How Lisa supported us

What people have said about the support Lisa has offered them.

I have found this testimonial difficult to get around to writing. Not because I am stuck for something to say about the wonderful support Lisa was to my husband and I throughout the pregnancy and birth, but because the available words feel inadequate to describe this awesome lady, what she provides and what she means to us.

I decided before I was even pregnant that I wanted a doula for my next birth. I thought hiring a doula would be helpful mainly for on The Day; someone to help look after my husband and I, protect my space and wishes (not to mention help with the pool, feed us) etc etc. Whilst this is, and was useful, I hadn’t accounted for the incredible impact her support in the months leading up to the birth would be. The skills, knowledge, energy and passion Lisa brought to us was incalculable.

Despite not being a first-timer, finding myself pregnant again brought up lots of anxieties. I did not trust my body’s ability to be able to birth a baby naturally since my first birth in 2011 had been an induction followed by a ventouse delivery.‎ I also wanted my next birth to be a vast improvement on the intervention-filled, disempowering and undignified experience of two years prior which had almost put me off having another child. I wanted to experience the joy of natural childbirth, have my choices respected and my space protected. I could not have chosen better. Lisa was like a fearless guardian angel and I trusted her implicitly to advocate for me if I was not in a position to. My sessions with Lisa not only informed and encouraged me; they actually made me look forward to giving birth and made my outlook so much more positive.

I liked Lisa from the word go. She is straight-talking, smart, funny, clearly knowledgeable and obviously passionate about birth and supporting women. She facilitated the perfect arrival for my daughter and I am indebted to her for that. She is also extremely efficient; replying to emails, queries and phone calls very promptly. Despite obviously being in demand, she has a knack of making you feel you are her only client/commitment at that time.

Lisa has become an indelible part of our family’s story. Through working with her, I achieved a wonderful natural home birth, leaning over the birthing pool (not actually in it!) in our living room. A truly awesome experience and I thank her so so much for helping me find the courage and resources within myself to achieve it. What a privilege to have her unwavering support whilst I brought my daughter into this world in what has been the most empowering and exhilarating experience of my life thus far.
I will never, ever forget her.

~ Caroline, Andrew, Zahra and Martha ~

Well … where do I start?!  I’m really not sure how to begin to tell you just how much Lisa helped us with the birth journey of our first baby – born at home in a pool on Boxing Day morning.

My husband and I decided to book Lisa as our Doula as soon as we met her.  She is such a warm and lovely person and she instantly made us feel like we had known her for years.

Lisa was a wonderful support for us in so many ways.  The information she provided for us regarding pre & post birth issues was fantastic. We didn’t do any hospital antenatal classes so it was great to be able to learn the things we needed to know in the comfort of our own home.  Lisa really is a fountain of knowledge with all things pregnancy, birth and baby related.

Lisa was always quick to reply to any questions, worries or concerns we had during the pregnancy (of which we had quite a few!), and she always made us feel better instantly with her thoughtful and thorough replies.  I felt so lucky to have the fantastic ‘helpline’ that she provided.

Lisa leant us so many useful things during my pregnancy, including a birth ball, a tens machine, books and even the pool for the birth.  She also gave me a lesson in nappies!  (a completely alien subject for me)

Part of Lisa’s Doula service is an antenatal meeting with Charlie from Milk Matters – this was fantastic, and we felt that we learnt an awful lot from this. Who knew breasts were so amazing! We also had follow up sessions with Charlie after our baby was born as I had a few teething problems with breast feeding.  Charlie was quick to help us establish the problems and after following her suggestions our baby is now feeding well.  Charlie really is a ‘booby whisperer’.

Knowing that we had Lisa on our side made us feel confident to choose a natural home birth.  With Lisa’s help we created our birth plan, and we knew that Lisa would do all she could to help make sure it was followed by the midwives / doctors (should any issues / complications arise).

Regarding the birth, Lisa came to our house as soon as we felt we needed her there. I felt happy and calm to know Lisa was looking after my husband and I during the whole birthing experience.  I actually felt I could happily birth my baby with just my husband and Lisa by my side!  But in the end we did have two lovely midwives join us!

We were delighted to have the natural birth experience we had hoped for.  We really can’t thank Lisa enough for all her help.  She will always be our baby Rosie’s ‘Fairy Birth Mother’, and I now consider her a special friend.  I would not hesitate in recommending Lisa to anyone and everyone! If we have any more children, as soon as I find out I am pregnant I will be booking Lisa in to be our Doula again!

~ Gemma & Rosie ~

After our first meeting with Lisa I remember saying to my husband that I didn’t need to see anyone else, I knew Lisa was the right person to support us with the birth of our second baby. I had been looking for a strong, grounding and protective presence that would help me to re-connect with instincts and would enable me to birth the baby growing inside me.

I had a lot of mixed emotions from my first birth experience, which had been a planned home birth that ended in a c-section. There was meconium early on, which resulted in immediate pressure from professionals to go to hospital, be monitored and subsequently be induced with syntocinon. I had tried to maintain a belief in my body to birth my baby and stay connected to the process, but what felt like constant bullying eventually wore me down and I gave up. I buried feelings of failure, guilt and sadness.

Two things felt important to me this time around; the first was to feel I had people around me that would enable a safe and undisturbed labour to unfold. The second was to gain the support to re-build the trust in my body to birth my baby naturally. I felt at ease with Lisa, she has a softness which was very nurturing and she made me laugh! But most of all I felt her presence as strength and knew she would ensure a protected space.

