Melissa F. Haley (they/she) Photo

Melissa F. Haley (they/she)

M.Ed., CD, CBE @wyld_garden

Chicago, IL Service range 25 miles

https://www.wyld-garden.com/

Birth Fee

$275 to $1800

Postpartum Rate

$35

Availability Remarks: I am open to last minute bookings. Contact me for availability.

Birth Fee

$275 to $1800

Postpartum Rate

$35


Birth Doula Experience

4 years and 50 births attended

Postpartum Doula Experience

4 years


Birth Doula Certifications

  • Ancient Song Doula Services - Full Spectrum Labor Doula Certification

Postpartum Doula Certifications

  • Ancient Song Doula Services - Full Spectrum Postpartum Doula Certification

Doula Training

  • Ancient Song Doula Services, December 2019
  • Cornerstone Doula Trainings, May 2021
  • Manhattan Birth, September 2022

Type of practice: Solo practice

Clients per month: 1 to 4 births and 1 to 2 postpartum families

Attends hospital births? All Hospitals
Experience at Prentice, Swedish, Evanston, Advocate Masonic, Elmhurst, West Suburban, Hinsdale, Good Shepherd, NCH, AMITA

Attends birth center births? All Birth Centers
Experience with Burr Ridge Birth Center; midwives at Prentice, Swedish, Evanston, Hinsdale, and Elmhurst; water births

Attends home births? Any Home Birth
Experience with Gentle Birth Care


College Education

BA/BS

MA/MS


Special Services Offered

  • Abortion support
  • Aromatherapy
  • Babywearing education
  • Bereavement doula (pregnancy & infant loss)
  • Childbirth education services
  • First Aid and CPR
  • Lactation consultant/counselor services
  • LGBTQIA+ Support
  • Sibling support (for your older children at the birth)
  • TENS units rental
  • Vaginal steam/peristeam services
  • Virtual and remote doula support

Training Documentation

credential


Fee Details

Imagine it’s the climax of your labor. Waves of contractions are washing over you. You’re having trouble saying what you need. Your supportive partner doesn’t know what to do. Now someone steps in and shows them where to put their hands to give you some relief. I offer you water and a cool washcloth. I crack a joke, the staff all chuckle and relax. Sometimes the climax of labor is making a big decision rather than contractions. Either way, I’ll be right there guiding you and your partner. I was a doula long before I knew the word, and I officially trained in Brooklyn in 2019 before relocating to Chicago to be closer to my wife's family. I'm the oldest of 5 and a former teacher. I believe in the sacred and the scientific. I'm always learning: Spinning Babies, Birthing From Within, Evidence-Based Birth, VBAC, lactation, and placenta encapsulation. Expect personal touches, clear communication, handmade gifts, grounding energy, and fun! I'm queer and love to work with LGBTQ+ folx.

Service Area

Chicago, IL Service range 25 miles

Certifications for Melissa F. Haley (they/she)

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Certification

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Client Testimonials for Melissa F. Haley (they/she)

Post a testimonial for Melissa F. Haley (they/she)

Annie

3/25/2024

Where do I even begin? We found Melissa during my first pregnancy in 2021 after our first doula was unable to continue on, and let little did we know how big of a blessing that would be! Melissa supported us during a hospital birth during the height of Covid, and we hired them again to support us through the birth of our second baby at home. It’s been such an honor to have their support besides me for the birth of both my babies. In the hospital, they helped me gain confidence in advocating for myself and kept me encouraged. At home they kept me centered and focused on letting my body do the work it needed to do. In both pregnancies, Melissa provided so much educational resources, and was always open to chat about topics that I had questions about or anything I was experiencing. Their help in baby wearing with my first pregnancy has helped me teach many friends how to confidently wear their babies! We also hired them to encapsulate my placenta, and I can say that after nearly 3 weeks of taking the pills, my recovery this time has been a  night and day difference! With our first, I cried daily when the sun set for the first few weeks and thought it was a myth that some people don’t experience the baby blues. This time I have felt like my normal self! I highly recommend hiring Melissa for anyone looking for a doula.

Jordi + Maria

3/11/2024

Melissa was incredible and helped us through so many steps of preperation, labor and the newborn phase. Their expertise and experience were perfect.

