Netaley’s birth, 19th April, 2011, Ilana Shemesh’s birthing cabins, Israel. As soon as I found out I was pregnant I called my good friend Sarah to ask her to be my doula. I knew that asking a personal friend to enter into a ‘business’ relationship could be interesting but this wonderfully professional doula was just so, well, professional with such and healthy work boundaries when it came to prenatal meetings and the birth itself. Never for a moment did I have to worry that she might not like to be my friend anymore, even when I irrationally burst into tears at the first prenatal meeting because, well oh my gosh, I was going to have a baby!!! And push it out from where?!?!?!?!? Fear of pain was my number one issue and was the main reason for me to call on a doula. Just being able to say how scared I was to a woman who knew what I was talking about was the most relieving experience. Since that first prenatal meeting, I knew having Sarah with me was a very good decision.
Making the decision to have a home birth wasn’t easy for me, because knowing that pain relief could be within a mini scream away, was high on my list of priorities of where I would have the baby, and also I wasn’t sure I’d feel safe away giving birth away from a hospital. But it was a combination of my Dutch husband’s cultural background coming from Home Birth Land itself, as well as reassuring Sarah who helped reduce my anxiety as I pondered over the option of home birth. She helped me to be will to look at the possibility that I might just have a really great natural birth.
Sarah became an essential part of my preparation for a calm peaceful and safe birth, as there were more than numerous occasions when I needed her to remind me of calming down. As week 40 came and went without any sign of contractions, I began to get tired of my mega belly and a bit concerned that baby wouldn’t ever come out.
Sarah became a wonderful masseuse, as each early phase contraction came and went without fanfare. She gave helpful suggestions how to “experience” rather than “get through” the early phase. She supported me endlessly through what turned out to be a very long early phase. I’ll never forget the most relaxing foot and hand massage with clary sage oil, as she helped me breathe through several uncomfortable contractions. During the birth, which finally came around, as they do I guess, Sarah was incredibly patient, and tirelessly helped to work the TENS machine for me. I had no idea that I’d want to hold someone’s hand through every single contraction. I had imagined I’d want to stand and sway or sing and dance, but no, I just felt like doing the majority of labor on the bed, and having my husband’s and Sarah’s hands to hold. And she was there every single time. Sarah never once made a decision for me, but rather opened out a world of options to choose from. This was so vital in the more advanced part of labor when I would have liked to discuss getting in the bath tub with my midwife, but she wasn’t keen for certain reasons. Sarah suggested getting in the bath but being on my knees. This was a new suggestion that I could never have come up with on my own.
Finally when Netaley decided it was time to come out, Sarah changed hats and became a professional photographer and caught the great moments of baby meeting mummy. She joined in our celebrations, and stayed even to tidy up some stuff, when she should have been on her way home to see to her lovely 3 month old baby, who hubby had looked after all day long. Thanks so much Sarah, can’t wait for more doula times together. You make giving birth fun, relaxing and beautiful. Oh, sniff sniff, I’ve made myself cry now.
Matti, October 30 2010, Ichilov, Tel Aviv Israel “This being our first pregnancy, Nick and I were nervous about everything from hospital procedures to pain management. We quickly decided that we wanted a doula – and we were sure that we wanted Sarah to be our doula after the first time we met her. She was warm, friendly, caring – and obviously experienced and knowledgeable. Our two pre-labour meetings confirmed those feelings, and helped us both feel more calm and prepared in the face of the great unknown. On the day of our labour, Sarah was invaluable. We were in touch with her from the very first surges in the morning, and we felt at ease throughout the day knowing that she was available to us over the phone and would be at our door when we were ready for her. During the active phase of labour (which lasted until the wee hours of the morning,) Sarah was an amazing source of information and support, never losing her energy level or the smile on her face. Afterwards, Sarah spent the first few hours with us and our little Matti, making sure we were all settled in before she took her leave. Thank you Sarah for taking part in the most wonderful day of our lives!” – Arielle and Nick
Aviel, March 12 2010, Ein Kerem, Jerusalem Israel “When I think back to that day, words come to mind such as joy, peace, trust, confidence, sweet, romantic, strength, support, rest…. And often when sharing the story, I always find myself saying, “It was one of the sweetest days of my life!” For her entire birth story, see Callie’s blog – Callie and Devin