Lisa listened and encouraged me to explore feelings associated with my first birth experience, which was primarily a fear of ending up in hospital again. My first meeting with a medic (necessary part of NHS pathway after c-section) ended in tears, there was an assumption that I would be having the baby in hospital under constant monitoring and when I stated otherwise I was met with ‘if you deviate away from recommendations you take full responsibility’. Lisa helped me to approach subsequent meeting more in control, by exploring what *I*wanted to get out of the meeting and suggesting I ask at the outset what their objectives were. This simple practical advice made such a difference and helped me to feel calm and in control in difficult and emotive situations.

Another major obstruction was the constant concern from professionals about a rupture of my scar; one medic stated that ‘although she supported my desire for a home birth, if the scar ruptured whilst labouring at home my baby would die’! This really shook my confidence and trust in my decision to have my baby at home, but Lisa reminded me that there are many different severities of scar rupture and the catastrophic kind that this medic referred to is a tiny percentage of all ruptures which is still a very rare occurrence. This helped to put things back into perspective. Lisa was always excellent at providing information that was based in sound evidence base.

What I am trying to say is that Lisa was more than a strong and protective presence during my birth, she helped me to re-connect with my maternal instincts, which ultimately lead to trust and belief and a wonderful home water birth. During my labour I was tuned into the process, just how I had wanted to be, I remember feeling Lisa’s hands on my shoulders at just the right moment to encourage progression.

This birth experience was extremely healing, the moment I realised I was actually going to ‘do it’, birth my baby completely naturally in water with no intervention was indescribable. I can hand on heart say Lisa was integral to that process.

~ Lucy & Bonnie ~

My husband and I decided it would be a good idea to have a doula for our first baby because neither my mum nor my sister could be with us because they live in Italy. I also wanted a labour and birth with minimal or no intervention and I felt a doula could help me achieving this. We contacted a few doulas covering our area, and Lisa was our first meeting. We were astonished at how comfortable we both felt with Lisa and how understanding she was of our wishes and plans. We were so satisfied with that meeting that we felt we did not need to meet or interview anyone else, there was no doubt she was the one. She is one of the most bubbly, down to earth, kind, pleasant and funny people we have ever met. But she also understood our point of view, our fears and really empathised with us, and she gave us a lot of useful information and helped our confidence with the choices we had made.

Throughout my pregnancy Lisa was there, always. Any question was answered quickly and exhaustively, any doubt clarified and any fear blown away by her knowledge, experience and positivity. She was my personal pregnancy “google”, always available, just an email, a text or a phone call away, no matter what she was doing at the time. What was special about her is that she presented me with all the facts so I could make my own mind up and she supported all my choices.

This was extremely important for decisions such as writing in my birth plan I would not consent to the use of forceps / ventouse under any circumstance or deciding I did not want to be induced when I was overdue. I had to face a meeting with a consultant at the hospital to discuss these decisions. Lisa was on the phone with me on and off that day up until 2 minutes before I went in to speak to them. She helped me not to panic and to word what I wanted to say in a calm and convincing fashion, presenting my case brilliantly and coming away from the meeting successful! She of course offered to come with me, as always. You cannot ask more of her, she gives it all. Having someone like Lisa behind you during pregnancy is really empowering. Pregnancy certainly makes women happy and more beautiful, but it makes them at the same time so emotional and vulnerable, especially if it is their first time. Lisa was my ‘musketeer’, my guardian angel, my friend, and she always ensured I got what I really wanted throughout my pregnancy and I felt comfortable with everything.

The most important thing Lisa has done for me is to give me the confidence to trust my instincts and feelings as opposed to simply go with the general opinion or the way it is usually done. I felt at ease all the times with her, and she constantly reminded me there was nothing wrong with being myself and with my expectations. After all this was MY pregnancy, MY labour, MY birth, MY baby, therefore MY choices. She was there to make it all happen like we wanted to and she did precisely that.

Lisa also taught me that it is OK to change your mind whenever you feel like and however many times you feel like it. I initially had wanted a hospital birth and ended up instead going for a home birth – a huge change. Lisa supported me all the way.

I wanted a natural pool birth at home despite reservations from everyone around me (apart from my husband). We would have not had the courage to attempt it and see it through if we had not had Lisa’s support. Having her beside us, confident that she knows exactly what you are going through, that she knows if everything is fine or not, and helping us overcome our worries and fears is what made it happen.

My labour and birth went exactly as we wished and Lisa was a pillar for both me and my husband (yes, husbands need a doula like Lisa too, so they can give them a hug if they need to, make them a cuppa if they want one, help them emotionally and physically).

Finally, Lisa is the most generous person I have met with her time and the effort she made – we live a long way from Lisa and yet she travelled without ever expressing concern. She even joined me at my homeopath (she did not have to) to be briefed about remedies to dispense during labour. Yes, she is also qualified in homeopathy – there is nothing I found yet she cannot do or not willing to learn! She also supported me after my daughter’s birth with some serious breastfeeding issues I had to endure. She was there for me although, again, she did not have to.

I miss Lisa and I too find myself feeling jealous about other clients she has (someone else mentioned this in another testimonial!). You naturally feel like she is YOUR doula and you become so attached to her you inevitably wish you were pregnant again so you could have more of her attention. You want her to be your best friend!

