We will always be thankful for Michelle - we truly believe she was instrumental to our daughter's safe arrival, by making sure our concerns about her growth were acted upon in antenatal clinic.
From our first meeting, both of us felt very much at ease in her presence. During our early visits, she enabled us to focus our hopes, fears and what mattered to us most, which made things so much easier to handle as things moved from the natural birth we had anticipated to a much more medicalised one. Her positivity at every stage was so empowering.
Something made us call Michelle at short notice to ask her to accompany us to what should have been a routine antenatal appointment. Through working with her over several months, she could recognise that I wasn't myself. Our daughter's growth had been static for the last 5 weeks and I had suddenly started to feel a sense of urgency, that something wasn't right. When the doctor explained their plan to keep me under observation for a further week we felt fear for our daughter's well-being, which Michelle immediately picked up on. As a direct result of her advocacy, I was admitted straight from clinic and it became evident how unwell I had become. After I was stabilised, our daughter was born by planned caesarean section, as calmly as we could have hoped for.
Michelle was brilliant company in hospital, calm and intuitive - sometimes chatting, sometimes just sitting together and being with me, asking questions I was too incoherent to vocalise and always making sure I was aware of my choices.
We honestly feel that although it wasn't the birth we had imagined, we had the birth that was right for us all and, the outcome that we dreamt of. Thank you Michelle, we feel so blessed to have had you by our side.
- Sian and Maurice Ahern
At first I knew nothing about the services of a doula but I knew I needed some help. We found out we were pregnant on the 22nd September last year and on the 4th October my husband, Stuart had a stroke at the age of 41 and spent 2 months in hospital.
I found Michelle through the doula.org.uk and was impressed by her openness and decided to give her a call. I knew pretty much immediately that she was someone I could trust and connect with.
She supported us with antenatal meetings and we discussed my reservations about certain parts of the birth and gave me the confidence to actually start looking forward to the birth.
… my waters broke at 3am…Michelle arrived at our house late morning and we went to the hospital to get checked out as I had concerns that there was discolouring of the waters. We talked through what the consultant was telling me about the meconium and I made the decision to be induced with the drip. Whilst this meant I could not have the water birth I’d been hoping for; Michelle made me feel in control of the situation enabling me to make the right decision for me.
When Stuart arrived at the hospital, Michelle explained what was happening and made sure that he felt comfortable in the situation – something that was incredibly important for me which allowed me to relax and focus on myself and the baby
After a few hours of the Tens and Gas/Air approach things were getting tough and I started to doubt my ability to give birth naturally. The baby was twisting causing immense pain and the urge to push – which I was being told NOT to do.
Michelle came into her own at this point; reassuring me, giving me a shoulder to cry on and most importantly a hug when I needed one. Not only was she doing this but all the time making sure Stuart knew what was happening and reassuring him that I was in fact doing ‘really well’
Yes Michelle is a great doula, but she also gives so much more of herself and I can’t recommend her highly enough to any couple facing childbirth.
I decided to look for a doula for my second birth after a traumatic first birth and found Michelle through the Dolua UK website. I had hoped for a home delivery for my second child and I was able to be at home before being transferred to hospital. Despite the birth not being the experience I had hoped for, I felt completely in control and found the birth empowering. This was largely due to Michelle asking the midwifes questions and encouraging me to make my own decisions. She gave me the confidence to trust my own instincts and ensured that I was involved in decision making. Michelle was a fantastic support for my partner who was frustrated by ending up in a hospital. It is easy to be overwhelmed when you are in labour by medical jargon but Michelle was able to translate and help me to make the right decision for me and my baby. I cannot thank Michelle enough for her support during labour and would recommend her to any mother.
Michelle Every was recommended to us through our independent midwife. Although engaged late at 8 months pregnant we thoroughly enjoyed our first meetings with Michelle and found her to be relaxing, straightforward, honest and experienced.
We were never going to be the ‘run of the mill’ pregnancy having opted for a home birth despite this being our first and everyone (and his dog) telling us to minimise risk to go for a hospital delivery.
First stage Labour lasted only 4 hours and were hugely painful. We nearly gave up at one point and headed to hospital but that was when Michelle arrived, controlling mums breathing and Gas and Air intake she converted the panic quickly to calm and the next stage of labour. All finished well and after only 7 hours we had our beautiful baby boy of 7 lbs, 2 weeks early. Michelle stayed in regular contact afterwards and met us 2 days after birth and later made a wonderful lunch for all of us at our place making us feel truly special.
We cannot recommend Michelle highly enough.
