Up until 31 weeks we were under the care of a private OB and enlisted to birth at a private hospital. Following our intuition and some alarming misaligned conversations led us to (with the help of Anna-Maria) find a private midwife that assisted us birth our boy in the bliss of our home.
First time parents seeking guidance and support in a new world, also to assist with a birth that was as natural as possible - which within the private system often needs an experienced guide in your corner to assist in this goal.
We felt connected and aligned with Anna-Maria from our very first introductory meeting. Throughout the pregnancy, birth and postpartum we continue to feel a special bond, like family, with Anna-Maria that exceeded our expectations as Doula. Our dog Bosco, also was a great steer in our first meeting with his utter obsession with her that assured us, she was right for our family!
It was real, honest, informed and genuine. Her care came from an evidence and experience based approach that allowed us to fully trust her advice. We loved the equal parts woo woo equal parts 'medical'.
Most of all, the many talents of Anna-Maria really simplified what can be quite a daunting and busy task for a pregnant woman and new mum in terms of keeping up with the many different practitioners you may need.
The fact she was able to:
- Assess my nutrition and provide advice as a nutritionist
- Provide referrals for bloods, analyse them accordingly, and administer vitamins via a very easy online platform
- Carry out a prenatal yoga session during one of our prenatal visits
- Provide advice and recommendations for latching and breastfeeding support from the very first latch and the day my milk came in
- Whilst simultaneously be our doula throughout all stages of the journey
My relationship with my partner has never been better following our involvement TOGETHER and all decision making throughout our pregnancy. Birth and pregnancy is a team sport. Anna-Maria armed us both with the tools to lean on and support each other.
Our midwife and Anna-Maria each stayed in their own lanes whilst supporting us at the same time for the same outcome.
My partner took over the comms between Anna-Maria during prelabour, which was essential to allow me to start going inward and avoid screens. This allowed us to provide real time updates, and receive support prior to her even being around (especially during our initial transition 2am false alarm!).
Anna-Maria arrived right as active labour was taking a new turn, and poignantly right when my partner really felt he now needed some hands on help. My birth escalated very quickly, so if we hadn't had Anna-Maria at that moment it would have been particularly overwhelming for Vaughan to manage me (having close and very intense PRIMAL contractions), the birth pool set up, comms with the midwife etc.
She at this time added a sense of calm and cool, I was now in her arms, and my partner was setting up our birth space. She supported me (virtually carrying me!) up until I got into the pool. She didn't leave my side once in the pool, reapplying cool towels in silence.
I have been told that her eye contact and silent communications with my partner once I was in the pool, was one of the most reassuring elements for my partner to allow him to be with me.
We could not have landed with the birth we had, without her support. Particularly for first time mums, it is an absolute must.
Our pregnancy, unicorn birth, and post partum has been as blissful as it has has with her support. I have had confidence in myself, my body and my partnership throughout this process with full credit to Anna-Maria.
We used the MGP in the Royal Women’s Hospital and Anna-Maria as our doula. Since we live in Australia without our family, we knew that we wanted extra support for our first pregnancy and birth. We felt that hiring Anna-Maria was worth it straight after our first birth prep session. She blew our minds with the wealth of knowledge and we loved that Jacob was included in all the meetings as a vital part of the birthing team.
I loved that I can also reach out with any questions regarding my pregnancy. I also loved Anna-Maria’s wholesome approach to nutrition and health.
Of course she was amazing at holding space in our birthing room. For me, the postpartum visits had the biggest value. I felt like Anna-Maria became a dear family member after our birth. She helped us with communication and processing our fears and worries before the birth. I loved that I can reach out with my blood test result and I got a naturopathic point of view.
It helped us 100%, to prepare and we both felt like Jacob is an essential part of the birth and postpartum. And he was. Anna-Maria communicated with our midwife and took over all the organisation so we can fully focus on the birth experience. She knew exactly what I needed. She was in the room when we needed her and gave us space when she felt we need that. It felt very special.
[Having a Doula was] The best thing ever. I tell everyone to get a doula, especially because I hear so many horror stories and our birth was truly amazing. I 100% recommend Anna-Maria.
I had my husband, Anna -Maria as my doula, my obstetrician, a physio and a midwife that we met on the day of giving birth. For me, it was brilliant - I felt very supported from everyone. I would do the same structure again.
Initially, I was afraid of giving birth, I did not see myself as being capable of giving birth in a natural way. I didn't know what to expect in terms of the process and pain.
Anna-Maria was able to educate me on the birth process so I felt very well prepared. I was not scared anymore, just curious about what would happen. I also gained the trust that my body will know what to do and that was exactly what happened. I am still amazed about it.
I felt 100% supported, as soon as I met her for the initial meeting. I saw her, started talking to her and immediately felt there was a connection that we would be great as a team. And that's exactly what happened.
Her knowledge, education and kindness. She was always available for us during pregnancy, the birth and post partum.
She involved my partner from the first meeting onwards and he trusted her so he also reached out with questions.
Loosing fear of the birth mainly via education and talking about it, getting me ready for birth to make informed decisions, also preparing my husband about what will happen during birth and afterwards,
In the Postpartum the biggest help was the focus on breastfeeding (oh dear I never thought this can be so hard and painful but Anna-Maria was amazing and I am 9 weeks postpartum and I am finally super comfortable with it).
We had some conversations about my physio and OB and the advice I got. It was great to discuss several opinions and find my own way of going into birt
The support from Anna-Maria during the birth was Perfect, I felt I waited until she arrived to 'get started'. We had such a nice atmosphere, very calm and relaxing (in between contractions haha). Very supportive when I had to make a decision re epidural and episiotomy
Brilliant and would recommend her to every woman out there. Anna-Maria helped me to have a positive birth experience that I wished for. I 100% recommend Anna-Maria, I don't need to say anything else, please just book her in asap. You will not regret it.