I am planning to text her the moment I find out I am pregnant again – we will be trying for another baby soon – even if my mum is available next time, there is no doubt who I will have there.

Being a doula is not just a job for Lisa, it is her life, what she loves doing and what she has the most fantastic talent for. The proof? Many happy clients like me and my husband that will be grateful to her for life and will be fighting with other couples to book her again in the future.

~ Michela & Carl ~

It has taken me six months to get round to writing about my birth experience with my second baby. Partly because as a mother of two young children it is hard to find time to do anything other than meet your children’s needs 24 hours a day. But partly also because it has taken me time to process my feelings about my two births which were very contrasting experiences.

My first baby, Lucy, was born in 2011. I had contractions for several days and my labour took a long time to get established. On the day of the birth, my waters went in the early hours and I was delighted as I felt it meant something was actually happening but it still continue to progress very slowly. I started off at a birth centre but was transferred to a consultant led unit for augmentation (with a drip – the same medication used in inductions). After such a long slow build up the final stages of my labour went very quickly – I had a midwife who had only been on duty for an hour or two before my baby was born. I had an argument with her about the rate of the drip. I felt the contractions were coming too fast and that the rate of the trip must be too high. I felt she wasn’t listening to me and didn’t believe what I was saying about my own body.

When I felt ready to push I felt that she wasn’t listening and didn’t believe me and then when I tore she said it was my own fault for giving birth in a kneeling position rather than lying on the bed which was what she had asked me to do. I felt very shocked and traumatised after this experience – both because of the speed of the final stages (I was 2cm dilated at 6pm and my daughter was born at 9.50pm) and also because of the feeling of being bullied and not listen to by someone who I had just met whilst I was in a vulnerable position.

My first thought after giving birth was – I can’t ever do this again. But I didn’t want my daughter to be an only child so when she was almost 2 I got pregnant again. I was determined that this birth would be different. I decided to have a home birth and then had to persuade my husband it was a good idea. I wanted to avoid going to hospital and I wanted to avoid all intervention. Although I had attended NCT classes and felt I was fairly well informed the first time, this time I was determined to be even better prepared.

I wanted someone with me at the birth who had met me and got to know me when I wasn’t in labour. I was terrified of going to hospital and feeling powerless again and I wanted an advocate with a lots of knowledge about the birth and about me and my preferences who would be able to stand up for me. I then had to persuade my husband that having a Doula was a good idea (he didn’t really understand what the Doula’s role was and felt that may be a Doula would take over some of his role).

I met several Doulas and they were all lovely and I think I would have been happy for each of them to be with me during my birth. Many things made us choose Lisa but the three things that really stand out looking back now – Firstly my husband felt very comfortable with her. He liked her but was also impressed by her knowledge and confidence. After meeting Lisa I no longer needed to convince Antony that having a Doula was a good idea – Lisa had convinced him! Secondly Lisa’s experience is very impressive. She had been at around 40 births at the time we spoke to her and many of them were home births. She was confident and incredibly knowledgeable about the physiological processes involved in birth. Thirdly, Lisa’s experience of so many home births meant she had a wealth of practical knowledge (and equipment) for a home birth and she made us feel that she would be a huge practical help as well as an emotional support for us both. My husband was totally won over. He felt more reassured about the prospect of a home birth and he felt he understood what Lisa’s role was to be – which was to help and support both of us so that Antony was in the best situation to support me with out worrying about all the practical stuff.

Our baby was born very quickly. My waters broke (with no warning and no contractions or anything beforehand) at 5.30pm. By 9.30pm my contractions had only just started really. We kept Lisa informed of developments and she arrived. We were waiting for her to help us decide when would be the right time to phone the midwives as I didn’t want the midwife to arrive to early. Lisa hasn’t been with us for very long when I felt very unwell, felt the pain was too much and thought I could not cope with hours more of this! I was in the birthing pool but I felt I had to get out. What I didn’t realise was that I was in transition. Lisa phoned the midwife but then I got the urge to push. Lisa remained calm and confident. She did not panic which meant myself and my husband didn’t panic either when faced with the possibility of the baby arriving before the midwife. Lisa stayed on the phone to a midwife at the birth centre and our lovely son Samuel was born at 12.30am (only three hours after the contractions started) and my husband caught him as he flew out.

It wasn’t the birth I had imagined – I had imagined my home birth would be slower, with more time spent relaxing in the pool between contractions. It was a massive shock that Samuel was born so quickly. A lot of people kept saying how lucky I was that it had been so quick and that annoyed me as I would have preferred things to be slow and steady! Just because a birth is quick does not mean it is less painful or less traumatic. It took me weeks too process it all and realised that I had actually had the birth I wanted and how great it was that I didn’t have to go to hospital or have any intervention or analgesia! (that hadn’t been my plan. I had wanted gas and air and also had pethidine on standby). If I hadn’t planned home birth I may have ended up with an unplanned one anyway. Having my husband to be the first person to hold the baby was an incredibly special moment for us both. And Lisa’s experience, confidence and calm nature meant that instead of panicking like crazy when we realised the baby was coming on the midwife wasn’t going to make it we both felt calm and confident.

The next morning when we introduced our daughter to her new baby brother was such a special moment. She had slept through it all and it was so lovely for her to wake up and find her brother had arrived!