 

We had our third kiddo (second pregnancy, first one was 8 years ago with twins) in 2023 and it was an amazing experience. From the moment of the first interview with Melissa, it was clear that they provided an impressive balance of expertise and empowerment. As a queer couple going through this with some unusual wrinkles, including the non-birthing partner Jordi inducing lactation so she could also feed the baby, Melissa's constant refrain of supporting us and our choices was beautfiul and also critical.

This support started with lots of conversations and documentation, including helping talk through what would happen with our 8 year old twins, who were understandably nervous but were so comforted by some conversation and activities with Melissa. The highlight for us was a labor and birthing experience at the Birth Center of Chicago, where Melissa worked so well with the midwives to help continue that thread of empowerment for Maria.

Coming home from the Birth Center, even having done this before with the twins, we felt like we were tossed into the deep end again and Melissa was there for us once again with some snacks, meetings and lots of attentive texting. I recommend anyone looking for an empowered birth, but especially anyone who has some caution due to identity or other reasons, to talk with Melissa and see if they are a fit.

Indi + Sondra Poloma

3/8/2024

We cannot overstate the importance of Melissa in our pregnancy journey and birth experience. Choosing to bring a new life into this world was one of the most significant decisions that we will ever make, and working with Melissa as our birth doula was undoubtedly the best decision we could have made to support our growing family. From our initial consultation to the moment of birth, Melissa prioritized our health, safety, and preferences/goals/wants/needs with unwavering dedication.

Melissa consistently met us exactly where we were, offering invaluable support, encouragement, and education whenever we needed it. Words alone cannot convey the depth of gratitude we feel for Melissa and the impact they have in our lives. We 100% recommend connecting with Melissa to see if they would be a great fit for you and your growing family.

Emily Schmall

7/13/2023

Melissa is incredible. They made all the difference in my third trimester of pregnancy, in the labor and delivery of my baby, and in the fragile early days postpartum. Melissa encouraged me to ask questions, and I did! They were always ready with sound advice and helpful reading material. When I came down with Covid-19 close to my due date, they made me homemade soup with herbs from their garden and banana bread, delivering it to my home, a gesture of kindness that did much to support my recovery and ease my anxiety.

Their intelligence about birth and great empathy provided me with comfort and confidence, and empowered me to speak up for myself during the birth of my daughter, while they gently but tactfully advocated for me in moments of overwhelming exhaustion. Melissa also skillfully guided my partner to show up for me the way I needed it most during the birth. My entire family is eternally grateful to Melissa for their extraordinary presence and deep reservoir of knowledge, and we can't recommend them enough as a doula.  

 

Erin Ryan

5/28/2023

Melissa is such a gift and absolutely AMAZING at what she does! She's everything I could have ever asked for in a doula and so much more! I'm positive you and your family will immediately fall in love with her just like my family did. Throughout my entire pregnancy she showed me such an extraordinary amount of compassion and kindness. Her depth of knowledge for the entire birthing process and all the changes a woman's body goes through (not to mention baby's) is impressive, informative and evidence based. Having her in my corner anchored me and gave me so much more confidence. I was able to trust my body and advocate for myself on a totally new level, especially compared to my 2 previous pregnancies. I immediately felt at ease with Melissa and knew I could fully trust her to support me and guide me with my VBA2C (vaginal birth after 2 cesarean sections). She took the time to get to know me, my history, and how to best support me. On May 7, 2023 I got my successful VBA2C! I know that without Melissa's masterful support, I wouldn't have been able to have such an empowering birthing experience. I was able to go into labor naturally and birthed my baby girl vaginally without the use of an epidural because of Melissa's ability (and my hubby's ;) to keep me calm and centered as I rode the waves of contractions during my labor. Hiring Melissa to be my doula is one of THE best choices I've ever made in my life, especially as a Mother, and I'm so excited for anyone who gets to work with her. You're in such good hands! P.S. She makes incredible brownies (seriously, the best) and banana bread! Oh, and her care packages are swoon worthy!

Elizabeth

5/1/2023

Ohhh Melissa! What can I say that others have not already? For some reason an analogy comes to mind: Melissa is like your FAVE obscure band, which feels special to you. When you realize you are sharing them, it is a tad disappointing but at the same time you're happy others have found and appreciate them as well. How could they not?!