I went through GP shared care. I was lucky to have continuity of care with the midwife all the way along until birth too. However, having Anna-Maria as my doula was by far the best choice I made for my pregnancy and birth journey. Having someone present at the birth, apart from my partner, who knew and understood me, and who I knew and felt comfortable with, was invaluable.
I had no idea how to prepare not only for the birth but for the aftermath and managing the transition in a healthy and positive way. I know so many women whose health has plummeted after birth (both physical and mental) and whose relationships have fallen apart. So, these things were real concerns for me. I felt supported from the first meeting, even before I officially hired Anna-Maria.
The nutrition side of things, which really helped to prepare and nurture my body and my baby. The emotional side of things has been a huge factor too. Anna-Maria helped me to understand and navigate all the different emotions that came up all along the way and provided me with tools that were incredibly helpful to draw on at different times.
When it come to my partner, she included him in the conversation from the beginning, so he also felt listened to and supported. Especially during the labour, birth and in the postpartum. We discussed from very early on the impact that all the changes can have on our relationship, so we were able to very openly talk about and face these issues together.
Anna-Maria was very respectful of the other care givers and at no stage intruded on their work. It seemed to me that she worked beautifully together with them in a gentle yet very supportive way.
I felt held by her presence the whole way through. Physically she provided snacks and labour aid drinks and soups, massaged me and showed my partner what to do. Emotionally she encouraged me with words and listened to me, so that I felt safe and knew what was happening and what I could do in any given moment to assist the process.
I am beyond relieved and happy that I chose to hire a doula; and more so that I found Anna-Maria. I can't recommend the work of a doula highly enough and wish it was more readily available to women and more widely known.
I have no doubt that I would not have made it through this whole process nearly quite as gracefully had I not hired Anna-Maria.
Nina Stamell, Bronte
We gave birth through the Midwifery Group Practice at the Royal Hospital for Women, Randwick and elected to be apart of their homebirth program, with the support of our primary midwife and our doula, Anna-Maria. We absolutely loved our birth team!!
As first time parents, the birth process was new to us, so we did not know what to expect. In addition, we wanted to have an intervention free birth at home and given that this is not the norm, we wanted some extra support to navigate this process.
From the moment that we met Anna-Maria for our free meet & greet, we both felt so comfortable with her and knew that she was the right doula for us. She has such a genuine, caring, easy going, motherly presence, not to mention that she is incredibly experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
My husband was a little unsure about hiring a doula at first, however after meeting with Anna-Maria, he saw the value straight away and felt a lot more confident about our upcoming birth.
She helped me complete testing to check that my body was in the best place coming into birth and recommended supplements & nutrition. This gave me the reassurance that my body was ready for birth and helped me feel my best postpartum.
She gave my husband confidence in the birth process, which ultimately made me feel more comfortable coming into birth.
She was available over the phone any time to answer questions, run ideas by and provide emotional support. This was huge as a first time mum to be.
1. She helped me ensure that my iron, zinc and vit d levels were optimal coming into birth and postpartum.
2. She helped us create a birth plan that felt true to our wishes.
3. When my waters broke early, she helped us navigate this process, which was completely unexpected for us.
4. Throughout labour, she provided emotional and physical support to my husband and I.
5. She supported me with breastfeeding and recommended supplements to boost milk supply.
Anna-Maria really helped my husband define his role within the birth process, which made both of us feel really confident. Anna-Maria worked in partnership with our primary midwife and always supported our personal decisions.
My waters broke early at 36 weeks and I had to stay in hospital for a couple of days to monitor the baby and I. As we had planned a homebirth, this was all new to us and there were a number of decisions that we had to navigate and Anna-Maria was a huge support throughout this.
I went into labour a couple of days later and it was very quick (about 8 hours all up). Anna-Maria leant me a tens machine to use and she was there physically every step of the way supporting my husband and I. She ensured that I was hydrated throughout, applied acupressure on my back, communicated positive affirmations and reassured my husband that everything was okay (this was really important as he had no idea what to expect!). When it came to making decisions throughout labour, we were able to speak to her and make an informed decision that felt really good for us as a couple. She stayed with us after the birth to make sure that we were all okay and in the days & weeks post birth, she checked in on us, both over the phone and in-person.
It was the best decision we made for the arrival of our baby boy and we will definitely hire Anna-Maria again for our second baby because feeling supported throughout your birth makes such a difference!
I would recommend Anna-Maria, we have told all of our friends expecting and planning to conceive about Anna-Maria.
Hannah and Nathan Carroll, Bronte NSW
We decided to bring the beautiful Anna-Maria on as part of our birth team along with our OB. I felt that I wanted someone to be a kind of extension of my husband and I during the birth and be my voice when I might need it. I was lucky and felt totally comfortable with my OB but I felt I needed someone not looking at the whole experience from solely a medical perspective and I wanted a doula on board to bring more of that grounding energy into the space. I was worried I might get steamrolled by the doctors and nurses during the birth so I wanted someone to advocate for me and be my rock if I needed it
Anna-Maria was like a living angel. She lifted the weight off my shoulders from the moment we came together. She instantly made me feel safe, comfortable and supported. It was so nice to know she was there if I had any questions or concerns during the pregnancy and knowing she was going to be there for the birth was so important for me so I could let go. She is incredibly knowledgeable, kind and available. Nothing ever felt too silly to ask and I really did feel stronger with her by my side. Anna-Maria was also really amazing with my husband who she helped reassure and keep any anxieties away.
