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 on the birth of Hannah (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, 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 Lila (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 Jonah. (2007)