Halel, May 13 2010, Tel HaShomer Israel “Sarah, your presence at my labor was a God sent present to me, to us. You gave me the security, strength and courage to go through what I went through. You are a special kind, and I’m more than lucky to have met you.” – Michal and Adam
Shai, June 19, 2009, Kfar Saba Israel – postbirth support only. “When I had my first baby, I had no clue of what I was doing–even after I had pored over those baby guide books many times! There were times where I felt really overwhelmed and depressed. Sarah helped me learn the ropes while making me feel a lot more secure about becoming a mother. Not only did she show me how to do the basics such as bathing, breastfeeding, soothing, but she also shared her insights and showed how joyful parenting can be. Some of her most important qualities are her sense of calm and patience that put both new parents and newborns at ease. Sarah was also a great babysitter when I needed a few hours to sleep or have some time to myself.” – Rebecca and Erik
Romi, January 25, 2009, Tel HaShomer, Israel – birth and postbirth support “Sarah Vine gave us comforting, professional and tireless support during my pregnancy through to my delivery. From the day my husband and I met Sarah to see if she was the right doula for us, we sensed her calm, confident, knowledgeable and nurturing spirit. She shared these qualities with us during her pre-birth visits to our home where she gave us muc hvaluable information regarding the preparation of birth. She exceeded our epxectations during the delivery. I had terrible back labor and she, with the help of my husband, used strategic and tireless strength to help relieve my pain for 12 hours straight. I don’t know how I could have gotten through the birth without her. My husband made me aware of how much she helped as I was in deep concentration and only noticed her easing my pain wihtout realizing how she must have been so tired herself. She didn’t complain a bit and was as happy to meet our baby girl as we were. She wrought a thorough, moment to moment birth journal for us and read it to us aloud a week after the birth reporting all the details of delivery. It was such a momentous way for the three of us to re-live the amazing event and be reminded of all the details that can easily be forgotten. I recommend Sarah to any mother to be. Our instincts were right to choose Sarah even before meeting with doctors.” – Miriam and Dani
Shilo, June 2008, Kfar Saba Israel “...Yes, I know I’m just the husband but as far as I could see from the side, and based on my wife’s own reactions, I cannot give a warm enough recommendation of Sarah to anyone seeking a warm caring professional Doula to assist during the birth process.” – Moshe and Rachel Read more…..
מנחם, פברואר 2008, נתניה ישראל “לשרה היקרה! תודה רבה רבה על כל העזרה והתמיכה. מאוג עזרת לנו, לפני הלידה בלידה ואחרי הלידה. עזרת לנו להתמודד עם חשש ועם הלא נודע. עזרת לנו להתכונן ללידה שלנו. הרמון תודות” – מרים ואייל
Abgail, Dec 2007, Meir Hospital, Kfar Saba, Israel“Dear Sarah, We just wanted to thank you for your assistance and guidance and all that you’ve done for us. Your calm attitude, knowledge and reassurance were wonderful, not only during the labor but in the weeks leading up to it (and in the days that followed.) We hope you continue to share in many more special moments opening the gates of life.” – Miriam and Robbie
Yosef, I truly don’t believe I could have done it without you. You were very supportive and caring and knew just what to do and when to do it. I was never alone as you were always there with me, which was important as my husband had to juggle taking care of our eldest son at the time. Whilst at first the hospital staff were not so keen to have you around they soon learnt that it was best for all of us that you were there, as they were quite simply not always around. Not long into the induced labour I was unable to even talk or call someone and you were able to be my voice. The birth story that you do is something very unique and special which we will have forever.” – Jackie
Mako, March 15, Bristol England “ March 15th 2007 is and always will be the best day of our lives. Sarah was purely divine that day – a soothing, reassuring presence in the midst of some unforeseen circumstances. I can remember how calm I felt with her at the house while my husband was gone to the train station, as we were sipping peppermint tea, I was bouncing on the birthing ball and she was applying pressure in JUST THE RIGHT SPOT to help ease the pain, just passing time waiting for dilation to progress. I felt my mother’s loving presence there, so far from home all the way in England, and I knew then that she put Sarah in our paths for a reason.” – Melyssa Read entire story….
Sienna, April 2006, Bristol England “…Due to Sarah’s input, as my belly grew ever larger and the due date drew nearer Mark and I found ourselves anticipating the labour itself with a great sense of expectation, celebration and joy, rather than dread and foreboding.” – Elke Read entire story….
Theo, January 2006, Bristol England, born at home “When I look back on my second pregnancy and the birth in particular, I have nothing but happy memories. ” – Natalie Read entire story….
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