We couldn’t have asked for better practical and emotional support.”
Hannah was exactly the kind of practical and nurturing support I and my family needed. Not only did she completely respect my birth choices, she advocated for me when necessary, listened to and helped me work through doubts and fears and ultimately, enabled me to have the confidence in myself to birth how I wanted!
(M & G- baby girl born September 2013)
The Birth of Arthur Geoghegan
Hannah was our doula for the birth of our baby boy, Arthur, in October 2013. During my pregnancy yoga teacher training I learned all about the role of the doula and vowed should I ever get pregnant that I would seek out such female support for my own birth. In the early stages of my pregnancy, Hannah’s name kept popping up in various places and I knew I wanted to meet this woman who everyone spoke so highly of. Hannah’s reputation preceded her. Her impressive CV spoke volumes about her commitment to childbirth and the testimonials from women she had supported were proof that she wasn’t just good on paper. When I finally got to meet her in person at a Dancing for Birth workshop I knew I wanted her to be our doula. It just felt like it was how it should be. And we were not disappointed. Hannah was everything we’d hoped for in a doula and more. Before our baby was born her ante-natal visits allowed us to talk through the type of birth we so desperately wanted to have. With Hannah’s calm and confident manner, I felt that everything we hoped for could come true. As a first time mother, I felt instinctively drawn to her experience as both a mother and as a doula and she gave me the strength to have full belief in my ability to birth my baby naturally at home. Hannah was always available for me during my pregnancy whether in person, by phone, text or e-mail. I felt her support was constant and certainly above and beyond the call of duty. During my birth Hannah’s calm was unshakeable. It seemed she knew instinctively exactly what to be and where to be. She was an unassuming presence in the background, exuding her peaceful vibes when I needed it to be quiet and completely hands-on and proactive when my body needed assistance. When it was required she spoke to me calmly to remind me to focus within and to keep the faith, but most of the time she allowed me to just be a mother giving birth to her baby, as nature intended. I recommend Hannah wholeheartedly and without any reservation. She is an amazing doula and we will never forget her presence bringing Arthur earthside: we laughed, she fed me porridge, she cleaned up the mess and most importantly she was just there when I needed her most. We’d do it again in an instant.
“I was lucky to have met Hannah at our Zumba class one evening…I remember seeing this lovely girl standing behind me, with long curly dark hair and a warm friendly smile. When we started talking and she told me what she did for a job, I thought she said ‘jeweller’, not ‘doula’…I’d never heard of the word doula before and it took me a while to understand what Hannah did. It was a coincidence, or was it, that we met, as Craig and I had wanted to have a child for a while, but I was always so afraid of birth and labour. I had a long journey to explore throughout my pregnancy and Hannah was there throughout, with reassurance, informative books, DVDs, meetings and classes. She helped me in my journey and was the constant I needed to become strong, informed and proud mamma.
Craig and I and Alex could never thank Hannah enough for her help, her warmth, her sensitivity, her caring nature and professionalism. She is a true wonderful woman and we would recommend her to any woman who is undergoing the journey of becoming a mother. And even though things didn’t go according to what my wishes, I feel
blessed and I am grateful for my journey…the journey that brought me to the beginning of a new adventure, a new journey, a mother’s journey.”
