Emerald Doulas was born out of the need to create a cohesive, personalized, inclusive community for new and expectant families in and around Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, NC and surrounding Triangle cities. Combining their years of experience supporting and nurturing new parents and their newborns, owners Melanie Patrick, Ashley Collins, and Suzanne Lee are proud to offer the area’s first full-service and professional birth and postpartum support business. 

Why Emerald Doulas? 

Emeralds are a precious gemstone (the State Gem of North Carolina, in fact), which are long thought to promote love and hope, and quiet an anxious or troubled mind. Emeralds can be used to bridge the hearts of two people together and are also said to bring wisdom and reason to their wearers.

Like our namesake, Emerald Doulas strive to be a collaborative part of your birth and postpartum teams, never replacing your partner or family, but adding an addition level of care for you when you need it the most. Our gentle guidance and nurturing eases the minds of new parents, who are faced with many decisions before, during, and after birth. We simplify the lives of new parents, whether this is your first or your fifth newborn. Because we offer extensive support options for pregnancy through the first year, all under one business and with one phone call, your new family can rely on our web of comprehensive and professional support. It's unlike anything else offered in the Triangle. Really. 

Emerald Doulas clients feel cared for, valued, heard and most importantly, bonded as a family as you navigate through the tender moments of early parenthood. 

Meet The Owners 

Suzanne Lee's passion is being there for her clients during those early days of parenthood. She knows the joys and challenges of being a parent first hand and understands value in building the village that is so very important in parenthood. As a Certified DONA International Postpartum Doula and trained through HUG Your Baby, she specializes in helping families with babies who make their arrivals too early, moms who start having families later in life and moms who have health challenges during pregnancy that require bed rest. She lives in Durham with her husband and son. In her free time she loves to read, cook, travel and hang out with her family and friends at home. 


Melanie Patrick is a Certified Labor Doula, and trained Postpartum Doula. While she supports  clients birthing in a variety of ways, Melanie is a Hypno-Doula, trained and experienced in both Hypnobabies®  and HypnoBirthing®  and is passionate about Spinning Babies & using the Rebozo for comfort, labor progression, and helping the birthing couple stay connected. She has extensive experience with couples, single mothers, women of advanced maternal age, IVF, multiples, VBAC, women in recovery, and is available to provide Christian birth support to those who request it.  Melanie loves to knit, bake, and spend time with her family. Read more about Melanie's trainings and education here.


Ashley Collins lives in Downtown Durham with her husband and daughter. Ashley is a DONA International certified birth and postpartum doula, an IPPA trained placenta specialist, a BirthWorks trained childbirth educator, and the only Gena Kirby certified Rebozo Instructor in the Southeastern United States.  Her passion is centered in helping families build connections with and to each other and helping them find and establish a sense of community during this important time in their lives. Her calling to doula work came after the premature birth of her daughter, when she left a career in biochemistry to pursue birth work. She has extensive experience supporting LGBTQ+ families, VBAC families, those recovering from previous traumatic birth or life experiences, families expecting multiples, complicated or high-risk pregnancies and very premature infants. She loves to cook with local foods, hike at the Eno River, and go backpacking with her family. Read more about Ashley's trainings and education here


Meet Our Team

Victoria Facelli (Lactation and Infant Feeding) is an International Board Certified Lactation Consult and a DONA International Certified Postpartum Doula. She views her work as a space to ask individual families where they see themselves going and to  provide them with the map. She offers unbiased and compassionate care for families with a variety of different feeding circumstances and choices. As a member of the LGBTQ community, she is excited to offer care to all families and offer a resource to providers who want more information about giving better care to diverse families. Her specialities include supporting LGBTQ families, single parent families and parents experiencing bedrest/birth recovery and she loves to spoil clients with gourmet cooking and meal prep. Victoria enjoys a healthy interest of all things feline, is a sauna enthusiast and a regular Zumba participant. Read more about Victoria's training and education here.


Carrie Banks (Postpartum Doula) is a CAPPA certified postpartum doula.  After the birth of her first child, Carrie decided to make the switch from the non-profit world to a career as a doula.  As a postpartum mood disorder survivor herself, Carrie is passionate about caring for women during the postpartum period. Having completed Postpartum Support International’s Perinatal Mood Disorders: Components of Care training, Carrie is uniquely qualified to care for women struggling with postpartum mood disorders.  She serves as a state coordinator for Postpartum Support International and facilitates online and in-person support groups. Carrie lives with her husband, son, daughter and woofer in Carrboro. She enjoys hiking, traveling and eating biscuits. 


