Melanie Ellison Photo

Melanie Ellison

Devoted Hands Doula and photography

Durango, CO Service range 45 miles

970-394-0461

http://www.devotedhandsdoula.com/

Birth Fee

$800

Postpartum Rate

$15 to $20

Birth Fee

$800

Postpartum Rate

$15 to $20


Birth Doula Certifications

  • DONA International - Certified Birth Doula

Birth Doula Experience

6 years and 60 births attended

Postpartum Doula Experience

6 years and 5 families served


Doula Training

  • DONA International, August 2013

Type of practice: Solo practice

Clients per month: 1 to 4

Attends hospital births? All Hospitals
Having a doula at your hospital birth is a must. I can help reduce tension and support you in having as peaceful a birth as possible.

Attends birth center births? All Birth Centers
Having a doula at your birth center birth brings even more of a peaceful feeling of "home-away-from home" to the experience.

Attends home births? Any Home Birth
I love supporting women at home births. They can be especially intimate and natural. Having a doula at your birth frees up your midwife to specifically focus on the clinical side of delivery.


Special Services Offered

  • Acupressure
  • Aromatherapy
  • Baby sign language education
  • Babywearing education
  • Lactation consultant/counselor services
  • Parenting consulting
  • Pregnancy, birth and/or newborn photography
  • Sibling support (for your older children at the birth)

Fee Details

Birth photography additional. Find out more details here: http://www.devotedhandsdoula.com/investment.html

Durango, CO Service range 45 miles

Certifications for Melanie Ellison

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Certification

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Client Testimonials for Melanie Ellison

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Courtney

3/22/2020

No matter what your birth plan might be, Melanie is someone you want on your team! She goes above and beyond the care plan she offers. I can think of countless times she emailed, texted or even stopped by with invaluable information, relaxation techniques and advice. We felt supported every step of the way. Her passion and love for this field of work shines through in everything she does from her prenatal care and birthing support to her postnatal visits and talented photography. She captured moments of my birth that will forever be treasured. Melanie documents the birth from her perspective and shares this as a gift at your postnatal visit. This was so special to us! We are so grateful to have had Melanie play a role in one of the most memorable times and moments of our life. She will always be a special part of our family!

Lynn Hyde

3/18/2020

Melanie helped foster the most amazing birth experience. From relaxed laboring, a super engaged husband, and natural birth. The moment she arrived at our house she took the fear out of the labor and brought a calming energy to my husband and I. She made the birth experience I dreamed of become a reality. I wish I had her for my first birth and if we have another baby I will do everything I can to make sure she’s there. Not to mention I love the photos we got andy will always cherish them.

MJ Smith

12/18/2019

Melanie was the backup for the doula we initially hired, so we had not met her until the day I went into labor. When she 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.

I essentially had two labors – a long prodromal labor which resulted in discharge (I never dilated past 2 cm), followed 7 hours later by 12 hours of active labor. Melanie was by our side through both, and I don’t think I could have done either one without her.

Melanie kept me focused and mindful during active labor, despite being exhausted by 26 hours of prodromal labor. She gently coached me through breathing, positions, and bringing my mind back from the brink of panic. 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 and 7 hours into active labor, she was able to easily switch gears from encouraging me through a natural birth to supporting me in my decision. I'm 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 long 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 8lb 5oz, 21-inch-long baby!

I could go on about all the things Melanie did that made my labor and the birth of our child the best possible experience. As a bonus, she is a talented photographer and takes beautiful labor and delivery photographs. I am confident that you will be delighted to have Melanie on your birth team.

Gina Mast

9/23/2018

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!