“If I could name two things that helped make the birth of my son the perfect experience that it was, they would be 1) birthing at home and 2) having Hannah as our doula. The support, knowledge and kindness Hannah offered to my husband and I during my pregnancy, labour and post-natal period was truly exceptional. From lending me inspiring books to read during my pregnancy, to helping us write our birth plan, Hannah was so instrumental in making sure everything when smoothly. She was always on hand if I had a query, and supported me in every decision I made while always encouraging me to go with my gut instinct and trust in my ability to birth. Hannah has an incredible way of offering support and knowledge without overtly giving advice, so I constantly felt empowered to make my own choices from the knowledge she shared with me. I was fortunate to have a beautiful birth that was both quick and painless, and I have no doubt that having Hannah there to keep me relaxed and comfortable throughout made that possible. Not only did she support me, offering lovely light massages, homeopathic remedies and gentle encouragement as I birthed my boy, she was also a huge support to my husband. It was great to know I could focus on the business of birthing without worrying about my husband, as I knew Hannah was taking care of him too. It felt like a big sister was there to support us both through the most amazing event of our lives. After our baby boy was born, Hannah continued to be a rock to us both, making sure our home was clean and cosy, we were both fed and watered and capturing the whole, amazing event with some truly stunning photos. She even brought us a lovely warm meal a few days after his birth and sent regular texts to see how we were all doing.
I would not hesitate to recommend Hannah and would go so far as to say her service is a necessity to ensure you have a calm, beautiful birth experience.
Our little one is only 4 weeks old and i’m already looking forward to doing it all again!”
Baby George born at home at 43 weeks to first time parents Virginia and Darren
“Even before I was pregnant, I had always planned to have a doula support me during birth. However, it turned out to be the antenatal support from our doula Hannah which was just as, if not more valuable, than support during the birth itself. Hannah supported my husband and I through navigating the NHS system and making informed choices about our birth. With support from Hannah and NHS midwives, we had a calm natural birth at home. After the birth Hannah helped my husband have ‘skin to skin’ bonding with our son, assisted me while I delivered the placenta and was cleaned up, as well as packed our bag for transferring to the hospital for stitches. It really felt like she was in three places at once, supporting my husband, myself and the midwives. She stayed with us during our trip to the hospital and drove us home in the early hours of the morning. After this experience, I feel that everyone family should have access to a doula for support before, during and after birth.”
Healing hospital birth
“When I found out I was pregnant with my second baby I seriously panicked. We wanted this baby but the first experience at a hospital was truly horrible and left me and my husband terrified. Then someone recommended Hannah and the whole story changed dramatically, she helped us so much, giving us information, lending us books and DVD’s, coming home or just on the phone everytime I needed some support…!!!!
This is exactly what we’d hoped for when we decided to have doula. What we hadn’t expected, or really appreciated, was quite how invaluable her help would also be before and after the birth. Having someone who knew us, and what we wanted, at the end of the phone, was a great source of calm. We felt nutured in preparing for the birth, and had two nights of early labour, which Hannah calmly talked us through, in a way that midwives would not. Because our birth experience was not straightforward it was really helpful for us afterwards to have Hannah’s account of it, and someone to help us to understand it.
We would recommend that everyone get a doula, and if you can, Hannah.
Kate, Keith, and Wilfred
“I had a successful and empowering birth experience of my second child thanks to had Hannah as my doula. Hannah was amazing she help me to build the trust on my body to birth my son and my confidence as a woman to follow what was natural and instinctive. Hannah was a patience listener, very thoughtful and disposable to support me to find the answer to my doubts and the strength when the anxiety was taking over. Considerer myself to be very lucky for meeting this fantastic woman and for having such positive contribution in my life.”
November 2011 Maria (Home waterbirth of second baby boy after a caesarean)
“Hannah was our NCT Ante-natal teacher and I thought she would be the best woman for the job of Doula, and she was. She was such a massive source of information relating to my choices and birth/health issues. Having a Doula was very empowering and I felt that someone was ‘on my side’ and ‘fighting my corner’.
“I knew from the time we were trying to conceive that I would hire a doula for my birth. I was set on having a home birth after having a traumatic experience in hospital with my first baby. I knew I would need constant reliable emotional support throughout my pregnancy and birth to overcome my fears and keep a feeling of safety and comfort in my birthing environment. We interviewed a few doulas, but the moment we met Hannah, we both felt at ease and comfortable with her calm presence. My partner in particular is a very private person, but we felt extremely comfortable inviting her into our lives and our birth. I frequently said that Hannah was ‘worth her weight in gold’. Whenever I asked her a question she would send me cookie crumbs to finding information for myself. Hannah’s knowledge of resources and information was invaluable. By the time I gave birth I felt empowered and completely informed of my rights and my choices, and I truly trusted in birth. Hannah fit perfectly into my birthing environment and was intuitive to my needs throughout my birth and afterward. Hannah was always available when I needed her throughout our entire journey. I could not have imagined a better outcome for myself and my family, and I know that Hannah’s constant support was cornerstone to our success.