Lisa is calm, professional, amazingly knowledgeable and supportive. She helped us to work through the previous birth experience, prepare for this birth and write our birth preferences. She supported me at a hospital appointment when I thought there may be some conflict. I think she would be brilliant at a hospital birth to help liaise with the medical staff to ensure you get the birth you want. She describes herself as a ‘walking talking birth plan’ and if there was any reason I had been transferred to hospital I am sure she would have been a fantastic support and advocate. For a home birth I can’t recommend her highly enough – she is the best person you could possibly have with you. She helped us to prepare, and helped us to write our birth plan and also made us think about how we would create the atmosphere we wanted. She helped us to keep calm, keep going when things got tough and then help to clean up afterwards whilst we enjoy special time with our new baby. A huge thank you to Lisa for helping to make Samuel’s birth so special and giving both me and Antony the belief that we could do it – that I could manage to give birth again after my experience the first time and that we could have a home birth – and then for helping to make our plans are reality.

Louise & Antony

We will be eternally grateful to Lisa for making the birth of our dreams a reality. From the moment that I spoke to her I knew that she was the doula for us. She put us at ease and we enjoyed the pregnancy and birth. We did the antenatal classes with Lisa in the comfort of our own home. She provided endless support, she was only a phone call away and lent us the resources that we needed. When I came up against resistance from the NHS regarding my birth choices, she was able to help us to get the information we needed and support us in our informed decisions as she is impartial and her support is unconditional.
I feel privileged to say that Jack’s birth was a liberating experience and I now have so much respect for what my body can do. Jack was born into a calm environment just after midnight into his daddy’s hands in a birthing pool at home with no drugs or gas and air. The first voices he heard were mine and Matt`s. He weighed 9.7lb. Lisa helped us to create the perfect setting. She lent us her pool lit candles and I listened to hypnobirthing and birdsong. Lisa sat quietly reading and didn’t rush me. Having her there brought a calmness to the room. She captured Jack’s first moments on camera, ran me a bath, made me a smoothie and changed our bed linen. She then helped me into bed with the baby and Matt and encouraged breastfeeding. Lisa also made me aware of my options regarding the placenta, at my request.

Lisa has also made it possible for me to continue breastfeeding due to putting me in touch with Charlie at Milk Matters. He had tongue tie and needed a simple procedure that would have taken weeks on the NHS.

Lisa is a natural Doula and we now consider her a friend.

Thank you Lisa from my little family, you are one in a million.

~ Kelly, Matt & Jack ~

We met Lisa a few years ago and decided to hire her as our doula for the birth of our first son, Louis who is now two. She was brilliant then in helping us make informed choices. I had planned a water birth in hospital, but unfortunately things didn’t go to plan and I ended up having an emergency c section. We were both fine but I had a really tough time dealing with the birth emotionally and Lisa really helped me through this.

When I fell pregnant this time I was determined not to go down that route again, and as I was more confident this time I planned a water birth at home. This time I knew alot more and myself and my husband knew we could do this. Lisa was an amazing support – she helped me get my head in the right place and gave me the confidence to believe I could do it – which worked wonders in helping us achieve our home birth.

Along the way I had a few wobbles, especially when the consultants etc kept telling me I was putting both mine and my babies life at risk by choosing to have a homebirth after a previous c section, but Lisa kept me grounded and provided me with all the facts and figures so we could be confident in our choice.

Leading up to the birth I kept panicking and worrying I couldn’t do it – after all I didn’t know what it was like to actually give birth vaginally or labour without any drugs…how would I handle the pain? Lisa took the time out to come over to my house one evening and worked on releasing my fear – I really believe this set me up for the home birth and put my head in the mindset of ‘I can do this…bring it on!’

The actual birth can only be described as amazing and perfect – I never once doubted myself and I have Lisa to thank for that – both myself and my husband were very calm during labour – very different to how we were last time, and that is down to Lisa giving us the confidence to believe in ourselves & my body. Lisa was around for most of the labour, as it was very quick – only around 4 hours and she was a tower of strength to us throughout. She helped me with my positioning and just let me do my thing. The result was a perfect 9 pounds 6 oz little boy born in our lounge, in the pool with the midwives arriving as his head was already out – no pain relief at all – if I could have planned it – this was exactly how I wanted it to be, and this was due to the fact we had Lisa as our doula. It was so amazing in fact that straight after the birth I told her I wanted to do it again!

~ Kate, Louis & Theo ~

Our story looks a bit different to all those successful home birth stories I read on Lisa’s website, however, it just proves that Lisa is excellent at any birth no matter what happens and how it goes. And so I begin…

Before I got pregnant, I had never heard of such a concept as doula. Once I got pregnant, the whole thing of giving birth seemed so terrifying to me that I was trying to brush it off for as a long as possible.

The problem was aggrevated by the fact that my husband and I were on our own here, in the UK, coming originally from Russia and thus being totally unfamiliar with the local health system in general and midwifery in particular. It was also that my Mum passed away nearly 5 years ago and I only have brothers as my siblings. So I literally had no one close enough in my family female-wise to discuss this delicate topic with.

I was spending hours and hours on the Internet trying to find answers to many questions that were emerging in my head. As is always the case, most of the answers were found when chatting to other mums-to-be or those with kids.

I once went for coffee with one of my colleagues who was expecting her second baby and she mentioned she wished she had a doula alongside her for her first birth to avoid so much misunderstanding and pain she had to go through with her first baby. At that time I didn’t think it was such a great idea to have a complete stranger by your side at such a difficult and intimate moment. However, I decided to investigate this option further. I spent a lot of time reading about doulas and how inspiring and empowering other people experiences were because they had doula with them. We started to buy into the idea of having one but it was so difficult to make the first step (my natural shyness might have been the case). I made a list of doulas who I wanted to interview to pick the one who would suit us perfectly. It was really difficult to judge someone’s work without really knowing them so I based my judgement on the testimonials and photos.

