Place of Birth: Vincent Pallotti Hospital
Nate; April 18th, 2015 (3.47kg)
Charlene was Doula to my sister-in-law and was referred to us, as she was an amazing birth support during my niece’s birth.
After hearing so much about how amazing she was 😉 we contacted Charlene and asked to meet her, which we did. I must be honest and say that I was undecided about how I felt about having a stranger with me at one of the most vulnerable times of my life – and was concerned with adding additional costs to an already costly birth and pregnancy, especially considering I was going to be on unpaid maternity leave.
Nathan and I met Charlene one Friday afternoon and she was warm, informed and so lovely… I left and really wanted to be convinced about natural birth, but I wasn’t. At our meeting, Charlene told us about her course “Relax into Birth”. Having read about hypnobirthing and understanding the politics of birth in the private sector in South Africa and really wanting to experience a vaginal birth, we decided to attend and also get to know a few other first time parents, who shared the wish to have a vaginal birth. We also got to know Charlene better.
Off we went to the course and in those few classes we were decided. We needed the care of someone experienced and specifically needed Charlene, because of her wonderful calm, strong and reassuring nature.
I went into labour at 1am-ish and laboured at home until things got more intense. We called Charlene at about 3am to let her know what was happening and then again when we were about to go to the hospital at 8am. Things got serious just after she arrived very shortly after we did. I was in active labour and Charlene was amazing! She set the scene and prettified the room and coached me through every surge, gave me the best advice, offered alternatives and took me away when I need to be alone.
People talk of a doula as a birth companion, but Charlene really was a source of strength, care, alternatives and tremendous support to both myself and Nathan. Nate-boy was born at 13h27, a tall little guy, weighing in at 3,47 kg’s. The little light of our lives and the joy in our hearts forevermore.
Reflecting back, my birth experience was amazing, not the experience that I wished for entirely, but I know that it went as well as it did because she was there. We joke that Charlene is now our family Doula and if I am blessed enough to have another baby, Charlene will be an indispensable part of the team again! I often say that had it not been for Charlene, Nate’s birth would have been a traumatic event, as she was quite literally an angel in the delivery room.
All the images used in this testimonial were taken by Samantha Squire-Howe of Twinkle Star Birth Photography: firstname.lastname@example.org, 084 388 6567, www.twinklestar.co.za. Check out her blog post here for Leah’s birth.