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Doulas we can do it
News, Uncategorized

Monday magic 🔮

Hey all, did you miss us last week? We’ve got a bigger update than usual to more than make up for it! We hope you had a wonderful mother’s day and are keeping well given the situation we’re all dealing with.

What we’ve been up to

Our IWD2020 event was a huge success – thank you to everyone who came and everyone who helped. We think we’ll make it an annual thing!

Doulas we can do it

We met with some formidable women who work in human rights, and are passionate about reproductive rights, which was a very useful connection to make.

Lori enrolling at collegeLori enrolled at college! She’s going to study to become a counsellor, which we are certain she’ll be great at.

Elle is trying to move house. She saw a really nice one the other day and is hoping for a mutual exchange.

Amy took 19 kids to Brownie camp! She came back frazzled but glad they had a fun time. 

We introduced ourselves to Jane at Leech’s Funeral Care in Moss Side, as we are one of their Co-op Local Causes. She was so unbelievably kind, and offered us a lot of support. We see a future collaboration there, so look out for that.

Questions for the doulas

drunk elephantsWhat’s made you smile this last week?
E: The story about the wild elephants raiding the corn wine and falling asleep in the crops. 
A: The three old women who are self-isolating together – I imagine we’d be doing the same thing!
L: Seeing all the community support for women planning last minute home births.

Marmite?
A: Ew.
E: Love it. On buttered toast, with peanut butter, and to flavour soups and stir fries.
L: Mar-WON’T

What’s something others would be surprised to learn about one of the doulas?
L: Elle is amazing on the ukulele and it always makes me tear up!
A: That Elle used to collect mugs with the queen on, apparently she had quite a few!!
E: Both Amy and Lori are excellent at rapping.

How we’re currently working, and what’s changed

First and foremost, we’ve made the decision to keep what we share positive. There is so much information out there, and opinion, and articles that start out lighthearted but end up doom and gloom, and unasked for advice. That stuff is there if you want to read it, but we won’t be adding to that noise.

Birth doulaing and all one to one support will continue, as long as we are all well. We will continue to respond to and meet the needs of the women of our community, whatever they may be. We can offer phone and video calls for anyone isolating or distancing.

Pool hire We have just started our hire service, which has built in support sessions for anyone who wants some extra support before or after they give birth.
We are already getting booked up, so if you’re considering a homebirth, either very soon or later in the year, please send an enquiry asap.
The service is conducted by email, and it now shares a Facebook group with our home birth support.

greater manchester birth pool hire

Many women are facing unexpected changes to their birth, and we urge anyone to contact us who is facing a lack of support, or being forced into a situation you don’t want, or if you’re are still wondering what your options are.

Holding Space sessions can be booked separately or as part of our birth pool service. These can be used for any reason, not only birth, and can take place over Skype etc.

Community groups will all be taking place online for the foreseeable future.
We have decided to regroup some of our online groups into one larger one Wild Women Rising, which will be a source of sisterhood and strength. 

Many women are choosing last minute home births and free births, over going to hospital, which is understandable. We can support this in so many ways that we still have funding for. Please spread the word – we are not going anywhere. 

For everything else, including girls circles and antenatal classes – watch this space.
There’s lots more to share, and so many ways you can help us, but for now, please tell everyone we’re still here, and that we can help, and that we have funding. We want women to know – now more than ever – that they still have options, still have rights, that they still deserve the very best support, and that they matter.

Please also donate if you can, and take a moment to share it in your circles.
Every penny we raise from that will go toward providing birth services to women who would otherwise not have the option.

What is going on in the near future?

We’ll keep our ears to the ground so we can share events, ways to stay happy and healthy, and to keep little ones entertained. We will be posting positive news, and things that have made us smile. 

Gemma from Yes Matters has started making short informational PSHE  videos for kids and their parents, along with homework. This is an area she has so much expertise in, and we want them to be watched and shared as much as possible, because this subject is just so important for young people.

We’ll be making lots more videos too, so let us know if there’s any burning questions you’d like answered – whether it’s birth related or personal, send us a message on FB or email us. We’ll be going live on facebook every evening at 8.30pm so stay connected and join us if you can.

Elle, Lori & Amy x

Uncategorized

Saturday Scoop

It’s all systems go here, as we prepare for tomorrow’s IWD2020!

It will probably be fine to just show up, but you can secure your place by getting a free ticket here.

We’ll be face painting, having a raffle, and selling vegan goodies. Local yoga teacher Alice will be offering a taster session, and there will be some art you can contribute to if you’re feeling creative. There’ll be a craft area for little ones too.
This is a celebration of women, and all we have achieved. If you have flyers for your women-run or women-centred business please bring them, and please shout about what you do!

The event is free, there’s parking, and the venue is on a good bus route. Any money raised will go toward supporting women facing or recovering from birth trauma.

Here’s some BTS pics of us as we get ready for the big day:

You may have seen our email earlier in the week, when our Aviva crowdfunder went live. We are asking Aviva employees, and the public, to part fund our new girls circles, Wild Girls Rising.