Anna-Maria was there for me every moment that I needed her! She was even on the phone to me the moment my waters broke! I felt so strong and powerful knowing I had her support and that she'd be there during the birth. We had planned for Anna-Maria to come to our home during labour but it all went so fast that we met her at the hospital. From the moment Anna-Maria arrived I felt safer. She has a beautiful and calming energy which fills the room with peace and security. Her support was always there, a hand on my knee as she is squatting by my when I'm going through contractions, rubbing my back and pushing my hips, getting my water, holding my hand... She was always right by my side bringing her own mamma power and wisdom into the room and passing it to me.
I am so grateful I brought Anna-Maria into our birthing experience. I believe a large part of the reason our birth was so seamless and beautiful was due to Anna-Maria and her endless positive energy.
We went with the midwifery group practice at RHW again as we were lucky to have them also for our first birth. Loved the service there, felt continuity of care but also felt there was a gap where a doula would fit in well with the service.
As much as the midwife team at RHW say they are contactable throughout your pregnancy, I didn't feel as comfortable asking for the extra support for all those niggling questions. I also knew I would want an extra mind there on the day to help if anything came up that I didn't know the answer to - and have my husband there just to lean on for strength and comfort. Someone who is very knowledgeable and external from the hospital rules and regulations.
We felt incredibly supported immediately! Anna-Maria has a way of connecting with you so you immediately feel like a close friend who she deeply cares about and is there for.
I felt Anna-Maria had a very personal approach to her support, I was able to contact her in the way I felt most comfortable and she would always reply with such warmth, understanding and intelligence that I always felt comfort knowing I was in the best hands possible. I never felt that I was in any way a hindrance or that I was asking too much. I truly felt that she went above and beyond with her love and care for me.
A very personalised approach to who I am and what's important to me - she truly took the time to understand me and what I needed. I really valued her knowledge and opinion across so many different facets and how she was able to be a shoulder to lean (and cry!) on, to assessing my blood work, and also lending advice to questions about my 4 year old daughter too.
She was able to be there for me for all those questions that my partner didn't necessarily understand in the birthing world - he could focus on just being there in his body on the day, holding me and loving me - and I was able to lean on Anna-maria for advice and mental support. It was great for our relationship to share that load. She was also of course very warm and friendly with both of us during her visits so it helped us all to feel like a team when it came to the day of the birth.
Anna-Maria was always very respectful of the midwife care and very diplomatic in her views and responses to my experiences with them. I feel that she is very respected in the hospital, at least with the midwife that I had, and they all worked together well as a team in the lead up and on the day of the birth.
I would recommend it to everyone and anyone. But not all doulas are created equal and Anna-maria in my mind is way above with what she can offer through nutrition support, herbalist support, and first hand support as she has 4 children of her own! I really feel that I was supported in so many different ways that most doulas would not be able to offer.
I feel like I could write a guidebook! My pregnancy had more twists and turns than a Bond movie. The upshot was that is I got to experience almost all the different kinds of care available.
I began my pregnancy booked into the birth centre of a public hospital where I was planning on doing all my antenatal appointments. After a few visits I was encouraged by the midwives to explore shared care with my GP which I did.
The midwives I saw at the birth centre were very supportive but seeing a different person every time was very unsettling. When I began to experience some complications in the second trimester, the lack of continuity of care became a problem but I persevered.
At 31 weeks I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The endocrinology team at the hospital rang to confirm an appointment. I was in shock. This was the first time I had heard the news. No one had actually passed on the test result. After being declined an appointment to discuss the diagnosis with a midwife, I decided to explore alternative care arrangements.
After much soul searching, at 32 weeks I withdrew from the birth centre and booked an obstetrician at a private hospital.
My doctor, who was recommended to me by Anna Maria, was incredibly supportive of my birth plan and also very supportive of my plans to work with a doula. I finally felt I had the team I needed in place, I only wish I had been with the obstetrician throughout the pregnancy.
Anna Maria was the first person I appointed to my birth team. I didn’t know the exact details of the kind of birth I wanted but the one thing I was 100 per cent certain about was having Anna Maria by our side.
Because there was no continuity of care, I was given a lot of conflicting information. I also suffered an antepartum haemorrhage while I was interstate for work and wound up in the local hospital which further complicated my care.
The only constant throughout the whole 40 weeks was Anna Maria. She was like a rock throughout all the highs and lows. No question too silly, no concern too minor, she was so available, so caring and so honest.
Anna Maria was super supportive of both my husband and I. From the first home visit, to the days and weeks after birth, she was always so caring and mindful of his role. There is so much information out there it can be so overwhelming, I think especially for partners who aren’t “in it” 24/7 the way you are. Anna Maria was able to strike a balance of sharing just the right amount of information to help my partner feel empowered but also didn’t overwhelm him.
Anna Maria was so incredibly supportive of my revolving door of caregivers, but really the most important thing to me was that she was the only consistent, reassuring member of my team throughout the whole pregnancy. I literally can’t imagine how the journey would have looked without her by our side.
After changing plans from a natural water birth to an elective c-section, there was a lot for us to talk about! Understanding how the c-section would go, the timeline, exactly who would be there, what choices I still had to help make the birth as personal and soulful as possible was such a gift.
As you can probably tell, I am the world's biggest advocate for having a doula. I wish I could have a doula for day to day life, it is such an amazing experience. To have another person with you to support you and your partner no matter what happens is just the most precious experience. We will be forever grateful. A doula should be a part of everyone’s care plan.
We opted for GP Shared Care with the Royal Hospital for Women midwives and our local GP. As I had an uncomplicated pregnancy it was very convenient. Anna-Maria recommended a lovely GP doctor who I enjoyed meeting with throughout my pregnancy. Being my first pregnancy, and interested in having a natural drug free delivery, I wanted to be educated on the journey and supported by someone who understood the process and had a lot of experience.
