Phone: (425) 876-5049
Birth Fee: $1400 to $1750
Postpartum Rate: $40
Fee Details: See my website for more description of doula fees. I take 2 pro bono clients per year, generally people with needs for my specialized skill set-- that is, at risk for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, or high risk pregnancy. Updated 10/23/18
Birth Doula Experience: 12 years and 230 births attended
Postpartum Doula Experience: 14 years and 100 families served
Not SpecifiedType of Practice: Doula agency owner
Clients per Month: 0 to 2 births and 0 to 2 postpartum familiesPostpartum limits/restrictions: Daytime work only, no overnights at this time.
I am Senior Instructor at Bastyr University teaching Postpartum Doula Trainings. I have served as President of PALS Doulas (2014-2016), on the Board of Perinatal Support of Washington (perinatal support.org) and previously as an Open Arms Birth Doula (OpenArmsPS.org) for many years.
Languages spoken: English
Melinda was my birth doula for the birth of my daughter in June 2016 and she helped us post-partum as well. This was my and my husband’s first child, and Melinda did an outstanding job ensuring our labor and birth experience was smooth. I had a positive, in my opinion easy, un-medicated vaginal birth, and I credit the fact that my labor and delivery went as smoothly as it did to Melinda - I highly recommend Melinda as a doula.
The reasons I found Melinda’s support so important are:
(1) She radiates calmness and “I’ve been there and know how I can help” air. This was important to keep me calm and confident. I was not looking for ‘motherly’ support, I was looking for confidence that comes from experience, and I got that. This ensured I maintained a positive and confident attitude throughout.
(2) Melinda’s approach was analytical and proactive while being soft and respectful of my own pace and state of mind. At each stage of my labor she evaluated what worked and what did not and proactively suggested different poses, massage and other coping mechanisms to help and speed up the process. Each time her suggestions truly helped and made me feel/cope better. I credit Melinda’s support with my ability to cope with labor pain without any medication. While my husband and I attended the prep classes and I read a lot, it would not have prepared us to be able to cope with labor effectively, if Melinda were not there (in my opinion).
(3) Melinda found the right approach to support and engage my husband, who needed everything to be explained to him first, as he is not good with just “do what I say” approach. Melinda’s help was essential for him to be able to aid me (as he knew what to do and was confident doing it).
I highly recommend Melinda. She exudes confidence, calm demeanor, and an open mind. She was a fanatistic source of information pre and post partum regarding pain management and breastfeeding also.
My labor was nothing how I expected. My water broke 2.5 weeks early and my contractions never took off on thier own despite 6 hours trying natural methods. I was then induced with pitocin, I labored without pain meds until 7 cm. I then got an epidural and after 2 hours delivered my healthy daughter vaginally after pushing for 20 minutes. In total I labored for 28 hours.
Melinda was incredibly composed and wonderfully supportive through the lengthy process. She worked very well with the hospital nursing staff and my ob/gyn. She had numerous suggestons for pain management. She directed and supported my husband fantastically.
My plan was to labor without pain meds for as long as possible. Melinda made that happen for significantly longer than I thought I could manage. She used massage, TENS device, and positional coaching to help. I am very happy with the outcome.
During post partum visits Melinda helped with any breastfeeding, pumping, and baby carrying questions I had. She was keen to make sure to talk to my husband about how he could help and support also. She had great suggestions on how figure out a better sleep schedule which was immensely helpful.
From our first meeting with Melinda I knew she was the calm voice that I wanted with me and my husband as we started our adventure into parenthood. She had so much experience and so many ideas for resources that would be helpful and even more importantly ones that might not be as usefu to me as I found myself attempting to read every book available! I was in a situation where I was working away from home for a couple weeks out of every month while I was pregnant and having Melinda available by phone or email was really comforting. I knew that no matter where I was, she was just a phone call away. I was also nervous about going to the hospital too soon and being there for an extended period before our baby was born. Melinda came over during the day to suggest comfort measures. Her voice of experience allowed us to stay in the comfort of our own home longer than I might have otherwise and she certainly was invaluable supporting my husband and assuring him that there was nothing to worry about as my labor progressed.