There are a number of rewards available (which you can keep or gift) starting at £5, although we are grateful for any amount. If we don’t make our target we get nothing, so we’re keen to spread the word!

Also, if you know a girl aged 8 – 12 who might be interested in joining one of our circles please forward a parent this email, or send them this link to our booking form.

Questions for the doulas:

Which character from books or screen would you want as your bestie IRL?
A: Luna Lovegood because she’s so unapologetically odd and I love it.
L: Frankie from Grace and Frankie.
E: Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec cos she’s got so much heart and she’s super efficient.

Would you rather be able to play any instrument or talk with any animal?
A: Talk with any animal, because they would have some amazing stories to tell!
L: Talk to any animal because they should be heard and I always wish I knew what they were thinking. We don’t deserve them!
E: Play any instrument because I’d be able to express myself in so many ways.

What helps you fall asleep?
A: Stephen Fry reading the Harry Potter audiobooks.
L: Listening to Harry Potter in a comfy bed.
E: I have a mantra that I’m not supposed to tell anyone. I don’t know what it means but it gets me through tough times during the day, and lets me fall asleep at night.

What’s coming up?

We have a lot more to share with you, including announcing a localised project, and we’re hoping to share some pics from our event.

Yes Matters are launching their new CSE rehabilitation youth service in Bolton on Monday. 
Says Gemma: “We invite you to come and hear about the services we provide so that young people you work with, can benefit. Hear our story, and let’s work in partnership to help the young people in Greater Manchester. Plus there will be cake!”

What do we need help with?

We really want tomorrow to be busy and fun, so please come along if you can. 
Please share the event.
If you’re able to bring something for the bake sale, or donate something to the raffle, please do.

Please share our Aviva fundraising page in your circles, because the better we do with public donations, the more visible our project is to the Aviva employees who have £15 each to donate.

If you’ve worked with us in any way, please could you fill out this feedback form? We hope to gather as many responses as we can to help us secure more funding. 

We appreciate each one of you reading this. Have a wonderful rest of the weekend, and enjoy International Women’s Day.

Uncategorized

Saturday Sentinel

Hey folks!

We are absolutely swamped at the moment, working on our days off, weekends, and until we fall asleep at night.
There are so many projects we’re trying to get off the ground, things we’ve never done before. But this is what we love doing, and we’re getting ever closer to the big picture. Together with our volunteers we’re a dream team, and we’ve got this! (But also, please help us!)

As well as all the plates we’re spinning, Amy also managed to take her Brownie pack to the recycling centre. Here she is looking very fetching in her recycling garb:recycling centre wear

She also took some time out to volunteer with Sister Supporter. We each feel very strongly that women should be able to access whatever healthcare they need without restriction, judgement, or shame. 
There is a petition to this end here.

After a fantastic kids’ birthday party at Rock Over Climbing last weekend, Lori and Elle decided to work there on our day off, knowing the kids would be happy running about while we cracked on. We earned a break and had a quick climb.doulas on a climbing wall

Questions for the doulas

If you had to, would you rather fight a hundred duck sized horses, or one horse sized duck?
A: One horse sized duck. Anything in large numbers is too intimidating.
E: A hundred duck sized horses. Ducks are too cute no matter their size, and I’ve never met a horse I liked. They’re shifty and capricious. 
L: One horse sized duck. But I would feed it it’s fave snacks and love on it so we didn’t have to fight!

Where do you sit on a bus?
L: The back seat or the front on the top deck if I’m with Elle.
E: The front on the top, on the right, so I can pretend I’m driving.
A: I do like the front seats on the top deck, but when I was in college it was always the back row.
 
Favourite sleeping position?

L: Curled up like a giant fetus.
A: Foetal.
E: No pillow, lying in a straight line, on my front.

What we’re focusing on at the moment

Everything! Everything needs to be focused on, right now! Here’s what our everything looks like, and what we need help with:

  1. Birth Pool Hire Scheme – it’s getting off the ground. Supplies are slowly arriving, and once we have them we’re going to jump right into hiring them out alongside offering funded Holding Space sessions. If you have any donations (home birth stuff, anything from tap connectors to towels) we’ll gratefully take them. Look out for more news next week.
  2. International Women’s Day 2020 Event. Lori made a cool flyer:
    and we’re getting everything ready behind the scenes. We would love it if you could bake some vegan goodies for the bake sale – we’re hoping to get the attention of passersby with this! Also, do you have anything we could raffle off? Any proceeds from the day will go directly toward funding 1:1 work with local women. 
    Tickets are free via Eventbrite.
  3. Our antenatal course has a name, a brilliant Lori-designed poster, a venue, and a starting date, and places are now available to book. We are so excited to be launching this, so please share with rebellious friends who are ready to learn about and assert their rights during pregnancy and birth. The workshops will be comprehensive and will cover everything you’d expect to find on other antenatal courses too.

