Please read the testimonials below, written by parents who have used my doula service, to demonstrate how I can help you achieve a positive birth experience.
First Time Mum’s Birth Centre Lotus Water Birth
I would give more than 5* if I could!
She made our birth experience as perfect as possible! She helped us with lots of good information (books, DVDs, experiences)
I had a drug-free natural undisturbed lotus birth and she was a perfect partner in it.
She and my Husband made a perfect supporting team!
I will always remember her and will keep her with my best memories.
We like to have another baby and I want Virginia to be with us again.
~Adrienn Kovacs on the birth of Abel (March 2017)
First Time Mum’s Home Water Birth
I had been anxiously looking for Doulas in my area since reading Rhea Dempsey’s Birth with Confidence. I wanted to experience birth in its entirety and I knew I needed a Doula to help me make it happen. I learnt of the shocking statistics of the private hospital I was booked into of mostly unnecessary interventions and hoped to avoid them. Why couldn’t I give birth as my grandmother did, drug-free and no fuss, assisted by the town Midwife in her own home? After a life-changing chat with Virginia, I knew I had choices. It wasn’t too late to make it happen at 28 weeks.
We then made the switch to a planned homebirth with an absolutely wonderful Midwife and Virginia, my Doula. I wondered – was I strong enough to birth without drugs, physically, emotionally and mentally? I spoke to Virginia of all my fears and she was the listening ear, the voice of reason and the voice of birth wisdom. I had been blessed with a smooth pregnancy, would the birth be as kind to me? I made use of her library of books and DVDs and just wished I had been in touch with her sooner. She opened my eyes to an amazing world where birth was completely natural and empowering.
After each of Virginia’s pre-natal visits, I felt refreshed and hopeful. So much so that less than 12 hours after she left my home, I went into labour! Virginia returned quickly, and helped me through each contraction, helping through the day in many, many different ways – from hand holding to encouragement to practical help to herbs and just being there allowing my husband to be more present with me. I also chose for her to photograph the labour and birth – a last minute decision which I am extraordinarily grateful for. I now have the most special photos ever taken in my life.
I would highly recommend that all women have the help of a Doula on their birth journeys – even for a planned hospital birth – for the invaluable support before, during and after the birth. Thank you, Virginia, for being the perfect Doula on our birth journey.
~ Dora Maher on the birth of Gregory (November 2016)
Natural Birth at RPA
When I found out we were pregnant for the second time, all I knew was that I wanted pictures of the birth! So my search began for a birth photographer.
Being due in busy October, most were booked out. In my desperate search to find someone available and book them ASAP, I stumbled upon information about Doulas. After doing some reading about what they do, and the benefits they offer, I thought that using the services of one might be a good idea for us this time around. Double awesome if they take pics too!
I don’t recall how I came across Virginia’s Natural Beginnings page or information, but luckily I did. She seemed pretty down to earth from her bio, took birth pictures and was available for my due month! Lock it in!
During our initial meeting with Virginia, all I knew was that I wanted a drug free birth. To me this simply meant no epidural. I wanted to feel it. All of it. What I didn’t know was they there was a whole host of other things I would end up wanting, thanks to Virginia’s knowledge of pregnancy and birth.
Virginia played a critical role in educating myself and my husband about our options, routine intervention, alternatives and the pro’s and con’s of each. This is something that I think is significantly lacking in pre-natal care, and found that hospital’s have a ‘everyone does, so it’s right and normal’ approach. Virginia was able to help us (but mostly me) make an informed decision around things that would impact me during pregnancy, during the birth and after. I ended up feeling firm and confident in my decisions, rather than our first birth where we took a ‘whatever happens, happens’ approach.
During our pregnancy journey, I came to conclusion that I still wanted an epidural free birth. I was however totally open to (and slightly looking forward to) using gas. I wanted a natural third stage, not simply one managed with drugs, which I felt took a massive toll on me the first time around. I wanted delayed cord clamping. I wanted my husband to baby catch and announce if it was a boy or a girl. I wanted it to be on my terms. And we wrapped it all up in a birth plan.
I previously thought birth plans were for control freaks, but now I see and understand their purpose and value. A birth plans makes you think about, and decide on what you really want and don’t want. They easily and clearly communicate to medical staff of your wishes and wants. And they empower you.
Baby #2 announced their impending arrival very differently than the first, with my waters breaking at around 10:30pm. Things progressed quickly and easily, which I felt was due to me feeling secure and confident, and calm about the process. My midwife read through my birth plan when I arrived at the hospital, and agreed that it was all do-able. They did however try to sway me back to active management of the third stage (syntocinon injection to deliver the placenta), yes while in labour, but I stayed firm in my decision to do it naturally.
Baby Mason arrived at a healthy 4.285kgs, after about 1 hour and 45 minutes of active labour and little pushing on my part. Drug free, I could feel my body bearing down and pushing him out. I clearly felt each contraction and despite enjoying the gas a little too much, I still felt it all and remember it clearly. Virginia was able to ground me when I began to panic, and reminded me of why we were there. It took about 45 minutes to deliver the placenta, which to my surprise, I ended up asking Virginia to take away and encapsulate.
I ended up getting the birth I wanted, with a happy and healthy baby, with pictures to boot! My physical recovery was significantly better and quicker than with my first, and I feel content about the whole experience. Breastfeeding was still a challenge, with it taking a good 6-8 weeks to feel as though it is well established. Mason is a big, healthy boy, and I feel very bonded to him, which I attribute much to his birth.