I wanted to think of the perfect words to describe my experience with Melissa. It was golden? Yes but more than that. Words can't describe. From the moment I ran across their profile, I instantly got a good vibe. They are a genuine, beautiful human being and I feel so lucky to have in my life. 

My birth ended up being a month early, the exact opposite of my birth plan and in quite a traumatic way. I honestly don't know what I would have done without Melissa. They even stuck around until I got to recovery room after my c-section. Almost immeditiately I was handed breast pumps and told to hand express afterwards. I had no clue how so Melissa stepped in with my consent. My breastfeeding journey has been tough. They have continued to help me through it. They took the time to call me after I sent a text asking if they had a few mins. Melissa was compassoinate/empathetic to my troubles, had me think about why my goal was to breastfeed exclusively, feel it was okay if that goal changed due to the toll it was taking on my mental health, gave me words of encouragement & praise, and shared an insta post which was very relatable and found I was not alone! 

Recently, I was discussing with them my struggles to find a pediatrician I felt good about. In our convo, I told Melissa with them it was easy, I found them and just knew! I could not mean that more! I asked my partner if he wanted to add anything, and he goes "she helped me not pass out!" lol. Also, "it would've been lonely without her" which is so true! Lastly, Melissa's hugs are some of the best!

Renee

2/9/2023

Words can barely describe the perfection that was my experience with Melissa! I specifically searched for a doula that was queer-affirming, and it took me a few tries and frustrating conversations before I found Melissa. Look no further if you want affirming and supportive care... not just care, a special relationship for this special time in your life. 

As a first time pregnant person and parent, I was put at ease during my first consultation with Melissa. They have a calm and open energy, and with their lack of judgment along with pearls of wisdom naturally sprinkled in our conversation, I knew I'd be in good hands.

Melissa brought so many cool educational tools to our prenatal visits! From a model pelvis and baby to show what's happening during birth, to showing me how to use all three different types of baby carriers I was gifted, to SO much info about birth... the list goes on. It was comforting to learn so much about our bodies and birthing, to prepare my mind and body, to share with Melissa what support I think I'd need, and to learn about all the options and choices that are mine; not those of the medical provider.

Cut to... labor! I'm still anxious even thinking about labor, but Melissa made it more bearable. They were also there providing full support during my 4 hours of pushing at the hospital, and the midwives and staff loved working with them, even asking Melissa for advice at one point!

Clearly, I could go on and on. But when someone you find for pregnancy and birth support feels like family, you know you've won the jackpot. 

Final thought: Unless your spouse or your parent is an actual doula... they are NOT doulas. Get Melissa.

Jettison Tenacity

1/29/2023

Melissa was such a great match for my birth experience. As a queer person, I felt that Melissa was respectful of my identity and gave information to me that was in line with my identity and wishes. They were super helpful when it came to answering questions about labor and even answered questions I didn't know I had. Melissa's help during the actual labor was absolutely stellar and I believe one of the most important pieces to having a great birth. They helped set up the delivery room to be as peaceful as possible, they taught my other support people hands on ways to ease my discomfort, they encouraged me to stand by my decisions with the medical providers, gave me all the information I needed to make informed decisions about medicines and what I wanted for my birth experience, helped me to laugh and dance throughout my labor process, and they provided lactaction support and additional encouragement after delivery. I am so thankful to have had Melissa as my doula, I don't think delivery would have been so smooth had they not been there for me. Thank you so very, very much Melissa <3 

Caitlin

1/6/2023

Melissa was always there when I had questions, is incredibly knowledgeable  about pregnancy, infants, labor, and post partum. As a new mom, I had lots of anxieties and questions and I felt so much more secure having Melissa during this process. 

Catherine Jones

1/5/2023

I owe most of my amazing pregnancy and delivery experience to Melissa. They supported my husband and I starting at about 20 weeks. The knowldge they gave us to prepare well in advance for labor kept us calm, excited and united on the hopes we had for a great delivery (no matter what came our way!). Their insights and support later in the pregnancy helped created a clearn plan for how I stayed healthy and got my body and baby ready for birth. When the time came to make decisions about induction they were unbiased, had great resources and reaffirmed all the decisions we made that were healthy and safe and right for us. Come delivery they were so effective in keeping me moving, listened and asked me questions to determine how we could better progress my labor and kept me comfortable and calm. My husband felt so empowered by the knowledge they kept sharing with him and encourgaement they gave him - it made his ability to be active in supporting me so much better. We absolutely recommend her for people wanting a birth that is calm, informed, safe and a wonderful partnership experience.