What’s coming up

Fellow birthworker Lucy told us about this event for parents in Salford.
Details: Saturday, 21 March 2020, 10:00-12:00, at Eccles Fire Station.
“Come and join us to talk about the support that you received or how you feel services in the area can be improved.”

This week – as always – we will be meeting with women who are preparing for an upcoming birth, and/or who are wanting to reflect on a previous one. Whatever else we may be up to, this will remain at the heart of what we do. We just know that in order to reduce instances of birth trauma we must take a multi-pronged approach – it’s not enough to try to help once the damage has been done. 

Thank you so much for working alongside us to a future where women feel confident and powerful all the damn time.

rainbow ball pool balls
Doulas, News

Sunday Circular ⭕

rainbow ball pool balls

Happy ‘it’s-almost-the-end-of-half-term’ weekend! Soft play, birthday parties, cinema trips, museums, raiding hobbycraft… loving the extra time with the little ones, but girl are we tired! 

It’s that time again. Here’s our Sunday circular . Grab a cuppa and get cosy…

What we’ve been up to

This last week has been half term for Lori & Elle so it’s been a week of squeezing in work whenever we can. There was some last minute postnatal support, and more work behind the scenes for our new antenatal workshops and circles for girls. 

In addition to being an amazing doula, Amy has been a busy bee doing extra support worker shifts and working for her sister’s local biz Clara and Macy. Here she is working hard in the studio!

 

Elle and Lori met with a funder for the first time! We were so incredibly nervous but Amy doulaed us from afar and hopefully we did a great job of sharing what we do and explaining how our project with benefit communities in Manchester 🤞.

We also blew up Nell the pool so we could give her a clean, and test out a new universal liner for our pool hire service. We really hope to get the scheme up and running soon and will be providing liners and other accessories, free of charge to anyone who would otherwise struggle to purchase them.

Elle and Lori in Home Community Cafe
Elle and Lori feeling nervous
Elle sat in a birth pool
Ahoy there!
Questions for the doulas

What do you do when no one else is around?

L: Get cosy and eat snacks in bed, with Netflix on.
E: Eating in bed, definitely. Or the bath, while watching TV with my little bath table Lori got me.
A: Sing really loud (usually in my car so not even my neighbours can hear me).

How do you like to be comforted when you’re sad or upset?

E: I like to be alone.
A: A cup of tea, a hug and just letting me be sad until I’m ready to not be sad anymore.
L: For someone to offer me a hug and to listen.

What’s your favourite thing you own and why?

A: My passport because it’s almost all I need to see the rest of the world.
L: My electric blanket because cosiness is life, and a crystal Elle gave me, it gives me strength and helps me feel grounded.
E: My nanna’s keyboard because happy memories.

lesbian communeIf money was no object, what would you buy?

L: A beautiful island to start a community of badass women.
E: A ticket to Lori’s utopia.
A: Probably everything I need to convert my van

Where do you want to travel the most?

E: New Zealand. Some of my favourite comedy and music is from there, and it’s so beautiful. It’s the land of Xena, what else needs to be said.
A: Everywhere! But probably Australia if I had to choose.
L: The Pacific Islands 🏝️

What’s coming up?

manchester birth workers information circleOn Tuesday afternoon we are hosting the next Manchester Birth Workers Circle at Ice Shack in Withington. It’s a great opportunity for local birth workers –  anyone working, or with an interest in working in, pregnancy and the childbearing year-  to support one another and to network.

The Women Reclaiming Birth Circle was due to be on Thursday, however we have decided to postpone this one until we can confirm a more accessible venue.


The Wild Mothering Circle will be getting together again on Friday afternoon. Join our facebook group to keep up to date with topics and the venue as we’ve had some unexpected changes for the last couple of meets.

How can you help at the minute?

We are on the lookout for spaces to hold drop-ins for women in the community to access our support, in particular Holding Space sessions. If you know of anywhere or you work with pregnant women and new mums and would like to chat about a partnership, we’d love to hear more!

Fancy buying us a coffee? We are incredibly passionate about the work we do. Whether it is in our local community, working directly with women, in online forums, or at the variety of community groups we facilitate, we’re here ready to hold space and support women however they need us to. If you believe in what we do and think it is important or if you have benefitted from our support in any way and want to give back, we would hugely appreciate. Every contribution is another way we fill our cups and helps us to keep doing what we’re doing. Huge thank you to everyone who has bought us a coffee so far!

We’d love to know what you think of our weekly round-ups. Let us know and we hope you have a wonderful week. 💖

Amy, Elle & Lori x

 

stormy sea
Doulas, Funding, News, Uncategorized

Saturday sound off 🗣️

stormy sea

Happy Saturday! We hope you all survived Storm Ciara and her wild ways, and are hunkering down, hiding away from Storm Dennis this weekend. It has certainly been a whirlwind of a week over here.

It’s that time again. Here’s our Saturday sound off 🗣️. Grab a cuppa and get cosy…

chalkboardWhat we’ve been up to

This last week has been another week of spinning plates but we wouldn’t have it any other way! At the moment our work is a real balance of grassroots work with women and growing the organisation so that it remains sustainable and we can continue to offer the support that we do.  

