Abby

I thank my lucky stars every day that we had Mars as our Doula. It was my first pregnancy and I was very excited about the labour (and a little apprehensive of course!) and so we wanted someone there who we trusted to provide the advice and support to really make the most out of the experience. When Mars came over to our house to introduce herself, the minute she left my husband and I knew that we didn’t need to see anyone else, she was exactly the person that we both wanted at the birth. She was warm, extremely knowledgeable, obviously a complete birth and baby fanatic, straight-talking and also good fun. We just felt at ease immediately.

Mars came over another couple of times before the birth to discuss what we were hoping for the labour. It was a privilege to be able to spend hours discussing the birth with someone so experienced, and I think that it really helped me stay totally calm towards the end of my pregnancy, just knowing that whatever happened she would be there. Also, I was able to call Mars up when worries did arise (for example, there were concerns that the baby might be breach at one point) and she was always full of great advice and reassurance, which put me at ease.

My actual labour was quicker than I could have hoped for, so Mars ended up meeting us at the hospital rather than at our house. From the outset it was clear that the midwife had a very different idea of how she wanted our labour to be than we did, so I was very grateful that Mars was there, it was a great comfort to have that back-up. We had a slight emergency situation at the very end of the birth and for us this was the point when having Mars was most valuable. It was all very chaotic but Mars stayed with me, holding my hand and explaining clearly what was going on which saved the day for me, I don’t know what we would have done without her.

Mars told us before the birth that she was your ‘Doula for life’ and we’ve definitely found this to be true. My daughter is almost 9 months old now and I often call Mars up for advice, she always has an answer for everything!

Zoe

I just wanted to say a great big THANK YOU to Mars for all her help and support during both my pregnancies and births.

As first time parents expecting twins we felt daunted and didn’t know how we would cope. We started looking to get some help and professional support for the birth and crucial early days, especially as both sets of our parents live in Australia. We interviewed many doulas and fell in love with Mars the minute she walked in the door. We felt comfortable as she has a great sense of humour and is very knowledgeable and supportive.

Mars gave me the courage to go for the natural birth I really wanted for my twins even when I was faced with pro-caesarian obstetrician and midwife unit.  I went from feeling frightened and uncertain to feeling empowered and in control of my circumstances and choice. She supported every decision I made and did not influence them. Together we worked on my birth plan and discussed tactics to ensure that I managed the hospital to get the birth I wanted. Our preparation paid off and I did have the natural twin birth which does not normally occur in my hospital.

Postnatally Mars was a godsend as I learnt the ropes of coping with twins.  During the initial days I struggled to establish breast feeding. Mars was studying to be a Lactation Consultant at the time and was able to provide a wealth of breast feeding advice and tactics which I was unable to source from the hospital. She helped me master the art of breast feeding two babies at the same time, bathing and settling them. She was a whirlwind in the kitchen and stocked our fridge and freezer with many delicious meals. Most importantly of all, she gave me moral support and encouragement, which was fantastic. With no family nearby, Mars ‘mothered’ me at a time I really needed it.

Mars was also with me for the birth of my daughter. Once again she was a wealth of knowledge when I was deciding the pros and cons of a home birth considering my medical history. This time I gave birth in water and she was there to hold my hand and give encouragement and advice when required. She was just what I needed and I could not have asked for a better doula!

If you need someone calm, thoughtful and caring to support you and your partner to go through a massive life changing event then Mars is someone you should consider. We are eternally grateful to her and she now remains a great friend.

Bea and Masashi

I credit the fact that I am now a bit of a ‘birthing story bore’ to Mars, as we believe it was largely down to her that we had such a positive experience at Felix’s birth and I now seem to tell everyone and anyone who will listen all about it. We decided to hire a doula quite early on in my pregnancy on the advice of colleagues who had had very positive experiences themselves with doulas. We don’t have any family living locally and felt that a doula would fill the gap of support that we’d need for the birth of our first child. In fact, my husband was more enthusiastic than me – I was a little reluctant initially at sharing the ‘personal experience’ of childbirth with someone who is essentially a stranger. It didn’t take long to persuade me though, after a bit of research and one meeting with Mars I realised that she would, by the time of giving birth, be a friend and confidante and I was more than happy to have her there with us throughout.