Having Anna Maria available to contact throughout my pregnancy with questions or concerns was so valuable to me as a first time pregnancy. I really valued her knowledge, experience and advice. We felt completely supported right from the beginning. During pregnancy she helped me prepare myself mentally, physically and emotionally through her contacts ie. acupuncturists, chiropractor and birthing course, her advice and just reassurance. She made me feel like I was strong enough to have the birth I wanted, which in the end I did. My birth was challenging, and she really helped my partner and I get to the end, honouring my wishes and preferences I had discussed previously. Her support through post partum was also invaluable as a new mum. My partner had lots of questions too and Anna-Maria was able to offer advice from his standpoint.
Her support during birth was great. She was so helpful in guiding my partner in providing pain relief, and when times got particularly tough she provided a calmness that helped bring me back to myself. Her positivity and reassurance was also extremely valuable at the time. I am so glad we chose to have a doula. So invaluable, especially as a first time mum! I couldn’t recommend Anna Maria more!
We had an obstetrician and acupuncturist as well as Anna-Maria.
Our baby was delivered at North Shore Private. My pregnancy and birth were pretty straight forward and if we were to have another baby I would hire the same team.
As first time parents we were after some additional support and advice.
Whilst our doctor had the birth and medical side of things covered, Anna-Maria helped with advice on pre and post-natal health as well as providing extra support during the birth.
One of the other things Anna-Maria helped with was advice on preparing for the baby’s arrival. This helped us make informed decisions about what to purchase.
I also found being able to text Anna-Maria questions very easy - she was always very responsive.
Additionally, Anna-Maria always made herself available. We had a medical emergency at 2.30pm on a Sunday and she called us straight back and advised us what to do and followed up afterward.
Anna-Maria was always quick to respond and very calm and practical. Anna-Maria was able to tell us what to expect, provide encouragement and also additional support to my partner.
Postpartum, I found debriefing our birth really helpful. My partner also appreciated the extra support, particularly when I was struggling.
I know Keith found Anna-Maria’s support and advice really helpful. Having her at the birth also relieved some of the pressure of remembering everything we learnt in birthing classes!
We had to be induced to avoid medical complications for the baby. Anna-Maria was able to address my concerns and answer my questions which was a great relief.
I did GP shared care and was part of the MAPS program at RHW. MAPs is a new program where women with low risk pregnancies see the same midwife at each appointment and the midwife then does home visits after the birth once you've been discharged. In contrast to the MGP program however, your midwife is not at the birth.
As a first time mum I was experiencing everything for the first time. Having additional support and the continuity of care provided by Anna-Maria was really important to me and my husband, particularly because we didn't have that continuity from the hospital. We immediately felt supported by Anna-Maria. From the very first enquiry I made, Anna-Maria made an effort to follow up with a phone call and we soon met. Immediately my husband and I knew she would be a perfect fit for us.
Anna-Maria was always available to chat even between appointments and the advice she gave was always based on research and evidence. I found that really reassuring. Also, with Anna-Maria being a nutritionist, she was able to provide a lot of guidance around diet and ensuring that I had all the right nutrients and vitamins to ensure a healthy pregnancy and set me up for a fantastic birth.
I think for my husband and I, Anna-Maria really helped us in the delivery suite. As first time parents we had no idea what to do once we got to the delivery suite. Anna-Maria provided a number of suggestions on positions, pain relief techniques and supported me with effective breathing throughout the labour. Had it not been for Anna-Maria I may ended up on my back on the bed only because I didn't know what other options were available or would be useful. Anna-Maria helped me feel confident to use the shower, the toilet, the birth stool, birth mat etc and I ended up delivering on my hands and knees on a birth mat.
Anna-Maria was supportive and encouraging of my husband throughout the journey and really facilitated rather than took charge. She gently guided my husband in the delivery suite and he was able to feel confident to support me in a far more hands-on manner than he would have had she not been there with us. Anna-Maria's presence was perfect. She in no way was overbearing or intrusive and she worked perfectly with the midwife who was with us in the delivery suite. After the birth, Anna-Maria stayed with us for a few hours just making sure the atmosphere was calm and allowing for me to have that beautiful bonding time with bub. It was lovely for me to be able to introduce Anna-Maria to my mum who arrived shortly after delivery.
I don't think I would have had a spontaneous, drug free delivery had it not been for Anna-Maria's support in the delivery suite. After a long early labour my birth plan had gone out the window and I was wanting to be induced to hurry things up and get an epidural to relieve the pain. Once we got to the delivery suite, Anna-Maria assisted my husband and I to try a few different techniques to help get things going including rebozo, the shower, massage and different positions.
Knowing my birth preferences, and that I hoped to try for a natural delivery, Anna-Maria supported me and suggesting trying a few different things before getting an epidural. She was encouraging and thoughtful throughout the whole process. With her support, I ended up delivering my daughter drug free on the birth mat. She held my hand literally and figuratively throughout the whole thing!
[How do you feel now (after some time has passed) about having had a doula?So good! I talk about how good it was to anyone who will listen.
I loved my birth squad. Hubby, OB and Doula on the day were amazing. Perfectly in tune with each other and empowering for me to allow me to make quick decisions in an educated way. Not only that, they remembered all the things I forgot, so when I had regrets later on (birth had a few surprises I wasn’t expecting so I made a few decisions on things I thought I never would) they were able to explain to me why I had taken those choices and why in that moment, at that time, it was 100% the right thing. This helped me cope in the weeks after to realize that I, and the squad, had done everything right for this child.