HWBAC Mama -July 2011
“Having Hannah as my doula gave me real confidence. With her support, we were able to create the context for an amazing home birth. I feel so grateful for having had the space to let my body do what it needed to throughout the labour and birth. Before, during and after she has been an incredible support.”
“Having had a doula for the hospital births of both my sons, I knew I wanted one for my third birth although we had moved to a different area. Hannah immediately felt right, and with her help and encouragement, I planned a home water-birth. Things didn’t go to plan when my waters broke at 36 weeks. Hannah was reassuring on the telephone and trusted my instincts that things would happen quickly even though I wasn’t yet having contractions. She quickly met us at the hospital and our beautiful baby girl arrived just two hours later! Hannah’s calmness (and great foot massages) were invaluable during the intense labour, filtering out the stress when the midwives got concerned about the baby’s heart rate and allowing me to focus on what I needed to do. I had a difficult third stage and Hannah was a tremendous support through the delivery of the placenta, freeing up my husband to take care of our new daughter, which was very important to both of us. And my two sons appreciated Hannah enormously when she turned up at our home a few days later with delicious cupcakes!
Parents of Baby Emilia born June 2011
“Hannah’s tireless support and wealth of resources and information helped us have the type of birth we could only have dreamed of. After a difficult birth first time around, we were very nervous about our second child. Hannah held my hand metaphorically through my pregnancy and literally at the birth. She believed that we could have a calm, peaceful home birth and she was right!!”
M & P- baby boy born April 2011
“I really feel that Hannah helped my to birth my son in the way that I wanted. I had been my sister’s birth partner in hospital and twice at home, and had done lots of research on what I wanted for the birth of my first child. I felt that I wanted someone familiar with women giving birth to be present to advocate for me so that I could concentrate as much as possible on going ‘inside myself’ rather than discussing things with the midwives when they came.
In the event, Hannah provided much more than that. She introduced me to the idea of a blessingway, lent me books and DVDs, made suggestions of things that linked with my birth plan that I hadn’t considered. During labour, she was there through the early parts and was reassuring during the long long slow middle stretch. Throughout labour she made suggestions based on my birth plan, referred to my birth plan with the midwives and allowed me to concentrate on my own internal processes. She was also great for my partner who was naturally nervous, even more so since my labour took 3 days in the end, and provided supportive motivation for both of us, without any need to try to speed up the process or ask for medical interventions.
After our son was born, Hannah visited and provided more support and information, even bringing cake! My partner and I both felt she went over and above the call of duty and I have been recommending doulas to every pregnant friend ever since!”
“Having had one fully medicated hospital birth and one meds free home birth, I can only say I wish I knew about doulas before my first child was born. Hannah really cared enough to find me the information I needed to make such important decisions. My birth was life changing and what I had always hoped for. Hannah was always available to chat and listen to my concerns. We really couldn’t have done it without you- informed choice is the key.”
Anna, Pete, Elizabeth and especially Alfred (born at home in water)
“It is hard to put into words all of the things Hannah provided for us before, during and after the birth of our baby, Theodore. We had planned a home birth and had the majority of the labour at home with a transfer to hospital in the later stages due to meconium in my waters. Despite the hospital transfer, we still enjoyed a calm, natural birth and had an incredibly positive birth experience. We really feel that Hannah helped to make this the most wonderful moment in our lives.