Mars was an easy choice for us having raised five of her own children and with the experience already of supporting many many women through childbirth, she’s a real pro! Her personality oozes warmth and enthusiasm and she gave me such an injection of confidence in the run up the birth that I was positively excited about it.

She came to our home when I was in the early stages of labour (in the middle of the night) and gave us the confidence to continue labouring at home where I remained comfortable and relaxed for several hours. She took complete control of the eventual transfer into hospital and arrival to the birthing centre at UCLH and acted as our voice to the midwives when we weren’t in a position to be able to communicate effectively ourselves. Having gone through our birth plan in detail beforehand she knew our wishes and made sure that everything happened accordingly. The birth was straightforward and relatively quick and I loved having her there every minute.

I am grateful to Mars for her role in Felix’s birth, but I am more grateful for her for her help postnatally with breastfeeding – this is when we had a real battle on our hands. Her knowledge and experience really paid off and we were able to persevere through a number of breastfeeding challenges which made the first week quite hairy. I was determined to crack it though and Mars helped me get there and I’m now happily breastfeeding 6 months later and intend to continue for a while yet. Mars will be one of the first people we call if and when we’re expecting our second – I hope she’s free!

Katrina

A friend had used a doula for her son’s birth and suggested that I use one for the birth of my first child. I had wanted my mother to be with me but she was back home in Canada and unable to come. I wanted a female to support me and my husband. A doula seemed like the perfect choice.

Having Marcia there for the birth of our son was the best decision we could have made. Marcia stayed by my side for the entire labour, helping me with my breathing and offering constant advice, wisdom and encouragement. Her presence made me and my husband feel safe and secure in an otherwise scary situation for first time parents. The birth involved no medical interference or pain relief, which I largely believe was due to Marcia’s help and guidance.

My husband never felt pushed aside or not involved in the birthing process, despite the fact that Marcia was always with me. As labour turned out to be more intense than we could have imagined, my husband was actually very relieved that Marcia was there to help me.

Marcia went above and beyond my expectations of a doula. Looking back, I would never have wanted to go through labour without her.

I’m already recommending doulas to women, even those who aren’t expecting yet.

Anya

I felt a bit of a fraud. It was my third birth and I called Marcia to tell her that I thought it was time and then told her not to bother coming. The second time I called Marcia said she would come anyway. I was glad that she came even though the contractions stopped as she arrived. She made me sit down and relax and the contractions started up again.

Marcia was wonderfully reassuring and calm and organised. She had me laughing all the way through my labour.

I had a beautiful water birth at my local midwifery unit. One of the midwives told Marcia that they thought she would make a wonderful doula. We all laughed.

Marcia supported both me and my husband throughout the labour. She kept us focussed on the birth and she was wonderful at allowing us space immediately after our daughter was born.

Marcia came and did some postnatal work for us after Grace was born. She was very supportive and encouraging. She helped with practical things at home and helped me to get around. She was always available for a chat and even offered to cook and fill our freezer. We can’t recommend her highly enough.

Ronke

I called Marcia at about 12.45pm. I could feel the contractions getting stronger and so I got into the bath. Marcia arrived within 30 minutes and was soon reading her book beside the bath. It was good to know that she was there. Different people kept calling the house to see how I was doing but she fielded the calls and I was allowed to labour away in peace.

I felt a sudden urge to get out of the bath. Marcia was there helping me instantly. She helped me to get dressed whereupon my waters broke all over my “hospital” clothes. Marcia quickly gathered clothes for me and re-dressed me. By now the contractions were getting stronger and lasting longer. My husband could hardly contain his excitement. He moved the car to the front of the house because I knew it was time to go.