Virginia is a fantastic doula, and person all around. She is very knowledgeable about pregnancy and birth, and takes a natural, holistic approach. This I feel provides good balance, in contrast to the heavily medicalised environment in hospital based pre-natal care and birth. In addition to all of this, Virginia operates her business professionally and effectively, which makes the whole process even easier.
Thank you Virginia! You are wonderful!
~ Alex, Simon, Max & Mason
“I got my NBA2C! (Natural Birth After Two C-Sections!!!!)” – Royal Hospital for Women, Randwick
It still sends shivers down my spine and brings a smile to my face when I remember the birth of my daughter – my third child, and my first natural, drug-free birth. Virginia was instrumental in helping us achieve this outcome.
Her knowledge, experience and care throughout my pregnancy opened up many opportunities for me to learn from my past mistakes. Ultimately she paved the way for me to experience an empowered, positive birth- something I had wished for more than anything!
Through Virginia I was able to gain access to many useful resources and opportunities, During the pregnancy this included art therapy, and a birth trauma release session.
Virginia’s library was a Godsend! She tailored my readings with books specifically dealing with NBAC’s and natural birthing and parenting. These resources together with the support groups that she found for me online helped get me in the right headspace, and all of a sudden I had answers to all my burning questions. It was also hugely encouraging to be surrounded by other women who had been through similar unfavourable circumstances and had later gone on to achieve a better birth outcome. I wasn’t the only one!
When my husband was unable to accompany me to my first OB appointment Virginia was there literally holding my hand. Afterwards I joked with hubby that it was probably a good thing that she had replaced him at that visit – having worked with my OB at previous births she confidently helped navigate a plan whereby my birth intentions would be supported and honoured. I will forever be grateful to her for that as I feel that this was a turning point in my relationship with my medical team. After that meeting there was no more talk of a repeat ceaserean and I was treated with the utmost care and respect.
As the time for the birth drew near, Virginia worked through pain management techniques and mindfulness exercises. It was important for me to experience a drug free birth and I drew on a lot of this preparation during my labour. It helped immensely!
I don’t know how she did it, but during my labour Virginia managed to fulfil the role of Doula and birth photographer beautifully.
My labour was so intense and at times I felt incredibly depleted and helpless. During these times Virginia supported me with herbs and essential oils and at just the right time she would give me a stern talking to or a gentle rub on my shoulders and I would find the strength to keep going.
I look at the amazing photos that she captured during the labour and birth and my only regret is that I didn’t get her to also do my pregnancy photos!
Post birth I had arranged through Virginia to encapsulate my placenta. I called them my happy pills! I am convinced they helped keep me balanced and energetic in those first few weeks after my daughter’s birth. And now, hanging in my daughter’s room is the most exquisite dream catcher which Virginia fashioned out of the placenta cord. A wonderful memento of what we achieved.
After all of these amazing experiences my favourite thing would have to be the beautiful ritual that Gin performed when she came to visit us at home after the birth. She did what is called “The Closing Of The Bones” which was a postpartum healing ceremony to close my body and complete the birth process using using her hands and her rebozo.
I am so very thankful for Virginia – she restored my faith in birthing, and reminded me of the power of positive thinking and positive people.
Thank you Gin – you are a credit to your profession and I am so grateful for all that you did for us xxx
~ Yianna Tsakirios on the birth of Thea (May 2016)
Natural Birth at RPA
The best thing any pregnant couple could do would be to hire Virginia as their doula! Virginia put our minds at ease from the first meeting and I knew that she would be a fantastic support throughout pregnancy and during the birth. Virginia really took the time to get to know us, answer all of our questions and even patiently mediated some differences of opinion between my husband and I!
Virginia is a wealth of information for all things pregnancy and birth related. She has a great library of books and resources too, which was awesome in the lead up to the birth. We even got my husband watching some birth videos to get in the groove! It was good that he was prepared because he ended up getting really into it and even caught our daughter as I birthed her.
Although our birth didn’t go exactly as we planned (do they ever?!), I am so grateful to Virginia for all her support, reassurance and strength during the birth. It was a truly joyous experience and I felt so supported and cared for. Virginia’s presence during the birth and all the preparation we did with her in the lead up really gave my husband the confidence to be the Best possible support person. Virginia took care of everything from keeping me hydrated to diffusing essential oils, which allowed my husband to be completely present. It was amazing how Virginia knew when my energy was waning and was there with some juice or ginseng or some motivating words. I never questioned whether she had complete faith in my body and capacity to birth my baby. Amongst all of that she even found time to take photos of our birth, which I will always treasure.
I can never thank Virginia enough for her love and support
~Emma Siegel on the birth of Sadie (March 2016)
Premature Birth at Royal Hospital for Women
My husband and I are very happy that we had Virginia as our doula.
We were planning a home birth with independent midwives, but due to premature labour we gave birth at the hospital.
For the first false alarm labour at 26 weeks gestation, Virginia was quick to come to the hospital and stayed with us until we felt ok. She helped me to stop the contractions with her special herbs, which worked so well. Thanks to her, the contractions stopped and I was able to keep my baby inside until 27 weeks.
Her emotional support was invaluable during my stay in the hospital.
When the real labour came at 27 weeks, our son was born too fast and only my husband was able to be present for me but Virginia came as soon as possible and helped us after the birth. Her presence was such a comfort for us.
She prepared placenta capsules very quickly which helped me with milk production and fatigue. It also helped me with my mood despite of the fact that I was not able to cuddle my son after birth for 14 days.
