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, March 7, 2018

Wisconsin home birth: Ravanna
awoke at 12:30 AM Monday June 5th from cramping. It felt like menstrual cramping and as it wasn’t very intense I decided to try and keep sleeping. By 2:00 AM the contractions were becoming more intense so I woke Robert up and told him to start timing them. The contractions were all in my low back and moderately painful. Robert and I worked on getting the birth area set up. We set up the birth tub, started a crock pot meal, and pulled out our birth supplies. My contractions soon became regular with a duration of a 1-1.5 minutes and 4-6 minutes apart. We reviewed our “who to call” list that included the midwife, her assistant, our photographer, my mother, and Robert’s sister. We weren’t sure which midwife to call because our regular midwife LeAnn was out of town but she had stated if it was late enough Sunday evening she wanted to be notified. We decided to try LeAnn first. She told us she was still out of town and to call the back-up midwife. We called her only to be told she was already at a birth and she offered to call another midwife. That midwife was at a birth as well so our back-up midwife called ANOTHER midwife from farther away and sent immediate help in the form of her apprentice and Sarah, a birth assistant. 

comment from LeAnn: In the middle of all of that, I decided to cut short my family gathering and head back from Illinois, trying not to drive TOO fast and knowing that if I didn't make it before the birth, my client would be very well taken care of thanks to the amazing cooperation that home birth midwives share!
Robert handled all the phone tag because I was occupied with contractions. He updated me about help being on the way and I felt a little stressed about strangers coming to help me. He assured me that I was doing great, that it would all work out, and we would meet our baby girl soon.
I didn’t have much time to dwell on who was coming because I was soon entirely focused on each contraction. They were coming on strong and all in my low back. Robert suggested I get in the tub to help relax and that is where I was help arrived around 5:30 AM. I was in “labor-land” and didn’t really focus on who was there or what their names were. I remember that the birth assistant Sarah knew exactly where to push on my hips to help ease the pain of contractions. Robert kept telling me I was doing a great job, and rubbing me in between contractions. She and Robert didn’t leave my side for most of the labor. I felt supported with their help. Half of the time on the toilet with Sarah. She held me like a child and comforted be through contractions. The other half was spent hanging half out of the tub in Robert’s lap and squeezing his hand as the contractions came. I vocalized a lot and needed frequent reminders to “go low” and breathe. Someone suggested  to try changing positions. I tried a leg up on a chair in a lunge, and lying on my side in bed on the back porch. These changes caused more pain but I was told this was good as it was progressing labor along. I vomited a few times, especially when on my side. After a while it felt like nothing was happening and that I was just contracting over and over with no end in sight. Everyone encouraged me to eat or drink but I could only do a small bite or sip here and there. It was just too exhausting to even chew.
I was back in the tub and was feeling overwhelming urges to push with each contraction when LeAnn arrived. I remember feeling relieved when her face came into view. After a short period of time of me screaming though contractions, and really struggling not to push she suggested I get cervical exam. We moved me onto the bed and discovered I had cervical lip and wasn’t fully dilated. Her exam was super uncomfortable due to my contractions and the urge to push being so strong. I rolled up on hands and knees as soon as she was finished and my water broke. I went back into the tub, but after trying to coach me to not push during contractions she suggested that I move to the bed where she could try to push the lip out of the way. I hesitated at first but I was so ready to get things moving.
After some more contractions with LeAnn pushing the lip out of the way it was finally time to push. I struggled to fully relax after each push. I remember LeAnn telling me it should feel like my asshole was going to hit the wall. It helped to know that the incredible pressure I was feeling was normal. LeAnn coached me to push hard or pull back as needed to ease the head out slowly. I mostly pushed lying on my side with my leg up. Robert and I tried an assisted squat but the bed was too soft and I was too tired. I went back to side lying and after about an hour of pushing she started to crown. They kept asking if I wanted to touch her but I was so focused on what I was doing I couldn’t really process it. They got a mirror and I could see her crowning a bit. When I saw her head right there I felt a little surge of energy. It was so exciting to be so close. I don’t remember feeling the “ring of fire” pain everyone talks about. There was just a lot of pressure in my butt and perineum. LeAnn encouraged me to push and so push I did! Her head finally came out and it was such an overwhelming sense of relief. I relaxed a little and LeAnn told me to keep pushing to get the shoulders out. I was so tired and must not have pushed hard enough cause LeAnn got close-up to my face, got my attention and told me to PUSH!
When the rest of our little girl emerged at 3:48 PM the feeling was indescribable. Relief, overwhelming joy, a huge surge of adrenaline, disbelief that she was here and that I did it. I felt as though I had just crossed some huge threshold, or transcended myself in some way. I wanted to cry and laugh and felt like I could burst. I just held her and looked at her while everyone fussed over her. I remember looking at her and saying how perfect she was. She didn’t cry right away, they rubbed her with some baby blankets to stimulate her and then oh man how she wailed! It was all I could manage to tear my eyes away from her to look at Robert. I wanted to express to him everything I was feeling but couldn’t even begin to try.
We tried breast feeding right away and she latched for a few moments. She pooped and peed on me and we just cuddled and continued to try breast feeding while waiting for the placenta. After she latched for a while I started cramping and passed the placenta. Robert got to cut the cord and then Noel (the other midwife that came before LeAnn) did the placenta exam in front of me which was cool. She stated that it was a large placenta and super healthy. The placenta was saved and dehydrated into pills later to help with postpartum blues. Everyone wanted me to get up and try to pee. I just wanted to hold my little girl and never leave. I eventually acquiesced and Robert got to hold her. While I was up they changed our bed sheets and cleaned up the birth area for us. I eventually got up to pee again and rinsed off in the shower. I was so weak and shaky that doing that, even seated, made me out of breath. It felt good to get the blood, pee, and meconium off me though. Robert spoon fed me while I nursed and snuggled baby. After that we just lay in bed and soaked in being a brand new family while everyone cleaned and fussed. Eventually the baby’s exam was done. Ravanna Avani Veda was born 3:48 PM Monday June 5th, 2017 at a healthy 8lbs 10oz, 21? inches long, A+ blood type, and her head was 13?. She had hair on her head, mostly in the back, and a little skin tag on her left ear. She has her dad’s long finger toes, and appetite and her momma’s eyes and sense of volume control. We are so in love with her already. Thanks for choosing us our little Light Spirit.

