Radical Birth Keeper
A birth keeper, or Doula, is someone who provides support and continuous care for women and their families in the lead up to, during, and after the birth of their baby. Our role is flexible, intuitive and adaptable. For myself, I bring my many years experience of birth and a deep trust in the process. Other than that I use my instincts in any given moment. I believe in my ability to know what is needed at that specific time.
My primary goal is to make absolutely sure that the family feels well supported. I use all the skills I have at my disposal to make sure that the people I work with are respected, safe, informed, and comfortable in their birthing choices. Continuity of care is a huge part of this work and a trusting relationship is built during the prenatal visits. Because I offer unrestricted communication from the start, every part of the journey can be thought through and adapted to every family and every situation. I am entirely distinct from the midwives and doctors whose job it is to look after the medical side of things. I do offer to discuss and pass on relevent information about medical topics that may arise, which may help inform medical decision-making.
As a birth Doula I cover Brighton, East Sussex and London (travel time permitting).
What hiring me as your Doula looks like:
Our first meeting, which can be face to face or on Zoom is all about information sharing and getting ourselves to a place where we feel happy to move forward. If you chose not to hire me at this point there is no charge and we just go our separate ways. I never put a time restriction on this meeting but I find that they are generally around 2hrs. It's important to get this bit right as I am not the perfect fit for everyone and there are plenty of Doulas out there with different stories, personalities and skill-sets. They are all amazing so if I am not right for you I will signpost you to others that might suit you better.
Prior to the first scheduled visit
Once you have decided that I am what you are looking for we can make plans. We decide which, out of the services I have on offer, you would like, and then we agree on a price. Because I can offer many different options I tend to do this on a client by client basis. The cost of each individual service is listed on their separate page (you can find the list and links here) and I can combine them in a package for you; the more you chose the less I charge for each. You can find some sample packages here. At this point, I will send you a contract for you to sign and send back to me. This is a legally binding document both ways.
Approx 4 Antenatal visits
I always include an absolute minimum of 2 antenatal visits and again, there is no set time limit for these. This is where we spend time getting to know each other and we talk about everything. I encourage you and your partner/birth-team to do a complete brain-dump of your hopes, fears, your special requirements and anything else that might be important or necessary to cover. There is no topic off limits and I am extremely open-minded. In my years of working with birthing people I have experienced most things and what I haven't I would like to so dont hold back... Im up for the discussion
Apart from the antenatal visits I also offer Telephone/Txt/Zoom and/or Facetime support so you can generally get hold of me whenever you need to. A lot of my work is from home and I am, therefore, normally able to get back to you within the hours. If I'm at another birth I will always be able to text at the very least. I do turn my phone off at night unless I'm on call but I can add your number to the exceptions list if you feel you need me to.
I am on call from 38 Weeks and, other than an emergency, am available 24/7 untill the birth of your baby. I will stay within a 45min radius (and normally much closer). If there are false starts or labour is on/off thats just the way it goes. I'm in for the long haul and we do it together. This may vary if you live further than 45mins away from me... but we can work that out.
The Birth Itself
I work alone as a Doula. I have an arrangement with a back-up Doula for emergencies but other than that I am with clients until their baby and placenta have been delivered safely and baby has had their first feed. Its the only way it works for me. If the birth is exceptionally long I will tag-team with the other people at the birth and snatch a snooze when I can. I have been known to sleep in an empty birth pool at the hospital on occasion but I don't think they would let me these days! I only leave when you have your baby in your arms and are ready to get some well-deserved sleep. I have 2 medium sized birthing pools for loan if you are planning a home birth so all you need to buy is a liner and a hose. I can provide the rest.
I always include an absolute minimum of 2 antenatal visits, no time limit! These are aranged as and when suits you and can be kept back for when a partner goes back to work or be used straight away. It usually depends on whether you have other services booked and what they are. Debriefing and breastfeeding support are 100% covered during these visits but if you require more then we can add more just decide and we can make it happen.
My basic Doula Package (as described above) is £1200.00