Virginia also organised a rebirth ceremony for me when our son was back home from NICU. It was such a special ceremony which helped me to acknowledge my grief, let go of it and be positive with my mind.
I cannot imagine how we could have been without Virginia’s support and wisdom.
Thank you Virginia for your wonderful service!
~Noriko Amies (doula) on the birth of Walter (November 2015)
Attempted VBAC at St George hospital
Virginia was my doula for my attempted VBAC. Straight away me and my husband felt comfortable and relaxed with Virginia. She helped me in so many ways for my labour with herbs, massages, encouragement and plenty more. I went into labour with so much more knowledge thanks to her guidance which helped me make informed choices in labour rather than just being told what to do by the doctors. Virginia also takes amazing photos which I will treasure forever.
~Asheligh Tauteka on the birth of Tia (March 2015)
Natural Birth at Bankstown hospital – Patrick’s Birth Story
My quest to find a Doula all started with the want to educate myself about child birth, especially after watching the documentary “The business of being born”. I met Virginia when I was 15 weeks pregnant and her presence instantly put us at ease about childbirth. We decided to hire her before she had left our house after the interview. I borrowed books from Virginia’s library and Adam and I did a Calmbirth course. All this preparation was invaluable to setting my mind at ease and conquering any fears about childbirth. I soon realized that my fears were fuelled by other people’s mis-information and lack of education that had often led them to traumatic birth experiences. Virginia was also a great source of information for my antenatal care and assisted us in making informed decisions for antenatal testing.
At 35 weeks I went into premature labour, of which Virginia was able to help stop with the use of herbs and calcium and magnesium. I went into premature labour 2 more times, each time we worked to stop the labours. After nearly 5 weeks of constant braxton hicks and stalled labours, I went into labour at 39+6 weeks. It all started the night before (17th October) when I began profusely vomiting, which continued all night with light cramps. Then at 10am on the 18th of October I was in the kitchen getting an ice block when my waters broke in a gush down the legs of my pyjamas, into my ugg boots! Adam heard my squeals and thought I had flooded the kitchen! I waddled into the shower to let the rest of my waters drain, all the while laughing at how hilariously gross it was.
Not long after I got into the shower the contractions started. We timed a few and they were erratic, but 1-3mins apart and I could barely speak through them. Adam called Virginia to let her know and she headed over to be with me as I laboured. I got out of the shower and sat on some towels while I waited for Virginia to arrive. Virginia’s presence when she arrived was calm and soothing. She sat with me through some contractions, then suggested getting into the bath. I continued laboring in the bath until we made the decision to transfer to hospital. Virginia gave me herbs to help calm me for the hospital transfer.
I was checked over by the midwife at the hospital and it was confirmed that my baby was in a posterior position. By this stage I was in quite a lot of pain and starting to ask for drugs but Virginia reminded me of why I wanted a drug free birth and encouraged me through it. Once we were in the birthing suite Virginia instructed Adam on how to use the rebozo technique to encourage my baby into the anterior position and how to massage my back to relieve my back labour pains. Meanwhile, Virginia ran the bath. Once the bath was full I hopped in and continued laboring in the bath. I was in lots of pain and started asking for drugs. Virginia encouraged me to do my own virginal exam, which I did and was able to feel my baby’s head and that my cervix was almost fully dilated. I found this very empowering. When the midwife came to check on my progress, I asked her to check my cervix to see if what I was feeling was right. She confirmed that I was 7-8cm dilated, which made me feel like I could get through it. I hopped back into the bath.
Not much longer after I got in the bath the contractions eased off and I got rest before I started feeling the urge to push. It was around this time that a shift change happened for the hospital staff and the midwife I had for my antenatal appointments came to check on me. I was so thrilled to see her and have her looking after my birth. Virginia suggested for me to check how I was progressing, so I did and I could feel my baby’s head only 1cm inside me! 2hours of pushing passed and I was exhausted and dehydrated from vomiting all night. I was asked to hop out of the bath so that the doctor could examine me. The doctor informed me that my baby was posterior and that a vacuum delivery would be best. Virginia gave me some herbs to help my labour and to calm me for the birthing of my baby. She also found the arnica in my bag and started giving it to me.
We transferred out of the birthing suite into another room. While the doctor was getting everything set up for the delivery, Virginia noticed that she could see my baby’s head in between pushes. The midwife got a mirror so I could see it. Adam had a look too, which before the birth he had said he would never do. The doctor informed me of the risks of the vacuum delivery and that I would need an episiotomy. The doctor made the incision and attached the vacuum to my baby’s head. On the next push my baby’s head was born and the following push the rest of my baby was born and he was placed on my chest. I had just long enough to look at my baby and discover that we had a son before his cord was clamped and cut and he was transferred to the baby support machine as he was having trouble breathing. They wheeled my son off to the special care unit. In the meantime Adam had nearly fainted from the overwhelming emotion. Once he recovered he went to be with our son. At some point I was informed that my parents and granddad had arrived (it was all a blur). I asked that they wait in the cafeteria until I was ready.
Virginia stayed with me while I got stitched up, which was great, otherwise it would have been just me and the doctor in the room. She showed me some photos of the birth, which was a good distraction. The midwife came in and suggested I have a shower, which I refused and firmly asked that I see my son. 1.5 hours after his birth, I was finally able to go and see and hold my son skin-to-skin! My parents and granddad came in to meet us shortly afterwards. Virginia continued photographing these precious moments we had as a family.