Melinda's support also allowed me to better reflect on what my goals were for birth and what choices would be best for our family. I was reviewing our birth plan recently as we consider the possibility of a second child and I have nothing but wonderful memories of our experience with Melinda. If we had not moved to another state I would request her support for our next pregnancy and birth; she really is a partner that will provide you with information, resources, and support for all your decisions throughout your birth process!
I hired Melinda as a post partum doula with a strong recommendation from my birth doula.
I was looking for someone who had a lot of experience and could guide me through the overwhelming confusion of new parenthood.
Melinda was a tremendous help to me and my husband in the weeks after our delivery- she is knowledgeable, supportive, open and patient.
She did everything from accompany me to my lactation appointment so that she could support me in a way that aligned with other support I was getting, to show us how to most safely and efficiently bathe our baby.
I strongly recommend her as a post partum doula if you are looking for someone with a lot of wisdom, professionalism and flexibilty.
I felt like Melinda was the reason that my birth went so well. I was very scared about giving birth, and during our initial meeting, I really got the sense that this was familiar territory for Melinda and I didn’t have to play down how terrified I was. She helped me get a handle on this before labor began and once I was in the middle of it, her confidence got me through. A few strange things happened during the birth (had a not-so-great labor nurse, my baby was born very quickly once crowning and the doctor who was supposed to be there actually missed the birth, some things were not set up properly in the delivery room, etc), but because Melinda was there supporting me, I barely noticed any of it. It seemed that she had a much bigger role in bringing my daughter into the world than any of the doctors or nurses. She was able to coach me through the best positions to be in during labor and delivery, helped me advocate for myself so I could avoid an epidural (I was scared to get one and scared not to) and other interventions, and provided wonderful support to my husband during the birth as well. Most importantly, Melinda’s gentle guidance helped me to trust my body to do its job during the birth – something I never thought I would be able to do. I was actually able to have the birth that I wanted.
A note about post partum: The night I came home from the hospital, I was having a lot of trouble with nursing. I called Melinda upset, and she was at my house half an hour later. She helped me calm down and get my baby fed, and then once we were settled, she helped me develop a plan for getting assistance with breastfeeding challenges. My husband and I will always be so grateful to Melinda for the unwavering confident support she provided.
We are so happy that we chose Melinda to be our birth doula. Her professionalism caused her to stand out from the other doulas we interviewed.She did not put a time limit on our interview.Melinda lit up when she spoke about her work, which she is so clearly passionate about, answered all of our questions and had questions of her own to ask. Even before we hired her, she took notes to keep track of our hopes and needs. She continued to take notes throughout our time together.Melinda touched base periodically over the course of my pregnancy and seemed to genuinely care. For the days leading up to my labor she was incredibly responsive and made us feel that she was eager to hear from us.I do not know if I could have lasted as long I did with an extended three-day prodromal labor if it weren’t for Melinda’s calm soothing guidance and support.Over the course of these days she offered to come over and help me through my contractions. She got me through what was probably the most physically challenging night of my life. I give her a great deal of the credit for getting me through, so when I finally checked into the hospital I was 4cm dilated. This could have very well been what allowed me the vaginal birth that I had hoped for.Melinda was also a great support to my husband. We both always felt that she had our backs. Melinda is no nonsense and serious about what she does. If you hire her you can rest assured that you are in good hands. Without passing judgment, she will help you to make important informed decisions. She has the perfect balance of being an advocate and supporting her clients without overstepping in a hospital environment.We were grateful for the 2 prenatal and 2 postpartum visits. Melinda gave us plenty of her time and expertise without ever making us feel rushed. Her rolling scale fee system is incredibly fair as you never know how challenging or long your labor will be. We highly recommend Melinda if you are searching for a Birth doula.