The full moon energy had Elle and Lori both supporting warrior women through births in the last week or so. Despite both being birth keepers for a number of years now, the strength and resilience of the women we serve never fails to amaze us!

woman sat in a van smilingAmy took a huge step closer to one of her bucket list dreams this week! She is now the proud owner of a van, ready for converting into a camper for more exciting travels. We’re all excited to see what she does with it.

We’ve booked tickets to some great looking festivals this summer. Are you off anywhere nice? Early bird tickets for SolMas Fest 2020 end tomorrow so be quick if you don’t want to miss out! We are so looking forward to spending the weekend reviving our bodies, minds and souls.   

Greggs giftcardWe also celebrated galentine’s day yesterday in our own ways. Messages proclaiming our love for each other and… a Greggs gift card so Elle could buy ALL the vegan steak bakes!

Questions for the doulas

What song do you love so much that even if next door woke you up by blasting it at 3am you wouldn’t even be mad?

A: C’est La Vie – B*Witched
E: Say It Ain’t So by Weezer
L: Too hard to just pick one song… Although I think I’d always be mad about being woken at 3am unless it’s a woman asking for my support!

Would you rather spend a week at the beach, forest, or city, and why?

E: I grew up by a quiet beach in Blackpool so that feels like home to me.
L: Beach 🏖 I feel called to be by water. I find it very calming and grounding.
A: Forest! It’s nice and quiet and I could camp with a nice fire and a good book. 

First and most recent video game completed

L: Maybe Mario Kart on the N64 and the Wii
A: Probably Lego Harry Potter for both 😂
E: Sonic 2 and Lego City Undercover

wonder womanWhat do you love most about being a doula?

A: I love being able to support a woman through the whole journey and then still see her afterwards! It’s such a lovely bond.
E: Women.
L: Being able to witness and hold space as women discover their power. I love being able to be among strong, badass women every week!

What did you want to be when you grew up? (Before you realised you were always a doula!!)

E: I didn’t know but I just trusted that one day I would know. I didn’t want to throw myself into anything until I was sure that it was my thing. 
L: A ballet dancer, then a primary school teacher, then a play therapist, then back to primary school teacher. I’m so grateful to have found this calling though. 
A: Originally I wanted to be a firefighter, then a midwife, but after some hospital experience I realised that I was meant to be a doula!

What’s coming up?

Next week is half term for Elle and Lauren so their week will mostly be spent entertaining little ones (and counting down the days to some peace and quiet!)

The Wild Mothering Circle will be meeting again on Friday afternoon 1:30pm – 3pm so if you are a wild woman wanting to connect with other women, please come along. We will be getting together upstairs at Healthy Spirit, a beautiful woman-led local biz across the road from our usual meeting place. 

What are you all up to next week? We’d love to know.

birth ballHow can you help at the minute?

This week we managed to pick up an unwanted exercise ball from a local facebook group that will go into our library for women to borrow. If you have any pregnancy and birth resources that you no longer need we gladly take donations. We want to ensure that women have access to all the support they need, be that emotional support, information or practical items so all donations are hugely appreciated.

Another reminder to choose us as your Co-op Local Cause if you haven’t already. It’s just £1 to join as a member and every penny will support local women to access doula support.

choose us as your co-op local cause

Finally, if you’re a woman in Manchester wanting to connect with other women, join our facebook community! It’s a quiet group right now but we would love to see it grow🌕🐺🌈

Hope you have a wonderful week and Storm Dennis doesn’t cause you too much trouble!

Lori, Elle & Amy

amy lori and elle in ice shack
 
full moon in the clouds
Doulas, News, Uncategorized

Saturday send out 📫

full moon in the clouds

Happy Saturday! And happy full moon weekend 🌕This snow full moon will be the first super moon of the decade and we’re certainly feeling her energy! Despite that, we hope you’re able to have a relaxing peaceful weekend.

It’s that time again. Here’s our Saturday Send Out 📫. Grab a cuppa and get cosy…

What we’ve been up to

It has felt like a really productive week this week. Working on various funding applications, facilitating groups and connecting with wonderful women. It seems like winter hibernation is still calling lots of us and the need to turn inward and rest is still great. But the beautiful sunshine and blue skies over the last few days has certainly given us a new energy as the season begins to change.

Lori and Elle with the Community Champion at Asda in RochdaleElle and I had a huge surprise this week as we were asked to go and collect a cheque from Asda in Rochdale. We knew we were part of their recent green token giving but had no idea how we had done or how much we had won. We could not believe it when we arrived to find that not only had we won, but the amount had been doubled because we were in store over Christmas! This money will help us to set up a free pool hire service that will sit alongside our existing Holding Space service – accessible pool hire with valuable emotional support to help you prepare for and debrief your birth. We are super excited so watch this space!!   

Questions for the doulas

Favourite Ed Sheeran song?