Tiffany Stombaugh

8/11/2018

When I found out I was pregnant my thoughts immediately turned to whether or not I should work with a doula.  After speaking with a few trusted friends and healthcare providers I decided to do it.  Melanie was recommended by someone on my medical team. When we met, I immediately felt like we could trust Melanie and we were in good hands.  She provided so much education and support in the months leading up to our delivery.  We also did natural childbirth classes, breastfeeding classes, and tried to get our hands on as much information as possible so we could make the best decisions for our unborn baby, and also with the hopes that these decisions would eliminate or lessen the amount of medication required for the birth.  Going into labor, I was 150% committed to not having any pain medications because I know that they can in some cases increase the chances of C-section.  Twelve hours into my labor it was a very different story!  At that point I was only about 1% committed, because even though my labor had been difficult for many hours I was not progressing quickly.  I can honestly say that Melanie was the ONLY thing that got me through that 1%.  My husband was there and was also very supportive, but Melanie knew specific breathing techniques that I used to get me through that dramatic urge to push.  In the end, after 17 hours, I pushed my baby out without pain medication.  It was the most humbling experience of my life, and also my most proud.  I never, ever could have done it without Melanie's kindness, support and guidance.  We also opted for her to photograph the labor and it was amazing to look back at those pictures weeks later.  I cannot recommend her services enough!  She is amazing and was definitely put on this earth to support women in labor!  You are forever in our hearts Melanie!

anna johnston

5/29/2018

Excellence! Melanie is top notch all the way through. She helped prepare us for what to expect and covered all the details. We knew that we wanted someone who would be able to not only reassure me during labor, but also provide support to my husband as well. We found Melanie to be respectful, comforting, gentle, and she cherished our baby as much as we do. When our labor and delivery did not go as we had planned, Melanie did not skip a beat. She provided us with quality care the duration through. She is also a wonderful person to have as an advocate if needed. Additionally, we used Melanie's birth photography services, and newborn photography services, and we are so glad we did. Celebrating our son is wonderful and the photos capture the special moments in time. Thank you Melanie for being so fantastic and instrumental at such an important milestone of our lives.

Heather Erb

1/18/2018

Melanie was instrumental in my positive birth experience after having delivered a baby previously naturally 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 labor was shorter, much less painful than before (with a larger 9 lb. 6 oz. baby!), and I felt peace instead of fear.  I felt amazed at how easy the labor was when you have the right coaching; it is so important to a positive outcome since doctors and nurses will not provide that hands-on support like a doula, which I experienced with my first child's birth.  Melanie has a kind and gentle presence you will feel and hear at your first meeting and she will be the best support to you and your partner.  Her birth photos are also incredibly amazing and I never even noticed her taking them as she never stopped engaging with me during the labor-she must be a superhero to do so much.  Thanks, Melanie!

Melissa Chanslor

12/18/2017

Our experience with Melanie was absolutely everything we could have hoped for. In our first three meetings together she helped give us the tools we would need on our journey through natural childbirth, as well as made the effort to get to know us as a couple, and what specifically she could use as reminders when things got tough during delivery to remind momma why she was doin this the natural way. 

The birth of our daughter went beautifully, and Melanie not only acted as our support, but she would intervene on our behalf as well. When I didn’t have the strength to use my voice, Melanie was there. She helped facilitate a strong teamwork between us as a couple, she made sure our wishes were carried out, and when I thought I was losing strength she reminded me of all the reasons I could keep going. 

As soon as our daughter was born she was there to help facilitate Our first breastfeed. She guided me and Baby together to achieve our first latch and successful feed. 

On top of all of this, Melanie also takes AMAZING photos. She did both our birth as well as our newborn photos. We were beyond happy with both, AND she is incredibly reasonable in her prices. She truly cares about the family and wants them to have these moments to cherish. 

There is no doubt we would use Melanie again if the oppotrinity presents itself. We were so very thankful for her. 

Stacy Nannen Stallings

12/1/2017

I cannot say enough great things about Melanie Ellison! Having lost both my parents a few years back, I wanted to find someone, who I could trust to be an emotional support system for us during the pregnancy and labor process, Melanie was that and so much more! We were so happy to have gotten to know her over the past year and it was a game changer having her present at the birth. She was there for both me and my husband, with calming reassurance that each contraction was normal and we were doing a good job throughout the entire process. The way she handled each situation calmly and guided me through the pregnancy and labor was exactly what I needed. We would not change one single detail about the entire pregnancy process. Melanie was a blessing before, during and after labor. She also provided such amazing birth and newborn photography. Her work is excellent, the moments she captured, are hard to put a value on they are so special. Thanks Melanie

Kelly Whaley

6/25/2017

My husband and I feel so grateful to have had Melanie as our doula during our son's birth. I can't imagine the experience without her. Melanie was comforting, calming, confident and aided in my husband's supportive role. I was able to fulfill my birth plan of having my son drug free. A big contributing factor to this was having Melanie as our doula. I don't think the birth experience would have been drug-free and as positive if we diid not have Melanie by our side. My contractions were noticably easier when Melanie was by my side. Her energy was just the medicine that I needed. I would highly recommend Melanie as a doula. It was one of the best decisions we made for our son's birth experience. 