Virginia’s support continued through my post-natal recovery period. She encapsulated my placenta which helped significantly with my post natal recovery both physiologically and psychologically. I had no baby blues whatsoever! She made a balm for my episiotomy scar, which reduced and softened the scar tissue. She also gave me advice on how to treat mastitis naturally and gave me a tincture to take when I could feel mastitis coming on.
Once Virginia had edited the photographs she sent them to us and we were able to re-live the memories of the day with a joyful tear in our eye. Her photography captured the day in such exquisite detail yet remained un-invasive and private. Birth photography was not something I had considered too much before my son’s birth but I am very grateful to have had those memories captured.
I cannot thank Virginia enough in her support and gentle guidance through our birthing experience and journey into becoming parents.
~ Belynda Carrall on the birth of Patrick (October 2014)
My pregnancy and the birth of our son was a wonderfully positive experience as we were guided with Virginia’s wide depth of birthing expertise and high level of care. The photos she took were beautiful and we will be forever grateful for her support and giving us the confidence we needed to birth our son the way we wanted.
~Kylie Ellis on the birth of Isaac (July 2014)
Vaginal Birth at Sutherland Hospital
It was my first pregnancy, so me and my husband decided that we would like to have a doula to help us. We had been in Australia just for an year with no relatives or close friends here and an idea to have someone by our side during pregnancy and labour seemed perfect to us. We discovered Virginia via one of the mum’s forum as well as advertisement of her famous “Beer and Bubs” course. We bonded with her right from our first meeting. She is very knowledgeable, easy going and comfortable to ask any questions. Virginia provided us with information, helpful websites and print outs that have been very useful. She also helped us with our birth plan.
During the birth she was exactly what I needed! At the hospital she helped us establish a lovely atmosphere with aromatherapy, massage and encouraging words. My labour was long but Virginia was there with me the whole way even though things were moving very slowly. Herbal tinctures she gave me when I was in pain were invaluable support for me. Due to the very slow dilation the staff were suggesting intervention to speed up my labour so I ended up with stimulation and epidural. It was hard decision for me because I really wanted to have a drug-free birth but she made it easier by supporting me in whatever I decided. She also managed to take some photos during labour and birth!
It was a very comforting experience for us to have that kind of support throughout pregnancy and labour. We can recommend Virginia to anyone looking for a doula!
I also had my placenta encapsulated by Virginia to give me energy I didn’t think I would have so my recovery was quick.
Virginia, thank you so much for everything you have done for our family!
~ Margarita Trubnikova on the birth of Diana (August 2104)
VBAC at RPA Birth Centre
I started researching for a doula late into my third trimester and only actually met and decided on Virginia when I was 35 weeks pregnant. Being my second pregnancy and not having experienced the natural birth I desired the first time around, my husband and I felt we could benefit from the knowledge, skills and expertise of an expert in birth support.
I chose Virginia as I felt she could help us achieve the VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) we wanted. I liked the fact that Virginia was a herbalist and recommended many herbal options in the lead up to, during and after the birth. Virginia’s manner was always very honest and open. I felt at ease with her quickly and was able to speak with her about any concern I had anytime. Her continued support gave me confidence in the choices I made. I really valued and enjoyed hearing her wise words of experience and other birth stories as they helped me make informed decisions.
Virginia helped me remain positive which was imperative especially in the weeks after my due date. She was always very reliable and accommodating especially considering we lived quite a distance apart. The literature Virginia lent me was helpful too in educating and putting me in the right frame of mind in the lead up to the birth. I would not hesitate to recommend Virginia’s services to anyone.
~Justine Hamilton on the birth of Jai (April 2014)
Natural birth at RPA Birth Centre
From our very first meeting with Virginia my husband Joel and I felt like she was very trustworthy. Importantly for me Joel was very comfortable with her and we booked her straight away. She was very comfortable with the idea that we might like our other daughter Olive present at the birth and Olive just adored Virginia. She was the Doula for us.
I felt so relieved that if I had a question, I knew I could email her and would get an answer. When I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes she really listened to my concerns and I felt confident in knowing that she was there. It was wonderful that she could prepare some herbs for me to help keep my blood sugars in check- I had not used herbal remedies before and was very impressed.
I felt the prenatal appointments were very useful and really helped to get me in the mindset for giving birth and having a baby, something which I had been too busy with a toddler to really focus on! Virginia also helped us with some pain management techniques, which I drew on during my early labour. Virginia had some really useful information about stretch and sweeps so I could have both sides of the story and make an informed decision when I chose to have this intervention when I went ‘over’ my due date.
When I felt the first few niggles of labour I went to bed, and slept most of the night only waking for surges. At about nine in the morning I decided that I was probably going to have the baby that day and messaged Virginia that I was having irregular contractions. I called her around 10:30am to say I was leaving to go to Birth Centre and for her to organise childcare. I got to Birth Centre at 11am and I was 6cm dilated (“Hooray!” I thought). Then I started to get really overwhelmed by the contractions and got in the bath, asking for some gas from the midwives.
Virginia arrived at the birth centre about 20 minutes after Joel at 11.50am. I was so happy she was there and I remember how I welcomed her with a big “Virginia!” – the room had been very serious before she came in and she had perfect timing to brighten everything up. I then felt like my baby would be here soon and was surprised at how low the head was when I checked. The very next contraction after Virginia arrived, my waters broke (coincidence?). The waters were heavily stained with fresh meconium- everyone remained calm but I had to get out of the bath and get the baby out very quickly. His head was out with the next contraction and the rest of him followed shortly. It eventuated that Virginia was at the Birth Centre for about 8 minutes before he was born! Somehow she still managed to get some lovely photos, which I absolutely cherish.
