“We made the decision very late in the day that we would like to have the support of a doula and were beyond lucky to meet Arlene. I immediately felt a connection with Arlene, despite or perhaps because Arlene is in some ways the absolute opposite to me in terms of being such a natural, calm ‘earth mother’ of a person. I on the other hand am a mid-thirties, City-working stress head who, prior to being blessed with pregnancy, felt pretty lacking in maternal instinct. The birth terrified me and before the process of birthing our baby began, I would have sworn I’d be reaching for an epidural at the first opportunity. Oh how one doesn’t know oneself before labour…
Having been terrified of being turned away from either the birth centre or hospital (because, as I kept saying to Arlene, I would only make that decision once I had a handle on my ability to deal with the pain and I didn’t hold out much hope on that front), once labour began, the last thing I wanted was any medical intervention. Much to my own surprise, with her guidance I was close to fully dilated by the time we got to the birth centre.
Unfortunately, as sometimes just happens, progress from the point of reaching the birth centre wasn’t quite so smooth and when I ultimately had to go into theatre at 5 am, instead of leaving us to go home to bed, Arlene actually waited until we were out of theatre and was the first person to meet our son. All said, we spent almost 24 hours together and the phrase “above and beyond” doesn’t get close to doing justice to the ‘job’ Arlene did that day/night/following day!
Arlene has a unique gift of inspiring total calmness and self-belief in you while at the same time being totally no-nonsense tough when it comes to standing up and advocating for you with medical professionals. I felt total trust in her for my entire labour and will always be immensely grateful.
You made me feel “mighty” Arlene and after that labour I’ll never question my own strength or the sheer power of nature. That said, I won’t be trusting nature to go it alone because I wouldn’t be without you if we ever have a number 2.” Anna & Andrew, July 2016
We really can’t recommend Arlene highly enough: she brought deep reassurance, wisdom and experience to our birth. We knew the moment we met her that she would be able to gently safeguard our wishes for a home birth, or to carry their essence with us should a hospital transfer prove necessary. Sure enough, on the big day she was a guiding star through a very quick and intense labour – from the time she arrived she helped me manage the pace of my surges and to trust my body and my son, whilst gently supporting my husband and collaborating with the midwives. She gave us the support we needed to achieve what will be one of the biggest, most magical achievements of our lives and she was an invaluable source of advice, wisdom, solidarity and humour before, during and after the day itself. Harry, November 2016
“We couldn’t have asked for anything more from choosing to work with you – the best money we have ever spent! From the moment we met you we knew you were the right person to support our birth, we just felt so safe. I was especially thrilled with the way you worked with Myles and me as individuals and as a couple, particularly at the birth; I know we both got a huge amount out off our respective relationships with you. Equally, I felt like you made a great team with the midwives, making sure my voice was always heard without creating any challenge. I also massively appreciated your instinct for when to be with us and when to give us space – truly perfect support. It was wonderful that you stayed with us afterward, helped out with jobs way beyond the role of Doula and generally just ensured we were well.
Most of all, I have a strong memory of turning my head and seeing that you had appeared at my bedside – this wonderful, comforting presence right when I needed it. Your expertise and manner during birthing were absolutely perfect for me.
We have had the sadly rare blessing of a wonderful, empowering birth experience and your role in that is pivotal, so a thousand thank yous! We couldn’t have asked for a better start to family life.” Jacqueline, December 2014
Jamie was born on September 9th, 2 weeks and 1 day after his expected due date. Arlene was our doula and we’re sure her experience, range of expertise, guidance and calmness hugely helped us to have the natural, medication-free birth we really wanted. Leading up to it she helped me relax during home visits as we practiced visualization, birthing positions, and she talked me through my options (as I was under hospital pressure to have a sweep and then induction). My contractions started at 12.30am and at 9am we called Arlene. She came to our flat at 2pm and guided me through my breathing and positions. My husband felt really reassured by her advice and calming presence. A few hours later the three of us arrived at the birth center. As my labour progressed, Arlene massaged me, provided homeopathic remedies (to encourage contractions and alleviate nausea) and supported me with birth positions. Crucially, she helped us negotiate with the hospital at key points in my labour and with her by our side we felt we had more ‘space’ to ask questions and carefully consider our options. At the point that ventouse and a potential C-section was advised we asked the hospital staff to leave the room so we could talk through our options – at this point, Jamie decided to appear! As I pushed him out, I asked Arlene to guide me and remember tuning into her voice only, as she was the person I felt I could really trust and rely on. Afterwards, Arlene stayed with us until we were settled back in the birth centre and supported me to breastfeed Jamie. Once I was back home she provided more breastfeeding support as I was finding it difficult. My husband and I were on a high for about a week afterwards because of our wonderful birth experience – so thank you very much, Arlene! Alexa & Jonathan, September 2014
“I was going to see Arlene for pregnancy massage and cranial therapy since I found out I was pregnant. It was a great support for my constantly changing body, plus Arlene’s knowledge made me feel stress-free as she shared her opinions on many pregnancy related issues.