My husband and I are not much for classes so I decided a doula would be a good way to educate us both in a safe environment on what to expect. Not only that, it meant that we had a cool head in the delivery suite who could be the voice of reason and common sense when there’s so much going on around you.
We felt 100% supported. From the first meeting we knew we were in the right hands. Our interests and values aligned and Anna-Maria knew exactly how to support us.
I loved the common sense approach to everything and also the education that sat behind that sense. I always felt like we were learning from Anna-Maria and always felt like we were in control of what is, in all reality, a totally out of control situation (sorry, but having a kid is wild!)
During everything, it was the reassurance we were proving the best care for our daughter that I valued the most. I tend toward anxiety and Anna-Maria was perfectly able to quell that anxiety to ensure the whole experience was not the slightest bit traumatic (either emotionally or physically). Further, the contacts, tips and tricks were invaluable and likely the reason we had an excellent birth experience.
Anna-Maria encouraged my husband to be involved in everything. To be there for our daughter when I couldn’t and to be there for me when I couldn’t. She has encouraged us to reconnect post birth to remind us that we are still a team and can have a discussion that is not totally consumed by our little one!
Anna-Maria seamlessly tied in with our OB and naturopath and also linked us in with her network of chiropractors and acupuncturists. There was a mutual respect between all of them that we had one goal and that was a happy birth and start to life for our little family.
Brilliant. Anna-Maria was a calming influence on the whole process and a reassuring person to have there. She helped me find my voice among the medical professionals to ensure the things I wanted were achieved and was excellent support immediately after when I couldn’t be with my bub.
Loved it and will go again for the next baby.
We went with Shared care with the RWH [Royal Womens Hospital] in Randwick. We had initially wanted the midwife group, but were put on the waiting list. But this worked well for us. I was able to go and see my GP and then see the midwives at the RWH. In the end, it was probably easier than needing to go to the RWH for each appointment. I was very lucky that all midwives at the RWH were wonderful, and I didn't mind not having the same person through the journey - because I knew we had Anna-Maria.
My husband and I decided that while we had been through many challenging experiences together, the birth of our first child was something that we had never been through and didn't have the right tools to help one another through this experience. My husband would need the support seeing me in labour, and I would need the support that I couldn't help my husband at that time!! I had heard through another friend about Anna-Maria and her magic, and was very excited to have our own 'personal trainer' when it came to the birth process. Someone to support both of us through the journey.
From the word 'go', we felt so supported. Anna-Maria answered all of my questions that I was bombard her with so quickly, nothing was too difficult or complicated to assist with. I felt like we had a dear old friend supporting us - not someone we had just met. I felt such relief and totally energised after our initial meeting and I knew that we needed to have her on our journey!
"Anna-Maria provides such a 'complete' service. She was there whenever we needed her. She was very quick to respond to any queries I had, and every time we caught up with her, my husband and I both felt so assured and safe. When I went into labour, Anna-Maria was there every step with us, providing comfort, confidence and guidance to the both of us. We were so thankful she was there."
In terms of pregnancy, Anna-Maria's suggestions for the multi-vitamins and other things for my body were fantastic. I could feel the changes based on the prescriptions provided. She was also there to answer all our questions, and walk us through the process. As for during birth, I don't think we could have done it without her. She was there to support me when I felt like I couldn't go on. She was there to support Ben and provide him with an opportunity to breathe as and when required. Her guidance was invaluable, and being able to get her opinion at different points was amazing. I trusted her completely, and Ben and I had the most amazing experience together, and Anna-Maria was able to bring it all together for us.
In terms of postpartum, again, having Anna-Maria there for guidance, support and helping me work through my own issues in the new next phase was invaluable. Knowing that she is still there for us when I need her provides me with such comfort and reassurance. Overall she provides practical guidance and such a sense of energy, reassurance and confidence that we were very lucky to have her.
Anna-Maria made it clear from the start that this was about Ben and I and our birth journey to bring our little angel into the world, and it was like that the whole time. I think my husband initially thought engaging a doula was really just for me, but the more time we spent with Anna-Maria the more he realised this was for the both of us. During the labour he was relieved that she was there to help him stay balanced as time went on. At the end it really was the most amazing moment for the two of us, with support from Anna-Maria.
"Anna-Maria had a great rapport with the midwives at RWH. I appreciated being able to ask her opinion on the suggestions they were providing, and they were fully supportive of us trying different things that we had discussed with Anna-Maria and put into our birth plan. Anna-Maria helped with suggestions to assist in the progress, she provided me with strength and support when I didn't think I could do it and made sure that I felt as comfortable and safe as possible. She helped me stay focused and guide me through the stages. I trusted her guidance and support throughout the process."
I am so glad we chose this path. I was comfortable from the outset that I wanted a doula, but now given the journey is over, I am relieved and thankful that this is exactly what we did. Ben and I have both reflected that we don't really know how we would have gotten through it without having that extra guidance and support in place.
I've already told Anna-Maria that we will be booking her for the (hopefully) next baby - once we finally get there! I think if you're looking for your own birth 'PT' that will guide you on your journey, Anna-Maria is the most wonderful doula. We are extremely grateful to have found her and that we were able to have her with us during this journey.
We did Gp shared care and hired Anna- Maria as our Doula. As a couple both Ryan and I were unsure what to expect during labour. Tessa was a bit of a surprise so we felt we needed extra support. I also personally felt I needed someone external to assist, someone who knew what she was doing, caring but not too emotionally involved so as to support and guide us. We also wanted someone who would help us discover amongst all the advice and information out there, what was right for us and what sort of a birth we wanted. During pregnancy I was always very nervous about my diet and giving my baby all that was necessary, this was another reason why we looked for support before the birth.
