I'm new to mumnet and actually new to this whole baby thing! As we're from the US we don't really have much of a support network here or really understand the NHS!
We've heard good things about Doulas but I don't really want to pick random names off of websites and wondered if anyone had any recommendations?
We're currently at UCH and live in N1 (London) but moving to Stoke Newington in a couple of months and might move to Homerton or the Whittington.
Have any of you used anyone you thought was really good? I want someone to support us through pregnancy (I'm 15+3), labor and the birth and maybe a little bit afterwards. We're thinking of using the birth centre though I'm not sure I can do it without an epidural!!!
I think Marslady doulas round there, it might be worth doing a search for her as she is on Mumsnet.
Have you been told about the Active Birth Centre at Bickerton Road (near Archway Tube)? They do lovely antenatal yoga classes and baby massage etc when you've had the baby, they also do massage and reflexology etc.
I had my DD at the Whittington - the midwives were great but very busy but the post natal ward was hellish. You might want to check it out and see if it has improved.
Have a look at the Doula UK website for their Find a Doula page.
I know you said you don't want to pick random names from a website but it's about your relationship with your Doula and not someone else's. It's important you interview more than one Doula and most Doulas will ask that you've interviewed another 2-3 before you agree to take one on. At least with going through DUK you have an idea of what you're taking on.
nn1: Hello from a fellow expat (NYC) living in Stoke Newington, currently 16+1. It has definitely been quite the learning curve to figure out the NHS and what to expect from this birth experience. We just found a doula who we will be using and are already feeling a bit more informed and prepared. Feel free to message me if you ever want to meet for tea!
Thanks everyone. Will look up on Doula uk and Karina Kaufman and try and find marslady too.
If anyone else has any named recommendations it just makes me feel a bit safer.
Kleeen - thank you very much and good to know there are other expats around. Really glad you've found someone to help you figure things out. Do you mind me asking who it is? I guess we are too close to have the same person though - how does that work? Can they take on loads at the same time?
Um, well I can't strictly recommend her because I haven't had the baby yet, but SquiggleyWiggler has been fab for our antenatal sessions and she's your area.
Doulas don't take on lots of clients at the same time. Most are on call for you for 4 weeks (38-42 weeks) and won't be on call for anyone else during that time. Outside those dates, they'll still try to get to you. However, if you really loved a doula who wasn't available until you were, say, 39 weeks, I think they'd probably agree to a shorter on call time provided you understood the deal. You'd probably still be ok because, statistically, not many women go to 42 weeks.
Waves to kleeen (nice to see you on MN) and secondtimelucky (I've had some sleep hurrah). And thanks to Mintpurple
I am indeed tied up around your due date but definitely worth tracking Marslady down - she's near-legendary. Karina Kaufmann doula'd for a friend of mine and was great. I'll PM you too with some suggestions.
Goes off to see if she can co-opt any more MN-ers in to her circle: mwa ha ha (evil laugh).