It became clear to me that with her calm attitude and extensive knowledge that I wanted Arlene to be our doula during the birth of our baby boy Leo.
Arlene was on a 24/7 call with her support for 2 weeks prior to my due date and was checking on me if I haven’t text her with the update.
On a birth day, she was constantly on a phone with me and eventually she decided it’s time for her to come to our house.
She arrived early in the morning and we managed to go through a lot of contractions before I noticed her approval that I was ready to go to the birth centre.
We arrived after a short ride and a small London traffic and to my happiness I learned I was already 7 cm dilated.
Arlene, was next to me throughout the whole process, again sharing her knowledge and gently giving pointers on what might help me.
Having her next to me was very reassuring and had a calming effect on both myself and my husband.
Can’t wait to ask Arlene for her assistance with our second baby! ” – Urszula, June 2014 photo www.paulinek.co.uk
Having Arlene as our doula helped me stay calm in the lead up to the birth, but also relaxed and accepting of the labour. Such a difference from our first birth experience 5 years previous. Lucy & Marc November 2013
“Thank you for your help in the weeks leading up to the birth, definitely helped relieve all the aches and pains of the later stages of pregnancy.” – Sinead, September 2013
“The whole experience was a million times better than the first. I listened to my body, had an amazing midwife that told me to do the same and got the birth that I wanted. And no stitches – hurrah!!…Thank you again, Arlene, for your fab advice. I did the fist blowing when felt the burn and it definitely helped with his exit!” – Colette, September 2012
“Arlene was a great help when starting breastfeeding, showing different positions and how to settle baby when he became fretful. After a difficult start, we are now exclusively breastfeeding and baby is growing well every day.” – Kate, September 2012
“I must say that all the yoga positions, relaxation and advice from Arlene definitely helped me to get so far along and relieve some of the pain (not to mention keep my head and thoughts in a positive space). I think the best advice from Arlene was to keep moving, change up the positions and to get over the last contraction, don’t hold on to it….let it go as you are one closer to meeting your baby…Thank you, Arlene, for all your help, support and advice.” – Naika, February 2012
“The hip rocking and swaying helped heaps during my contractions, and I was lucky enough to only be in labour and delivery for a total of 10 hours from start to finish!” – Sukhi, February 2012
“The Caesarean was amazing which is something I never thought I would say and I had skin to skin straight away for 60 mins…. I cannot thank you enough for the visualisations that got me through the spinal block. It wasn’t painful at all!” – Bethan, October 2011
“Arlene was my doula for the birth of my second son in September 2011. When we first met her I warmed to her instantly and knew I would like her as my birth doula. Throughout my pregnancy, she supported me and encouraged me and motivated me through her fantastic pregnancy yoga sessions. She was a brilliant companion at our special VBAC birth providing me with loving, caring support. She did anything I asked of her and I will never forget how much she helped me and my husband achieve our much wanted natural birth. A true professional and her loving, kind nature make her the perfect doula.” Ozlem November – 2011
“We were so happy that we made the decision to have Arlene acting as our Doula at the birth of our first baby. Without Arlene, we would never have had the birth we had planned. When Arlene arrived, the hospital was forcing us down the birth path we were keen to avoid. Within two minutes of her arrival, we were back in control of the experience and everyone was acting in the best interests of our baby. Arlene was incredibly supportive and caring; she acted as our advocate ensuring our wishes were carried out. It was wonderful having someone so knowledgeable on our side. Arlene kept me focused and relaxed. I could not have done it without her. Thanks to Arlene, we had the natural water birth we had hoped for.” – Jane Cina, 2010
“If we had not had Arlene as our doula, the birth of my daughter would not have been a natural water birth as we had planned. When Arlene arrived at the hospital I had just told my husband that I had changed my mind and ‘wanted drugs.’ Arlene sensed my despair and without saying anything gently massaged my back – I am not saying it took the pain away – but it re-focused me and I changed my mind with regards to the drugs. She provided valuable support for both my husband and myself during and after the birth. We had no idea what to expect at the hospital and it was reassuring to know that Arlene was there to support us. She is extremely knowledgeable about all birthing procedures and offered invaluable advice throughout. I would not hesitate to recommend her to anyone else.” – Jo Anderson, 2009
*All images are taken by the author and uploaded with the permission of clients. They are not for public use with out authorisation.