As I explained in this post, I am hoping to succeed in having a VBAC when its time for this baby to make his way into the world. There were a number of things I had on my list of things to do to prepare myself but honestly I felt none were as important as hiring a doula.
I knew I wanted one from the moment my doctor gave me the OK for a VBAC. So I scheduled an appointment with the clinic’s antenatal coordinator/doula who is none other than the lovely Claire Anne Mavris. We sat down for a chat or as I like to call it ‘a grilling session’. I wanted to know everything about her work at the ISIS Clinic but most importantly I wanted to know what she could do for me when the time comes.
Here’s how our interview/chat sort of went:
Eleni: First and foremost, tell me why I should hire a doula?
Claire: Oh wow! That’s a tough one! There are so many reasons but let’s compare it to taking your tutor in with you during an exam. Or a wedding planner.
Eleni: I didn’t have a wedding planner.
Claire: Don’t you wish you did?
Eleni: Point taken.
Claire: Just like a wedding planner is there to help you fulfill your wedding hopes and expectations, the same goes for a doula before and during birth. If you don’t know what your hopes are your doula helps you discover them. She is there to help you birth in a positive way. She’s there to help you communicate with the medical team, to remind you what you want when you can’t because you may not want pain relief no matter what or you may want it immediately. We would have talked about it before therefore I know what would make this experience exactly what you wanted it to be. There’s alot to consider when having a baby and events may happen despite my best efforts and yours so you should know that I will never force anything. I am there to take care of you not to fight the inevitable.
Eleni: Of course. So you’ll be helping me before, during and after.
Claire: Yes. We’ll have as many chats and get-togethers as you want and talk about anything and everything that’s on your mind regarding the birth. When the time comes however I’ll try not to show up at your house or the clinic too early.
Eleni: What? Why?
Claire: I like to come when I will be productive instead of taking resting time away from you. If there’s a way to make anything better with my presence tell me and I’ll be there. It will be so much better for you to get some sleep or a long warm bath if you’re not quite ready and you have another 12 hours ahead of you. I check-in often but I will only come when I am needed.
Eleni: You sound like Nanny McPhee. And after the birth?
Claire: I won’t leave until you’re ready to start breastfeeding so I’ll also assist you with that too and make sure your environment is calm and welcoming for you and your baby.
Eleni: I should be ok with that part seeing as I breastfed Georgie for 18 months. Moving on, my husband worries that he won’t be able to be a part of the birth seeing as I’ll have you.
Claire: Definitely not true. During our meetings before the birth I’ll show your husband how and what he can do for you during birth such as various massage techniques. I love seeing husbands involved in the process so I try to encourage them as much as I can.
Eleni: From your experience do husbands like to be involved or are we still at the phase where they’re in the waiting room handing out cigars?
Claire: From what I’ve seen they want to be there. Of course there are men who don’t but in my experience most of them do.
Eleni: I want to be able to listen to music because its one of the few things that relaxes me. Besides I was born with classical music playing in the labour room so I wouldn’t want to ruin traditions.
Claire: We can have Bob Marley playing if you want.
Claire: Of course. Anything you want! There will even be chocolate!
Eleni: What? You’re hired! Will you also please make sure I don’t look like a screaming mess? I had my hair in a topknot last time and it did not look good by the end of the birth.
Claire: No topknot. Got it.
Eleni: How about makeup?
Claire: No! Definitely not! But if you insist at least go with waterproof mascara. No eyeliner though!
Eleni: Wasn’t planning on it. So one last question: Why did you want to become a doula?
Claire: I had my first baby when I was 16 so as you can imagine I didn’t enjoy it as much as a first-time mum should. The second time I was 24 and loved every minute of it! I found it so captivating. Around the same time one of my friends got pregnant too. Talking about where and how we were going to have our babies she decided to go public whereas I wanted to go private. She couldn’t have an epidural which made me feel quite bad so I promised her I would be with her when she had her baby. I was seven months pregnant when I took part in my first ever birth. No studying, no training. And from then on I decided I wanted to be a midwife. But first I got my doula training and started helping out during births more and more. My life changed when Dr Andreas Mavrides contacted me and asked if I could teach ante-natal classes at ISIS Clinic in Nicosia. He then helped me achieve my dream of starting a degree in Nursing, which is what I’m doing right now.
Eleni: So you’re a doula, a mother and a university student!
Claire: I’m in my third year and couldn’t be more grateful but I am especially excited about the new opportunity I have to expand my knowledge by creating and empowering an antenatal team made up of people who have the same passion and want to spread a positive spirit about birthing.
Eleni: So does this mean that you are an ISIS Clinic exclusivity?
Claire: Yes. As of recently, as a doula I am exclusive to ISIS. However my classes and services are available to all. Anyone can contact me and I would be happy to recommend one of the other doulas in Cyprus. There are only 6 which is a shame but they’re here if you need them. I am personally mentoring two new doulas right now.
Eleni: So there will be two more ISIS-trained doulas to go around? Cool. Any other exciting news I should know about?
Claire: There are so many events we are planning in order to develop a sense of community but one of the most exciting ones is the Drop-in Mornings at ISIS where any mum who feels the need for support can come in for a chat and a cup of tea. She can talk with counsellors, nurses, anyone she needs to on matters of breastfeeding or anything else she needs assistance with.
Eleni: Is this already in effect?
Claire: We start next week. Anyone is welcome on Friday mornings from 8:00 until 12:00.
Eleni: Such a great initiative. Well done and thank you for the chat. And the selfie. I’m off to get started on that labour playlist.
Claire: Can’t wait to hear it.
You can contact Claire on her mobile 99-890680 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org and of course on Facebook.