Lisa instantly appealed to me as many people mentioned her kindness, warmth and professionalism at the same time. She was the first doula we interviewed and the last one! When we met, she instantly made us feeling at ease and relaxed as if we knew each other for many years.  What was also appealing is that despite her own ideas about “perfect birth”, Lisa didn’t pursue her view on any of the topics we raised during that interview. She was genuinely happy to go with what we believed to be the perfect birth and to support us throughout the whole thing.

There was no need to see anyone else although Lisa suggested to meet other doulas too but both my husband and me felt she was the right person to be with us on the day.

Next day we hired Lisa to be our doula (that was 3 months before the big day) and we’ve been in constant contact ever since. Lisa was brilliant at answering any “stupid” questions that would normally struck me during the night – very responsive and comprehensive on virtually any subject.

She also paved the way for me to turn to Hypnobirthing as birth technique and lent Marie Mongan’s book to explore if this was something I wanted to try.

Her antenatal sessions were also informative and very helpful when she went through all labour stages describing what normally happens and provided lots of practical tips such as buying maternity mats for when my waters would break (I didn’t even think about that!). Even more, Lisa helped us with polishing and finalising our birth plan and I am sure she knew it by heart by the time she was what she calls “on call” with me.

As many other families, we were planning an easy relaxed birh at the birth centre, potentially using the birth pool. However, a bolt came from the blue when I was around 38 weeks pregnant. Despite normal and seemingly uncomplicated pregnancy, I was diagnosed with obstetric cholestasis – a rare late pregnancy complication. Because some of the liver indicators were quite high, there was a real concern this could be potentially harmful to the baby. I was going to have planned C-section next day after behind diagnosed which obviously came as a true shocker to me and Alex after a fairly uncomplicated pregnancy and all the preparation we put into having our baby via natural birth.

This was a first time when my husband got in touch with Lisa and she helped in calming us down straight away. With her help and support we found out that my blood tests were not as critically high as the doctors initially described and therefore after a long and sometimes high-pitched conversation with the doctors, we managed to negotiate what they call “soft” induction provided our baby would be constantly monitored. For long three days the doctors were trying to induce the labour using conservative methods but I was failing to progress and on day 4 C-section delivery looked to be the most probable. That was the time when Lisa sent us a link to a fantastic resource about obstetric cholestasis with lots of research and real life examples. We used one piece of research from this website to convince the medical personnnel to wait for another 12 hours to give me a chance for natural delivery.

When I was literally pushed away to the delivery suit, we felt it was time to call Lisa and ask her to join us as we were on the brink of giving up.

She arrived right before my final examination when further steps were to be decided. Once she entered the room, the atmosphere immediately became lighter and less stressful because of her good humour and a unique capability of instantly establishing rapport with everyone. She was there when they broke my waters and convinced me that was the best possible outcome in our situation.

Since her arrival, we didn’t worry about talking to doctors anymore.  As I have already mentioned before, Lisa knew our birth preferences like the palm of her hand so she was our ambassador and negotiator with the medical personnel whilst we were concentrating on the birth.

When I was put on the drip, she came up with a brilliant idea to negotiate a mild increase in the dosage of syntocinon rather than to follow standard procedure to double dosage every 30 minutes. This might have allowed me to have natural birth even when being induced although all the odds were against me.

My labour was probably 10 hours long (we used time distortion techniques so I am still unsure ) and during all those hours whenever I raised my head, Lisa was there by my side, smiling and encouraging, finding words that only loving mother who’s been through this can find to encourage another woman. Her words were simple but not trivial and most importantly genuine and most suited for a specific moment.

She also used her little tricks (which I am not going to demistify here so that she can help other ladies too) to help me avoid using any pain reliefs as she knew I would regret it later on.

Although my husband was coping really well with massaging and keeping me relaxed, Lisa was indispensable when I became fully dilated and was ready to push. Having stayed in the hospital for 4 days with hardly any sleep and going through birth with no pain killers whatsoever, I was tired by that stage that I was virtually falling asleep between urges to push. Lisa was there next to me looking into my eyes, giving me strength and faith to believe that I was nearly there and I needed to concentrate a little bit more. She was also brilliant at distracting my thoughts from the pain when she started pondering over baby’s hair, and who he would look like. She was reminding me that the journey was nearly over and that in itself probably gave me some energy to finally push the baby out.

When our wonderful little boy was born, she took pictures of the three of us which will now be the most precious photos in my life.  What is more, she helped me with the placenta delivery and with the shower, she changed the bed linen, so when I was back, everything was fresh and clean and I felt human again.

Both my husband and me genuinely think that we would never have managed to go through this birth without anything (no gas and air or paracetamol) and to have our baby been born as we dreamt, without you, Lisa! You are wise, kind, warm, yet firm where it’s needed and immensely professional at everything you do! We were honoured to have you as our doula on that day! We couldn’t wish for anything else, honestly.

So a million thanks goes to you and your family from the three of us and we will be eternally grateful for your warmth and support that helped our little miracle arrive at this world!  Huge thank you from the three of us!