We could not have asked for more from the advice and support Hannah offered during the pre-birth meetings through to her presence alongside us during labour and birth to the continued emotional support and advice in the first few days and weeks of parenthood.
The support Hannah gave us during labour and the birth was tremendous. Her role ranged from providing practical assistance, helping us to create a calm and relaxing environment, liaising with the midwives and acting as our advocate, offering suggestions to help with labour and providing nurturing and emotional support. Among the things I will remember most about my experience of labour are the incredible back massage Hannah gave me which was so effective in easing the intensity of my surges and the overall sense of safety we felt as a result of Hannah’s presence and support. We were using hypnobirthing and Hannah really helped to create the best possible atmosphere for us to put our hypnobirthing into practice and remain as calm and relaxed as possible.
We will never forget how much Hannah gave to us and how this contributed to a wonderful birth experience. We would definitely wish Hannah to support us at the births of future children and would really recommend her to others.”
Mum and Dad to Theodore born in July 2010
“I joked with Hannah while in the birth pool that I would write her the most glowing testimonial I could write. At that point I realised I was so comforted by her cool calm expertise that I couldn’t imagine not having her there to support me at Oscar’s birth. In the days after the birth I thought how close I had come to not having a Doula and how if I could go back I would’ve shaken some sense to in the past me that thought it (having a Doula) could be an unnecessary expense. From the moment we first met with Hannah she became a calming and challenging (in a good way) influence, providing me with books to read and films to watch that helped me prepare mentally for giving birth. When the day (finally) came she provided a wealth of knowledge of methods, such as aromatherapy, homeopathy, and relaxation techniques, to cope with labor that were invaluable (as my back-to-back baby prevented any of the yoga positions we’d learned to have any positive effects!)
When our home birth turned into a transfer I felt (and still do) that with Hannah’s help we had tried everything we could do to try and get Oscar born at home. This is perhaps the thing I am most grateful for, as we ended in a C-section, that I have no regrets about because Hannah was always protecting us from being pushed by the midwives to go in before we were ready. Hannah continued to help maintain our calm in hospital and support me in demanding no ‘extra’ interventions. Her support before, during and after the birth really made the whole experience a positive one.”
Mary and Oscar
“Hannah for all your encouragement, knowledge, wisdom, warmth, care, support and belief in us we thank you absolutely and for playing such a huge part in Eden’s calm and safe arrival into the world”
From Mum, Dad, Milo and Baby Eden born at home in July 2010
“Thanks for all your support and encouragement! I know your presence brought calm and light to a very special birthday.”
“Hannah is one in a million.
I felt very safe & secure once she arrived at my house during my labour. Knowing she was within touching distance when I needed her without being too intrusive was just what I needed. She was calm, encouraging and a constant source of support during the labour and birth – especially when I was feeling a bit shaken following the safe & successful delivery of my beautiful baby girl, Lottie.
Hannah was there to give me guidance and reassurance that everything I was experiencing was all ‘normal’ and part of being a new mum. Having her at the end of the phone in those early days was a real help.
I would recommend having Hannah as doula to anyone and I’m pleased & privileged to have had the opportunity to get to know her and her family.”
Anon May 2010
“We both found Hannah to be extremely supportive and knowledgeable. She gave us the comfort, confidence and reassurance that we could have the positive birth experience we dreamed of.
Hannah has become a friend, I feel like I have known her a long time. She has a warm, professional but sensitive and gentle way, on call throughout my pregnancy with invaluable advice, and a resource of information including books cd’s and videos.
During the birth itself, her encouragement and very prescence gave me immediate calm and inner strength to birth my baby into the world naturally and effortlessly.”
Charlotte and Simon Summer 2010
“We had planned a home birth for the birth of our son, Ted, and decided we wanted the additional emotional and practical support that a doula can offer. In the event, a difficult labour meant that our baby was born in hospital, but Hannah was there to support us throughout our experience. She helped us to remain focused on what we wanted from the birth and to think through our options and make some difficult difficult decisions. Despite a back labour and a fairly hefty baby, I was able to give birth naturally as I had wanted, with virtually no medical intervention. I am convinced that this would not have been the case had we not had Hannah’s support and would recommend her as a doula without hesitation.”
