2019 Daddy Doula Award Story by Leona

Nominee for Daddy Doula Award 2019

My husband Diarmuid

Why do you feel this Daddy Doula deserves the award?

I would like to nominate Diarmuid my daddy doula and husband for over 14 years. I got asked a lot “oh are you having a doula” and I jokingly responded yes “Diarmuid the doula” to later realise and question myself who could I trust more than Diarmuid to be my support during birth? The answer was nobody.

Our whole relationship has been built on love and friendship. Going into the birth experience we wanted to remember this and create an environment for our baby to enter their new life built on these principles.

Diarmuid is probably the most positive human being I know who never complains ever about anything. When I’m stressed, anxious or worried he always reminds me “that everything will be ok in the end” and makes me wear a T-shirt with this very saying on it. I wore it during labour and giggled through the periods of intensity remembering that he’s always been right, everything is always ok in the end! Why would that change now!

I ended up having a 46hr labour which we nicknamed “the labour of love” Leona daddy doula 1
He never left my side and was always one step ahead. Despite his own physical and emotional exhaustion he provided me with constant words of encouragement, never let his guard down and really gave me the determination and motivation when I really needed it. He advocated for me when those hard decisions had to be made about interventions and used the BRAND acronym we had learned about at She Births® .

If he was afraid he certainly didn’t show it and created a space where I felt safe and supported using our favourite playlist, my lavender, ice, cool cloths and recognised when I needed to be left alone in the labour zone to when I needed his arm to squeeze. The midwives couldn’t praise him enough for being a superman knowing exactly what to do at the right time and wanted to bottle him up for other births. Seeing his strength and determination through my exhausted eyes was what got us to the finish line. Seeing his emotion meeting our beautiful son made me love him even more, adding to our adventure of love and friendship.

Our baby boy Cillian was taken to neonates right after he was born for respiratory distress. While I remained calm Diarmuid could also sense my fear. I was so exhausted I was unable to ask the questions I wanted to ask about Cillian, Diarmuid despite being scared and exhausted himself continued to remain positive replying so simply with “everything will be ok”
Our moto! And indeed it was ok more than ok in the end.

Leona baby pic

Describe your birth experience in 3 words:

Intense Exhausting Powerful

How did you prepare for birth?

She Births® face to face prenatal yoga, visualisations and meditation, yin yoga and The positive birth book by Milli Hill

How did you bring your baby into the world?

Birth Centre led until I was 10cm in the water bath. Difficulty with baby’s position led to forceps delivery


Who supported you throughout the birth?

Diarmuid my husband daddy doula and our two midwives from the Avoca group birth centre Kirsty and Gemma who were both incredible

What was the most challenging part of the birth?

Getting to 10cm on my own in the birth centre after a very intense period in labour to then realising I would need further intervention to safely deliver our baby. The challenge of staying in a positive state of mind to transition through the next phase and the overwhelming feeling of exhaustion.

What most helped you through the birth experience?

My TENS machine was incredible all the way through from pre-labour at home until I got into the water bath. ICE cubes to suck. Our playlist of familiar songs. The visualisations. My diffuser with lavender infusing. Most of all the constant belief and encouragement from Diarmuid my husband who read me like a book and was always one step ahead with ice on hand, positive words, advocating on my behalf and never left my side.

Was there anything that surprised you on the day?

Loena daddy doulaI thought I would love being in the water as I am a real ocean lover and swim all year round. Surprisingly after a while of being in there, I got quite agitated and felt more comfortable on all fours swaying and moving to our music. Another interesting observation was how much the clary sage essential oil accelerated my contractions it was powerful. I had been using it from 37 weeks in foot soaks at home and was interesting during labour how my body responded to it in the water bath.

Anything else you would like to tell us about your experience?

I had immense FEAR around the whole birth experience. This fear was very much rooted from my time as a scrub nurse working in obstetrics and gynaecology where I was exposed to many different birth experiences.
I knew I had to lay new foundations going into my own birth experience.
It really is “mind over matter” not looking at the mind and body as separate but in fact looking at them as being completely intertwined.
I use the word temporary a lot in difficult situations as a constant reminder that a feeling or an experience happens and then passes.I very much used this word at those very intense periods of my labour.

I went into my birth experience with a vision to have as natural a birth as possible. I came up against challenges that prevented this vision from happening. I was determined despite needing interventions that my birth would be beautiful and positive. Diarmuid and the midwives advocated for me and ensured elements of my vision were incorporated from the birth centre to the delivery suite right through to theatre. The teamwork, dedication and compassion of every single person at the Royal Women’s was beyond incredible. Despite a challenging labour I never once felt vulnerable or frightened. For that alone, I will be forever grateful and can now see why couples go back and have a second baby! Erase the fear around childbirth and let the magic happen.

Leona daddy doula family pic


leona family beach pic
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