Dan + April Lee

11/8/2022

I actually put off writing review because I honestly cannot think of the right words to encompass how much we appreciated Melissa as our doula. With this being my first pregnancy, I had no experience with doulas, and didn't know what to expect. But Melissa blew any expectations I had out of the water. The most important thing was that we both feel a click. From the moment we met her we both felt that click because of how down to earth Melissa is. She has a way of making you feel like you've known her forever.

Melissa always responded to my concerns, and checked in with me after appointments. There was never a doubt in my mind that she was thinking of me and baby. To Melissa, you can tell this isn't a job, it's a calling, and how cared about I felt illustrates that.

At 34wks my baby was breech. Through my frantic texts, Melissa calmed me down and sent me exercises to flip baby (who turned!) She was there for me in ways I never imagined a doula would be.

I had a planned home birth. There came a point where I knew I needed Melissa to support me as I started to enter a more intense part of labor. When she arrived I instantly felt a sense of relief. She massaged my back with a roller ball, helped me into positions, and gave me her signature "labor-ade". When she wasn't by my side, she was tending to things so that my husband could be. She took care of our dog, cleaned up our kitchen, and made sure the midwives arrived without complication. 

During my LONG labor, Melissa was my constant. I could count on her smiling face to look up at, cheering me on. She is a huge part of what gave me the strength and confidence to get through labor. When everyone else was tired, I felt like I still had her to encourage me. I'll never forget the moment my son was born, she exclaimed, "you are such a badass!!" She then stayed to make sure things were alright. Even after staying up for the entire labor, she didn't rush off. Melissa is a GEM!

Adam C

9/20/2022

I'm writing this review for those on the fence: Here is why you need a doula, and why it needs to be Melissa.

My wife told me all the benefits of a doula, but when we first started shopping for one, I was discouraged by the cost. Melissa was not only one of the most reasonably priced in our areas, she also brought more than her value in her first visit. Melissa has so much knowledge on the process and options during birth, and as a former teacher, her bag of interactable lessons will teach you what to expect and what choices you can make to have the birth you want. My wife and I felt confident and reassured before we ever reached the hospital.

At the hospital, Melissa once again showed her value and strength. She concisely communicated with doctors, midwifes, and nurses - translating and buffering so my wife and I never felt burdened by them, while always advocating for the birth plan we created. Melissa knew I wanted to be hands on during my wife's labor and gave me guidance and support I needed when I was overwhelmed, and the assistance when I was fatigued. She was by my wife's side for the entire 30 hours she was in labor.

My wife and I were blessed by the strength and wisdom of Melissa, and believe every parent would benefit from reaching out to her.

Tosha and Christina

9/11/2022

Working with Melissa has been so healing and grounding. They are like a lovely butterfly on the wall. Their presence during our birth was so whole as they held space for us, advocated for us and allowed us to take up space. They have so much knowledge that dimmineshed our fear while not needing to prove how much they know. We recommend them ten fold! They also are so available and never dropped the ball on us. They are timlely and very organized! We shout at the top of the mountain recommending them! 

Renee

9/8/2022

Words can barely describe the perfection that was my experience with Melissa! I specifically searched for a doula that was queer-affirming, and it took me a few tries and frustrating conversations before I found Melissa. Look no further if you want affirming and supportive care... not just care, a special relationship for this special time in your life. 

As a first time pregnant person and parent, I was put at ease during my first consultation with Melissa. They have a calm and open energy, and with their lack of judgment along with pearls of wisdom naturally sprinkled in our conversation, I knew I'd be in good hands.

Melissa brought so many cool educational tools to our prenatal visits! From a model pelvis and baby to show what's happening during birth, to showing me how to use all three different types of baby carriers I was gifted, to SO much info about birth... the list goes on. It was comforting to learn so much about our bodies and birthing, to prepare my mind and body, to share with Melissa what support I think I'd need, and to learn about all the options and choices that are mine; not those of the medical provider.

