"My husband and I were initially not 100% sold on the ideal of a doula, but had heard such good things about them, that we decided to go for it, and were impressed with Melanie from the very first interview. Throughout our birth prep, during the birth and after, we were blown away by how helpful she was; doing things we didn't know to ask for, anticipating our needs, and just helping optimize a challenging experience as we welcomed our son. If you're even remotely considering having a doula help you and your partner through this transition, whether for hospital or home birth, I encourage anyone to consider Melanie's services. We are so so glad we did."
-Amanda K. (mother)
"After a week of talking with Melanie I overcame my fear of childbirth and instead became eager to experience the birth I had always dreamed of."
"Melanie has been ten times more helpful, informative, and personal than any of the healthcare providers who I have had appointments with."
"Melanie was my doula for both of my home births. She is amazing! Very attentive, very proactive, but also able to read the situation and back off to give you space if you need it. She will adjust to whatever is needed in that moment. And she takes beautiful photographs! We couldn’t ask for more. Love her!"
"I couldn't have done it without you!"
"Thank you so much for the photos and everything you did for us! I would hire you in a heartbeat again if we end up having another angel on the way." -Samantha R. (mother)
"When Melanie stepped out of the room for just a minute, my contractions were noticeably harder. Just her presence, believing in me, gave me the strength to labor without pain meds (even with an induction). Her energy was just the medicine that I needed."
"During labor, Melanie's help was exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it. She did not replace my husband in his role as supporter, but rather gave him the tools he didn't realize he would need to help me."
"When Melanie arrived at the hospital, I immediately knew I was in good hands. This testifies to the calm and confidence that Melanie exudes, as a last-minute change in a birth team has the potential to feel frightening. We trusted Melanie right away and I easily surrendered to her care.
She enhanced the role my husband played in the labor, and the additional support he was able to offer me because of her guidance was a life-line I latched onto throughout. This was, I think, the most meaningful and beautiful thing that Melanie brought to our experience.
When I opted for an epidural at 5-6 cm, 7 hours into active labor, Melanie was able to easily switch gears from encouraging me through a natural birth to support me in my decision. I am beyond grateful that she brought me so far through the process without one, as I firmly believe that holding off on the epidural for as I did made it possible to avoid any additional interventions. Her coaching through the pushing process is the reason I did not tear, despite having an 8 lb., 5 oz. 21 inch long baby!"
- Anna B. (mother)
"We are so grateful to have had Melanie as our doula. When our baby arrived 10 weeks early before we even had time to do a labor-prep appointment in person with Melanie, she showed up for the labor (even though she wasn't technically on call for us yet) and dived right in, coaching my husband on comfort techniques that really helped me cope with contractions. I felt a big difference when they did those hands-on things. We felt supported by her when she stood in the gap and advocated with the staff for what she knew were our birth wishes. When my baby had to go straight to the NICU since she was a preemie, Melanie still helped me know what to do to establish my breastmilk. I wish we had known the things she taught us when our first child was born years ago! The best money we've ever spent!"
"Melanie is amazing at what she does. Her passion for birth and knowledge is something I admired about her the minute we met. After each meeting both my husband and myself felt excited about labor and giving birth. Her calming energy makes you want to spend more and more time with her. This was the same during labor. Her strength to support me and my husband was outstanding. She reminded us of our plan and also honored where we were in each moment of labor.
"Melanie was instrumental in my positive birth experience after having delivered a baby previously without a doula. She takes effort to find exactly what birth experience you are hoping for; in my case a natural hospital birth where I was fully present and engaged in the experience. She helped me prepare for the birth with hands-on training, and when the day came, I was able to relax, focus, and labor at home until the baby was ready to be delivered (what a change from laboring in the hospital bed the whole time!). This labor was shorter, much less painful than my first (even with a larger 9 lb. 6 oz. baby!), and I felt peace instead of fear. I am amazed at how easy the labor was when you have the right coaching; doulas are so important to a positive outcome since doctors and nurses will not provide that hands-on support like a doula does.
"Melanie was an amazing support during the birth of our son. We met with her twice before the birth, and we especially loved the meeting where she showed us techniques to help me relax and control pain during labor. That made us feel much more confident before the birth.
When my water broke two weeks before my due date, Melanie cancelled her travel plans at the last minute and met us at the hospital to help me get labor started. Once I was in active labor, she was an integral part of the birth process. She helped alleviate pain, advocated for me with the nurse and midwife and helped my husband feel confident and involved. Without her help, I don't think I would have been able to have a med-free birth. If you need a doula in the Durango area, hire Melanie!"
-Emily M. (mother)
"Melanie was an extreme blessing to our pregnancy and birth. She was an amazing support even if I had any small questions about anything. When we had a change of plans at 37 weeks she was right there for us during a big decision. When I finally went into labor she showed up at the right time and got right to work coaching me through contractions. She somehow knew just what I needed at every moment. When a few contractions got the best of me she gave me great reminders. I can't imagine this experience without her. My husband and I recommend her 1000% and if we have another, we will absolutely use her again."