Marcia remained calmed and sat in the back of the car talking calmly to me. We arrived at the hospital only for 2 midwives who were on their way to a party to stop dead in their tracks, grab a wheelchair and practically hurl me through the door. I demanded an epidural, but Marcia spoke gently to me and told me that it was too late. My baby was ready to be born. The midwives and Marcia made a fantastic team. Less than 40 minutes later my son came into the world. It was incredible. I laboured with no pain relief, but I knew that I could trust Marcia and I knew that it was because of her that I got through it. Amazing! So very different from my first birth.

Would I use a doula again? Without a doubt! Best thing I could have done, just ask my husband!

Sara

She’s fab and it was an amazing birth and I had amazing people, including the utterly amazing Marcia who was, yes you’ve guessed it, amazing!

No, I wasn’t on gas and air, or anything at all, just truly had an amazing day and before the mad established labour kicked in and I was having strong but bearable contractions it was the best feeling in the world.

I could feel my pelvis expanding, feel her moving down with each contraction, the sun was shining, I had my man and Mars and a lovely midwife and it was really enjoyable.

So shall I start from the very beginning? It’s quite funny.

Well Dom left for work and not a minute later I felt the pop as I sat forward and my waters went.

I straddled this tub of washing in my room and got on the phone with Eve standing pointing saying ‘oh look mummy wee wee’. 17 missed calls later and I began to panic he’d get on the fast train into Farringdon and miss the birth!

SO – I threw on this black velvet robe thing which is slashed to both thighs, donned my flip flops, tore out in the rain, banged on the neighbours door and shouted at her ‘waters have broken, Dom’s headed into town, watch the girls’ and ran to the car.

I drove to the station like a mad woman, drove into the no entry bit, left car parked madly outside station and ran in. Shouted at the guard -my waters are breaking and my husband is on the platform, let me on’. He opened the gate and me in my long slashed robe and flip flops, holding the bump run down the platform trying to find him.

Was slightly aware of a lot of open mouths and wide eyes. No Dom though.

Ran back to ticket office and screamed ‘do an announcement’ so they did and a man on the platform shouted ‘he’s coming, love, he’s coming’. Dom appeared with a mad grin and we tore off home.

No real contractions had kicked in but we began inflating pool and then realised a day /pool birth and Lottie and Eve weren’t going to work so Dom took girls to my mums.

Midwife arrived, had tea etc, Mars arrived had sandwich and then at 3pm I was allowed into the pool.

Mars says I had a silent labour, by which we mean I just breathed through the contractions and then at just before 4.40pm I started to feel the real pressure to push and got bit loud. Mars reminded me to breathe the baby out and thank God she did as I thought I was going to get into a panic at this stage but she calmed me right down and I did just that, I breathed her out.

Then I heard the midwife say ‘catch her’ so I reached down and she swam up into my arms. It was the best feeling in the world and I’m crying typing it.

She is perfect. And a girl and ohhhh the world is just wonderful.

She was born at 4.40pm weighing 7lb 1.5oz, is feeding really well, and her sisters are so bloody cute with her it’s heartbreaking!

No stitches, no grazing, nothing, just bliss.

Not even started to think of a name but we’ll let you know.

At the moment she’s just angel child, because that’s what she is.

I’m in love and so lucky and everything is great.

But an especially huge thanks to Marcia. You were amazing, just a wonderful presence to have in the room with me, I’m so pleased you were there and my daughter is a lucky girl to have had someone like you at her birth.  And the offer to stay and make lemon drizzle cake was just lovely and won’t be forgotten.

Andrea

Mars was our doula when our son Mackay was born last year. I wanted to hire a doula because I felt I needed some reassurance about who would be present at our birth and an advocate for myself, my husband and our child. Like most first time parents I didn’t realise the real struggle came after the birth.

Mars was the perfect birth companion, her extensive knowledge of childbirth meant she could assess a situation instantly and give advice accordingly. Likewise she also knew when to step back and provide quiet support. In the end I needed forceps and, although having a team of doctors and midwives suddenly sweep into the room could have been scary, I was completely at ease as Mars re-assured me and explained exactly what they were doing and why. I know that if she were not there this situation would have been a lot more stressful for my husband and I.