A: ‘You need me’ because I know all the words and it’s great to rap really loud in the car!
L: Depends on which mood I’m in. I like singing ‘Gold Rush’ 
E: I’m a big fan of the brief silences between his many songs

Hufflepuff socksWhich Harry Potter house would you be in?

E:  I don’t know, the only thing about Harry potter I like is Wizards Unite.
A: Hufflepuff 
L: Hufflepuff for sure! Never part of the cool crowd but patient, loyal and all about fair play. Elle won’t play but I think she’d be Ravenclaw; so wise with a sharp wit and love of learning. 

How have you been looking after your mental health?

L: Reaching out for help when I’m struggling and reminding myself that the hard days won’t last forever.
E:I just bought myself a PlayStation Now subscription, so my mental health is taken care of for the next year.
A: Getting lots of fresh air and taking time to myself.

Do you consider yourself and introvert or an extrovert? 

A: Introvert definitely.
L: Highly introverted!
E: The introvert-est.

Are you usually early or late?

E: Don’t think I’ve ever been early, except by accident.
A: I would much rather be really early than a minute late
L: As much as the people pleaser in me wants to be early, I’m often running late!

Lori lying down with two dogsAre you a cat or a dog person?

L: An animal person?! I love dogs 🐕 but I have so much love for my childhood cat Teddy.
E: Getting dogs has made me appreciate cats more.
A: I’m more of a cat person because I love their independence, but Elle’s dogs are winning me over.

What’s coming up

Next week we’ll be diving deep into planning and preparation for exciting projects we’ve got in the pipeline. Hopefully connecting more with our volunteers and keeping the productivity flowing!

It’s our monthly home birth group tomorrow morning for anyone interested in home birth. Whether you have questions or want to share your story, you and your family are welcome. There will be biscuits and brews and toys for any little ones who come.  

The Wild Mothering Circle will hopefully be meeting again on Friday. We’re looking forward to reconnecting with this sisterhood after a couple of cancelled meets! If you are a woman who wants to be part of this village we would love to see you there.

wild mother circle details home birth south manchester details

This Friday there is also an event inviting those who have used maternity services in the last couple of years to talk about their postnatal experiences. This is part of the work to improve maternity services in Greater Manchester. Sadly our little ones have an inset day so Elle and Lori won’t be able to make it but you can reserve your space here

How can you help at the minute?

women in a birth pool hugging her husbandWe are keen to get our pool hire service off the ground as quickly as possible. If you have a pool or any accessories that you would like to donate, they would be hugely appreciated. Our first pool Nell was donated by a wonderful family after their beautiful home birth, and has already been used by two other families 💕.

Are you a Jigsaw Homes resident? If so you can vote for our community project on the Jigsaw Rewards website. Your votes will help women and their families in Miles Platting and surrounding areas to access much needed support around pregnancy, birth and beyond.

As always we’d love to hear from you so tell us how you’re doing and what you’ve been up to. If there are events you’d like us to share, or there’s a topic you’d like us to shine a light on get in touch

Lots of love,

Amy, Elle & Lori x

silly faces

naomi's positive vbac
Birth, Birth Story, Doulas, Uncategorized

Naomi’s positive VBAC story

Naomi contacted us recently about sharing the birth of her second baby Amelie. Her son Dylan was born by caesarean but second time around she planned for a different experience. With the support of Amy, she had the positive birth she had wished for and we hope that Naomi and her story inspires you as much as she does us.

For the previous two weeks I had been getting lots of braxton hicks and had lost my complete mucous plug, but was determined not to get my hopes up about going into early labour as I went a week overdue with Dylan and I found it so hard waiting. I tried to keep in my head that I would go overdue this time too so that I wasn’t disappointed. I went to bed on the Tuesday evening and had absolutely no signs of labour except from my bump had dropped quite low throughout the day (I was 39+2). I slept so well and got a full 8 hours sleep.

naomi in the pool with gas and airMy alarm went off at 7.45am to get Dylan up and ready for nursery, so I snoozed and got him up at 8 and Ben got in the shower. I shouted through to Ben in the bathroom because I got such a big pain in my stomach but wasn’t sure what it was as I didn’t think I could get such a painful contraction with no build up. He carried on showering and I found myself bent double over our bed breathing through 4 contractions in 10 minutes with poor Dylan watching me wondering what was going on! So I shouted Ben again and he got out of the shower and got dressed and took Dylan downstairs.

I called maternity triage who could hear how regular my contractions were and how much pain I was in and they said to go straight to the birth centre there and then. So Ben called Dylan’s nursery to warn them we were on our way with him and that he’d not had time for any breakfast.  I called my doula Amy to let her know we were on our way to the birth centre, she said she would leave and meet us there. I also called my mum as she was supposed to be having Dylan while I was in labour but I asked her to come and see her granddaughter being born instead as luckily it had fallen on a nursery day!