Michelle was a genuine God-send for me during pregnancy and the weeks after giving birth to my beautiful son. She helped me to think about my own values and preferences, and how I could put these into my birthing experience and my parenting. As I am diabetic, it is often easy to feel overwhelmed by the numerous hospital visits and medical jargon that gets thrown at you during pregnancy. Michelle gave me a refreshing counterbalance by giving me a place to talk through my feelings about the birth outside of the medical environment, and by reminding me that my body was built for the task of bearing a child. Her encouragements were greatly empowering, giving me the confidence to be pro-active and inquisitive at hospital visits so that I could make sure that my son had the opportunity to come into the world in a way that I felt comfortable with. My husband was amazing during the labour – he was so uplifting and confident. He tells me that his confidence was helped tremendously by the time we spent together with Michelle, when she talked to him about the different stages of labour and encouraged him to think about how he could best support me.
When I first asked Michelle Every to be at the birth of my 5th child I knew that there would be someone there with me whom I could draw a great source of strength from. I also knew that she would totally understand how precious having a baby is and that it should be a very positive experience. I needed her there for reassurance and support (she also threw in a great sense of humour!!). Michelle totally respected what I wanted and was just there when and wherever I needed her to be.
I can not praise Michelle highly enough in her skill as a doula. She is gentle, compassionate and gives confidence but at the same time she shows leadership and direction. It is a unique gifting that leaves you feeling safe and knowing that your well being and that of your baby is her only concern.
- Dr Laura Neilson
Michelle was calm, confident, reassuring and gentle. Her being at the birth allowed my husband the time to rest and he found Michelle’s presence a great help. Michelle being there meant I could concentrate on my labour and not worry about my husband. She helped to keep me motivated and moving in labour without being a cheerleader! It was good to have someone tell you that you are doing a good job.
Having a medical/hospital phobia and my fiancé Todd suffering with anxiety I knew right from the start of my pregnancy that we’d need extra support before and during the birth of our daughter. I found Michelle who was honestly amazing from the moment I met her. I needed someone who could reassure me whenever I got worried and Michelle was always there when I needed her. My labour and birth of my daughter Aimee was a really positive experience thanks to the support we had from Michelle. Had it not have been for her Todd wouldn’t have been nowhere near as involved in Aimee’s birth as he was and I will be forever grateful for all Michelle’s help. Michelle was supportive, understanding, gentle and also a real laugh to be around. I seem to remember laughing and smiling through quite a lot of my labour. I would 100% recommend every woman had that extra support as for me/us it was priceless. I look forward to Michelle being my rock next time…
Nikki suggested a doula for when our daughter was being born and to be honest I didn’t really know what a doula was. I thought Michelle would be more for Nikki until we met. I felt comfortable around Michelle when we met although the thought of labour made me anxious when we talked about it. When the time came I was ok, still a bit anxious but Michelle kept me informed with what was going on when I needed to step away from ‘the action’ and I was able to ask as many questions as I needed to. It also meant that Nik always had someone there to support her even when I needed time out. I actually saw things happening during the labour that I never thought I would be able to see, seeing Aimee’s head crowning is something I’ll never forget. I never thought I would see my baby being born! Thank-you to Michelle who helped me to stay calm and collected through the 14 long hours of Nik's labour.
At the time I contacted Michelle, I was really struggling with the emotional and practical strain of those first few weeks after our baby's birth; he cried, and cried, and cried, and it seemed we could not comfort him. I started to lose my confidence as a mother, and my relationship with my partner started to suffer as we could not even eat together - or at all some nights - and we were both feeling stressed and exhausted. Michelle's arrival was an enourmous source of relief. I immediately felt more relaxed and found that I could "stand back" more, rather than feeling hopeless and inadequate. I felt as if there was someone alongside me, gently guiding me without imposing, and taking much of the emotional weight off my shoulders. I could entrust Michelle with our son from the start. As well as being a support for us with him, Michelle gave us some much needed respite. The fact that we could relax and enjoy our evenings "off", knowing that our baby was in good hands, speaks a great deal about our faith in her.
- Laura H
Michelle brought a sense of calmness and order to our chaotic post-birth
household. She was great with both Lily my newborn and my toddler Daisy
who adored her. Her presence allowed me to concentrate on getting to
know Lily and establishing breast feeding. I knew Daisy was happy and
content, and this allowed the whole family to thoroughly enjoy the new
addition. Without Michelle, I know that I would of struggled and would
not of found Lily's newborn stage as enjoyable as I did. Thank you Michelle.
In the weeks after giving birth, the thing I valued most from Michelle was her listening ear! With all the new challenges of being parents, it was great to have someone to listen to my worries and reassure me that we were doing a good job!
It was nice to have some company and a bit of space to get on with things I needed too. It was good to know we had someone we could rely on as and when we needed it. My little girl benefited from the time she spent playing with her. I’d recommended having a doula to other women and their partners.
Michelle helped to foster the relationships in our family – my baby, me, our older child and my husband. She helped us enjoy being together. She was a practical support and an emotional support for some of the rollercoaster. She has clarity of thinking. She gave me skills and confidence that I could do it, that I was a good mother and knew what to do. She was awesome!