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Being pregnant and giving birth during a global pandemic is not easy, thankfully we had the support of Hayley to help us through this journey.
After a traumatic birthing experience with our first son, my partner and I knew we wanted a doula if we were to have another child. Luckily during the 4 years between these events our good friend Hayley trained as a doula so we knew she would be the right person for us.
Her skills as a trained counsellor helped us unlock the previous trauma so we could work out what was most important to us this time and explore our options. As the Covid 19 situation progressed she was also able to strongly support us through the uncertainty and was very skilled in helping my partner deal with his anxiety issues.
Hayley joined us at about 6:30am and by 9:30 the midwives had confirmed over the phone that they didn't have the staff to support our homebirth so we were asked to attend triage when the time was right. Obviously we were very disappointed in this but Hayley did an amazing job of keeping me feeling safe, supported and focused, and allowing me to just concentrate on the natural progression of my contractions, whilst also guiding my partner in how he was best able to support me. She calmly took care of everything that would have taken him away from me and this care was invaluable as without having her there we feel we may have panicked and stalled the labour progression. As I wanted to stay at home for as long as possible we were able to trust her judgement on when to make the journey and I felt she was listening to my signals, along with using her own experience as a doula to make this decision.
She travelled with us to the hospital, with my partner driving, and did a great job of keeping me feeling loved and supported in the back while I was having very strong and frequent contractions.
Sadly, due to the current guidelines of only 1 birthing partner allowed, we knew she wouldn't be with us for the birth but by this point we both felt she'd got us to the point where we had the confidence to do it together and we knew she would be available on the phone if advice was needed.
We can't wait to introduce her properly to our son and can't commend her highly enough for helping us have the positive birthing experience we so desperately wanted that we were able to achieve despite having to change our plans so much.



Hayley was a tremendous help when I was supporting my best friend through the pregnancy and birth of her daughter. She had been automatically placed in a 'high risk' category due to her age and felt pressured for her birth to be medicalised, particularly as pregnancy progressed and she went over her 'due date'. Having been traumatised by high intervention during the birth of her son 10 years earlier, my friend was determined to experience a natural birth, at home if possible and I wanted to make sure I was supporting her appropriately and sensibly. I met with Hayley during my friends pregnancy to discuss the 'risks' and was hugely reassured, instantly feeling more confident in taking on a role of birth partner. Hayley sent me literature and links to additional scientific research regarding these risks, and also contact details for further support and advice (e.g. AIMs) to enable us to carry out independent research and informed decisions. Hayley also talked me through the 'BRAINS' model to help structure communication both with my friend and medical professionals during pregnancy, labour and birth (what are the 'Benefits', 'Risks', 'Alternatives' (to the course of action being proposed) whats the Instinct of the mother, ' and what if we do 'Nothing' and Say Sod off with a Smile (while we think about it). This was a great help. Hayley was also hugely supportive during labour where I felt anxious about some complications that were arising and needed advice about the intervention being proposed. Hayley spoke to me on the phone, responded to my questions via text message and we kept in touch during labour, even offering advice post- birth. Although my friend had a hospital birth, it was a beautiful experience and Hayley helped me feel confident in supporting this process.
I have a huge amount of respect for Hayley. She has a unique combination of skills, experience and attitude towards birth which make her an outstanding Doula. Firstly, as a mother, Hayley has also experienced childbirth herself. She is also a scientist and adopts a diligent scientific approach towards decision making informed by research and assessment of fact to make independent informed decision (illustrated by her PhD). Equally she is also a huge advocate for empowering mothers, and promoting a natural birth where appropriate. She treads a fine line beautifully between listening, respecting and in some cases questioning advice given by medical practitioners during pregnancy, labour and birth, whilst also understanding the more personalised and intricate needs of the mother who should feel that all decisions are her own. She is an excellent communicator, polite, respectful, calm and unflappable under stress with good 'bedside manners' but also confident and gently assertive, all of which help her facilitate communication with midwifes and doctors particularly during labour when this help is needed most.



Hayley was a great help to me in the early days following the birth of my son. I had a horrible, long labour ending in a c-section and when we returned home we were beyond tired and breastfeeding was really painful. Hayley gave me encouraging and kind words to cheer me up, lots of advice, and lightened the load just by being there to talk to and use as a sounding board while I tried to cope with the trauma of the birth, my pain and exhaustion, and trying to give my little one the best possible start. Those early days can be really hard, not everyone gets to hang out in a baby bubble, I didn't - a doula like Hayley is just what I needed to get through until I could cope again.

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