She also rubbed Bear’s head with some Australian Bush Flower Essences, which were absolutely beautiful. I feel like this contributed to the overwhelming sense of wholeness that Bear radiates. I was so impressed with everything that Virginia had to offer us and would highly recommend her.
I’d like to thank Virginia for helping us welcome our new family member in such a celebratory way! We will always be grateful.
~ Ellen Croucher (doula) on the birth of Bear. (January 2014)
Waterbirth against all odds at Sutherland Hospital
My husband and I are very happy and satisfied with Virginia’s doula and placenta encapsulation service. She is very supportive, respectful and well informed.
We had a hard time with the hospital throughout the pregnancy until the birth because the hospital wasn’t very supportive, didn’t provide holistic care at all, plus we had a terrible midwife at the birth. With her support, we could remain strong to enjoy and celebrate this blissful moment of life and I had a beautiful natural water birth.
So if you are looking to hire a professional support person for your pregnancy and birth, we highly recommend Virginia without a doubt. 🙂
– Bitna Choi-Castillo on the birth of Aila. (December 2013).
Homebirth transfer to hospital
I met Virginia during the first 3 months of our pregnancy when we interviewed her. This was the first and only interviewed we conducted, having felt we had found the right doula for us. Virginia came across as extremely passionate about supporting women through their birth experience, and certainly very knowledgeable regarding many aspects of the birthing process.
As our relationship developed and our pregnancy progressed Virginia shared more of her knowledge with me, helping me to make informed decisions that would result in more favourable outcomes for us – given that we faced several ‘medical’ challenges along our pregnancy. Even more empowering for us, she helped me to overcome my fears around the possibility of home birthing – the ultimate birthing experience for me – and clearly had the necessary contacts and experience to help us make this dream a reality. I also personally loved that despite not having had experience in lotus birthing, she was supportive of my wishes and informed herself accordingly. When bub finally arrived, she was more than ready to step in and guide us/support us around this process.
Overall, during the lead up to our birth Virginia provided us with contacts, resources, her time, and a couple of added bonuses – like a beautiful Blessingway ceremony, pre-baby photos and henna belly which made the journey even more special. When it finally came to the labour, her unwavering support became truly evident. She stayed with us throughout our 48-hour labour – no easy feat if you can imagine how truly exhausting that would be for anyone…. And despite helping us to arrange a homebirth, she was fantastic in counselling me as I arranged to transfer to hospital – attempting to make sure I was mentally and emotionally prepared for this turn of events in my labour.
Even after the birth she continued to check in with me, to make sure I was coping well despite everything. Her encouragement, belief, patience, natural concern for mum and bub, and willingness to share her knowledge with us makes her a great doula. If you are looking for a doula with experience, knowledge, passion for birthing rights of mum and bub, and varied but complementary skills that can support you in your birthing journey, then Virginia is the lady for you :)-
~ Raquel Grant on the birth of Koen. (October 2013).
Vaginal Birth After Caesarean
“Thank you so much for the energy and time you gave me during my birthing time. Since hiring you as my Doula I instantly felt really comfortable with you. You supported me so beautifully leading up to my birth and during my birthing time. There were a few times during my birthing time that I needed a boost and you were there. Your positive words and actions helped me continue with confidence and ultimately helped me get my VBAC. Thank you so much.”
– Crystal on the birth of Chiara. (July 2013).
Quick Waterbirth at Sutherland Hospital
The decision to hire a doula for our second birth happened for a number of reasons. One was so that my husband could feel he could leave if our older child needed one of us, and two because we needed the extra support this time around so we could both feel more confident. We hired Virginia as we are lucky enough to have her as a friend, and both myself and my husband felt comfortable with the idea of having someone we both knew around us.
Virginia was an amazing support throughout our pregnancy and especially throughout the labour. Before going to the hospital she was great while I was having contractions and our two year old was just wanting her daddy. She did great massage, helping me to relax in between and letting me know that I would never have to have that contraction ever again and that each one was a step closer to meeting our baby.
We had an all natural water birth at Sutherland hospital and it was an amazing experience. Virginia made sure I was comfortable in the water by providing me with cool face washers and anything else I needed – she seemed to always pick the right moment for the cool washers and this meant my husband rarely left my side. He also felt much more confident having Virginia around to help out, if he didn’t know what to do. She offered advice and tips during the birth without being pushy or in the way. Virginia has a lot of experience and knowledge, and will not intimidate your husband, just support.
We have some amazing photos of the birth of our daughter thanks to Virginia, and we now have this amazing experience to look back on whenever we want. At no point during the whole experience did Virginia get in the way, she was literally there when we needed the extra support. I would recommend Virginia highly, especially for couples who find it hard to relax or feel comfortable around people they may not know very well or in general.
– Sarah Cawardine on the birth of Amelia. (March 2012)
Natural birth at St George hospital
I decided to hire a doula fairly late into my second pregnancy. When I met Virginia , she seemed grounded and unflappable, I felt she was at ease within herself – all good qualities for a birth support person. My husband and I met with Virginia several times before the birth and we emailed and talked on the phone too, so by the time the of the labour we all felt very familiar and comfortable with each other.
Virginia’s knowledge about pregnancy and labour were really helpful when talking through my birth plan. She introduced me to some birthing techniques that I had not been familiar with . I also found being able to utilise Virginia’s skills as a herbalist during my pregnancy was a real bonus. She helped to treat a pregnancy related medical condition [low platelets] and went out of her way to look into all the treatment options available. The energy and enthusiasm Virginia showed here was characteristic of how she approached her role as my doula.
