Welcome to WomanCare

WomanCare is an independent midwifery practice providing health care for women of all ages

WomanCare provides prenatal care, homebirth and postpartum care

WomanCare also provides health care for women who are not pregnant: annual exams, birth control, Pap smears, screening and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, bladder infections and vaginal infections...and more

LeAnn van den Bosch is a midwife who will be there for you and with you. She has more than 30 years of experience in women's health care: welcoming more than 700 babies, providing innumerable exams, diagnoses, prescriptions and hours spent guiding you and listening to your needs. 

WomanCare's office is located in Winona, MN
Please don't hesitate to call or email for more information
phone: 507 450 3422
emial: LeAnn@womancareofwinona.com 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Minnesota home birth: Summer

I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to be writing the story of my home birth. I know it's something not everyone gets to experience, no matter how much they may want to. Which is one thing I would advise anyone considering a home birth to think about. Yes, home births are safe when performed by a qualified midwife but even then, there's always a possibility for something to happen that you have no control over. You have to mentally prepare yourself for the worst scenarios. That being said, you then have to put all of those negative thoughts out of your mind when the time comes and just focus on your labor. Trust not only in your body's ability to do what it is made to do, but also your midwife to monitor your labor and step in if need be.
Basically, you better trust the crap out of your midwife! Lucky for us, we stumbled upon LeAnn and had the most perfect home birth experience!
I had been experiencing Braxton-Hicks for a few days but nothing serious. Finally, it's Baby's due date, February 29th. I woke up just before 6 am with contractions. Days before, the contractions came and went and were almost nonexistent by late morning. I was hoping to keep contractions going so I went for a walk around the block a few times while my husband got ready for work and our son (who just turned two on Valentine's Day a few weeks earlier) snoozed in his crib. I loved being pregnant but I was getting anxious to meet our baby, to find out if my son would get a little brother or sister. The morning came and went. My husband checked in on me throughout the day. Around 3 pm I told him the contractions were hanging around but still infrequent. At around 4 pm is when I began to notice the contractions more. I wasn't yet timing them, but I was getting hopeful and decided to call my mom. The plan was for our son to stay with my parents who lived about an hour away.
My mom arrived and my husband came home from work soon after. It was nice to finally have adults around. Although he was the best, cutest distraction, my two year old wasn't a huge help during contractions. My husband started timing contractions and we soon figured out they were about 5 minutes apart. It was almost 6 pm and my mom said to my son, "Time to go! Mommy's going to have a baby!" I remember thinking, "But he's my baby!" After well wishes and hugs and kisses, off they went.

Getting my two year old ready to stay at Grandma & Grandpa's for a few days

I decide to call LeAnn and fill her in on the frequency and intensity of contractions. I remember having to pause on the phone to get through a contraction. She said she'd be on her way and advised me to relax and labor however I wanted to. So, while my husband seemed to cover our entire house in plastic, I hopped in the shower to labor. It was nice not having to decide when to go to the hospital. It's not a huge deal, but I remember with my first birth that it was somewhat of a stressful period because we didn't want to go to early and be told to go back home, or leave to late and have a baby alongside the highway.

Laboring, timing contractions, and calling LeAnn--multitasking at its best!

After about 45 minutes I got out of the shower and went to labor on my bed. LeAnn and her assistant, Jaclyn, arrived at 7:15 p.m. By now contractions were plenty intense. I was still able to cope alone but knew I'd need my husband soon. The first thing LeAnn did was check Baby's heart rate. She then left me to labor in my room while she and Jacklyn finished setting up for the birth. I remember LeAnn calling my husband "Super Dad" because everything was ready to go! There's only so much a guy can do to help you get through contractions. I think having the house to get 
ready was a nice distraction for him.

LeAnn using her famous leg tape to write down notes

Until...it was finally time for his assistance! I was beginning to question why I was doing this again! I have no sense of time at this point. While my husband helped me cope, LeAnn heard me laboring and came to check in. She said it sounded like things were progressing. We had discussed whether or not I wanted to be checked during labor and originally I said I didn't, but once I was in the thick of it I changed my mind. I wanted to know if the end was near! Just before 8 pm LeAnn checked me and, thankfully, I was at 7 cm! Soon after, contractions were intense and I had the urge to push. I remember thinking its to soon to want to push! Around   8:25 p.m. I'm laboring on all fours on my bed and my water breaks. Everyone let out a cheer! LeAnn decided she wanted to check me once more before we headed to the birth tub in the living room. She checked me while I lay on my back and I had a contraction during it. Having to cope with a contraction while on my back was nearly impossible! Side note: I feel horrible for women back-in-the-day who were made to lay on hospital beds their entire labor! LeAnn said it was time to shake my butt to the birthing tub because it was time to push! During my walk to the tub I had a contraction and I remember my husband holding me up on one side, Jaclyn holding me up on the other, and LeAnn grabbing a Chux pad to wrap my bottom up like a sumo wrestler. I'm sure it looked quite comical! I was in disbelief at how quickly it was happening!

LeAnn checking Baby's heart rate while I'm comfy in the birthing tub

Resting after a contraction. My husband was excited and couldn't get over how fast it was happening.

By 8:30 p.m. I am on my knees swaying in the birthing tub. My husband is sitting on the edge of our couch holding my hands. We had some music playing but I don't remember hearing it. During my first birth I pushed for about 45 minutes so I was mentally prepared for that amount of time. Little did I know it would only be 12 minutes! During the third to last push LeAnn told me to reach down and feel my baby's head. I remember saying, "Oh, it has hair!" Even the way Baby's hair felt in the water was calming. After about two more pushes Baby was out. LeAnn guides Baby to my front, between my legs. She says to reach down and grab my baby! It was so surreal seeing my baby calmly gliding through the water. I reached down to pick Baby up out of the water and turned it to face me. I still get tears in my eyes, and probably always will, remembering the way it opened its eyes and looked directly at me. As I bring Baby close I see my husband's curious smile. I hold Baby away from my body a bit and we find out that my son has a little sister!

Meeting our daughter!

The next three and a half hours consisted of me laying in my own bed with my husband and baby daughter. LeAnn and Jaclyn took care of everything. They emptied the birthing tub, did a few loads of laundry, and made sure we had plenty to eat and drink. Before LeAnn left for the evening she looked over my daughter and myself. We saw LeAnn the next morning around 10 am, and then two days later, and then again a few days after that. And in between those home visits LeAnn called to check-in and ask about my daughter and myself. I didn't have to step out of my house until our two week appointment.
I know how lucky I am to have gotten to experience such a calm and beautiful birth. I had a textbook labor and delivery with my first child, with a very positive hospital experience. With the second pregnancy we thought we were in a good position to try a home birth. We weren't strangers to the birthing process, we had some peace-of-mind living within 10 minutes of a hospital, and we found a midwife who easily answered any questions and concerns we had about a home birth. So, we went and did it! We loved the intimacy of a home birth and the calmness the water birth provided. If you're at all considering a home birth I strongly recommend LeAnn and her team!

(Photos taken by Jaclyn & Drew; edited by Brittany Krings Photography.)