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Doula Kathy Tellstrom helped Keira Heimbecker-Moss' parents get ready for her arrival. In the background are Mike Moss and Cassie Heimbecker. Advocate Photo by Christine Nesheim

Doula Coaches New Moms

Tellstrom helps teen parents through their pregnancies

By Donna Marie Pocius
Advocate correspondent

When Cassie Heimbecher, 20, learned she was having a baby, she had mixed feelings. She was elated, of course. But she also felt nervous and uncertain about pregnancy, childbirth and parenting.

She found comfort in the services of Kathy Tellstrom, a certified doula and owner of Door County Doula, Sturgeon Bay.

“I was excited about having the baby, but I was scared, too. I didn’t know what I was getting into, and Kathy made it more comfortable,” said Heimbecher, who is from Kewaunee.

“I felt better with Kathy there (during childbirth). She knew what she was doing.”

Tellstrom was there, along with Heimbecher’s partner, Mike Moss, to welcome Keira Heimbecher-Moss to the world in November.

Tellstrom also companioned the couple during childbirth classes and invited them to attend parent support group meetings.

A birth doula is trained and experienced in childbirth and provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth, according to Doulas of North America (DONA), a doula association based in Jasper, Ind.

Tellstrom is a certified doula who holds additional credentials as a labor and postpartum doula and certified childbirth educator. She provides childbirth education, birth support and postpartum assistance to adults, as well as teens.

She volunteers doula services, along with her partner, Amy Jahnke, also a certified doula, as part of the Hand in Hand Teenage Pregnancy Support of Door County program. People served range in age from 13 to 23 years old.

“I see a huge benefit for teens. I have watched their worlds expand,” Tellstrom said of the program, adding that she hopes to obtain a community agency’s financial support of her volunteerism.

“It is amazing to watch from the beginning – when they are afraid of their pregnancy and how they are going to be parents – to see them develop to mothers and fathers. That is so important to me.”

A beginning step for most expectant parents is a childbirth education class. The classes, offered by Tellstrom at Hope Church, Sturgeon Bay, appeal to teens who may feel uncomfortable going to hospital-based sessions attended by older married couples.

Tellstrom also accompanies couples who choose to register for childbirth classes at Door County Memorial Hospital/Ministry Health Care. The young adults get an opportunity to tour the hospital’s Birthing Center and meet nurses in advance of their hospital stay.

“It is important for the young mothers to get acquainted with the nursing staff, and the staff has been very open to us coming up,” Tellstrom said.

Tellstrom encourages couples to prepare what she calls “intentions plans,” which outline their desires for the childbirth experience. When the time comes, the doula’s role is to comfort the mom during labor and calm family members, as well.

“I try to bring them into a peaceful setting,” Tellstrom said.

Heimbecher recalled being comforted by Tellstrom’s massage and her tips on breathing during labor.

“She went with me to the hospital and was there for the whole experience,” Heimbecher said. “She helped me a lot when I was giving birth.”

Studies have shown that a doula’s presence “tends to shorten labor with fewer complications, reduce negative feelings about childbirth experience and reduce need for pain medications,” according to DONA.

The new parents often turn to Hands Reaching Out, a teen parent support group operated by Tellstrom at Hope Church in partnership with Family Centers of Door County.

“We are attempting to get teens motivated to be parents in the community and to have a better tomorrow for them,” Tellstrom said. “It’s baby steps at first – we take it one step at a time.”

Tellstrom is quick to recognize individuals, churches and businesses, including Wal-Mart, for donations of gifts, as well as infant clothing and supplies.

People interested in donating books about pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding are asked to call Tellstrom, 920-743-6955.

Tellstrom is a parent of six children ranging in age from 2 to 21. She lives in Sturgeon Bay with her husband, Jim Tellstrom, a fourth-grade teacher in the Sturgeon Bay School District.

The idea for the business (more information is online at came to Tellstrom in 2001 after she experienced a miscarriage and began counseling other parents, who suffered losses.

“So my loss opened a doorway,” she said. ”I believe that we have to celebrate life every day – the good, the bad and the ugly.”