Rachael Bruyere

5/11/2017

Melanie is a most caring individual. She is very professional and yet has a most sincere and loving personality. She provided wonderful prenatal guidence in praparing my husband and I for natural birth. When we ran into trouble and needed to quickly change care providers at 38 weeks, it was Melanie who found us a perfect match. She was very respectful of my birth wishes and remembered all of them during the time of my birth We had a very fast labor and delivery. We called Melanie and she left immediatly and arrived only 5 minutes before I delivered. But when we had following complications, she stayed with me for hours and followed me to the hospital to stay with me for another half of the day. Based on my birth, Melanie went above and beyond to ensure I recieved the care and emotional support that I needed from her. She is a major contributing factor to my emotional health and recovery from an unforseen, traumatic experience, due to the complications and hospital transfer. I would hire Melanie a thousand times over and she will be my number one referral to all of my pregnant friends.

Lauren Berka

1/12/2017

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 tremensously 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. 

Christi Williams

10/28/2016

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.

Emily E. McGee

10/28/2016

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!

Jake Walsh

5/27/2016

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!

Kristi Sage

5/11/2016

Melanie Ellison has been an amazing doula for me and my family.  She gives more than 100 % of herself.  It is great having someone who loves my babies and is there for me no matter what.  

She has been a huge help in the transition that my daughter who is 2 1/2 going from herself ruling the roost to now having triplet siblings.  Having Melanie give our toddler extra support has really helped for her to not have a whole lot of regression that most tots experience when gaining a new sibling.

 She has helped me to achieve my goal of nursing not just one baby, but all three of my triplets.... Exclusively breast feeding triplets. This is no easy feat, but it wouldn't be possible without all the help, support, and encouragement from Melanie. 

Having another person who supports my goals and wishes in my corner has made all the difference in being an effective parent.  Having a person there to give me a break when needed has been vital in my ability to be an amazing parent.  

Melanie's expertise in breast feeding, milk production, & latching has been invaluable. As well as having her support!  Words cannot express how truly Amazing Melanie is as a person or how great our experience has been with her. If you're thinking about using a doula, I strongly recommend Melanie. Having her on your team makes all the difference. Not only are you able to feel at ease, but also your family. 

 

Christine Rasmussen

1/12/2015

Melanie's giving nature and kind heart is enough to calm anyone in a potentially high-charged situation like childbirth - but in addition to that she brings a quiver of helpful tools and a lot of great knowledge to the experience. My confidence going into childbirth was boosted because of our pre-labor meetings, during which Melanie asked a lot of questions that helped me focus on the kind of childbirth experience I wanted, and then she shared the tools that would help me get that experience. My intentions were ready and I felt prepared - I just had to wait and see what transpired! If you are looking for a wonderful coach who can help you and your partner prepare for and stay focused/calm throughout the childbirth experience, talk to Melanie!

Kelsey Lyons

12/15/2014

We are so happy with Melanie's services. She was so helpful during my labor for both myself and my husband. My husband says it was the best money we ever spent! And the birth story she wrote up for us is priceless. Thank you so much Melanie for your servant's heart!

Anna Booth

7/20/2014

Perhaps like many other women who are planning on their husband being their main support in birth, I did not think I needed a doula.  We were working with a midwife, planning a home birth and my husband had read, "Birth Partner" and attended all prenatal appointments with me.  We were convinced we would be prepared for the Labor Day. 

We hired Melanie specifically for her photography services and intentionally turned down her doula services for the reasons mentioned above.  This was for the birth of my first child and if I have another I would not think twice about having a doula, even with prior personal birthing experience.  Melanie and her skills came into play at just the right time and I just did not know how much I would really need such support. 