However it was after the birth that she was worth her weight in gold. I can’t even recall how many times I phoned her asking for advice on anything from sleeping to wind to breastfeeding and she was always there to help. For first time parents with our family on the other side of the world it was invaluable support. I had a difficult time after the birth with some serious complications that could have easily ended my hopes of breastfeeding yet I happily breastfeed my son until he was 14 months old, this is due in a large part to Mars. I know that without her wisdom on all matters breastfeeding I would have stopped long before. This is the most precious gift she gave me, the knowledge, confidence and skills to breastfeed my son.

Mars said to us when we first met her I am your doula for life and she means it,  I email her even now for parenting advice and probably will until my son has left home.

Mars asked me to write a testimonial and said ‘don’t worry if it’s short.’ But honestly I feel like I have only written a fraction of what she has done for my family and I could write 100 pages more. Mars truly loves being a doula and I feel incredibly lucky that we found her.

Suzanne

Marcia Lord was our postnatal doula when our precious daughter was born.

Being first time parents, with all of our family abroad, we were so grateful for Marcia presence. Just thinking of her now makes me smile. Her warm, caring way was such a blessing to me. I was exhausted and struggling with breast feeding.

Having Marcia swoop in each day was the best. She was so supportive, reassuring, and knowledgeable. Like my little rock. Her encouragement lifted me up and kept me going. Our daughter is 9 months old now. I am still breast feeding. I thank Marcia for that. She was a great early companion on this joyous journey called parenthood! We will always be grateful that she was with us!

Simone and Joel

Joel and I just wanted to say a huge thank you for the support, kindness and invaluable advice that you provided during the birth of our daughter Raquel. Your wonderful warm and calm manner and knowledge of birth and the hospital system really helped Joel and I to relax and focus on the moment.

Your advice on breastfeeding has also helped me get off to a good start and you will be pleased to know that Raquel is eating like a champion and I am loving the experience of breastfeeding.

You came highly recommended and yet even all the amazing things I heard about you do not capture the help you provided in buffering the bureaucracy, providing wisdom and creating a birthing environment that was everything I hoped for.

I looking forward to keeping you informed on all great things Raquel does as she grows up.  All the best, Simone and Joel

Tim and Irini

We cannot begin to thank you enough for everything you have done for us over the marathon. At the end of it, all five of us (You, Andy, Irini, Nikos and I) worked brilliantly as a team for the best possible outcome. However, I cannot help but feel you were absolutely instrumental in guiding and supporting us through the whole thing. At each of the key turning points in the journey, you were there to steer us towards the positive outcome.

You were constantly there with the practical support – whether it be help keeping the pool full of hot water, magicing up delicious food or cups of tea. Having flicked through some of the photos – you seem to be almost a pro photographer! Your support for Irini was great – I picked up on you carefully placing your hand down for Irini to grab while in the pool – allowing her to make an unspoken decision.

You were fantastic at coaching us. It is seems easy in the anti-natal classes to remember all the tips, but it all went out the window when at the start Irini was breathing through each contraction with “d-a-m-n i-t”. You immediately replace “damn it” with “yes” and a reminder to not fight the contractions. I felt able to get back into some kind of control and keep breathing out “yessss” with Irini. You kept us mobile or resting, whatever was appropriate with a constant stream of ideas to get things moving or get some energy back.

Your steady flow of gentle guiding tips – often unspoken – to keep me being there for Irini with the right thing at the particular moment was something that Irini never realised, but helped us immeasurably.

