doula stories

Nisha

Baby born July 2016

It was in the 6th month of my pregnancy that I met Lina. My husband was desperately searching for natural waterbirth options and came to know of a hospital in Mumbai and got her contact details. I remember I was eagerly waiting to meet her.

Every other day I would ask Jit if there was a message from her as to when would she could visit us in Pune. Due to my last delivery experience I was a little fearful. Jit my husband had helped me throughout my pregnancy to get over that fear but I guess I could resolve only 50% of it.

After meeting and talking to Lina the rest of the fear kept disappearing over the next few days. Her wisdom and trust about the birthing process helped me leaps to get over my fear and anxiety. On our first meeting she said to me, “you know it and you will do it. You are in charge of the birthing process. Just trust your body. You don’t need anyone, but we will be there if you need us.”

These words of hers created a huge impact. This is what I had thought birthing would be. She helped me restore my confidence regarding birthing.

I can still remember her voice, when she said “the baby is coming” with a huge smile and her confidence in me, while the baby was just crowning. Those words gave me such a rush of energy to go through those last surges happily.

To thank her feels very small for the support she has been to make my dream come true and even more to restore my confidence in me.

Kudos to you Lina for doing such a great work so simply. You are such a lovely boon to the mothers and little babies, the impact of the experience lasts for a lifetime.

Love you Lina.

The clever cord, the instinctual woman, and the beautiful baby

Planned and longed for
Formed and made
Hidden in that secret place
Untouched
Not “spied upon”
No tests and no machines
A journey made
In her own timing
Slowly as it had to be
A delicate cord
Back then not knowing
Protecting baby safely through
The passage of birth
So trusted
And mama so enveloped
In the love of her family
As silently in love
They waited to embrace
This new miracle
A family’s faith in the process
Bodies’ intelligence
Working together
Perfectly
To bring this beauty
Into being
And with great welcome
She arrived
Inside her shiny secure home
Clever cord
Wise woman
Beautiful baby
Journey is completed
And I remain in awe

Ayaana was born at home in the caul, with an unusual cord insertion. Poem by Lina Duncan 2010

Tahira

Baby born August 2014

Hiring Nhing and Lina to help and support us during our daughter’s birth was the single best decision we made as expectant parents, (and possibly a live-saving one). They were such a source of strength and support throughout our pregnancy, birth and right after.

I had severe nausea and weight loss at the start of my pregnancy, but my doctor was dismissive, insisting it was normal, and that I was over-reacting. Lina suggested a different doctor, who immediately diagnosed me with Hyperemeis Graviadarum, put me on medication, and warned us of dangerous symptoms to watch out for.

Armed with this information, we were able to make an informed choice and get to the hospital in time as my condition worsened, and when my blood pressure fell to life threateningly low levels, we were in the hospital with access to emergency care that saved my life and my baby. (If we had listened to the advice of our first doctor, we probably wouldn't have survived to write this review!). I ended up being hospitalized three times during my pregnancy due to hyperemesis and Lina and Nhing were a great support.

If I had to do it over again, the only thing I might change would be to try and have a home birth with only midwives instead of a doctor or a hospital. The impact that Lina and her partner Nhing had on us was so powerful that I still get teary eyed with gratitude every time I think about them and our birth experience.

Lina was incredibly respectful of our choices and a really strong advocate for our birth plan at the hospital. I'm fairly certain that without her intervention, I wouldn't have had the water birth I wanted. Having a baby in a hospital can be a very dehumanizing process and quite traumatic, especially for first time mums.

Having Lina with us the entire time, completely changed our experience, we had a constant source of support, someone to answer all our questions, and advocate for us with the hospital staff. She also knitted my baby a gift whilst I was in labour!

Doulas support all birth experiences. Here Lina is supporting an unexpected cesarean. The mum is not yet able to sit up and Lina was able to be there as a doula throughout the operation and to help hold the baby for his first feed.

Having a doula to support a cesarean can make a world of difference, for emotional support, both pre and post. When a cesarean suddenly is a necessity, a doula can be the stable, solid continuity of support for the woman and her family as they welcome their baby.

Doulas support in many ways. Here Lina is the physical support whilst the midwife checks the baby's hearbeat.

Often the woman's partner or family member takes this role and the doula might be giving pressure massage on her back or sitting quietly in the corner, or outside, "holding the space".

Sometimes doulas need to grow their limbs to provide just the kind of support the birthing woman wants.

Here the husband is calm and relaxed providing a safe and continuous, hypnobirthing support. The midwife checks the baby's heartbeat whilst mum is in the pool and Lina is providing comfort measures as per the woman's request.

Every birth is unique and special.