she knew what I was going through, she respected me and heard me even when I didn’t know what I was saying myself.
My baby was born after on 4 hours, 15 minutes in hospital. Four hours of arguing with the midwife who wanted to send me home, who didn’t believe I was in labour. My soul still cries at the injustice of her claims even while I am eternally grateful Steph just kept massaging, speaking to me quietly and shielding me while I laboured. If I’d chosen to leave she have gone with me but she equally calmly respected my desire to stay. After spending the pregnancy psyching myself up for a drug-free labour, and hours briefing my husband on not to give me an epidural, the midwife’s attitude was implorable and her effect on my psyche a slap in the face… I begged for an epidural and swore I’d forgive them all for tearing up my birth plan. If this wasn’t labour then I was in hell – transition talk I now realise – I swore at anyone who offered me gas, I wanted the real thing!! I finally got my way, signed a form for a caesarean and my husband had his head in his hands trying to comprehend how he would cope. On my second puff of gas, waiting for the epidural, I told Steph I was pushing and the midwife was called back in… 15 minutes later I caught our baby girl. It was a fast-paced ride. It was exhausting. My husband and I were in shock and still our beautiful doula protected us.
Stephanie has a huge heart and arms so long they could keep anyone sage. We will always be thankful for her taking care of us. Really doula’s should be a compulsory part of birth. Unencumbered by hospital policy, experienced in this incredible journey, they are a guide very woman should conscript. …and our daughter Roxolana Stephanie, well she is utterly perfect in every way, ofcourse…
Kassy and Andy – 2016