Cut to... labor! I'm still anxious even thinking about labor, but Melissa made it more bearable. They were also there providing full support during my 4 hours of pushing at the hospital, and the midwives and staff loved working with them, even asking Melissa for advice at one point!

Clearly, I could go on and on. But when someone you find for pregnancy and birth support feels like family, you know you've won the jackpot. 

Final thought: Unless your spouse or your parent is an actual doula... they are NOT doulas. Get Melissa.

Paige

5/26/2022

I was due to give birth in Feb 2022 and at the time, my hospital was only allowing one personal guest (my husband) and one professional guest (a doula). As my mother was not allowed there for the birth, I felt I needed a comforting female presence during an event so uniquely feminine. 

A friend referred me to Melissa, and from the very first time meeting her, she created an atmosphere of inclusivity, openness, and teamwork between me, my husband, and herself. She made us feel comfortable asking questions, provided science based answers and recommendations, and also very open to alternative medicine as we wanted. 

I knew I wanted to try for a low intervention hospital birth. Melissa provided a TENS unit for pain modulation which I used every contraction until I was ready to push. She met us at the hospital, helped my family with waiting and logistics, created a comfortable atmosphere for my labor, and provided helpful tips and advice throughout the entire process. After my daughter was brought into this world, she stayed by my side holding my hand as they stitched me up, and even helped clean me as baby girl pooped all over me as she came out lol

One of my favorite parts of having Melissa as my doula was the debrief we had around 4 weeks postpartum. She kept notes about things I had completely forgotten during the labor and delivery process. It was helpful to understand how I deal with pain/stress, how my husband and I work together as a team, and to process just how amazing the birthing journey truly is. 

I was able to have the birthing experience that I wanted in large part to the guidance and support from Melissa. Looking back on my pregnancy, labor, and delivery, I have nothing but empowered and positive memories about the experience. My husband and I relied on Melissa every step of the way and I honestly can not imagine going through that journey with anyone else!

Liz

11/30/2021

It's taken me a long time to sit down and write this simply because I don't feel like I could ever find the right words to express how deeply thankful we are to have had Melissa with us during the pregnancy and birth process. 

From our very first digital meeting I could tell that Melissa was the kind of person who was truly holistic in their approach, trusting both scientific evidence as well as sacred wisdom passed down through the ages. At our first in-person meeting she came with a bag with crystals, research articles, exercises, and more. Each item was thoughtfully chosen and incredibly appreciated. It was extremely important to me was that our doula understood that my husband was my #1 support person, Melissa completely understood that and was there to support us as a unit, I never felt like she stepped into his space or role. 

I had planned on an unmedicated hospital birth. Melissa helped me think through why that was what I wanted and I felt so supported as I prepared. As we approached the due date she was quick to text back and was always ready with a funny GIF, laughter really is the best medicine (especially when you're super impatient.) 

After about 24 hours of labor, my contractions began an abnormal pattern and I no longer felt like I could continue unmedicated. I asked for an epidural and even though everyone knew that wasn't part of my plan, she was so in tune with me that not for a moment did I feel like she didn't believe me or support me when I changed my mind. She was there to support my husband when he had to leave the room while the epidural was put in and encouraged us to rest while it worked it's magic. 

My birth experience was very different from what I had planned but because of Melissa I can look back on it and smile knowing that I was well informed and fully supported the whole time. 

And now I'm out of space. I wish I could say more.

Natasha

11/30/2021

Many things shared with Melissa during my labor and birth expeirence will stay with me but one that I will never forget is at hour 26 of labor. I'd yet to get an epidural and we were both sure I was hitting transition. I couldn't catch my breath because of the intensity of the contractions and fear started to creep into my exhausted mind. Melissa locked eyes with me and told me to breath in such a way that she had my full attention. I didn't see the room, or hear the people moving about, or feel my husbands hands on my shoulders. She locked eyes with me and we breathed together through each contraction. In that moment I was still again, albiet in pain, but still. We breathed together for the next hour. I was sitting on the edge of the bed and she was sitting on the floor doing counter pressure to my feet and we breathed. That was the saving grace moment in the final stretches of the journey to meet my baby. 