1 year ago today, I was eagerly waiting for my labor to begin. I contacted Melinda one month before my son was born. I had 3 doulasto interview, but I knew I wanted to hire Melinda when I met her. She was professional, calm and friendly. Most importantly, it just felt right. I know this sounds vague, but I believe its the first thing you consider who to hire as your doula - compatibility. One needs to feel safe during labor, and trusts the birthing team. Your instinct will tell you who is right for you, just like how falling in love on the first sight works.
Highing a doula was one of my best decisions for my pregnancy and birth. As our families were all very far away, I needed someone to support me and my husband during labor, someone with knowledge, and not emotionally attached like family does (my mom totally freaked out when we phoned her during my labor. That was not what I wanted. Giving birth is scary enough for new moms!)
Melinda is just like her business name says: calm and confident! The whold birth was a blur right after baby came out, but I can still remember her caring and encouraging smile every time I looked at her crystal clear. It calmed me down a notch instantly. Melinda is not a big person, but I was surprised how strong she was! For a long period time during my labor, I was standing and inclining on her with my whole pregnancy body weight! Even my husband couldn't stand it. I seeked for her support more than my husband's during that whole time. Not only she supported me, she supported my husband. She made sure that my husband have food and rest as needed. My husband said after my birth that we totally need her for our next baby, and I agree!
Melinda provided me with excellent postpartum service too. Every time I called, she replied right away. My emotions would be too much to handle without her help during that 1st month!
All in all, I highly recommand her! You will not be disappointed!
I couldn't be happier to have had Melinda as my doula. This was my second child and an at home birth after a hospital experience. The preparation meetings were thoughtfully done and helped settle some of my husbands concerns with an at home birth. When it came to the birth, the short 50 minutes didn't allow for the midwife to get to us in time so when Melinda came into the room and helped deliver the baby, we were all so glad to have her years of experience on hand. In the 20 minutes after the birth while we hung out, enjoying our new son and waiting for the midwife, Melinda was an expert and truly helped calm the nerves of my mother and husband. Although she didn't have much opportunity to show off her labor skills, she was an expert during and after the birth and under pressure when it truly was needed.
I knew as soon as I got pregnant that I wanted to hire a doula to assist me with my pregnancy, labor, and birth experience. I had a high risk pregnancy - there were a lot of unknowns going into the pregnancy about how well my body would tolerate pregnancy and childbirth. I knew I would need to be taking a handful of medications througout pregnancy, and I didn't want to add additional complications with an epidural or c-section. I also knew that I wanted to hire someone who would work with my husband well, and who could communicate to him clearly and effectively too. Melinda got a good read on him, and worked effectively with both of us.
We chose Melinda because her manner is direct, but respectful. We felt the most relaxed and calm working with her, as we knew we could trust her completely. Given my situation, I wanted the best team possible assisting me - Melinda was definitely a key part of that team.
Melinda's expertise played a critical role in helping me achieve the childbirth I wanted - and in helping me avoid the risky complications I was concerned about. I felt that she had a complete understanding of my preferences and why they were in place. During labor, I hit a temporary rough patch - Melinda understood precisely where I was and what I was struggling with - and advised me appropriately the entire time. Even if this meant advising me against my original preferences, Melinda's advice was always sound and respectful to my overall goal.
As far as return on investment is concerned: for us, Melinda was worth every. single. penny. When hiring a doula, my husband was originaly wondering what a doula could do for us that would be worth the money. After the birth, both my mother and husband were enthusiastic that Melinda was the right choice, and was absolutely essential to my success.
Melinda was the perfect choice for our family when giving birth to our first and second children. We couldn't have asked to have a doula be a better part of our team for both times. She was very thorough with us from the start, asking lots of questions, explaining the process she uses with clients, and setting up our meetings. She took in as many details as possible about what we envisioned for the births of our children so that we would be happy and have a great experience. She was very strong at helping my husband help me through the process, speaking with the nurse when needed and setting us up to deal with the task at hand. Before and after labor, she has checked in with us on numerous occasions and leaves her "door open" for any communication needed as becoming a parent has many challenges no matter how many times you do it! She is an awesome doula!
My wife and I could not be happier with our decision to have Melinda as our doula. The prenatal care she gave us helped us emotionally prepare ourselves for the birth and early days of parenthood.