The most important part of the coaching came at that critical moment. Looking back on it now, I feel that I went through a partners version of transition. I felt absolutely hopeless seeing Irini having given more than she thought she could every give physically give to then spend a further 3 hours trying. I couldn’t face the thought of us leaving our home environment to the hospital – but felt we had to accept it. In that moment of complete doubt in our teams ability to see Irini push through to the right conclusion, you were able to pick me up from the bottom, while still supporting Irini. You were then able to give me that push to say I had to support her right then and there. It was down to that that I ignored any doubt and just went to work with her. In the end, Irini’s big push felt like a football match when the crowd is all for one side.

You were absolutely brilliant in the role of gatekeeper. It really felt like you were creating this space for Irini and I. With the various people coming in and out of the house – somehow you managed to make it all work and keep our atmosphere. At the critical point of making the hospital decision, you cleared the room in the blink of an eye leaving Irini and I alone to think as calmly as possible – it was wonderful to have a minute as just us.

The amazing thing is that reading this now – it looks like you were totally in control – but actually, you managed it all while letting us run the whole thing for ourselves. That is a real balancing act.

We have had a great first day – we are all doing well in our right place at home. He has already managed a nice fountain of pee all over the bed – so, we have now started on the obvious lessons!

Thank you again for everything. Lots of love, Tim & Irini x x

Leah

Mars had come for an antenatal visit on Monday, and although I was over 2 weeks away from my due date, there were many signs he was on his way. So we went through the bag and last minute questions with Mars. On Thursday I was feeling very tired with lots of practice contractions. Friday morning at 6am I got up to go to the toilet and my water broke and I had a show.

I just had a steady leak the whole day (which was messy) after that and only irregular minor contractions that really didn’t hurt. I kept thinking when is this going to start!! Mars suggested I rent a comedy, which was a great way to pass the time while letting myself relax and open up. But by 1am Saturday, I couldn’t sleep any more and the contractions were starting to bother me, coming every 20-40 minutes. Finally it got too much by about 7am and we went to the birthing centre, with Mars directed the taxi driver to go easy on the bumps.

When I came into the hospital I was 3-4 cm at labour 8am and they said I’d have a while to go. I was really disappointed at that stage as I had been up all night already in what I thought was a lot of pain. But Mars and my husband Ben were very encouraging and supportive. I had a bath, went for a walk and was having contractions every 2 minutes as I walked around Tottenham Court Road and Planet Organic having contractions over the tofu counter – shopping there will never be the same! When I came back after some food I was so exhausted I didn’t think I could go on. Then a wonderful midwife Abby started her shift and she, along with Mars, really coached me through the worst part.

They asked if I wanted a VE to check my progress and I said no because I didn’t want to be discouraged again thinking I still had ages to go. But apparently I was what they call a silent labourer – I was a lot further along then they though. The pain suddenly really intensified and I couldn’t be silent any more and although I didn’t realise it, they started running around because they realised I had hit transition. Ben said I suddenly made what can only be described as a bovine noise. About 30 minutes later, he was born. It was exhausting and the pain was far worse than I ever could have imagined. I only used a TENS machine (which was great) and a bath. I never got a chance to have a waterbirth because I progressed quickly after that walk. He was born very pink as he received lots of good oxygen during the labour because of my good breathing. Also, I didn’t tear thanks to the massages and the slow steady breathing. He was born so healthy – he started feeding within the first 5 minutes. His name is Ruben Morris Garces Lopman and he weighed 7.1 pounds. He’s beautiful and very healthy!

The memory of the pain has completely disappeared ( I seriously can’t remember what it felt like!) and I think it was a great labour and beautiful birth. Ruben is perfect and all we do is stare at him all day and night. It’s such a wonderful wonderful experience. Having a doula (especially Mars) is something I would recommend to everyone. It allowed Ben and I just to concentrate on the intense physical and emotional experience that labour is, knowing that we had someone standing by our side protecting our experience.

Nighean

I knew right from the off that Marcia was the doula for us. A friend suggested that we look into having a doula – being one herself but feeling it was inappropriate for her to help us – as I was constantly asking loads of questions and shying away from the traditional hospital route. We found Marcia on the doula website and as soon as I saw her, I knew she would be great. I was right. She was practical, matter-of-fact and kind. She had the kind of no-nonsense attitude I needed to get me through not only the birth, but deal with all my questions day and night.