If ever asked about giving birth, I would never fail mentioning and promoting you as the best birth companion possible!

~ Maria, Alex & Savva ~

Lisa was magic. My partner (who was carrying the baby) and I knew we both needed support at our home birth, but really didn’t want to have to deal with anyone elses awkwardness or foot in mouth syndrome about me and Mari being a lesbian couple and using a known sperm donor. Like I say Lisa was magic, she got it from the start, she always referred to the baby as ‘your baby’ when talking to me and was really clear how important my role was. She never once likened me or my role to a dad’s role. However innocently done, this really excluded me as soon as other health professionals had said it in the past.

Lisa took the time to listen to my fears as a birth partner and totally supported me in being there for Mari. She totally respected and valued our relationship and our parenting.

She coached me through how I may deal with certain situations, like if we had to transfer into hospital, she lent me ace books to read, and was really careful in considering whether they were ‘dad’ focused. And most of all, she took care of us in a fun and loving way that made the birth of our second son a really beautiful experience.

During labour Lisa had an uncanny knack of showing us the way to go, gently shining a light on the path ahead, whilst walking alongside us. Lisa transformed the labour and got us through it in such a wonderful way we could only have dreamed of. Seriously, don’t hesitate to book her, Lisa, whether she knows it or not, is a honorary lesbian, and worth every damn penny!

~ Jill ~ Mummy of Jo & Pip ~

The knowledge and support given [by Lisa] was priceless. I felt so supported and knew I could call Lisa at any time. I felt I had extra support other than the midwife. [During labour] Lisa was amazing. Words can not describe how lovely and good at her job she is. She helped me stay focused and calm and gave me lots of reassurance. I feel she enabled my home birth and was so supportive with my partner. Lisa looked after me and everything and she even helped with my daughter. She ensured my wishes were met and baby was well. She is such a professional, passionate, genuine, caring and wonderful doula. My midwives were extremely impressed too.
[On having a doula next time] Yes – it would have to be Lisa. I feel there could be no one better.

~ Paula & Olly ~

There are no words to describe how big a part Lisa played in the birth of our son. We only arranged to have Lisa as our Doula three days before he was born, but looking back on it now we can’t imagine doing it without her. We’re sure that it would have been a completely different experience had she not been there.

Lisa easily and confidently fulfils her role as a Doula. She is knowledgeable, assured and a calming influence exactly when needed. Having taken us through our birth preferences in detail and highlighting a couple of things we hadn’t considered on the way, Lisa was perfectly in tune with how we wanted to birth our baby. As we had a homebirth in water using Hypnobirthing techniques, it made us feel extremely relaxed knowing that she was “on our side” helping us to accomplish exactly what was on our birth plan. We had an amazing birth experience.

Lisa knows when to step in to any situation to offer help but she also knows when to step out of any situation to give us space and “family time”.

Being a Doula perfectly suits her down to earth personality. She is a straight talking, no nonsense woman and we felt safe and comforted in her company. We would strongly recommend Lisa to anyone who is considering a Doula. Part of what makes labour and birth so daunting is that you never know how the journey will go. Lisa was a rock throughout ours and we’re eternally grateful for everything she did for us.

~ Mel & Dexter ~

I could not have achieved my dream birth without Lisa. She was a calming influence and helped me to focus on my breathing. I had an amazing birth experience. It was everything I ever dreamed of and more and it was down to Lisa. She allowed me to believe in myself and helped dispel my doubts. She never left my side during the birth, she protected my birth space and was the support I needed. She photographed first moments, helped clean up, got me in the bath – amazing woman! My birth experience was life changing and so positive and I can’t wait to do it again!

[On having a doula next time] Without doubt! But not any doula – only Lisa!

~ Katie & Hannah ~

My fiance, Shaun and I had the pleasure of partaking in a private BabyCalm Antenatal Workshop run by Lisa at our home.  We were both unsure about what to expect and had open minds about the content.  Lisa immediately put us both at ease and within the first 15 minutes we both had already learned so much about how to view our baby’s new world through our baby’s eyes and immediately gave us a totally different perspective.  The class was very interactive which was great as this made us both feel very much like we were a team, as it wasn’t just directed to me as the mum.  Lisa is extremely knowledgeable and was able to put our minds at ease over a number of issues whilst giving impartial information.

We both now feel much more confident about being able to identify our baby’s needs and have learned lots of different ways of being able to soothe our baby successfully.  We are now looking forward to putting them into practice in the near future!

~ Sian & Shaun ~ 34 weeks ~

We were recommended Lisa by a friend who had Lisa as her doula. I know that usually people meet more than one doula but we felt so convinced from our first meeting that Lisa was the doula for us that we didn’t meet anyone else. I couldn’t imagine anyone I would have preferred to be there to support us with our journey! I was very keen to have a home birth and I was confident that Lisa had the skills to support me. Lisa spent many an hour supporting us with the choices my husband and I had made. My child was always likely to be overdue and Lisa gave me the courage of my convictions to ensure my daughter was not induced and indeed was born at home. I found her exceedingly knowledgeable, supportive and empathetic.

Lisa actually missed our daughter’s birth as Freya did indeed decide her own journey which resulted in her arriving ten minutes after I sat down to a bite of pizza! We still believe that we only got the birth we wanted due to Lisa’s support on the build up, during (via hands free mobile phone throughout her mad dash to get to us!) and directly after the birth. Our family could not recommend Lisa highly enough.