"Melanie was our doula for the birth of our second baby, and I would hire her again in a heartbeat! We had our first baby without a doula, and although we had hoped for a peaceful home birth with midwives, I ended up in hospital after many hours of unprogressing labor and had a very different overall experience than what we had desired. The next time around, we hired Melanie soon after we knew I was expecting, and had a planned home birth that progressed so quickly that she and my husband were the only ones there for our baby’s birth (our midwives arrived in time to deliver the placenta)! I am certain that having Melanie as a doula is the primary reason I enjoyed such a quick and relatively easy delivery. Her relaxation exercises before the big day, communication both during and after pregnancy, and comforting, confident and capable nature throughout, all made it such a positive and special experience. I was not in the least concerned that she was the only other person at the birth with us. She handled it as though she was born to do the work of two competent midwives and a doula extraordinaire at the same time. My husband, having dreaded going through another birth like the first, even commented that this one was '95% better than the first time!' Thank you so much, Melanie, for all your support and care. We recommend your services to anyone!"
"Melanie is very professional and yet has a most sincere and loving personality. She provided wonderful prenatal guidance in preparing my husband and I for natural birth. She was very respectful of my birth wishes and remembered all of them during the time of my birth. Melanie went above and beyond to ensure I received the care and emotional support that I needed from her. She is a major contributing factor to my emotional health and recovery from an unforeseen, traumatic experience, due to postpartum complications. I would hire Melanie a thousand times over and she will be my number one referral to all of my pregnant friends."
–Rachael B. (mother)
"We are very thankful that we found Melanie Ellison to serve as our doula.
This was my husband and mine's first pregnancy and while we worked to educate ourselves about what to expect, we knew there was still much that we could not anticipate. We knew we wanted to have a birth with as few interventions as possible, but we also knew that this might be difficult to achieve in a conventional hospital setting. Without any extended family living nearby, we also recognized that we wanted someone to support us through this entire experience and we wanted it to be a positive and strengthening time for our relationship.
Melanie provided all this and more. Because of her support and guidance, we were able to achieve a hospital birth free from the interventions we wanted to avoid. Her expertise and reassurance helped us discern where we were in the labor process, decide when to go to the hospital, and how to make informed decisions about what was happening. She was a constant presence throughout the labor, continually suggesting new techniques to manage labor and providing encouragement and comfort. We both feel as though her presence helped tremendously to alleviate fear about the process and eased potential tensions and stress between my husband and I. I did not have to worry about causing extra tension by relying on him (who also was going through this for the first time!) as my only source of support.
Melanie's professionalism, knowledgeability, and compassion made us so thankful that we chose her as our doula. Her presence transformed the experience for us and we are very grateful that we emerged with the birth story we had hoped for."
-Lauren B. (mother)
From a father's perspective:
"Hiring Melanie was the best money we ever spent!"
"We knew we wanted to have Melanie as our Doula right away. Her confidence and broad knowledge of the birth process is undeniable. Melanie was always there for us when we needed her... before, during and after the birth of our daughter. Melanie went way above and beyond any expectations we may have had about what a doula could do for us. Her skills as a doula and her amazing photography talent make her a must for this most important time. Thank you Melanie!"
"Up until the actual labor and birth, I didn’t fully realize how different the roles of the doula and midwife are. The midwife was almost completely focused on the health of my wife and child, while Melanie was deeply focused on the emotional, mental, and physical comfort and support of my wife, which proved to be one of the most important parts of the birth. Melanie was deeply nurturing while still respecting our space as a family. She supported me through the process so I could better be there for my wife. When Melanie arrived it felt like she brought the grounded and supportive presence of a mountain, and we are so thankful that she was our doula."
"Melanie was such an amazing resource for my wife and I as we navigated the birth of our fist child. Her professionalism and kind demeanor went so far in preparing us for a positive experience. Clearly Melanie was there for my wife; however her experience helped guide me to help my wife in so many other ways before, during and after labor. As first time parents I can not recommend Melanie and her services highly enough! Thanks again Mel!"
"I didn't think of hiring a doula until I was 37 weeks pregnant. I was planning a VBAC homebirth and towards the end of my pregnancy I was overcome with fear of all that could go wrong and other emotional issues I was dealing with. My midwife recommended that I hire a doula, so I stumbled across Melanie and interviewed her. That same day I hired her. We had an instant connection. Melanie immediately started helping me realize the cause of my fears. She gave me a few assignments to do that made me understand why I was feeling the way I did. After a week of talking with Melanie I overcame my fear of child birth and instead became anxious to experience the birth I had always dreamed of.
"The morning I went into labor things progressed so fast that my midwife did not make it to me in time to deliver my baby. Melanie barely even had time to make it to me, however she did arrive just in time and took charge of everything all while still making me feel like I was in charge of my body, baby, and birth. She delivered my baby and she made sure to have EMT on site in case of any emergencies. in spite of all she was doing she still made the space feel calm and collected. She even made sure that the EMT team respected my birth plan. I really am grateful for her help through the most important time in my life. I finally had the birth that I dreamed of even though things did not go as planned."
Testimonials about Melanie as a baby nanny in Durango
Exclusively breastfeeding triplets!