All the prep before labor (I was induced at 41wks), the promptness of her arrivel to the hosptial at 230am, the lavendar oils she set about the room to get rid of my vomit smell, her helpful hand as we walked around the room, her strong counter pressure moves to my hips, back and feet all helped so much. But that hour of breathing together will stay with me forever. In total my labor was 31hrs, I requested an epidural at hour 27, slept for the following 3hours, then woke and pushed for 10minutes and got to meet my baby.

I know that hiring Melissa to be with my husband and I during our journey to meet our daughter was the correct decision. I know her knowledge and skill helped me acheive my birthing goals. I know her backpack of "all the things" helped me during my 31hrs of labor. She nourished me with labor-aid, rubbed my sore back, kept me hydrated, kept me moving, helped me into positions to help my baby drop and engage, and gave my hubby all the support he needed as well. Thank you Melissa, so much. 

 

Emily and Andrew

11/6/2021

We had Melissa recently help with the birth of our first daughter a few weeks ago in October. Originally we didn't think we needed a birth doula, but as we got closer to the due date we realized that we wanted to prioritize having a great birth experience so that we would be fine to have our second in the future. Melissa was fantastic and wonderfully supportive - we are so glad that we decided to have her!

We had a great talk immediately over our first Zoom meeting, and Melissa was in constant contact and was highly involved in my updates about our daughter's status in the weeks prior to my due date. It was a struggle as the OBs recommended earlier induction, but Melissa helped to provide us as much educational material as she could to help us make the decision. 

In the end, we induced a few days prior to my due date, and she was there for us as soon as we needed her at the hospital. Even though it was our first time meeting in person, I felt as if we were close already - I can't say how much I appreciate that she also helped my husband in keeping us relaxed, and was there to also hold my hand and coach me while pushing!

Melissa genuinely loves what she does, and we definitly felt her deep commitment to making sure our experience went well.  

Abigail Johnsen

9/24/2021

Melissa is a fantastic birthworker!

My partner and I didnt have any support with our first and so with our second (and being trained as a doula myself) I knew I wanted to have a doula with us. After a few different meetings with other doulas, we met with Melissa and we clicked instantly. She was always available for questions and incredibly helpful throughout my pregnancy. She is very knowledgeable about pregnancy and birth but also reproductive healthcare in general. My partner and I greatly appreciated her expertise!

Throughout the labor and birth, even as our baby needed a little extra medical care, Melissa supported me, kept me focused and calm, and stayed near me as long as she could as my partner went with baby to the NICU. We could not have done any of it without her incredible support. 

Melissa is a gem and I highly highly recommend her services.

Courtney

7/18/2021

I cannot say enough amazing things about having Melissa be a part of our pregnancy and birth experience. I always knew that I wanted a birthworker to assist my husband and I through the process. After going through some medical trauma when I was younger, I didn't want my birth to feel like a scary medical experience. It was important for my husband & I to find someone who would be able to advocate for me, take the fear out of the medical environment, work with my husband to be a great birthing partner & who valued science/evidence based information for pregnancy and labor. Melissa checks ALL of these boxes. 

From our first meeting, we knew that Melissa was someone we would be comfortable working with. They were so easy to talk to. During each visit, they were informational, thoughtful & provided us with tons of tools to feel confident as we approached labor. In between visits, they provided us with articles, book recommendations, and quick answers to any questions we had. 

When my water broke, our midwife recommended we head to the hospital to be induced. Even though this wasn't part of our plan, Melissa gave us assurance that we had a choice in every step of the way: from going to the hospital when WE felt comfortable, to encouraging us to ask for a rest period before starting pitocin, to making sure the nurse informed us each time they changed care. Melissa arrived at 11:00 PM & was a burst of energy, equipped with twinkle lights, essential oils, a homemade electrolyte drink &a menu of positions to find comfort in. Throughout our 11 hours of labor, Melissa was such a calm presence. When I think of labor, I think of my husband behind me& Melissa in front of me, giving affirmations & holding my hand through each contraction. She helped make my unmedicated birth possible. 

I couldn't imagine giving birth without Melissa. We both appreciated her so much & would recommend her to anyone.