Chris and I agreed that we needed a doula if we were to have Scarlet at home because being first-timers, we weren’t sure what was going to happen and when. We liked the home-birth team of mid-wives but were concerned that we wouldn’t get one that we actually knew, on the day. Cue Marcia. She was there to hand out advice via the phone, and came round and saw us a few times too…by the time the day of the birth arrived, I knew Marcia would be amazing.

It was about 9 at night on Friday 6th July when things started happening, nothing too serious, but enough to make me start organising my linen and getting towels out ready. I didn’t really do the nesting thing that much, but I felt like I was that night! Around 11pm I called Marcia for some reassurance, which she gave, telling me to try to get some sleep and call her again if I needed to. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t sit still, I couldn’t watch a film or eat. The only thing I could do was pace and laugh. By about 2am, I was getting quite long and strong contractions so we called Marcia again. This time she came round and that’s where she stayed until the baby arrived.

While I couldn’t sleep, Chris and Marcia decided to tag team. Although of course, Chris pretty much slept when he wanted! Saturday was taken up with watching cooking programmes, cups of tea, breakfast for the troops and the Wimbledon Ladies Final! I couldn’t relax and I couldn’t eat, but at least I was at home and in good company. By mid-afternoon, Chris rigged me up to the TENS machine … the contractions were making me stop in my tracks and hold onto the banister. I was being quite sick at this stage and we still weren’t sure if my waters had broken so we called the midwife. All the time Marcia was keeping us calm and focused.

By about 5pm the midwife had arrived and examined me. I was only 3cm dilated. Plus my waters definitely hadn’t broken. Gutted. I couldn’t believe it. Marcia took me aside and gave me a pep talk. She said that if I wanted things to start moving I’d better stop chatting and focus on what was happening … start talking to the baby, tell her it was time to come out.

We got to about midnight and still nothing had happened. I was exhausted and fed up. Chris was sleeping and I wanted to punch him for not being up with me. I’d had enough. Marcia kept me sane and as upbeat as possible. Instead of letting me focus negatively on the situation, she took me out of my misery and told me I could and would do this. We ran a bath and looked at the options: I was convinced it was time to throw in the towel and go to hospital … I just couldn’t handle the pain anymore, I needed pain relief and lots of it. Marcia was having none of it: we’d come this far, there was no way we were going to hospital, not yet. Then I remembered my birthing plan: gas and air.

The rest, as they say, is history.

It happened so fast after they rigged up the canisters: I sat in our hall landing, happy that finally I was relaxed enough to go with it. 30 minutes in, my waters broke. That’s when it all came together and when I honestly thought I couldn’t do it! Marcia told me in no uncertain terms, that I was going to do it and I’d be fine. I knew she was right so I pushed for dear life.

Two hours after I started on the gas and air, Scarlet Nell was born. She arrived at 5.16 on Sunday morning, 8th July.

Marcia put in a bath, wrapped me in my dressing gown and helped me into bed while – what seemed like – simultaneously taking photos of Scarlet, helping Chris and midwives and clearing up. How did she do it? I still don’t know but I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had her there. She helped me with the first bit of breastfeeding and then left us to sleep. When we awoke later on that day, she was gone and the place was spotless.

Thanks to Marcia I had the most unbelievable, relatively easy, birth. I honestly don’t think we would have had the courage to birth Scarlet at home and yet it was the best experience I could’ve wished for the entry of our daughter into the world. Marcia ensured that we kept our feet on the ground and when panic set in, she helped us immeasurably.

We hope to have more babies, and when we do, Marcia will definitely be the first person I call. Thanks to you Marcia, for all your wonderfulness. xx

Amy’s Twins

I had never considered using the services of a doula until a friend also expecting at the same time forwarded an email about doulas. I immediately cast it aside, thinking that because I was expecting twins, I wouldn’t be having a home birth or water birth, so what use would a doula be? I couldn’t have been more wrong!