I felt supported straight away. I felt a strong connection with Anna-Maria at our first meeting and she understood exactly what I needed from her. After our first encounter she immediately sent me useful information regarding nutrition, natural and holistic ways to support my own health and my baby's and ways we could prepare ourselves for what would be the most beautiful and intense day of our lives so far.
I feel like this is more than just a profession for Anna-Maria. Her energy and warmth made it easy for both me and my partner to trust her in such little time.
Nutrition was a big thing for me especially when I found out I was low in iron. Anna-Maria's notes were really helpful. There is so much information out there it's so hard to know what to follow. Anna-Maria understood what I needed and gave me a guide that was right for me. Talking through my fears and expectations was a great help too. It meant I had a clearer idea what could happen and how my partner and I felt we could face it. I was nervous of postpartum depression and Anna-Maria helped me talk through this and I believe has prevented it from occurring after the birth. I've always felt she was there for me.
"Her wealth of knowledge was of huge support. We felt that instead of second guessing ourselves and arguing over the unknown we could just drop her a line and it would put our mind at ease."
During the actual birth Ryan felt prepared with ways to support me physically and emotionally and prior to the birth he felt he had practical ways to prepare for the big day. This meant when the moment came he was relaxed and could give me all the support I needed. During the birth Anna-Maria respected our space and intimacy as a couple, but was always paving the way to help things go smoothly and jumped in with the right suggestions and support at the right time.
Before the birth I had discussed with Anna-Maria how I was aware of how I can be over whelmed by too many visitors and family members around. This was also one of the reasons I wanted a doula, so I had someone external to my family and friends there with me. She helped me think of how to relate to other care-givers letting them know prior to Tessa's arrival what I wanted from them. I was also really glad Anna-Maria got to meet my sister before the birth. As usual she gave off such a beautifully calm energy and my sister felt relieved I had such good support.
Anna-Maria arrived at the right moment during my birth when things were getting hard and exhausting. She supported both my partner and I during the labour.
She gave me massages, suggested changing positions, getting into the shower and made sure both Ryan and I kept eating and drinking so we had fuel for the next stages.
"Anna-Maria's energy kept me going during the moments I was ready to give up."
Things took a different turn to what I had expected when after a long time labouring I wasn't dilating. I made the call to have a C-section. Anna-Maria helped me through this process, when I was really scared and disappointed. She kept me positive and made sure my wishes were followed as much possible. I seriously feel she played a major part in accepting that things don't always go as planned and there is beauty and joy even in the unexpected. I have no negativity related to Tessa's birth and talking through the whole thing with Anna-Maria after the birth made me realise that....our baby came out under the bright lights of an operating theatre...a true little ROCK STAR!=)
BEST DECISION EVER!!!! Would recommend [having a doula] to everyone! Huge peace of mind! I LOVE HER! She goes above and beyond her duties. She genuinely cares about the women she supports. She believes in the strength we women instinctively have and in the need to connect and nurturing we require after birth.
I went through the shared care program with the midwives at RHW. I had a great GP, Dr Lucinda Herron at Bourke Street Clinic in Surry Hills who looked after me beautifully, always thorough and sensitive to my concerns. I had a fairly positive experience with the midwife that I saw regularly although at times I must say, she was a little cold. In fact, when I was sure I was in early labour, she was a little dismissive and when I mentioned that Iris' movements had reduced, she responded with worry even though I showed optimism and was confident that the reduced movement was a direct result of early labour. However, at the birth itself, the beautiful Jessie made me feel incredibly safe and secure as she helped us to bring Iris into the world. We ended up in the Birth Centre by pure good fortune (or others' misfortune as there were ten inductions that morning and then needed the labour rooms) which was what we had wanted all along, but we had been sitting at the top of the waiting list and had never quite got in the door. Overall, my experience at RHW was really positive and I would recommend all women to forget the OB and go public with you, Anna-Maria - a much better way to spend your hard-earned money!
We had the desire to have a wholistic, calm and beautiful birth experience, free from unnecessary stress. We wanted the support of someone who could create this atmosphere and lend us her expertise. We wanted an extra person on our team so that we could simply ride the waves and relax into the labour without worry. We equipped ourselves with knowledge as best we could but thought that having an expert in the room could certainly be an asset! We felt supported from the very second we met Anna-Maria for a casual coffee. When she got up to grab a napkin, we turned to each other and said 'we love her' and that was it - when she sat back down, we said, 'so, what do we do next?' We knew immediately that she was a calm and beautiful soul who would be the perfect addition to our birth team. She exudes tranquility while feeling like she (excuse my French) really has her shit together and without coming across as too hippy dippy. She is grounded and real! We could not possibly have asked for a more caring person to be by our side. She is truly an expert and not only that, but now, a dear friend.
During pregnancy, she was able to calm my concerns and answer even the smallest and silliest of questions. During birth, she was the grounding influence, holding us all together without being at all overbearing. In the postpartum she was a wonderful companion who took time to simply chat, give advice if asked and reassure.
She provided natural methods for pain relief such as the shower, massage, positioning and essential oils. She spoke calmly to me and was always positive and encouraging. She was a quiet presence but an essential one. She helped to ease worries that my wife had, thus creating a calmer environment for the birth. She was like the glue that held us together! While Anna-Maria does not act as an advocate, she worked quietly and sensitively alongside our midwives, ensuring that our birth experience was everything that we had wanted.
I loved her quiet and calm presence during labour. She took the reins without taking over. I will never forget the moment that she met us on the labour ward, headed straight for the bathroom and got me in the shower, massaging my lower back with the double shower heads - absolute bliss.