At the birth itself, she was amazing. Because of her constant presence, words and actions, I was able to focus exclusively on helping my wife through every contraction, and after the birth on being with both my wife and newborn son. She worked seamlessly with the midwives, and made sure I was taken care of both physically ("Sean, make sure you eat something!") and emotionally ("Take a deep breath, dad").
The post-partum experience has been, if anything, even more essential. We know that we can call her whenever we need, whether it is for breastfeeding help (and oh boy has THAT been a huge help) to a kind word of encouragement to two sleep-deprived new parents. I can't tell you how invaluable it is to hear her say "yes, it's tough being a new parent, but you two are doing a great job and it WILL get better".
In short, if you're looking for a doula to provide you equal parts practical and emotional support, I have nothing but the highest recommendation for Melinda.
Sean, Mikayla, and little Atticus
Melinda was a wonderful part of birth experience with our third baby. I had a second VBAC which was non-medicated. My labor and delivery were both quick. Every wish on my birth plan became a reality! I give this credit to Melinda. She has a peaceful, calm, reassuring demeanor. I, of course benefited from this, but so did everyone else, ....hubby, nurses, midwife. This makes all the difference in the world in getting that atmosphere you want at your birth.
Melinda saw me through a change in care providers about five weeks before my due date. The obgyn I was seeing had pre-scheduled a C-section "just in case". This made me so nervous and I never saw this coming! Melinda was immediately available to discuss things through and gave us a lot of information. Because of her knowledge, my husband and I were able to make a decision to change providers. The support Melinda gave us was awesome. I felt very empowered and confident going into this birth. What a JOY! Thanks Melinda!
My labor and delivery were uncomplicated, so I figured postpartum would be the same, right? No. I was one of Melinda's "crisis moms." On day four or five of our daughter's life, my husband called around to several postpartum doulas in the area because we were out of our minds with exhaustion, and needed some serious guidance on how to proceed with the goal of keeping our sanity intact. Melinda came out to meet us that same night, a Sunday, and agreed to work with us starting the next day. We worked with Melinda for a few weeks, and she helped us get back to a bit of reality, with a lot of practical suggestions and emotional support. We had family visiting for a couple of weeks after that, and I thought we wouldn't be needing to meet with Melinda after that. That wasn't the case.
By the time our daughter was about six weeks old, I had developed a serious case of postpartum depression, and we again called Melinda at a crisis point. She came to visit us right away. Melinda, with her reassuring, caring, practical manner, helped me survive the four most difficult weeks of my life. I really don't know how I would have done it otherwise. She was the only person who was able to sit with me in my depression without being critical or questioning or uncomfortable with my discomfort. She offered many knowledgeable, practical suggestions, including the referral to a mental health provider, but the most valuable part of our time together was the fact that she simply spent time with me, and talked to me as if I was still a normal person. She gently but firmly guided me back into a functional place. Melinda's confidence gave me confidence. Just knowing that she had seen other women through postpartum depression helped me believe that I might be okay too.
I highly recommend her to anyone needing a little bit, or a lot of support. She is respectful and strong, and her strength helped me regain mine.
After interviewing about 5 doulas, we decided to hire Melinda. We were so happy with the decision and the outcome of our birth. She was the steadfast presence with valuable experience that my husband and I were looking for in a doula. She attended the birth of our second child, which was an unmedicated VBAC at Swedish Medical Center, attended by an OB.
She came to our home during labor and helped assess when to go to the hospital and helped keep us calm and relaxed. Although this was our second child, our first was delivered via scheduled c-section due to breech presentation, without going into labor, so this was all new territory for us. As labor progressed at the hospital, her calm face and gentle guidance was what kept me steady and focused and was key to me achieving the birth I desired. She reminded us, at just the right times, about communicating our wishes with the hospital staff and also what was normal during the course of labor and delivery.
I would highly recommend Melinda as a birth doula - she was exactly what we were looking for!
