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Tammy Halliday
Experienced Doula / Birth Assistant Certificate 4 in Doula Support Services

all Melbourne areas

Australian Doula College Member

 

About Me

My ideal doula experience is when a new mother says, “I can’t believe I did it! Look at this beautiful baby!  I am so proud of myself!!”

I feel very passionately that women need to ‘take back birth’, this ‘rite of passage’ is your right, and that it is a beautiful process that our bodies are designed to do with dignity and power. I implicitly believe that you will birth your baby safely, the way YOU want to, if you are informed, supported, encouraged and empowered to do so. 

I have been a childbirth assistant since 1995 and became a registered Doula through the Australian Doula College in 2008.  I have my Certificate 4 in Doula Support Services, am a qualified Child Birth and Parenting Educator and I am currently working as the Educator for the Australian Doula College in Melbourne, facilitating their 20 week Doula training.  I am trained, qualified and experienced in placenta encapsulation.

I also hold a current First Aid certificate, a Working with Children card, and current police check.

My Birth Stories

I am the mother of five beautiful human beings!  I have been interested and involved in childbirth for more than 15 years.

My own birthing experiences are varied. I went into the birth of my first child at 37 weeks, full of fear and doubt and convinced it was a medical crisis. I fulfilled all my own prophecies, and gave birth to my son Dane, on my back, in stirrups, pethidine and an epidural for the pain, and an episiotomy (because the doctor just did it). He weighed 3.2 kg and was healthy, but not very alert. Thank heavens I breastfed successfully (something I never doubted I could do).

The birth of my daughter Ebony was totally different. I was more educated about the childbirth experience, and that empowered me to make informed decisions on the day.  Ebony was born at 34 weeks weighing 2.3 kg. She was healthy, alert and looking for my face within minutes of being born. What a difference in how I felt! I was so euphoric because I hadn’t felt afraid this time.  Once again, she breastfed beautifully from the word go.

My third baby, Jemimah, was born at 32 weeks. After 12 hours of labour she began showing signs of foetal distress, and I was taken into surgery for an emergency caesarean. I still remember the surge of pity I felt for her as the doctor lifted her from my womb. I felt helpless as she was taken to a table on the other side of the room to be checked over. Jemimah weighed 2 kg and spent one night in a humidicrib before being allowed back with me. She breastfed so well, and started putting on weight, so I was sent home 7 days later, 7 weeks before her due date!!

My fourth child was born at 34 weeks. After 8 hours of labour, the doctors pronounced “foetal distress” and my VBAC plans came to naught, as once again I was off for another caesarean.  Daisy was born weighing 2.1 kg and had significant problems breathing. While still in theatre, I was allowed to reach my hand out to touch her face for a few seconds, and then she was rushed to the Special Care Nursery. By the time I had been stitched up and taken up to the ward the doctors had decided that she needed to be taken by the NETS (Neonatal Emergency Transport System) to Monash Intensive Care Unit. There were not enough beds there for me.  I was to remain where I have given birth; without her. I was devastated.  Except for those first few seconds, I hadn’t even touched her yet!  The team of doctors and nurses going with her gave me a Polaroid photo, and my husband accompanied them to Monash Hospital. Even though Daisy came back 4 days later, she remained in Special Care for another three weeks. I had to leave my baby in hospital while I went home!  For me, it was dreadful.

The birth of my fifth baby was different again. I was told it would be ‘unsafe’ to deliver vaginally after two caesareans, so was booked in for an ‘elective’ Caesar.  I went into premature labour and Django arrived via caesarean at 32 weeks.  He also had breathing difficulties at birth, but at least this time we were both in the same hospital. Django weighed in at 1.8 kg and was on CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) for 4 days in ICU. He had 10 days total in ICU and another 4 weeks in Special Care before we took him home. Because breastfeeding had always been so easy for me, I was stunned when Django and I really struggled to get it happening this time.  Lots of help, support, and lactation consultant visits later, we finally found our groove, but it took a good 6 weeks!

I am sharing these stories with you because I feel I am in a unique position to talk about the many situations a birthing woman may face. Aside from the births I have attended as a doula over the past 15 years I also remember what it felt like to be a powerless spectator at the birth of my own child. And from the births of my other children, I know how exciting and empowering it felt to participate on a level I wanted to participate on. I know how I felt when I was given good, evidence based information.  And how I felt when I was being emotionally blackmailed, coerced or manipulated to suit a facility’s protocols.  And I know that many, many times, what works for one person, probably won’t work for another.

Each birth is unique.  Every birthing woman and couple need to be empowered and supported to make the choices that work best for them ... at their baby's birth.  Without pressure ... and without judgement.
Copyright ©2009 Mothering the Mother | Thank you to Greg Beyer for many of the wonderful photographic images on this site
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