As the labour approached I felt that my husband, Virginia and I were a little team, that they were there for me, allowing me to focus on getting through the labour and acting as buffers, protecting me from the potential unpredictability of the hospital environment. A real sense of safety had developed which really helped me through the labour. My husband also felt supported by having Virginia at the birth, which allowed him to be more present for me.
On a practical level, Virginia did all the little things that make a huge difference and are so easy to forget when labour starts; reminding me to keep my fluids up, applying lip balm, dimming the lights, fetching hairclips. This freed up my husband to stay right by my side, where I needed him. Virginia’s skills as a doula and herbalist were also great during the labour, suggesting positions when I felt stuck, giving me herbs and flower essences when I needed an energy boost, and encouraging me to voice my feelings when they intruded into the progress of the labour.
The birth of our son was natural, short and uncomplicated. It was an intense yet manageable experience . I look back now proud of giving birth the way I wanted to and will always treasure that experience. I have no doubt that having Virginia as my doula greatly contributed to this outcome.
– Kerrie Webb on the birth of son, Geordie. (April 2010)
Quick and peaceful homebirth
We were planning a homebirth with our second child and started looking for a doula to act as our support person for our 3-year-old son during the birth. Virginia was recommended to us and after meeting her we felt that she could provide the support we were after – she had experience looking after children, had also homebirthed and was enthusiastic about attending ours.
We met a couple more times to get to know each other better and talk about what we wanted during the birth and Virginia was kind enough to lend us some books from her library.
When labour finally got going, it was the middle of the night and our son was asleep. Virginia came to our home promptly and quietly started helping out. She helped physically during the birth with massage and afterwards she was ready with towels and whatever else was needed. Although we didn’t end up needing her to support our son at the birth, we are very glad Virginia was there, providing another pair of capable hands and unobtrusively assisting wherever she could. She took photos and created a beautiful photobook of the birth which we are very glad to have.
– Tamara and Tom on the birth of Jeremy. (October 2009)
Challenging 2nd birth at RPA birth centre
“We decided to use a Doula for the birth of our second baby as my mother attended the first birth and I found it useful to have another pair of hands around. It allowed my husband, Stephen, to concentrate on me a whole lot more whilst getting some much needed support. Read More…
Virginia was excellent for both of us. We are so glad we employed her services, as the second birth was unexpectedly long (although not really that long) and at times I found it really difficult.
My first birth was very smooth, contractions started at 5 minute intervals and increased according to the clock thereafter. After 6 hours of “real” labour my gorgeous girl, Dahlia was born. Because this was such a smooth and relatively quick labour, all the midwives (at the Birth Centre) and my GP thought the second birth would be fast and furious. It really wasn’t!
My contractions were erratic right from the start. Sometimes close together, sometimes not, sometimes extremely strong but often not so much. They continued to be erratic the whole labour, which was the main thing that I found difficult to handle. It was so different from my first labour! I found Virginia to be calm and reassuring, and her suggestions of different positions or activities were really useful.
Because everyone was worried about a very quick birth, I went to the birth centre a little bit early, and as a result they slowed right down and then stopped. Virginia suggested that we walk up and down the stairs (7 flights) a few times to get them going again, which it did, as my contractions started up again during the trek up and down the stairs. Still, they were erratic and unpredictable and not particularly close together.
I laboured and laboured and laboured. This time, it felt like forever that I was labouring. Virginia and Stephen had taken down the clocks, so that I wouldn’t be worried about the time that was passing, however I really wanted to know – so every now and then I’d sneak a look at the clock in the bathroom. It didn’t phase me at all, but I just wanted to keep track of what was going on. Don’t ask me why, it’s completely irrelevant and made no difference to the process or how I was feeling.
The whole labour my contractions were erratic and unpredictable. I’d have quite long periods (relatively speaking) of nothing and then long periods of them being close together. Some were very strong and some were not so full-on. Very different to my first labour, and I think I found that more difficult to deal with than anything else, such as how much time was passing or anything like that.
A few times I just wanted to give up, but was nervous to let either of them that I wanted to give up and not do things naturally. Eventually I told Stephen and he and Virginia put their heads together and gave me some drops. I’m not sure if they were Australian Flower Essences or Homeopathics but within a minute or two I felt like I could do it and was doing fine. I remember very clearly thinking to myself “why didn’t I say something sooner”? I’d obviously made myself suffer needlessly! So the next few times I felt like giving up, I was happy to let them know so they could “fix” it. And that worked, it got me through.
Anyway, eventually I felt the urge to push – it was almost irresistible. I was in the bath, as I really wanted a water birth with my first and didn’t get one as she’d done a maconium poo and I had to get out pretty much at the beginning of 2nd stage (what a nightmare)! So, I was determined with the second to try again for the water birth. Unfortunately, I still didn’t get to have a water birth, but more on that in a moment.
For some reason I felt like I wasn’t allowed to push, don’t ask me why, so I tried to hold on and said a number of times “I really want to push … I need to push”. After eliciting no response from anyone, I decided to take matters into my own hands and pushed away. It is odd that I felt I needed “permission” to push, but I guess the “good girl” in me extends even to the most stressful situations! Anyway, the whole time Virginia was massaging, encouraging and supporting both me and Stephen, helping us through and making sure we were okay. She was making sure that I was hydrated and kept me cool with ice-cold facewashers. Honestly, it felt like heaven when she put them around my neck or on my back!