As aforementioned, we had explicitly hired Melanie for her photography thinking we wouldn't need doula services.  However, on the morning of labor, she arrived before the midwife and as she quietly went about setting up the scene to take pictures, she noticed my discomfort and offered various methods of easing pain.  Her knowledge was absolutely priceless in the moment.  I even started to feel guilty knowing how much she was helping after I had said, "no thanks".  Her manner of "suggesting" methods were perfect as she did not replace my husband in his role as sole supporter, but rather gave him the tools he didn't realize he would need to help me. 

Looking back, Melanie's presence at my birth truly helped enhance my experience.  Her compassionate spirit and encouragement kept me calm and enabled me to focus on birthing my son rather than being overwhelmed with the fear of the unknown as a first time mother.  And not only all that, but the photography she provided was breathtakingly beautiful and absolutely priceless!  I would highly recommend Melanie to anyone no matter how many babies they have had. 

Brittany Wilkie

6/29/2014

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 reccommended 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 incase 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 eventhough things did not go as planned.  

Melanie was the greatest i am speaking from the father's point of view,  she came and comforted me while my wife Brittany was in labor.  Her company and professionaiism made me feel at ease, this was the best experience in my life and I have 4 children.  The other 3 were cesearan births, big mistake.  Midwifes and doulas know what they are doing and provide the best birthing experience.  Thank you Melaniie, my life and view on childbirth will never be the same.

Rebecca Crouch

3/29/2014

Melanie was such a blessing at the homebirth of my third child. Without any extended family nearby, it was such a relief to have her there for our older children (ages 4 & 8) as they attended the birth of their baby sister. I knew if they needed anything while I was laboring, Melanie would be able to handle it, and my husband and I could focus on birthing our baby. She gave my husband space to support and encourage me but was always by my side if I needed her. The first week of our baby's life, Melanie came over for 4 hours everday to help out. She cooked, cleaned, and took care of my older children allowing me to nest-in with my new baby and focus on resting and caring for my newborn. She made fresh vegetable juices for me which was a special treat that helped me as a breastfeeding mom to nourish my baby.  Melanie even wrapped my belly everyday when she came over with a long piece of cloth which felt oh so good because it helped to support my stomach and back muscles as they got back into shape. Her postpartum help truly was the difference between surviving and thriving, and I am forever grateful.

Harmony Steele

3/19/2014

Part Two:

After the birth, my body was so worn out from the pain, and I was so ready to be done, that I couldn't find the motivation to push out the placenta. I whimpered a couple times, "It hurts." and was ready to just pass out completely so that I could be done with it, when Melanie came to the end of my bed and just held my foot in her hand. I was told later that she was squeezing a pressure point known to relieve pain, but at the time all I knew was that she magically made all the pain go away and I was able to push out the placenta easily with the next contraction.

Overall, I would have to say that my one big regret with Melanie as our doula, as well as my one big regret with my entire birth, is that I didn't call her sooner! I can't imagine having done it without her, and I would not only recommend her wholeheartedly, but I would say put aside your hesitations and don't deprive yourself of her beautiful, devoted hands.

Harmony Steele

3/19/2014

Part One:

Sitting on the uncomfortable hospital bed, my entire vision of [the homebirth] I wanted for me and my family was crashing down around me, and I was having a hard time being less than devastated. Then Melanie walked into the hospital room, came straight to me, and placed her hand comfortingly on my leg. That sweet touch was all it took. I don't know what it is exactly, but Melanie's hands are the most comforting thing in the world. At the light touch of her fingertips all my fear and worry were swept away, my tense body relaxed and I remembered to trust myself and my [baby] to God's protection. My mother and I remarked to each other later that Melanie was like a breath of fresh, calming air into the stressful whirlwind that was that day. As it turned out, all was well, and we were sent home with a wish for a "happy homebirth!" from the nurse.


A little less than a month later, labor started for real. As I was pushing, I started feeling desperate. I was so tired, and my body so worn out, I began to doubt that I would have the strength to push that baby out. Then suddenly I felt this amazing calm come over me, I lifted my head a little and saw that Melanie had just walked into the room. Just knowing Melanie was there gave me the second wind I needed to push the baby out.

Birth Availability for Melanie Ellison

= Available. Calendar last updated: 01-17-2020

Postpartum Availability for Melanie Ellison

= Available. Calendar last updated: 01-17-2020