At every moment she was able to identify exactly what I needed while always being sensitive and ensuring I was calling the shots at the end of the day. She was also an enormous support and calming influence to my wife, Gillian, who struggled to see me in the more intense moments and needed someone to tell her it was normal and it was okay.
[Would you recommend Anna-Maria?] "Yes, yes, 100 times yes".
This woman is an angel!! Difficult to sum up all that Anna-Maria offered me through my first child birth - such an incredible array of gifts, which ultimately allowed me to have the natural birth I wanted - without drugs! Despite a lengthy birth, huge baby, and post-birth complications, I can reflect on an amazing birth experience and know that I gave my baby the best possible entrance to life. I could never have achieved it without my doula, but she was incredible - and I became incredible too. Her support, guidance, comfort and encouragement were invaluable; not only to me but to my partner as well.
Her nutrition support and expertise an absolute bonus, and I still take advantage of it! Hard to sum up the extent of my gratitude, but truly worth her weight beyond gold
"I can reflect on an amazing birth experience and know that I gave my baby the best possible entrance to life."
I hired a highly experienced OB who had a good reputation for supporting natural childbirth. I certainly appreciated my OB's skill and calmness in the delivery room, however there was a significant amount of angst when my OB had several absences during the very very late stage of my pregnancy, and finding the 'stand in OB' who was not my cup of tea - I later learned she did not believe in doulas or birth plans!
I wanted to know and trust the people who would be in the room with me when I gave birth, so that I would feel safe and maximise my chance of a natural childbirth. I knew that the standard hospital arrangement was that I would not meet the midwife assisting me until the day I gave birth, so hiring a doula was my 'workaround' to ensure that I had continuity of care, and would know three of the four people in the delivery room. (I should add, in the end I really liked all the midwives I had!!)
[How soon did you feel supported after hiring Anna-Maria as your doula?] "Straight away, but particularly after I had a bad gut reaction to viewing the delivery suite at the hospital I had planed to give birth at. Anna-Maria was so supportive in assisting me with finding another hospital.
I enjoyed Anna-Maria's passion and knowledge of pregnancy and the childbirth process, and just thinking ahead to what I needed to do to best set myself up for a favourable outcomes for the gestational diabetes and the Group Strep B test."
[What was the main things you felt Anna-Maria helped you with in your pregnancy, during birth and in the postpartum?] "Gosh, so many things!!! It's hard to know where to start. During my pregnancy, anxiety management (particularly when I went overdue!), helping me reach informed decision on different aspects of my birth (we had many discussions about third stage), information about birth and labour the nature of contractions (I didn't know that they increased in intensity and then dissipate!), debriefing after we attended the SheBirths course, knowledge of birth tools, homeopathic remedies. During my pregnancy, Anna-Maria wrote a fabulous blog post about baby essentials, as I had gotten to 34 weeks pregnant and had not bought a thing for the baby! During the postpartum, Anna-Maria visited at the hospital and at home. It was lovely having her to debrief with, to me it was such an amazing accomplishment to have given birth without an epidural and it was lovely to have that share and debrief with. We chatted a lot about postpartum support systems, and food and nutrition as well. Anna-Maria was helpful in provided me with a tonic to assist with lactation."
"Anna-Maria's presence was very reassuring. My husband George was actively supporting me, and Anna-Maria was fabulous in helping him support me."
[Did you feel that Anna-Maria supported your relationship with your partner?] "Yes, absolutely. Anna-Maria involved my husband George in conversations when she came to our house for home visits, and asked him how he was doing and made him feeling included. Most importantly, Anna-Maria supported my husband during the birth. I was induced and my husband was remarkable in the support he provided. Anna-Maria respected the dynamic in the room and supported my husband in supporting me in the birth."
[Did you feel that Anna-Maria supported your relationship with your other care givers?] "Yes. She was respectful of my OB and the midwives I had.
Anna-Maria's presence was very reassuring. My husband George was actively supporting me, and Anna-Maria was fabulous in helping him support me. I remember being fed jelly beans, encouraging other positions and her not mentioning the time! I think not knowing the time during labour is a really good thing (I was surprised to learn after that I had been at 9cm for three hours and pushed for two). I think Anna-Maria was particularly helpful during transition in assisting me with my goal of no epidural. I asked for it, several times, but the support I got from Anna-Maria was helpful in getting me through.
A doula is essential!"
I went with shared care for this birth but I think next time I will be a part of a midwife group just so I know that I will be familiar with the midwives at the birth.
I wanted to guarantee a natural birth through the whole process, I wanted to be able to make the hospital space my own and as peaceful as possible.
I felt supported immediately after hiring Anna-Maria, even after our first meeting before I had hired her.
I loved the peaceful presence that was brought as soon Anna-Maria walked in the room. She also taught us so much about the process of birth. Because of our meetings pre-birth both my partner and I felt very prepared for labour and beyond. I also loved that I was allowed to contact her if or whenever I had a question or concern, her phone was always on. She helped educate us on what to expect pre, during and post labour. However during labour we found that she didn’t only help but was essential to the process, bringing massage techniques, knowledge, an amazing energy, and an incredible stamina. Also coaching me through every step of the way.
Anna-Maria allowed us to do our own thing together, recognising that both my partner and I were a team in the labour process. She only stepped in if she thought appropriate.
Being whatever I needed when I needed it. And not stepping on anyone’s toes in the process.
It [Anna-Maria's support and presence for you during the birth] was phenomenal, she brought such a calming presence to an environment that had the potential to become very stressful fast. Her support and knowledge of what I was going through was incredibly essential to my process. The most impressive part was her stamina, up all night with essentially no breaks and energy to last. She was the greatest support money could buy.
"I loved the peaceful presence that was brought as soon Anna-Maria walked in the room. She also taught us so much about the process of birth."