Anyway, the problem with the pushing was that baby didn’t want to come down. He was still well up there, not moving, not holding up his part of the bargain! I was pushing and pushing and getting more and more tired, and my baby just wasn’t coming down. He just didn’t seem to want to come out.
So, eventually, I forced him into the birth canal, and he slowly started to move down to the light at the end of the tunnel. I gave a couple of huge pushes, and he more than crowned, his head came out almost up to his eyes, and then he scooted back up the birth canal again (at least, that’s what it felt like). I couldn’t believe it! I finally got him almost to the “easy” part, and he goes all the way back up again. My heart dropped and I thought “oh my G-d, I have to do it all over again”.
Then the midwife, Sarah, who’d been monitoring the baby very closely (thank goodness) said “his heart rate has dropped, you have to get out of the bath”.
I thought “oh no, not again” to myself, and looked at the side of the bath and thought “how the hell am I going to get out of here”? It was hard enough at the beginning of 2nd stage last time, but unbelievable at the end of 2nd stage this time! Anyway, I guess I may have looked as though I was hesitating (rather than trying to figure out how to achieve this physical feat) so Sarah said to me, in a pretty urgent tone:
“You have to get out of the bath, NOW”.
So, this 9½ month pregnant woman (me) leapt over the side of Mt Vesuvius and then Sarah said “get down on the bed, lie on your back”. I remember looking at her as if she was insane – are you kidding? I couldn’t even lie on my back in the bath, let alone on a bed!
Anyway, I said to her “No way, not doing it” and thought to myself “this baby is coming out … NOW”.
So, before I even got to the bed, while I was standing up, I grabbed hold of Stephen and had one massive contraction – the baby’s head and shoulders came out in that one push and Sarah pulled the baby out the rest of the way. I saw something around his head and neck and he looked a blue/purple colour.
Sarah said “the cord’s around his neck” and quickly – moving quicker than the speed of light – unwrapped it while telling me to lie on the bed and get ready. I lay down and once she’d unwrapped the baby (the cord was around his neck 3 times – no wonder he went back up, he had his first, and hopefully his last, bungee jump) Sarah lay him on my chest and then blew on him and moved his limbs until he took his first breath. As soon as he did he turned a normal colour again, and his apgar scores were 8 and 9, so he recovered very quickly. All of this happened in what felt like a few seconds, so quickly that we didn’t even get a chance to realise what was going on (thank goodness).
Virginia gave me and Sam some essences, to ensure a smooth passage for him into this life with me, Stephen and Dahlia, which I found very reassuring and quite lovely. She also gave me something, though I can’t remember what. All I remember is feeling absolutely wonderful, and loving my beautiful baby boy.
We hadn’t made the final decision on the baby’s name yet, as I wanted to see him to see which name suited him best. Most of the pregnancy I was fairly set on the name Max, however I started to feel differently towards the end of the pregnancy, so we decided to wait and see. We eventually decided to call him Samuel (Sam), as he seemed like a really relaxed, easy going boy, whereas when I think of Max, I think of a more mischievous type, and perhaps a bit more cheeky and “fun”, so to speak. I found it reassuring that Virginia agreed with our assessment of his personality (as she obviously was an objective bystander). Sam was born at 5:38am, exactly 10 days after his estimated due date. He was born naturally, with no intervention, as I wanted him to be, really thanks to Virginia and her calming presence and amazing knowledge of appropriate flower essences and other remedies.
If I were to have another baby, I would not hesitate to ask Virginia to assist with the birth. Thanks so much, Virginia!”
– Natanya Mandel on the birth of Sam. (November 2008)
VBAC trial at Prince Of Wales Private
After a disappointing hospital experience giving birth to my first child two years ago, I employed Virginia as my doula while pregnant with my second child in the hope that we could achieve a much more positive birthing experience the second time around. Virginia met with me regularly to discuss my birth plan, provided invaluable phone and email support; and as a qualified herbalist, treated me for insomnia in the early stages of my pregnancy. Read More…
When I finally went into labour, Virginia was on my doorstep within half an hour. She accompanied us to the hospital, liaised with the midwives, made sure I was comfortable; and generally brought a very supportive, reassuring presence to the process and for the duration of my labour. Unfortunately, events took a different turn when my son became very distressed and required emergency surgery to get him out; but during the entire labour I felt calm, supported, and most importantly, in control of the situation.
After the birth, Virginia stayed with us for several hours to make sure we were all OK, and visited me on the ward and at home to see how things were going and to debrief. Virginia also encouraged me to write my birth story while it was all still fresh in my mind – for which I am eternally grateful – as it was very cathartic for me, and I never would have remembered all the details had I left it until I got home.
Virginia remains a good friend of ours, and if I were crazy enough to go for a third baby, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask her to be my doula again.
– Amanda Reitzin on the birth of Leo. (July 2008)
Very quick birth at RPA birth centre
“It was great to have Virginia as part of our birthing team. We engaged her services very late in my pregnancy (about week 36) and found Virginia to be very willing to work with us in terms of scheduling meetings and talking on the phone at short notice.
In our pre-birth meetings she really helped Doug and I to think through and further understand many things about the birthing process so that we could develop a birth plan that worked for us. I originally was not going to have a birth plan, however found the exercise really valuable.
Unfortunately, due to a very fast delivery, Virginia just missed the 2nd stage, however, arrived for 3rd stage and helped me to identify feelings of shock after a quick birth. Her verbal reassurance and assistance with massage helped me to calm down and deliver the placenta without an injection.