T & S Summer 2010
“Sometimes chance encounters are the best ones … Hannah and I met on a local zebra crossing where she gave me a leaflet about herself and Doulas. After a brief chat, some research, various e-mails and telephone conversations, it was clear the Hannah’s services were just what we needed. She provided support and information that either we did not know or would not have even thought about before. It was invaluable having an alternative perspective to consider. She lent us books, DVDs and provided the reassurances that we needed to hear. This meant we were so much better prepared.
The birth of our son will be remembered for many things, but a key part was Hannah’s calm and considerate involvement. She was also there afterwards with positive suggestions, when a very hungry baby was tiring us both out! Thank you as it made the experience so much easier.”
Becky and Richard
“I was very happy with the service I received from Hannah. I am convinced I had a better birthing experience because of Hannah’s involvement. It was very reassuring to have her present at the birth as she was kind, supportive, knowledgeable and also reminded the hospital staff to keep to my birth plan where at all possible, at a time when I was too distracted and that alone was invaluable.”
Mum to Amir (November 2009)
“Our daughter Imogen was born at home on Christmas Eve, and to say that we are pleased that Hannah was with us wouldn’t do her justice. Her presence throughout the labour had a direct result on how things turned out, and with Hannah as part of the team, this meant we had a brilliant labour. Hannah helped to safeguard the environment we had created and helped me to believe in myself. I knew I wanted a drug-free birth and I also knew that I wanted the labour and the delivery of Imogen to be as graceful and special as possible. The birth of your first child is something all women and couples should treasure, and with Hannah’s help we were able to do this. We would rather not list everything that Hannah “did”, but we would rather state that with Hannah alongside us, our focus was able to be entirely on ourselves and our baby.”
December 2009 (First time Mum and Dad)
“I truly cannot thank you enough for all the help and support you offered us all. Without you we certainly would not have had the fantastic birth experience we did. You gave both Graham and I the confidence to have a birth that I had previously only dreamed of.
Nancy is such a placid easy going baby, the polar opposite of Harrison in his first few days and I can only put it down to the calm relaxed way in which she arrived into the world.”
“I contacted Hannah following medical advice that I should be induced as I had developed obstetric cholestasis (a pregnancy related liver problem). Induction at 37-38 weeks was recommended to avoid the risk of stillbirth, although there were no real statistics to back this up. I was uneasy with the advice and sought help in deciding what action to take.
From the start Hannah was nothing but helpful, visiting our home the next day to listen to our concerns, working through the pros and cons of each option, and obtaining independent information to enable us to confidently make the best decision based on all the facts. Against hospital advice I held off until 39 weeks. The induction was a slow process, taking six-days then resulting in an emergency caesarian. It wasn’t the birth I’d dreamed of, but thanks to Hannah I felt that I did have choices and remained in control. Throughout this time in hospital Hannah was a calming influence and a constant source of support, either by my side or on the phone. My confidence grew knowing she was there for me. She brought cushions and essential oils to make the labour room more comfortable, lent me her TENS machine, and massaged my swollen feet.
Hannah visited me on the post-natal ward the day after the birth, and was also in touch in the following weeks, providing reassurance on many aspects of motherhood, including breast feeding. As a first-time mum, with no family nearby, and zero experience of newborns, this was very welcome! Six weeks after the birth Hannah accompanied me to a ‘de-briefing’ session at the hospital. This gave me a chance to ask questions about the way my labour had been managed and give feedback on the experience.
Hannah is passionate about her work, and her positive attitude is infectious, and thanks to her I felt empowered during what was a worrying time. I will always be grateful for the positive contribution she made to my birth experience.”