Sarah Burrichter Seymour

5/17/2021

After giving birth, I can confidently say that working with Melissa made all the difference in helping me have a positive birth experience where I felt self-assured, informed, and safe. I would absolutely recommend working with her.
To prepare for birth, Melissa met with my spouse and me virtually and in-person to discuss the birthing process, our knowledge of birth and post-partum, our hopes/fears, and expectations. She provided a variety of web and print resources, and she sent a package with thoughtful resources & gifts. Working with Melissa gave me the opportunity to discuss my pregnancy, birth, and post-partum questions and concerns with a caring and knowledgeable professional, which was missing from my very brief OB-GYN pre-natal appointments. Previously my spouse had vocalized his uncertainties about being involved in the birth, and it meant so much to me that Melissa actively involved my spouse in the birth planning process and provided concrete ways that he could support me.
It was my hope to do my hospital birth with as few medical interventions as possible. However, when I unexpectedly had to be induced, Melissa encouraged me to ask clarifying questions to my provider, which made me feel more prepared for the unexpected change of plans. As I labored, Melissa helped me feel safe by reminding me that certain things were normal (e.g., shaking from adrenaline), and she supported me with breathing, changing positions, and advocating for myself. She showed my husband different ways to apply counter-pressure to help me get through contractions. Ultimately, having Melissa by my side helped me feel empowered during such an unfamiliar experience, and her presence offered me a feeling of security that made it easier to endure each contraction without an epidural and to persevere through the process.
In post-partum, she remains a birth-team champ and checks in regularly. Thanks for everything, Melissa!

Joe Seymour

5/12/2021

I was initially hesitant of working with a doula for the birth of our first child for several reasons: I am thrifty (though my wife sometimes calls me cheap), I don't like talking or thinking about bodily fluids, and I expected that the hospital staff would make everything go smoothly. Thanks to the experience of working with Melissa, I see that I was wrong on all accounts and would recommend a doula hands down, especially Melissa.

Why my change of heart? First, Melissa herself. She's open, caring, listening, informative, responsive, an advocate, and resourceful.

Due to COVID, we held our first educational sessions over Zoom, and Melissa had the foresight to mail ahead an educational package that we could use togther on the call to learn more about birth and how my wife would feel (and how I could help).

Second, she was flexible enough to meet us in a local park closer to my wife's due date to show us how to use a baby wrap, test aromatherpy oils, go over her hospital bag, and try labor stress reducing massage techniques.

Finally, she showed us what stamina and cool confidence looked during the delivery. Though my wife had to initially be induced (contrary to our birth plan, but that always happens), Melissa spoke with us about the experience we were beginning and gave my wife renewed courage and lifted her spirits. When she met us at Prentice Womens Hospital in downtown Chicago, she immdiately set up the room with lights and inspirtational art. She talked with my wife about pain management options and supported my wife's decision to proceed without both pitocin and an epidural. Melissa showed me how to reduce my wife's pains during contracting (sometimes stepping in herself), she mirrored helpful breathing, spoke calming words, and helped me from collapsing on the floor due to my blood phobia.

She's worth every penny and many more. We've already recommended her to friends expecting later this year. 

Lydia

4/27/2021

As a first time young mom Melissa provided us with so much information and resources. She did not hesitate to advocate for me and my partner. She always made sure to  reassure and comfort me when things became too overwhelming. My birth experience could not have been better thanks to her. I fully believe I could not have done it without the support from her and my partner and for that I am forever grateful. 

Kierra Bussey

3/20/2021

My doula experience with Haley was like the guiding light I didn't even know I neeed. I think it's important for me to name my identity as a Black, cisgender female because I had insecurities related to my care as Black mother. Haley was able to help me navigate the birth experience as a Black woman with care and love. Often, I would share dismissive moments that I experienced with my medial providers, and Haley would walk me through how to advocate for myself. I do believe my medical providers were well intentioned but sometimes lacked the historical context of why I would find certain conversations offensive, though those conversations were necessary, standard medical practices (i.e., discussing birth control before discussing my birth plan at 36 weeks). However, Haley would provide me with additional rationale (i.e., you are very fertile after pregnany!) and still encourage me to share my persepective with my doctor. And I did and it was such a healing conversation which helped me trust my doctirs more.

In additional to Haley's nurturing nature, she was extremely informative and relatable. We vibed during every virtual session. Each session followed promptly with a wealth of resources that helped me understand my body and the birthing process. And the bonus, she brought in my partner! He was happy to understand his role and how he could help me during the actual birth. He was so involved during thr birth and I know that was a direct result of her inclusion!