~ Carol & Freya ~

After having a dis-empowering birth with my first son, I was determined to be fully informed and empowered during my second pregnancy. After we met Lisa we knew she was the perfect person to support us during our birth journey. She made me feel supported and was totally non-threatening to my partner. I even found myself getting pangs of jealousy when she mentioned other clients! Lisa helped us to plan and prepare for our Home Water Birth after caesarean. The labour was beautiful, Lisa was supportive yet non intrusive. I felt not just empowered but powerful. Unfortunately, my son had other ideas and was breech and with his bottom wedged and his legs stopping him from descending. Even though I had an emergency c-section I felt informed and empowered all the way, a huge part of this was down to Lisa and the support that she provides. I think every mum to be should have a doula, and they should all be like Lisa.

~ Gwen & Noah ~

Our second son born was born via emergency c section and from the moment we found out we were having another baby we decided we’d like a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) birth. We decided on a doula because my partner is quite squeamish and neither of us are very out spoken in situations we felt that a 3rd person with us would give us extra strength and confidence to get through it.

I decided I wanted a water birth and to use ‘Hypnobirthing’ as pain relief. Lisa gave me tons of information on anything I asked questions about. She was always in contact with me, putting my mind at ease prior to birth, she helped me put together a birth plan, and she was 100% behind me on all my decisions.

When it came to labour day, Lisa arrived at our house with crispy cakes and straight away just her presence relaxed me and my partner. She was our rock throughout the whole birth, especially it being VBAC they were watching me like a hawk. I so desperately wanted to get to the pool and all the time Lisa was supporting my decision and eventually I was allowed to get to the pool. She knew exactly when to to get stuck in and exactly when to step back, we felt she was the perfect person to support us, she took photos at our request of the birth and they are amazing. I call her Mary Poppins as she thinks of everything, down to bringing snacks, mopping my brow and giving me sips of water she’s amazing.

From my partners point of view he found her to be a genuine person who you can tell loves her job. He felt the contrast between when we had our son by emergency c section and my water birth. He felt it was amazing and inspiring, he thinks there aren’t many people put on this earth to do a certain job, but Lisa was put on this earth to be a doula and a fantastic one at that. He felt empowered and totally involved in the process he never felt left out once just relieved someone was looking after him too.

We feel privileged to be supported by such a kind and knowledgeable person as Lisa is, without her we feel that our experience wouldn’t have been the same.

I am the first person to give birth at the hospital we went to as a VBAC water birth mum, we feel this is down to Lisa’s support that got us through it. I think that on its own speaks volumes.

~ Helen & Ollie ~

Let’s start on the right foot, Lisa Sykes is mad!  She is driven by sheer passion, professionalism and dedication.  Lisa understands what most NHS personnel have forgotten, the Mummy is always right.

I kind of understood what a doula was, I always knew the connection with the parents had to be right.  We had many questions to ask; was having a doula right for us, was it an excuse to avoid my mother being at the birth or did NCT confuse us…  From the moment Kate and I met Lisa, we had no worries, the doula delivered!

From post birth, via the epic labour and to the arrival of our son Louis, Lisa was a hero!  She is such a great person, full of knowledge, she understands the system, knows how to get the best out of Daddys and best of all she is a real friend to the 3 of us.

If I am ever asked about doulas, I always say it’s a support mechanism that will deliver 100%.  If asked about Lisa Sykes, I would always say she is the best doula I will ever know and she is a mate!

~ Solo ~ Louis Daddy ~

Last Friday, I was privileged to meet Lisa for the first time. My daughter and her partner, decided on a home hypnobirth in a birthing pool for their first baby and I can now admit I was very apprehensive for her, even though I had a home birth myself with my second child.

When Lisa arrived at their home, an air of quiet calm descended, as she supported my daughter, her partner and I as we awaited the birth. She was fully in tune with my daughter and her partner’s birthing plans and provided constant reassurance both physically and spiritually to us all. Lisa proved a tower of strength in communicating their wishes to the midwives, allowing my daughter to birth their child with little intervention. Dexter was born into a calm supportive atmosphere, created for the most part, by Lisa.

After the birth, she encouraged the couple to bond with their baby and busied herself clearing the pool and getting them into their own bed with their baby.

I can honestly say that if I could have another child Lisa would be the first person I would ask to support me. She has a myriad of skills that are second to none; she is just the right person to have by your side at this extremely challenging time!

~ Anne ~ Grandma of Dexter ~

Just wanted to drop you a quick email to thank you for Saturday’s BabyCalm Crying & Colic Workshop. We thought the course was brilliant and I’ve come away feeling lots more confident about being a mum and all that goes with it! I thought that the workshop was delivered in a really down to earth common sense way and as a teacher you were really approachable, full of knowledge and made us all feel at ease and able to ask questions.

~ Helen & Thomas ~ 4 weeks old ~ 

Lisa was able to provide me with confidence in believing in the benefits of a homebirth my wife wanted through her knowledge, support and above all her calm persona. She was able to bring experience to the labour from a woman’s perspective which made the process calmer for my wife and freed me up to look after my daughter and support my wife to a level I felt comfortable with.

After the birth she enabled our family to settle and bond with Hannah as she assisted in the cleaning up and caring for my wife. I would hire a doula again and Lisa made this experience a wonderful and stress free one for us all. Thank you.

