Tracy Horlin, Vincent Pallotti Hospital
Baby Ben, April 2016

I contacted Charlene as soon as I found out I was pregnant because I heard that she is in high demand. She was very helpful and supportive even though she did not know me at all. I felt very early on that I could raise any concern with her and trusted that she had my best interest at heart.

We first met Charlene at the Pregnancy Journey day at the Shamballah in Scarborough a few months after we had first chatted. I knew I wanted her to be our birth doula. Her presence is very calming yet assertive. We did the Relax into Birth course at the Bowwood Baby Clinic and found it very informative and useful and helped me feel less anxious in those last few weeks leading up to the birth. Charlene also did a visualization exercise at week 36 which is incredibly beneficial and relaxing.

I was pregnant until 42 weeks and listened to track number 3 on the Relax into Birth CD every night. I would recommend this to any woman as it helped me to relax into sleep at the end of my pregnancy.

At 42 weeks there was no sign of labour starting and the Midwife recommended a hospital induction. Early on Friday morning my labour was induced. I was very fearful and had tried to avoid a hospital birth, and my husband and I were very thankful that Charlene was there, supporting us through. She stayed with us the whole day and gave me the most amazing foot massages. I had a caesarean birth at 6pm that same Friday and Charlene stayed with us in the theatre. The experience would definitely be much more daunting had she not been there. She popped in to visit while I was in hospital and came to visit afterwards for an awesome postnatal massage. I very much appreciated having someone to talk to about the birth experience, because it did not go as planned and I played so many “what ifs” in my mind. Charlene was very empathetic and genuinely cared.

My husband agrees that having Charlene with us was a brilliant decision and we will definitely call upon her again if the need arises.

My advice to first time moms would be to fully explore your birth options and don’t get too fixated on things going a particular way. Be open to what is. This is what I have had to learn during my journey.

Tracy Horlin, Vincent Pallotti Hospital