APRIL 2017: PLEASE NOTE THAT I AM NOT TAKING ON ANY MORE BIRTHS AT THIS TIME. I AM HOWEVER AVAILABLE FOR PRENATAL AND POSTNATAL SUPPORT INCLUDING BREASTFEEDING COUNSELLING.
“A woman, as long as she lives, will remember how she was made to feel at her birth”.
Anna Verwaal, doula
Birth is magical, unpredictable, scary, thrilling and the journey of a lifetime. Good or bad, the birth of your baby will stay with you for the rest of your life. A professional birth companion (doula) can make all the difference.
What is a professional doula?
Doula means “in service of women”. As a WOMBS trained doula, I offer practical and emotional support and information before, during, and after your labour and birth. More than that, I am passionate about supporting families in having the best possible birth and early parenting experience. I do not push my own agenda – this is YOUR birth and your choices are up to you to make. Home or hospital, drug-free or epidural, vaginal or c-section; I will provide you with information and support you in any decision that you make.
What does a doula do?
Before you go into labour, I am available to chat about any pregnancy, birth or baby concerns or questions you may have. I will go over your birth plan with you, ensure I understand your preferences and birthing wishes and make sure your hospital or birthing bag has all you need. When you are in labour, I will meet you at your home or at the hospital and stay with you for the remainder of your labour, and for the first hour after birth. I will offer you emotional and practical support. Some things that a doula may do include: suggesting changes in position, offering you something to drink, getting your partner a snack, taking photos, rubbing your back/feet/legs, reminding you of your birthing preferences, helping you to understand hospital procedures; assisting you with early breastfeeding etc. As a HypnoBirthing teacher, I can also assist you with breathing, relaxation and visualisation techniques. After your baby is born, I offer one postpartum visit (either at hopsital or at home) to ensure that breastfeeding is on the right track and that you are coping and have all the information and support that you need. Additional postpartum visits are freely available at an additional cost.
Is there anything a doula cannot do?
Please remember that I am not a doctor or a midwife. Although I have enough medical knowledge to understand the physiology of labour and birth and some of the common hospital procedures and drugs, I am not trained or allowed to administer any drugs or do any medical procedures. I will not check your blood pressure, do any internal checks or give you medical advice. In the event of an emergency, I will help you or your baby with basic First Aid until skilled help arrives.
I will also not speak to the doctors or hospital staff, or make any decisions, on your behalf.
What happens if you are not available when I go into labour?
I will go on call two weeks before your “due date”. This means that I will keep my phone with me at all times and will not travel far from Durban. Please ensure you CALL me (don’t sms as I may not hear my phone) when you go into labour, even if you don’t need me right away, so that I can make arrangements for my family and get to you in plenty of time. In the eventuality that I am unable to attend your birth, for example if my children or I are seriously ill or another unavoidable situation has arisen, my back up doula will support you in my place. You will have met my back up at our prenatal interview.
“We met Callen when we signed up for her HypnoBirthing course and then followed up with her Practical Parenting Workshop – all in preparation for the birth of our first child in June. During a discussion on Doulas and the support they provide to families in labour, we knew it would be the right fit for our birth, and we were thrilled when Callen agreed to be ours. We have said it many times since our little one’s arrival – and we’ll say it for years to come: if it wasn’t for Callen’s support and steadfast presence throughout labour, I think we may have ended up with a very different birth. Thanks to her warm encouragement and birthing insights, we had a medication-free natural birth and welcomed our little girl into the world as close to our birth plan as we could have hoped. Thank you Callen for helping us to achieve our own ‘Gentle Welcome.’” (Simone and Gary, 2015)
(Photo credit: Tina Lane. Images may not be reproduced without written permission).