~ Hannah & Sophie’s Daddy ~

I really enjoyed the BabyCalm Mummy & Baby course, found it useful and informative – wish I had done it sooner! I have been using a number of the techniques learnt since and find they really do work. My little one particularly loves the baby massage element which we have been doing regularly ever since.I would highly recommend this course to others, both the course itself and Lisa (!) are great. I found Lisa really relaxed and welcoming and have found a lot of her advice invaluable. It’s also very useful talking to other new mums about their experiences.

I don’t like the fact the course is over-would love to do it every week, really missing it!

~ Jessica & Jacob ~

Lisa will never know how much we appreciated her hard work you can tell she absolutely loves her job and she totally shines at it too.

There are very few people who are put on this earth to do a specific job, and Lisa was put on this earth to be a doula. She is a very special person and I have high regards for her. We cant thank her enough for giving us inspiration and empowerment to give our son the most perfect gentle birth into this world, without her support and knowledge we would have not had the outcome we did and for that we will forever be thankful.

~ Rhys & Ollie’s Daddy ~

Having had an emergency c section after a 36 hour labour with my first child in June 2008, I had my heart set on having VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) with my second. When I fell pregnant in December last year I knew exactly how I wanted this baby to born.

Lisa was a major part in my success at having a VBAC. From the moment I told her my intention she got behind me fully. Every time I doubted my body’s natural ability, she reminded me I could do it. She always had wonderful words of wisdom and encouragement which gave me strength to tell my midwife how this birth was going to go. Whilst I was in labour I would remember her words and be spurred on and reminded that my body CAN do this itself.

Lisa will never fully be aware at how much her support has changed my life and how I now view birth as the beautiful experience it really is.

~ Claire & Harry ~

From literally the day that I found out I was pregnant, Lisa was a fantastic source of support and information. When we started to think about a Home Birth, she was a huge help providing us with non-biased, honest, helpful information as well as recommending books to read and websites to browse. We went on to plan a Home Water Birth and Lisa was kind enough to lend us her pool and for the whole of our pregnancy, was on the other end of the phone, email or text to lend support and answer any questions.

When I thought I was going into labour, my husband was on his way home from work and Lisa was still up at midnight texting me and making sure I was ok – she didn’t go to bed until she knew Tim was back here with me!

We laboured at home for around 20 hours or so before making the decision to transfer to hospital as I was very tired and we knew it was the only thing to do. Lisa had helped me build enough knowledge and trust in my body to listen to it – I am so glad that I did as our baby girl took another 10 hours or so to make it Earthside and needed the assistance of forceps in the end. The important part is that I still felt absolutely in control of everything and that is what I wanted….it didn’t really matter where Iris was delivered, what mattered was that she, and I, were safe, and that I felt listened to, respected and in control.

The time we spent at home was wonderful but so was the time in hospital and we truly believe that this was hugely because of the masses of information and knowledge we had which was a lot to do with Lisa.

She had helped us to believe that my body could do this and although our plan changed mid labour, it was still an incredibly positive, happy, wonderful experience and for enabling us to see that and to enjoy every second of it, we will never be able to thank Lisa enough.

~ Paula & Iris ~

My first birth was a very clinical hospital induction at 2 weeks beyond my due date. It was very prolonged, featured all the drugs available to me, a slowing down of my baby’s heartbeat, a threatened emergency c section and eventual delivery by Keillands rotational forceps for a very stubborn back to back baby…. I was elated my baby had arrived safely but I never realised how such a traumatic, clinically involved delivery of my child would affect me postnatally. I was sore physically and emotionally for many weeks after the event.

When I fell pregnant with my 2nd baby Darach this year I was absolutely determined this baby‘s journey would be different. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and was advised to birth in hospital again which I was happy to do but I wanted a more natural water birth. Basically, I faced wrangling with many health professionals in order to advocate that I was making an informed decision and was not putting myself or the baby at risk. Lisa was at the end of phone at ALL times to help me go through the pros and cons of some hard decisions. She had the knowledge to encourage me to go speak to the Consultant Midwife which I did. I was so pleased when my decisions were supported. Postnatally, I struggled with establishing breastfeeding. Nothing was too much for Lisa. I called her at all times, day AND night and she always greeted my calls with good humour and the perfect level of support. She even sent her lovely Husband out to my house to deliver a breast pump! Now that’s dedication! Above everything though, Lisa understands women implicitly. She supports your decisions without ANY judgement. It’s not a faceless service you get from Lisa. She is a natural caregiver and a natural Doula. Hand on my heart she has been a world of support to me and has become a great friend.

~ Ali & Darach ~

I would like to say a big ”Thank you!!” to Lisa for the support she gave me prior to the birth of my first baby. 2 days before my due date I became anxious about the birth, I just needed a little reassurance.

Luckily Lisa was a listening ear – she simply but effectively explained that I should remember my body was designed for labour & therefore I should allow my body do its own natural purpose. To listen to the Midwives, keep calm (breath) & most importantly enjoy the experience….as well as this a very well needed confidence booster & some emotional support.

This spoke to me on so many levels & I quickly felt encouraged & able to turn any negative thoughts I had into positive ones. I am now a very proud Momma to Harry & our labour together was amazing!!! I am pleased to share that I gave birth to my baby in a calm & controlled manner – the actual labour within the ‘Birthing Centre’ only lasting 3 hours. This was done with no pain relief & very little gas & air as intended.

Thank you for everything Lisa. Anyone who takes up your Doula services will be very lucky to have you!!

~ Nic & Harry ~