Dessi, Ben and baby Alexander July 2017 Ben's perspective.
Cannot recommend highly enough.
Story: Despite being well informed and proactive parents-to-be, my wife's first labour experience was very difficult. Her labour was ~40 hours long and despite me being extremely proactive before and during labour assisting in all the ways we had learnt from pre-birth courses (which helped immensely with pain management etc) the birth resulted in a 3rd degree tear and blood loss of approximately 1500ml (that's a lot). Post-birth my wife experienced recurrent mastitis, extreme anxiety and fatigue and grappled with postnatal depression for almost 2 years following.
The emotional texture in our family flip flopped between absolute joy and happiness (we were blessed with a wonderful baby girl) and deep sadness for my wife when she slipped into depression and fatigue. --- End 'horror' story ---
When we decided to try for baby #2, and having both healed and learned from the experiences of the first birth we decided to try and reduce risk as much as possible of the experience repeating itself. We relocated to be closer to my parents for family support and made sure we had a support person that was impartial to the medical / hospital system and who we knew was 1) Experienced 2) Would always act in our best interest. We contacted Cheryl. Cheryl was a critical part of what was honestly an ideal birth. Not a joke. Ideal. My wife laboured naturally with no drugs or intervention (except for a couple of membrane sweeps in the days leading up to labour) for 7 hours (total) and birthed a healthy boy with zero complications. Zero. None. Lots of factors were different for us leading up to baby #2 and while these differences all added up to create a wonderful birth experience
Cheryl was such a huge part of it and tied it all together. 1) Cheryl was always there for us leading up to labour to talk about options and give honest, relevant and well researched information to us to help us make the best decisions. 2) In the actual birth my wife said it was Cheryl's presence and support that allowed her to relax enough for labour to progress naturally. Having Cheryl there (and she totally 'has your back') was extremely important to create a safe environment for my wife. It also allowed me to deal with other practical things without leaving my wife to answer questions or be interrupted by a change in midwife shift or new doctor or whatever - Cheryl knows the system and she knows how to talk to the medical team and get out of them what's in your best interest. The midwife allocated to us was fortunately lovely also and with her and Cheryl working together, there were no interruptions to my wife's labour AT ALL unless SHE asked for it. It was like we had a private room - no one swanning in when they feel like it. It could not have been better.
If you have not had a child before I cannot stress how important it is to go in with someone who has been there before and knows the system. I had been there before and even then I can't stress how good it was to have Cheryl on our team. Game changer. 3) Cheryl was the only baby-related-professional we've seen, ever, who half way through a meeting with my wife turned to me and asked (actually asked, not small talk) - so, how are you doing with all this? I hadn't even asked myself that question. What it showed me that her visibility was far greater than my wife. It is the first time my emotional and psychological needs were even considered (as I said, even by me) which speaks volumes in itself. She sees the couple and the family as a functioning unit and actually cares how that unit is functioning because... it's super important. 4) Cheryl brought us a huge family-sized home-made lasagne on her first visit after the birth. It was amazing. Summary: Cannot recommend highly enough.