Sara Brigham (Birth and Postpartum Doula) is a trained birth doula with DONA International, an energy healer, an educator, a residential summer camp director and a visual artist. She is also a Hypno-Doula, trained in Hypnobabies® and loves to support families who have chosen to use self-hypnosis for childbirth. Sara also loves working with families in a variety of ways, using whatever techniques works for each. She is a student and leader of extensive diversity and social justice trainings, passionate about being an ally to any and all families, very much including those in the LGBTQI community. Sara is trained in Reiki as well as Infinity Healing, which combines neural-science, energy work, and intuitive healing practices. Sara’s love of the birth process blossomed early on when she attended her first birth at age fifteen. She has become dedicated to supporting families through pregnancy and labor and considers it an honor. Sara is at ease navigating through medical systems as well as alternative forms of healing and it brings her great joy to help empower people to become their own advocate at such an important time in their lives. Sara enjoys creating both fine and functional art, spending time with friends and family, and anything that gets her outside. She especially loves biking around Durham with her husband to the Farmer’s Market and Durham Friends Meeting. Sara provides birth doula support for our clients. Read more about Sara's training and experience here. *Sara is not taking birth doula clients mid-June to end of August in 2017


Kallyn Boerner (Birth and Postpartum Doula and Photography) is a certified birth doula with DONA International, a postpartum doula, certified lactation counselor, professional photographer, wife, sister, daughter, friend and lover of life. She has worked with a range of mothers from the age of 15 through women into their 40s. She believes as a doula and a birth photographer that it is a privilege to protect the space around a woman for her to feel safe, secure and loved, so that she can concentrate on birthing, in her own powerful way. In addition to the work she does with families, Kallyn runs a photography business with her husband, Alex, while taking care of their two Bahamian Potcake dogs and black cat. Kallyn loves art, gardening, a good story, music & dancing, being with good friends and eating out (a lot!) in Durham. Read more about Kallyn's training and education here. 


Mary Martin Vance (Birth Doula, Fitness Instructor and Community Educator), MSW is a DONA trained labor doula, an ICEA trained childbirth educator, and an ICEA certified pre and postnatal fitness educator.  She has 10 years of experience in reproductive health education and training.  She is passionate about supporting families to have healthy and empowering birth experiences through education and childbirth preparation.  She believes that positive birth experiences can strengthen not just mothers, but families and communities as well.  A public health nerd at heart, and a social worker by training, Mary is passionate about applying research-based information and practices to her work with families.  She lives in downtown Durham, NC with her partner, two sons, and their Great Dane.  When she's not gardening she can be found tending to her chickens or on her porch swing knitting. *MK is not currently accepting new birth doula clients*


Chelsea Robinson (Postpartum Doula) is native North Carolinian and a DONA International certified birth and postpartum doula. She holds a BS in Psychology from Regent University and has worked internationally in missions and humanitarian relief.  As the oldest of nine children, she grew up seeing many different versions of what is normal in pregnancy and childbirth,  including one sister’s unassisted birth and attending another sister’s cesarean birth. As Chelsea’s own family grew, she realized some parents did not enjoy the same confident and empowering pregnancy and birth experience she grew up with and experienced herself. Her desire is to help educate and equip women with confidence in themselves and their dreams. She has extensive experience with VBACs, older mothers, single parents and parents with infertility struggles. Chelsea and her husband live in Durham and enjoy spending time raising their four homeschooled children, establishing their little three-acre farm and serving in their local church.


Michelle Thacker (Birth Doula) lives in Durham with her husband and three children.  She has a degree in Anthropology from Missouri State University and decided to pursue a career as a birth doula after the birth of her third child. Michelle is also a Hypno-Doula and trained in Hypnobabies®. She is passionate about helping families navigate through the myriad of choices presented during pregnancy and childbirth. Michelle and her family pursue a natural and healthy lifestyle, that includes raising their own chickens; and Michelle has just recently completed her first half-marathon.  In her spare time, Michelle is a cake artist and enjoys sewing (ask her about baking your baby's first birthday cake!). 


Courtney Scott, MSW (Postpartum Doula) is a DONA trained postpartum doula and perinatal mood disorder advocate. Following the birth of her son in 2012, Courtney found her passion in supporting and empowering women in the postpartum period. She believes the support a mother receives surrounding the birth of her child can make a significant impact on strengthening her transition into motherhood. In addition to her doula work, Courtney is the Director of Postpartum Education and Support, a Triangle-area nonprofit serving women and their families experiencing perinatal mood disorders. Courtney lives with her husband and son (with a daughter on the way) in Durham, NC. She enjoys impromptu dance parties, laughing until your face hurts, warm slippers, good food, and a good story. Read more about Courtney's training and experience here.