I don’t think I could ever have a birth without a doula now that I have had one. I think she was a big reason the birth went so smoothly with no complications. She helped me go into labour with such a positive mindset and I think that is the most important thing.
I would honestly recommend her to everyone I know who wants a natural birth.
Through She Births I decided that I would benefit from having a doula with me, especially as my family were not local and my husband was focused on opening three restaurants before the baby arrived.
I came across Anna-Maria and was instantly taken by her professional yet humble nature, and the depth of knowledge and experience she brought to our first meeting. Every time I met with Anna-Maria, I would walk away feeling more and more confident about the birth. I was able to discus my fears and worries, and pick her brain about all the possible medical complications that I was anxious about.
"After 4 hours of being in the hospital, our beautiful, healthy baby boy was delivered successfully and placed upon my chest. With placenta still intact he latched on and began suckling – that moment was the most incredible moment of my life."
When Anna-Maria arrived at our house before heading to the hospital, I felt a sense of relief overcome me. The trust I had in Anna-Maria allowed me to completely switch off from an intellectual state and really focus of what was happening within myself. She created a space within the birthing suite that made me feel comfortable, as if I was in my own home. This gave me the confidence to take control of the birth and allow my body to be in the position I felt I needed to be in. Instead of being strapped into a monitor on the bed I was able to give birth comfortably in a squatting position without the use of painkillers.
After 4 hours of being in the hospital, our beautiful, healthy baby boy was delivered successfully and placed upon my chest. With placenta still intact he latched on and began suckling – that moment was the most incredible moment of my life. After three unsuccessful pregnancies our little baby was finally here!
I can’t thank Anna-Maria enough for supporting my husband and myself on this empowering journey and look forward to doing it all again when it’s time for baby number two!
Anna Maria recently acted as doula for my partner Alexis and I on the birth of our first child, Vivienne.
Before meeting Anna Maria, I was completely unaware of the concept of a doula and what role they had to play in child birth. Since it was our first time, we were obviously quite nervous and unsure of what to expect from the whole process of labour and child birth in general.
"The key thing I found was that Anna-Maria understands the balance required between supporting but not being overpowering during the birth."
I found that impending fatherhood brought with it a huge range of emotions and questions for me personally. Part of this consideration was obviously in regard to the actual birth itself - how I would feel, act, re-act during this exciting but potentially stressful period!
When Alexis mentioned and explained the idea of being accompanied by a doula, I was initially slightly unnerved. My initial reaction was that I wanted the birth to be intimate and personal and having an outsider present may negate this!
I also worried that my role at the birth would become less important and that I would end up taking somewhat of a back seat while the doula took control.
On the contrary, having Anna-Maria present unquestionably enhanced the experience significantly. Her insight and constant re-assurance during the process gave both Alexis and I a sense of calm throughout and the extra support of a professional cannot be underestimated. The key thing I found was that Anna-Maria understands the balance required between supporting but not being overpowering during the birth. She maintained a constant presence but also gave us the space to maintain a personal closeness.
Because she has been through this a number of times previously, Anna-Maria had prepared for every eventuality both in pre-labour and at the hospital. This took so much of the pressure off of me, this may sound selfish but when it's your first time the whole experience can be quite daunting for a man regardless of how much you have prepared!
The important thing is that my partner Alexis was so much happier with the doula support, this is really the key for me.
If we decide to have another child, we will 100% be availing of Anna-Maria's service again.
I discovered unexpectedly that I was pregnant and that I would be continuing my pregnancy and birth without the support of a partner so I knew that I wanted the added support of a dedicated Doula to guide me through this exciting but uncertain time. I was a slightly apprehensive about finding one that I would feel comfortable inviting in to such an intimate experience but I felt instantly at ease with Anna-Maria.
Having been keen for the most natural birth as possible most of the way, I decided later on that I wanted to explore pain relief options - Anna-Maria was very supportive and non-judgemental of this and made sure I was as informed as I could be about it.
The support that Anna-Maria gave me post-birth was also invaluable. Being discharged from hospital with a tiny baby to care for can be very daunting and it was really reassuring to have that personal continuation of care into the early days and weeks of motherhood. She was also really great with my own mother who attended the birth and had her own worries and questions about the process, ideas of which had changed somewhat since birthing her own children.
My little Maisie is now nearly 8 weeks old and the positive birth experience that I have had, aided by the strong female support of Anna-Maria, has given me confidence in my ability as a mother, with the added reassurance that there is somebody that I can contact with new concerns at any stage if i needed who knows me and my baby.
For my birth team I had a great OB, midwife from the hospital, Anna-Maria as my doula and my husband. It was a great team and just the right amount of people I wished for on the day.
I wanted a female experienced professional in pregnancy and labour who can calm me and encourage me on the day of labour.
She helped me with nutrition, health questions regarding labour signs, massaging me during labour as well as holding my hand through it. In the postpartum she helped with a lot of my newborn questions.
Anna-Maria supported myself and my partner by giving us education on birthing and the postpartum so we are more knowledgeable and hence less stressed about what's happening.
My primary focus is to make you, the pregnant woman feel nurtured, cared for and to ensure your optimal health. A birthing mother is immensely strong and powerful, yet vulnerable, and as a birth doula, I work to hold space for you to feel supported, safe and grounded.
Breastfeeding and recovering in the postnatal period is a job best done with a caring community and my aim is to offer as much guidance as possible (and as needed) by educating and supporting you as a new mother.
I have supported and attended births at; Royal Hospital for Women - delivery ward and birth centre midwifery group, Prince of Wales Private, North Shore Private, North Shore Birth Centre, North Shore Public, Royal Prince Alfred in Sydney, Australia.