Our Team

Alissa Claxton – Executive Director & Birth Doula

Alissa began the process of becoming a birth doula in 2009 after the birth of her first daughter.  She was able to find strength and peace through another experienced mother in the room and wanted to offer that same encouragement to other women. She loves assisting and educating families through pregnancy and childbirth as a birth doula. In the beginning of her journey, she realized that she did not want to go about it alone.  The vision for Open Heart Doula came to fruition in 2010 and has been growing and thriving ever since. Alissa and her husband, Ben and their four children, Molly, Parker, Hannah and Lucy live in the Karns area.

"When it comes to motherhood, give yourself lots of grace. It takes time to grow and become the woman and mom that you desire to be and were created to be. Each new day is another opportunity for more grace… and more coffee!"

Tamika Guillebeaux- Administrative Coordinator for The Wellhouse & Postpartum Doula

Tamika thrives in the supportive role of a Postpartum Doula. She realized just how important that support is when she had her first baby as a single mother over 10 years ago, and was inspired to serve others in the same way. Tamika began attending visits, training, and pursuing certification in 2014 and was blessed to join Open Heart Doula the same year. She loves nurturing, educating, and assisting families during that precious time when a new baby comes home. She believes it is one of the best times to empower and collaborate with new mamas and families to maximize confidence in their ability and is passionate about providing physical and emotional support to women. Tamika lives in Knoxville with her husband Louis and their four children, Micah, Trinity, Josiah and Timothy.

"No matter what kind of birth experience we have, whether it went exactly as planned or not, if we are emotionally high or emotionally drained, we all need support."

Jodi Thress- Director of Childbirth Education, Childbirth Educator & Birth Doula

Jodi became a childbirth educator and doula in 2012 and joined Open Heart Doula Services a year later. She is passionate about teaching parents what to expect with pregnancy, labor, and life with a newborn. She believes in evidence-based education and offers a 6-week course throughout the year for families. She loves the experience of helping pregnant women gain confidence and trust in themselves as they transition into parenthood. Jodi lives in North Knoxville with her husband, Isaac and their daughters, Lona and Vera.

"Instead of comparing yourself and your baby to others, focus on what seems natural for your family. Follow your instincts and make room for mistakes. Slow down and enjoy the little moments because they pass too quickly!”

Charlotte Foster – Childbirth Educator, Birth Doula

I am a Knoxville native. I married my husband Chris in May 2010. We have three daughters. Svea (5), Evelyn (3), and Mary Helen (1). I began my doula career in May 2014 and between babies worked on my certification. I am a certified birth doula and Bradley Method teacher. I am passionate about mommas, babies, and families. I am passionate about natural birth. It is such an honor and privilege to be invited into the birth room and help a Momma through birth. That is a sacred space. I don’t take it lightly and I love everything about what I get to do as a birth doula. I am a lover of Jesus and believe He created women to have babies. We were made to do this and I love encouraging women through the journey.

"Whenever and however you intend to give birth, your experience will impact your emotions, your mind, your body, and your spirit for the rest of your life." - Ina May Gaskin

Olivia Fraser – Birth Doula

I have been interested in pregnancy and childbirth as long as I can remember. I I grew up in a family with lots of babies and women having babies. I came to Knoxville for college and got a degree in Psychology and Child and Family Studies both which I use everyday in my doula work. I have been working as a doula for over a year now and have had a variety of birth experiences. I am passionate about helping to create a space that is free of shame or fear, and I am so honored to walk alongside families as they transition into welcoming new life. My husband and I live close to downtown and are expecting our first baby in just a few months!

“Pregnancy is a beautiful gift for women to be able to harbor a miracle. The Lord is knitting together someone more beautiful and wonderful than you can ever imagine all while you exhausted, peeing, puking, and googling at all hours of the day. He sees you momma and you are doing a good good work. Try to patiently arm yourself with skills and tools that will serve you on this new journey. Be prayerful and grateful and know that the Lord is good”

Roxana Heath – Birth Doula

Roxana’s journey to becoming a birth doula all started with a heart-felt passion for sharing special and intimate moments in the lives of women. It is her souls’ desire to serve and be the support women need before and after one of the most tender and vulnerable times of their lives. Paired with her love and always increasing desire to learn more about pregnancy and child birth, makes her job as a birth doula a true privilege. She has a special place in her heart for women walking through pregnancy after loss having walked that road herself. Roxana lives in Powell with her husband Chad, son Landon and two, God given, foster children that will soon be adopted.

“The power of a loving touch, an encouraging word, a genuine compliment, a shoulder to cry on, and even a smile are often underestimated.”

Elizabeth Patterson- Administrative Coordinator & Childbirth Educator

After having two beautiful “Bradley Births” of her own, Elizabeth was led to become a Bradley Method childbirth instructor. Elizabeth loves to see parents grow in confidence as they learn about pregnancy, labor and breastfeeding. There are many potentially intimidating aspects of bringing children into the world, but knowledge and a good support system can truly make all the difference. Once her second child was born, Elizabeth left her “day job” in human resources to stay home with her children full time. Elizabeth has been teaching The Bradley Method since fall of 2014. She lives in West Knoxville with her husband Drake, and her children, Patrick and Elise.

“Motherhood is a lifelong adventure in which you fight through some treacherous caverns and relish some breathtaking views.”

Crystal Shields- Childbirth Educator

When Crystal thinks back on the births of her four children, nothing but wonderful memories comes to her mind. She can say without a shadow of a doubt say that she had a beautiful birth experience that changed her life in an awe-inspiring way. And that is just what she wants to help women achieve: the best birth possible. Crystal has a passion for educating women on their options in childbirth, specifically, nutrition in pregnancy, natural childbirth, and breast feeding.

Crystal finds such joy in coming alongside pregnant women on their journey through childbirth and having the privilege to witness a sweet, new life come into the world. After working as a pediatric nurse for 9 years, Crystal decided to take on the role as a stay at home mom to her four children, Shepherd, Olivia, Scarlett, and Banner.

"There is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one."

Tiana Tue – Doula

Tiana is wife to an amazing husband, Jonathan, and mother to four rambunctious and wonderful children: Eli, Noah,Sadie and Stephen. Tiana’s passion for birth work was formed out of her journey from an inexperienced and uneducated first-time mommy to becoming well-informed and empowered after having four children. Having experienced nearly the entire spectrum of labor/birth settings(hospital, midwife group in a hospital, birth center, home birth) she has seen both how ugly or beautiful the process can be handled. This has stirred a passion in Tiana to encourage families to go into their own birth experience with full confidence and with full knowledge of what their bodies and minds are truly capable of.

Above all else, Tiana wants her life to be defined by Christ’s life within her. She believes that outpouring of love will be the ultimate comfort and care for families she works with.

"Trust your instincts, they are God given. Do not let any decision be made out of fear. You were made to do this and you can do this!"