All of these moment led to my son, Kamel (kah-male) who was born 12/24. With Haley's help, I embraced the challenges of COIVD-19 and leaned into the resources she shared. While I never shared this with Haley, her work has inspired me to find ways in which I can serve as an advocate for woman's reproductive rights. If you are looking for someone who appraoches birth holistically and adds personal touches to the experience, look no further than Haley. So much love and light to you!

Chloe Greenwell

1/31/2021

To whom it may concern

I am writing this testimony to attest to the incredible value of having Melissa as my doula. I was in a emotional rockslide when I was first put in contact with her, being overseas away from home, becoming pregnant during a catastrophic pandemic, living in a van and having no income other than my husband being on unemployment, times were very hard. And bringing life into the world is meant to be one of the most joyous times of your life but we were faced with many unexpected hurdles.

Having Melissa as our doula was a true joy. In these unprecedented times we were unsure of the amount of support we would receive via zoom. However we were pleasantly surprised with Melissa’s ability to make us feel supported from a distance. She provided invaluable resources in terms of birth education and various techniques to help us make prenatal decisions. I was impressed with her knowledge and also her way of including my husband who throughout the process grew immensely in confidence on how best to support me, his wife, through the whole journey.

We received beautiful gifts in the mail, that were surprising, inspiring and incredibly useful, from explorative art projects to essential birth tools. You really felt that Melissa put her whole heart into her work and we quickly evolved from strangers to friends. It will be a privilege and a important support network to all future parents who work with Melissa. I would without hesitation recommend her to family and friends and am sincerely grateful to have had her as part of my birth team.

May this letter show our full support in Melissa’s journey to becoming a fully accredited doula.


With full hearts

The Greenwells

Nicole Madu

9/24/2020

Being pregnant during a pandemic is hard. This is my first baby and a lot of the joy and excitement that should have surrounded this occasion was lost as most of my family and friends never actually saw me pregnant in person. I was apprehensive about birth, the labor process and the inability to have more than one support person when it was time to deliver my baby. Melissa took the time to really listen to all of my concerns with a high level of empathy and commitment to actively listening. I would have loved to work with her in person and have her by my side when it was time for the baby to come, but she assured me that we would make it work despite the physical distance. I always felt heard, loved, and valued. She even crocheted me the sweetest baby blanket and mailed it to my home. It is now our favorite blanket. Understanding my concerns, she provided me with a plethora of resources to support me, from readings, to articles, websites and videos, I always appreciated these sources. She encouraged me to have a labor project to focus on during the beginning stages of labor and this was extremely helpful. By the time I got to the hospital, I was 4-5 cm dilated and it only took 4 hours before I met my baby for the first time. I added her to a group message with my husband and she was even able to share tips and ideas with him. Overall, I had a smooth labor, healthy baby, and positive experience as a result of having Melissa's support as my doula. 

Arielle L.

8/11/2020

Melissa was my Doula the last couple of months of my pregnancy, Birth and 1 month postpartum.

I signed up for her services two months before the birth of my daughter. She was there for me the weeks leading up to me giving birth , and was very empathetic. During the last few weeks of pregnancy she was on call and She was always available, She was the best listener. she listened to everything that I was struggling with emotionally and knew exactly what to say, I am forever grateful for that.

Once I was in labor she never left my side, she gave me encouragement and reassurance. During labor she assisted me with pressure points To help alleviate pain. knew exactly where to massage and put pressure on my back during my back labor. It was a lifesaver! She knew exactly what to say. This helped me a great deal, especially during the transition phase. Once my daughter was born she provided me  with breast-feeding positioning. Which I had no idea what I was doing, so I really appreciated her guidance. In fact, since she showed me the football hold While breast-feeding, its been my favorite, Most comfortableposition for me and my baby.

I would highly recommend her for any mother to be . If you’re looking for a kind, present, generous,highly knowledgeable Doula, then Melissa is for you.

Birth Availability for Melissa F. Haley (they/she)

= Available. Calendar last updated: 04-19-2024

Postpartum Availability for Melissa F. Haley (they/she)

= Available. Calendar last updated: 04-19-2024