I don't think I can explain how much Melinda has helped our family. She was my doula for both of my births.She helped me get through very long labors, make hard choices, and be content with the outcome. Melinda is the only reason I made it through my first birth. With her at my second birth I knew everything would turn out for the best. She is very gentle and kind. She never pushes you to pick one way over another. She is very knowledgeable and has many tricks up her sleeve to help you. Melinda is very selfless, I felt that I was the only one she cared about and she did everything in her power to help me. I can not express how wonderful she is just with words. I will be forever indebted to her, for her kindness, attention and knowledge.
Originally we hadn't planned on having a doula; however, after receiving information regarding how helpful doula's can be, we decided to seek one out. Melinda went above and beyond for us. She really helped to prepare us not only for labor and delivery but for being parents as well. She checked out our nursery and gave us tips on stuff we needed and didn't need. She guided us in developing our birth plan and educated us on all of our options and possible labor scenarios. During labor, she helped to keep David as the primary support person while supporting both of us in the process. She even brought chocolate in case Melissa needed it to help get her through labor. After the birth, she was there for us to answer questions and ease our minds regarding the trials of being new parents. Overall, we couldn't have asked for a better labor and delivery and Melinda was a big reason for that. You can tell that she is passionate about what she does and really desires to form a bond with her clients. We look forward to working with her again for our next child and would definitely recommend her to everyone.
I spent most of my pregnancy expecting labor and delivery to be a miserable day or two that I would just have to get through in order to meet our baby. Having a number of friends and family who have had long unproductive labors, most of the information I was getting focused on the negative aspects of the process. Yet at the same time I was reading about the joy and wonder of a positive birthing experience. I began to realize I could and should expect more when it came to delivering our daughter and that a doula could help me get there. Melinda was recommended to us and we liked her immediately. She spent hours with us prior to my due date addressing our desires, fears, concerns and goals. She understood the birth experience I wanted and guided us through my labor with a perfect balance of encouragement and support. Melinda helped with general and specific decisions along the way including when to go to the hospital, tips for coping with pain, and the pros and cons of suggested interventions. She was with us throughout labor and completely involved with the birth, providing breaks for my husband and continued support for me. When my daughter was finally born I was elated. I was amazed at the joy of the entire experience and would not have had that without Melinda’s help. Her postpartum support was equally valuable, from follow up visits to check in calls to help with breastfeeding. Melinda made the difference for us and I highly recommend her services.
We were very happy with Melinda's services. It would have been much harder going through labor without her support (and I may have ended up with IVs and pitocin and stuff, which I was avoiding) - she was very helpful in suggesting positions, and giving ideas to help keep labor moving (like accupressure). She gave my husband a break when he needed one. After the birth, she helped get us started with breastfeeding. The prenatal visits were helpful in preparing my husband and me for the birth - he'd been working out of state, so he hadn't gotten the childbirth classes, and these helped getting him the information he needed. After we were home from the hospital, she was very helpful with suggestions about breastfeeding when my son was having trouble latching. I would definately recommend her to anyone looking at hiring a doula. We plan to come back to her when we have our next child.
I really feel that I would not have made it though labor without Melinda. Ok maybe I would have made it, but it would not have been as comfortable and I think I would have had more complications. My water broke two weeks early. She met us at the hospital and helped me to walk around and do a few things to start labor better. She helped my husband to be able to rest through the early part of the overnight labor. I never ended up needing pitocin, thanks to being able to start labor on it's own. She was very helpful in suggesting position changes and reading when I needed something, encouragement, a change, or my husband's encouragement. She was with us for the entire 20 hour labor. And helped us get started breast feeding. It was very helpful to have a consistent helpful person, since the nurse shifts change every 8 hours. Melinda personality worked perfectly with us, she suggested a variety of options with solid background information which allowed us to make informed choices. She supported every one of our choices. The per-natal and post-partum visits were extremely useful and informative. She had the perfect balance of professionalism and caring for us. I would recommend Melinda to any of my friends or any of you thinking about a doula.
= Available. Calendar last updated: 12/4/2019 10:01:30 AM
= Available. Calendar last updated: 12/4/2019 10:01:30 AM