Although early in her career as a doula, I found Virginia to be competent and honest about her experiences and her knowledge. She was eager to research areas she wasn’t sure about and conveyed a genuine interest in helping to make the birth experience positive for Doug and I. She also provided a detailed summary of our work together which forms a written memory of the birth of our daughter, Hannah.
We are glad that we chose to have a doula support our birth and really enjoyed working with Virginia.”
~ Jodee, Douglas & Cal on the birth of their daughter Hannah. November 2007.
Unplanned Caesarean at RHW
“During my 2nd trimester, my husband John and I made the decision to obtain the services of a doula for the birth of our first child. My family was in Canada and we didn’t have any familiar birth support in Australia, so we felt that having a doula assist at our baby’s birth would give us peace of mind and help us to achieve a natural birth with minimal intervention.
We looked at various doula websites and came across Virginia’s profile on findadoula.com.au, as well as in our copy of the Natural Health Guide Sydney. We were impressed with Virginia’s qualifications and that she was trained at Birthing Rites Australia under the highly respected Marie Burrows. In addition, Virginia is a herbalist, and using herbal remedies to cope with labour and to encourage healing after birth was something that appealed to me and influenced our decision to choose Virginia as our doula.
Virginia made two home visits, during which she helped us draw up our birth plan and answered our many questions. When we discovered that the baby was still in a transverse lie at 36 weeks, I called Virginia and she made suggestions to encourage the baby to turn including moxibustion, acupuncture and seeing a chiropractor who practiced the Webster technique. My three visits to Dr Darren Chan and a visit to a local acupuncturist helped the baby to turn head down by my next prenatal visit, although the baby’s head was not yet engaged.
The day following my 38 week prenatal visit, I noticed very few foetal movements and sensed something wasn’t right. I rang the Birth Centre and was advised to come in for observation. After a few hours of foetal monitoring, both in the Birth Centre and Delivery Suite, the doctor advised a caesarean section as the baby was in distress. John and I were disappointed that we wouldn’t be able to have a natural birth but we knew that it was more important to get the baby out quickly.
It was 10pm when John rang Virginia to let her know what was happening, as we had requested her presence in the event of a C-section. Within the hour, Virginia arrived at the hospital. She brought with her a bottle of Emergency Essence to help alleviate any feelings of distress and fear, and for this I was very grateful. Unfortunately, hospital policy did not allow Virginia into surgery but she waited outside to offer her support post-surgery.
After the birth, our baby girl, Lila was resuscitated and placed in a humidicrib. I was still in recovery when Virginia caught up with John and Lila, who was being taken to Newborn Care. During the settling in at NCC, Virginia was a great support to John. Lila’s blood sugar levels dropped and she needed to be fed quickly. There was no time for me to hand express colostrum (I was still in recovery) so John had to choose between a formula feed or drip. He chose the less invasive option of a bottle feed. Lila initially suckled, but then stopped breathing and the nurses suctioned her and resuscitated her using a squeeze bag. This episode was extremely distressing for john, and Virginia was very reassuring and supportive.
Once Lila was settled, Virginia left John at NCC and came to check on me in the maternity ward. She filled me in on Lila’s progress and assured me that she was healthy and beautiful. She then asked me how I was feeling and I told her that I was tired and sore, but very happy. I was getting pins and needles in my feet – the after-effect of the epidural wearing off, and Virginia gave me a relaxing foot massage and spoke reassuringly about the baby. She suggested I take Emergency Essence every few hours along with the hospital prescribed pain medication.
It was nearly 3am when Virginia went home after ensuring we were all well and promising to visit later that day after work. Virginia also visited us again the day before I was discharged from hospital, when she brought with her some herbal medicines to assist with healing of my wound and with bleeding.
Throughout the latter stage of my pregnancy, and especially during my birth experience, Virginia was a committed professional, passionate about her work, and a calm, reassuring presence. Even though we didn’t have the natural birth we had hoped for, Virginia’s support and experience was invaluable and we wish her much success and joy as a doula”.
– Donna & John on the birth of their daughter Lila. (October 2007)
Waterbirth at RHW Birth Centre
“We had been deliberating about whether to enlist the services of a Doula for some time before the birth of Jonah, and in hindsight, we could not have done without the assistance and support of Virginia. Prior to Jonah’s due date, Virginia met with us on a number of occasions, and helped us to finalise our birth plan, working out our priorities, ideas, goals for our birth, as well as talking through some of our fears and concerns around the birth. Jonah was 11 days overdue, and in the lead-up to labour Virginia would regularly phone in and offer support and advice, which helped to allay our anxieties.
When an induction became necessary, Virginia accompanied us to the hospital and, given that it was an invasive procedure conducted in a suite in the ante-natal ward, helped to make the ordeal more comfortable. She was able to know when to give us time alone, and when to be present and with us, to make it all bearable.
Once labour started, Virginia provided an invaluable extra set of hands; she ensured we were both well hydrated, that there were plenty of hot packs and cold face washers at our disposal, liaised with the midwife, and provided emotional support and encouragement. With Virginia’s help, we felt as though we could remain together throughout labour, but importantly, it allowed Mark the opportunity to take five and regroup without feeling as though he was leaving Amelia on her own.
Throughout labour, Virginia was present but in an unobtrusive way, allowing us to feel totally supported but without imposing on our ability to work together as a team to birth our son. The experience of labouring to birth our son was immensely challenging, yet sublime, and ultimately, incredibly enriching. We know that this is, in part, attributable to Virginia’s presence and are grateful to her for being at the birth.”
– Mark van Grootel & Amelia Frid on the birth of their son Jonah. (January 2007).