We all got in the car for the most uncomfortable journey and we were so lucky that it was half term so there was hardly any traffic bearing in mind we were driving towards Manchester city centre in rush hour! When we got near to nursery I was in so much pain I said to Ben don’t take Dylan to his room, just drop him in the office and get back to the car quickly, I felt like the baby was coming soon.

naomi giving birthSo 10 minutes later we arrived at the birth centre and Amy my doula had just arrived before us. The midwives took us into the most gorgeous room with twinkle lights, soft waterfall sound effects and a big projector on the wall with waterfall videos, it was so relaxing. They got me on the futon to examine me and she said that I was 4cm dilated, fully effaced and my waters were bulging. She said I could get straight in the birthing pool and have the gas and air which I did. I forgot how amazing the gas and air is… the hallucinations! And the warm water was so soothing on my back.

I remember at one point feeling a bit panicky about my scar rupturing and asking the midwife if I was showing any signs of scar rupture. And then I panicked that the baby would get stuck like last time and asked her if the baby was back to back like last time. She answered no to both questions and reminded me that this was a different birth and to trust my body.

Amy made me 3 cups of tea which I downed in the pool, and we all had a laugh that I was alternating between gas and air and cups of tea (fab combination by the way!) Like Dylan’s birth, Ben was the official gas and air holder and my friendly face for when I was in crazy amounts of pain. Then as things were ramping up my mum arrived which I was so glad about. She was holding a cool flannel on my head and it was just generally soothing to have my mum there. I felt so safe surrounded by the people I chose to be at my birth and it was so completely different to my poor experience from Dylan’s birth.

Naomi, her partner and her newborn babySoon after my mum arrived my body started to push involuntarily. I didn’t need to be examined, I just knew that I must be fully dilated and my body knew what to do. I looked down between my legs as I thought I had pushed the baby’s head out but it was actually part of the sack full of waters that hadn’t burst yet, so surreal to see!

At this point the midwife used the Doppler and couldn’t find baby’s heart rate so very quickly her and the second midwife said I needed to get out of the pool immediately. I was so worried as it was like history repeating itself, they had to get me out of the pool as an emergency when I gave birth to Dylan.

As I got out of the pool I could feel her head crowning and the midwife could obviously see it too as she put her hand between my legs in case the baby came out! As soon as I was out of the water the pain was so intense as the gas and air had worn off and I had no other kind of pain relief in my system. I laid on the futon and begged for the gas and air but everyone was more focussed on the baby coming out so I didn’t get my gas and air back!

The next contraction came and I pushed so hard and her head was born, then one more push and she was in my arms crying! The sense of achievement straight away was just incredible and  I still can’t believe that I achieved a vaginal birth after so many professionals told me I couldn’t do it.

I also specified in my birth plan that I wanted a physiological third stage which I’m glad about as the placenta came naturally around 10 minutes later. We waited until the cord had stopped pulsating completely and Ben got to cut the cord this time which we were so happy about.

amelie

My doula Amy managed to get some amazing photos of the labour and birth which I’m so happy about as we only got one photo of when Dylan was born. I honestly feel like I would do it all over again, I’m so thrilled I got the birth I wished for all along. 

A perfect example of how listening to your intuition alongside the support of a trusted team who believe in you and your body can lead to a birth on your terms, despite the doubt of professionals. You are amazing Naomi! 

man and women with newborn baby in the bath
Birth, Birth Story, Doulas, Uncategorized

A healing second birth – Part 2

We’re back again with the next part of this inspiring birth story. Here Jess shares her experience of the last weeks and days of her pregnancy and the beginnings of labour!

Jess with her toddler and breastfeeding her newborn babyEden’s birth story Part 2:

Every evening for over a week I’d get these annoying period type cramps. Once I even had a contraction. I’d also get these strange nerve pains that would make my legs feel numb, quite scary when I first experienced them. I’d have to do a low squat & breathe through them. Anyone witnessing me doing this as I walked around Tesco must have thought I was in labour! 🤣 In fact someone once asked me if I was okay!! All these things were uncomfortable & annoying but I took them as normal late pregnancy issues & tried to let go and enjoy our last days as a family of three.

For a few weeks I felt the need to slow down and conserve energy. We had help from family so I was able to spend time connecting with baby, resting, meditating, writing, nesting & batch cooking. Looking back I think these quiet times helped lay the foundations for the birth we were to have. Some dear friends put on a mother blessing for me & I made a birth altar in my bedroom with the affirmation art they made for me & other things I cherished.

I also met with my doulas, Greater Manchester Doulas, a few times and generally talked about how things had been. They were my true antenatal care, they listened with no agenda & made me feel valued. The main thing that kept coming up for me was not knowing the midwife who would attend my home birth. Everything I’d researched about the smoothest & safest way to birth was for the mother to be undisturbed so she can tune into her own body. So the idea of having someone there who knew nothing about me & who I’d never met before seemed bizarre and scary. I hadn’t had good experiences with my midwife team so had no faith that they would respect or even consider the importance of the energy or atmosphere they’d bring. So I decided we’d contact them late on in labour & ask them to stay in another room unless needed. I dared not tell any of the midwives this was our plan as I couldn’t face the barrage of questions and scare mongering that would have been bestowed on me so late in pregnancy. (Continued in comments)

Jess sat with her toddler breastfeeding her newbornInstead I wrote a birth plan and Ben and my doulas agreed to speak with them when the time arrived.