As I got further on in my pregnancy and the reality began to sink in that, yes I would be giving birth to two babies sometime soon, my mind kept going back to that email. As neither me nor my partner have any family in the UK, I began to worry about who would support us during the birth. After reading a little more about what a doula does I also realized that we had done almost nothing to prepare for the birth! We honestly didn’t know what we were in for!

I knew immediately that Mars was the doula for us; kind, calm, straight-talking and most importantly she made us laugh. All attributes which, I believe, made the birth of our twins the positive experience it was.

The birth we wanted and the birth we got were light years apart, however without Mars I think our response to the birth would also have been light years away from what it was.

Mars remained with us for the last 20 something hours of our 36 hour labour and only left (at about 2 in the morning!) when we had settled into recovery and she had helped me to breastfed the twins. She was present and supportive when we needed it and melted in to background at the right times too. She spoke calmly to me and rocked with me through many a contraction, she reminded me of my ‘safe place’ when it all started to feel too much and helped Dan to help me when he started to feel overwhelmed. Not once during the labour did we feel as though we had an ‘observer’. She supported every decision we made, but in no way did she influence our decisions. This was so important in ensuring that we are confident that we made the right decisions for us at that time.

Post-natally, Mars helped us settle in to our home as a family of four and remained in contact with us by phone, text and email. Her timing is impeccable; she always manages to make contact precisely when I need her support: day three, when ‘the blues’ arrived, many a morning after a difficult night and at the beginning of every growth spurt!

I can’t thank Mars enough for all she has done. She will be top of my list of people to call if I ever get pregnant again.

Every woman should have a Mars in their labour bag!

Alex and John

We chose to use a doula to give us reassurance having our first baby and to provide some back up support at our hospital delivery – while we tried not to believe the horror stories about our hospital (all of which proved unfounded in the end) we didn’t want to take any chances.

We were impressed with Marcia straightaway, from her lovely professional website to her passion for what she does, we knew that she was going to be just the right fit for us.

By the time it came to going into labour we felt quite prepared, thanks to Mars and the huge amount of advice and support she had already given us – plus the very helpful loan of a birthing ball. She gave quiet and helpful support to me while I laboured at home (walking sideways up and down the stairs was fabulous at getting things moving! And reminding us both to eat something) and helped us both stay calm when we ended up stuck in a traffic jam on the way to the hospital.

By the time I got to the hospital I was already 7cm dilated and things continued to progress well until I got to about 9cm when we had to make the decision for the midwife to break my waters as they were stopping things progressing any further. Mars supported us through this and then helped me use gas and air as the pain got a lot worse. Having Mars with us was really great because, as I became more and more deeply into my labour I found that looking at John and getting support from him was quite a distraction – I have such an emotional bond with him it just made me want to cry and say ‘take me home’! So Marcia became an essential support to me, particularly once I started pushing and John went ‘business’ end and Mars fed me sips of water and kept me going when I wanted to give up!

At just before 1am (24 hours after I woke up with my first contraction) Frederick Paul was born although he had his cord wrapped twice round his neck. This was a scary end to an already exhausting day and Mars was wonderful as she stayed with me while John went with the doctors who had to give little Fred oxygen etc. She reassured me, held my hand (and fed me chocolate!) while we waited for Freddie to be brought back to me. When John did bring him back in he was a healthy pink colour and totally gorgeous – panic over.

Overall Mars was with us for nearly 12 hours of labour and delivery and she stayed cheerful and supportive throughout. With her help we ended up with a birth that was totally in line with our birth plan and I don’t think it would have been like that if she hadn’t been there. We got through three different midwives during our time in the delivery suite and while they were all lovely, having Mars with us provided consistency and reassurance. From helping get the contractions moving along, to reassuring us about when to go into hospital and then being there for me in those final few hours when I was exhausted and beginning to be overwhelmed by the pain, she provided us with invaluable care, information, support and love.

Thank you Mars! x