A dad’s experience:
“Hannah’s presence during the labour offered companionship and meant I didn’t feel alone in providing support. On a practical level this meant I could take regular breaks, grab a bite to eat, re-energise and therefore be more supportive. Hannah also kept me informed on what was going on medically. Hannah is really friendly and very easy company yet she is totally professional at the same time. I would absolutely recommend her to anyone considering hiring a doula.
Having Hannah as my doula has definitely added to the positive birth experience I’ve had.
My partner and I chose Hannah as our doula as my partner works away a lot and therefore couldn’t promise to be at the birth if our baby was to arrive early. It gave us both peace of mind knowing Hannah was there for support or advice if needed. During my pregnancy she always made sure I was okay by visits, phonecalls or email.
Having Hannah at the birth meant so much to me. She gave me confidence and made me feel in control throughout my labour. Hannah is such a warm,caring person yet professional at the same time.
I could not have wished for a better doula and would certainly recommend her to anyone!”
“Hannah believes in natural birth, but can appreciate when medical interventions are necessary. I chose her as my doula, because she understood what I wanted.
She has a broad knowledge regarding physiological and medical aspects of birth and she can offer options when asked and she is a listener. We do have similar views, but I felt that even if we did not, she would have respected and supported my preferences and choices rather than imposing her scenario.
Hannah helped us a lot with the birth plan, answering all our questions about pain relief options and medical interventions.
When she told us that her major role during the birth would be just to be present and calm and thus create a relaxed atmosphere, we were far from being convinced, but now, after the birth, I recognise that Hannah’s calm presence was crucial for creating a very special environment, where I could labour with all confidence.”
Kasia 2nd baby born April 2009 at home
“Hannah was there for me leading up to and throughout the day my daughter was born.
With her motherly help and wise gentle guidance I felt all along that I was receiving complete professional assistance.
Having no relatives around to turn to or rely on, I don’t know how I would have coped without her help. It felt such a privilege to have total access to such knowledgeable caring support and experience at a time I really needed it. It made the whole experience so much easier and less stressful than it might otherwise have been for me.”
“My family and I moved from America to West Yorkshire in the middle of my pregnancy. When we arrived, I knew nothing about the NHS and how it handled pregnancy and birth except that it is supposed to be much more woman/baby-friendly than the US. I was seeing a midwife in America before we left who felt confident that I could have a homebirth despite my son being a c-section in 2007. After meeting with my midwife team here in the UK, however, it became clear that they had no intention of supporting my decision.
I was sent to meet a consultant who falsely told me that I would not be allowed to have a homebirth and would have many restrictions in the hospital. At that point, I knew I needed to seek outside help. I posted desperately on LiveJournal and several Yahoo groups seeking advice about finding a doula. Very shortly after, I received an email from Hannah, who told me that she was willing to be my doula. We spoke on the phone that night and I instantly felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders.
Hannah came to visit me several times and called me often to reassure me, check on me, and offer support and tips. She gave me informative reading material and lent me essential oils and homeopathic remedies and the birthing ball that I spent many hours on. The half of my pregnancy spent in England was extremely stressful because of family, financial, and midwife/NHS problems. I’m certain that if it weren’t for Hannah, I’d have lost my mind!
I had a very long pregnancy– 43 weeks– and had difficult decisions to make starting when I hit 41 weeks. Hannah was there to help me sort out pros and cons, shed light on options, and support me in my decisions. Eventually, my baby’s health began to be affected by how long the pregnancy had lasted and she was delivered via c-section. Hannah was there for me at the hospital before surgery and as always, was a calming presence and helped me feel confident about the decisions I had made. After the surgery, she came to see my new baby and I, and she also came to see me at home afterwards as well as keeping in touch by phone and email.
I could not have asked for a better experience with a doula, even though the birth did not go as planned. Hannah was there for me while I fought an uphill battle with the NHS and really was a pillar of support. I can confidently say that I would recommend her to any pregnant woman– the service she offers is invaluable!”