As the days rolled by and the baby got lower and heavier in my pelvis and the cramping and nerve pains continued, I began to get cabin fever. The day of Eden’s birth I was so grumpy and restless, like when you have an itch that you can’t quite scratch. Looking back this must have been a result of a hormonal surge in my body preparing for labour. I spent the day on my own and slept a lot. I had the urge to make a really nutritious and carb heavy lunch which is unusual as we tend to eat our main meal in the evening. The restlessness grew stronger as the day went on. I text a few friends and made a plan to meet up the next day with Luca in tow. I had no idea how I’d physically manage to wobble around a park with a toddler at nearly 42 weeks pregnant, but that feeling of needing change was intense! Later that evening Ben persuaded me to go for a walk with Luca and our dog Tilly. Walking any distance would set off the nerve pains so I wasn’t always up for them. It was a beautiful sunny evening and after our return, still feeling fed up, I decided there was only one thing for it…. a glass of wine! Well, this certainly got the baby moving! He started somersaults and pushing right down into my pelvis and generally having a dance party!! 🤣

Luca’s bedtime came round and I lay with him and fed him to sleep while Ben went to get us both food. While I lay there I began to realise the period cramps that I often experienced in the evenings were coming and going in more of a pattern than before. Not wanting to get excited I didn’t allow myself to think this could be the start. At this point in my pregnancy I was genuinely considering the idea that I might be pregnant FOREVER!! 😆 Luca went to sleep easily and we ate takeaway and chatted. Ben suggested watching TV but I didn’t fancy it. I felt an energy in me stirring, a really subtle shift of consciousnesses where half was busy somewhere else, perhaps preparing and paving the way for the journey I was about to take, while the other half was here, in the now. I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on much. I was in the ‘doing’ phase of labour: also the ‘denial’ phase where it’s actually obvious things have started but you pretend to yourself it hasn’t!!

newborn baby breastfeedingWhen Ben asked how I was I told him the cramps where coming and going but not to get his hopes up as they would probably fade away. I could talk quite easily through them. It was about 9pm and the surges were probably every 20 minutes (although I wasn’t timing them and had no intention to start doing so either; I wanted to just stay in the moment). I suggested we got an early night incase things stepped up but by the time we’d sorted the dishwasher etc it was 10pm before we went upstairs. I told Ben to sleep in Luca’s room as I wanted him to get as much sleep as possible and not worry about disturbing him. At this point I was also really craving to be by myself.

To be continued…

Part 3 coming soon! In the meantime follow Jess and her wild adventures through motherhood on Instagram @these_adventures_of_ours

amy elle and lori
Doulas, Funding, News, Uncategorized

Saturday shout out 📣

Happy Saturday! It’s finally the weekend and the end of the longest January in existence. We’re all relaxing after a long week and hope you are too.

It’s that time again. Here’s our Saturday Shout Out. Grab a cuppa and get cosy…

What we’ve been up to

A couple of wonderful interviews reminded us of why we do what we do, and how much connecting with women feeds our souls.
We facilitated three free community groups this week, and we’d love to see them grow.

Also Amy drove inside a building for the first time (with a jolly Elle inside)
and Lori got stranded with a flat tire (with a less jolly Elle inside).

We enjoyed our first few days of working together as a team, and had our first slumber party!

Questions for the doulas

Top three bands/singers?
L: Lizzo, Stormzy, Beyonce.
A: Eminem, Ed Sheeran, and McFly.
E: Bjork, Weezer, Panic! at the Disco.

Movie you’ve watched more than any other?
L: Harry Potter. Maybe Stealing Beauty… So cheesy, but I used to be obsessed.
A: Definitely Harry Potter, and Avengers: End Game.
E: The Princess Bride.

All time favourite TV shows?
L: Gilmore Girls, Grace and Frankie, Game of Thrones (before it ended the way it did – still haven’t forgiven the writers for ruining it).
A: Friends, Scrubs, and Gilmore Girls.
E: Adventure Time, Mr Robot, and Scrubs.

What’s on your bucket list?
L: Getting fat exploring Koh Phangan and having a beach house so we can be awesome old crones together like Grace and Frankie.
A: There’s a lot of things on my bucket list! Mostly visiting countries I haven’t seen yet, and skydiving which is too expensive and scary, but one that will be ticked off soon(ish) is converting a van into a camper so I can travel more.
E: Getting a scooter.

What’s coming up?

Next week is all about funding. Some deadlines are approaching, and we’re meeting face to face with a funder for the first time.

On Thursday we have our first Free Birth Meeting of the year. It’s so important that women know about all their options during pregnancy. Especially if you’re thinking outside the box for your birth, it’s so reassuring and inspiring to hear the tales from the women who did the same and had a beautiful time.