New mom Cassie Heimbecker says she felt better with doula Kathy Tellstrom's help before, during and after giving birth to her daughter, Keira. Advocate Photo by Christine Nesheim

Article as it appeared in the Door County Advocate ~ April 11, 2007 


Hand In Hand
Teenage Pregnancy Support
Accepts Community Donations


Lake Viewers 4-H Club members present "Hands Reaching Out" Door County Teen Parent Program  with a monetary donation. The club's fund raiser efforts will provide teen parents with diapers for their children. THANK YOU!

In photo:

Back Row: Sebastian Laurent (holding check) , Lori McNulty, Anagha Laurent,Matt Laurent, Sabrina Rittle, Karen Rittle, Amber Bertron, Cassie Hitzman

Middle Row: Mason Laurent, Christopher Rittle (holding check), Allie Rittle, Alison and Esmeralda Carreno, Cassie and Kiera Heimbecker,  Sara Hartwig, Emma Hitzman

Front Row: Sally Hippensteel, Erin McNulty, Bobbie Joe Laurent, Tonya Laurent and Izzy Hitzman.

                                         Artical as it appeared in the Door County Advocate December 2007

Hope Church Members Donate to Local Teen Parent Project


Pictured Carol Weis and Pat Scieszinski, Members of Hope Church Missions and Actions Board, award Hand In Hand Teenage Pregnancy Support team members Amy Jahnke and Kathy Tellstrom donations collected from Hope Church Members during the month of May. May is Teen Pregnancy Awareness Month. Donations consisted of diapers, baby soap, infant clothing and blankets, wipes, toys, cereal, baby food and formula.
Hand In Hand Teenage Pregnancy Support is a not-for-profit organization that assists teens with childbirth education, birth support, and postpartum assistance including breastfeeding support and parenting skills. All services are FREE. Please contact Kathy at (920)-743-6955 to learn more information regarding our services.

Article as it appeared in the Door County Advocate ~ 2006


Hand In Hand
Teenage Pregnancy Support of Door County
in partnership with
"Hands Reaching Out"
Teenage Parent Support
Provides Door County Teen Parent Community
With Support Services.


Teenage pregnancy is an important issue that needs to be addressed early in the young woman’s parenting journey. There are risks to the baby born to a teenage mother, as she is more likely to suffer health, social, and emotional problems without proper emotional and physical support. A child born to teenage mothers without a supportive environment and education regarding pregnancy / parenting often times find themselves at greater risks.
By providing our one-on-one, compassionately based educational services, we believe that Hand In Hand Teenage Pregnancy Support of Door County AND “Hands Reaching Out” Door County Teenage Parent Support Program can provide the needed guidance, education and skills to assist young mothers with a healthy start to parenthood. Our belief is, by aiding the young mother and equipping her with useful skills, she develops self-respect that allows her to become empowered and confident. This in turn will allow her to be more conscientious of her choices during pregnancy, leading to a positive birth experience and assisting in stronger bonding with her newborn; ultimately helping her to become a better parent.
Team members of Hand In Hand provide: FREE childbirth education and birth preparation, birth assistance and postpartum support with emphasis in creating a birth plan, breastfeeding and parenting skills. Our agency is a team effort that encompasses the skills of a Certified Childbirth Educator, Certified Doulas and Certified Breastfeeding Educator.
"Hands Reaching Out" Door County Teenage Parent Support Program is proud to announce their new agency and community services. Our personal goal at "Hands Reaching Out" is to provide a support system that empowers teen parents to maximize their parenting abilities and life skills. We strive to provide frequent client contact, prepare teenage parents for independent living, promote self-esteem, create an additional support system for questions and answers, provide encouragement and practical, unbiased advice, assist with social networking, provide telephone and face-to-face contact, assist with parenting skills, breastfeeding help and emotional support through our educational outreach program, assist with daily necessities (diapers, wipes, baby clothes, baby furniture, etc...), provide educational resources through our lending library and provide community referrals.
If you are an expecting or teen parent, feel free to contact us. We are here to assist you! Feel free to join us during our monthly support meetings. It is a great time for you to meet other mothers while your children play with new friends. Information regarding our programming can be found under "Teen Parent Support Meetings".

Photo taken during a Teenage Parent Support Group meeting ~ 2006.


Click here to visit our "Baby Corner" Photo Album.

Giving Parents a Helping Hand.


YAPS is appreciative of the support received from 







The information contained on this website is designed for educational purposes only. The information is not meant to replace the recommendations or advice of your Midwife or Doctor. Please consult your Midwife or Doctor regarding your health care.


Door County Doula


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