The Wild Mothering Circle is now open to all women, because if we want to see a village built in our lifetimes, it needs to be made up of women of all ages and stages of life. We meet every Friday afternoon so come along and be part of this growing sisterhood.

On Saturday we’ll be taking part in a flash mob to raise awareness of how the systems women rely on for support are often the systems that make our lives difficult in the first place.
You may know the video from Chile which spread over the world. Watch the powerful anti-rape demonstration in its original language here.

A week today it comes to Manchester. Anyone is welcome to take part, but full details have not yet been confirmed. Feel free to message us about this.

How can you help at the minute?

We have a few suggestions this week!

We have just started writing our antenatal course which covers as much as a regular one, but focuses on human rights in pregnancy and childbirth.
We got partial funding from Lush, but we are £1000 short, and are looking to raise the rest by crowdfunding.
Here’s a link to the Just Giving page Lori made last night. We’ve never tried crowdfunding before so would really appreciate your support with this!

If you haven’t selected us as your chosen Local Cause with the Co-op, there’s still plenty of time.

Share your story with us for National Storytelling Week. It can be about anything, and as short or long as you like. What’s important is that it’s yours.

Thank you for supporting us and having our backs, it makes such a difference to know we aren’t doing this by ourselves.

Lori, Amy & Elle x

two women with their arm around each other looking at a field of flowers
Doulas, News, Uncategorized

Monday Mailout 💌

Welcome to the sisterhood

Another week has flown by but it’s somehow STILL January! We’re starting to wonder if February will ever come. Anyway here’s your weekly reminder to take some time out for you, grab a brew and get cosy for our Monday Mailout.

What we’ve been up to

This was a tough week for Elle, as she had some laptop issues and had to work all week from her phone. Lori had a tricky week balancing personal life and doula life. But overall we had an exciting week as we officially welcomed the wonderful Amy into GMD CIC!

We had been hoping for this for a while, and we are so pleased to be able to officially announce the news. You can read all about Amy here. Welcome to the sisterhood Amy, we are so thrilled (and very lucky!) to have you onboard.

We were also so happy to have been able to shared the first part of the lovely Jess’ birth story. Head here to have a read.

Quick fire questions for the doulas:

Late night snack of the week?
E: Plain white rice.
L: Vegan cheese and Quorn ham on buttered crackers.
A: I quite often make mash late at night if I can’t sleep.
Weirdest dream of the week?
A: I dreamt that I had been underwear shopping and an old lady mugged me, stole my underwear and walked off… that was pretty weird 😂
L: I was a survivor in a zombie apocalypse and I was having to relocate and lead a group to move house. It was pretty intense and scary! 
E: I went to an amusement park for orphaned goats, and a penguin bit me.
crocheted pixi hatWhat have you been making this week?
L: A glittery rainbow pixie hat for a mystery toddler.
A: I baked a cake last week – does that count? I haven’t had much downtime for making things recently but I’d like to get back to sewing bunting.
E: I got a bit obsessed with making baby bonnets. I’m over it now.
Favourite thing about being on call?
L: I’m extra kind to myself when I’m on call, and it’s easier to make sure I get enough rest and me time, and that I’m well nourished.
And it’s exciting to know that a woman is going to bring new life into the world.
E: I like not knowing where the day is going to take me. It can be a boring morning then all of a sudden I’m off to do the best job in the world!
A: I like the reminder to take care of myself so that I can be full of energy for the client when the time comes. So it’s a great excuse to have a bubble bath or a lazy day.

What’s coming up?

We have three groups this week.
Manchester Birth Worker Circle is tomorrow (Tuesday afternoon) for anyone supporting women and families in the childbearing year. There are loads of birth workers in Manchester, but there’s no real community. We want there to be, so we started this group. It’s for practical support around starting or running a business, as well as emotional support for challenging times. It’s a great networking opportunity too – we know it can be hard to tell others about what we do, so come practise with us in a vegan dessert parlour!

Women Reclaiming Birth
This group is a safe and supportive circle for women to get together and explore their autonomous choices in conception, pregnancy, birth and beyond.
We hold space for questions, stories, thoughts about the monthly theme and anything else that comes up for each of us.
Whether you are pregnant, planning a pregnancy, or have a story to share, you are more than welcome to join us. Little ones are very welcome as always.
This Thursday, the Salutation Inn.

Wild Mothering Circle
On Friday afternoons (1.30 – 3) we gather in circle as wild women, in the Living Room at Home Cafe in Didsbury.
The group is so named because we try to recreate a little of the magic of red tents, or women’s circles, during the day, in a child-friendly environment.
We show up as we are, and share whatever is going on for us. We listen to one another, we nurture each other, and we hold space for one another.

How can you help at the minute?

National Storytelling Week is coming up, so we want to feature womens’ stories. They don’t need to be related to giving birth, although birth stories are always good to share. They can be about any aspect of womanhood and in any format. Write us anything you’re happy to be featured on our Facebook, website, and in a future roundup and get in touch if you would be interested in recording a podcast with us!

We hope you have a wonderful week.

Amy, Elle & Lori x