Wisconsin home birth: Brooks
I had spent the last few days cleaning everything in the house from top to bottom. Baseboards, vacuumed and mopped under every piece of furniture, scrubbed toilets, windows. Had finally gotten it all done, and as I was going to bed on the 30th, I had that same feeling I had had with Willis: “Now he can come. And I think he might.” But with low expectations.
I woke up that night a lot to use the restroom. When I got up the fourth time, I wasn’t sure if it was back pain or the urge that was actually waking me up. My restlessness was keeping Willis and Tom up. I told Tom that I thought labor was getting closer. I had tried lying down again, but realized I had increased back pain that I couldn’t sleep through or be comfortable through. I told Tom I was going to go take a shower around 5:30am. Things so far were pretty similar to how Willis’ labor got started too, just with less intensity. I wasn’t sure if I was having strong Braxton Hicks or light real contractions, but as I made it to the bathroom downstairs to shower, I realized they were coming every two minutes and lasting nearly a minute, and I wanted to let my midwife LeAnn know. I sent her a text around 6:15am with what I was feeling and that something was happening, just not sure if they would fizzle out. Around ten minutes to 7am, I sent my mom a message that I thought labor was starting so she could start the 2+ hour drive to help us with Willis. I had a few more texts and phone calls with LeAnn, and around 7:10,  she decided she would come out to the house as well.
Around 7:30, things seem to slow up. I called LeAnn to let her know. I had this paranoia that I would have everyone come too soon and be waiting around forever. She called me fifteen minutes later and things had already picked back up and I had started to puke. The contractions were low. With Willis, I had the tightening start at the top of the belly and work its way down, and I had time to realize the contractions were going to come on and I could control my breathing and focus on relaxing up unto the peak of the contraction. But these were peaking really early and catching me off guard, plus they felt more like a burning and stretching sensation down low. They weren’t over the top painwise, but I had more difficulty with my ability to cope and focus through them because of the early peak. With my first labor, I hadn’t really wanted to be touched, but this time I showed Tom how to lightly touch areas I needed to relax and that brought me a lot of relief. Even Willis followed his dad’s lead and helped once, and it made me laugh and it actually helped me relax, too.
LeAnn arrived around 8:20am, and her assistant Brandi arrived around 9. LeAnn checked my dilation at 9:24am. I was between a 5 and 6cm and 50% effaced, baby was between -1 and 0 station. Definitely in labor. Because of the differences between my first labor and this one, I had increased anxiety. With my first labor, things were moving on their own and required little hands on involvement from me. I could succumb to what my body was doing versus trying to help it along. With this labor, even though I was having regular contractions, I just had this sense that they were not as effective as they should be. I could tell Tom and LeAnn wanted me to relax about it, but I couldn’t get it out of my head that I needed to do something to make them more effective. Also, Willis was still around and I felt like he was confused/neglected. I liked to go over to him when I could.
Up to this point, I was leaning over something like a table or a counter to support my upper body with my arms so I could focus on relaxing my legs and pelvis through the contractions, or I was on my hands and knees. I was so exhausted the whole labor, just wanted to sleep. I did rest a little bit with Tom on the bed, and then my mom arrived around 10 to take care of Willis. I told LeAnn my contractions were slowing, and I was so impatient/frustrated. She suggested a walk, and it was actually a nice day for January, so I took a few walks with Tom and we pushed Willis in the stroller at 10:30. The first few contractions were very painful, but then they really lessened and I wouldn’t even need to stop through them as I walked. Again, this stressed me out because I felt they were ineffective.
Quarter to 11, LeAnn suggested my mom take Willis out of the house so I could concentrate on labor. But I felt like I had nothing to concentrate on.  I felt like there was nothing I could mentally do at this point in the labor  – more that I needed some sort of physical change to help my body progress. At the same time, I was distracted by the discomfort of labor  itself to not be able to really think clearly about what I could be doing. Twenty to noon, Tom and I took another walk, while my mom put Willis down for a nap. I was happy to be trying something new, but could tell the walking just wasn’t going to be the change I needed. We came back in, and I took a few trips to the bathroom because I constantly felt the urge to void. We tried straddling a bench to help get a different position. I walked around the birth tub. I was feeling baby low and had a lot of pressure. The contractions were nearly painless. I was laughing and joking. At this point, I was kind of mentally in this place where I still knew I needed to do something to help the labor progress, but I was also soaking in the ease of the labor at this space in time. The whole labor my birth team was bringing me bits of food and water for energy, although I was puking just about everything up.
At 2:15, LeAnn checked me again. I was 8cm. I was slightly frustrated not to be closer to 10, but I was glad I had at least progressed some since the first check since my labor felt slow to me. At 2:30, my mom left with Willis after he woke from his nap, and they drove around (he had a blast, which was such a relief to hear!). I wanted to get in the tub, but LeAnn suggested a shower may be better. I wasn’t in there long before deciding to get out because I felt like the contractions were still ineffective, although picking up in intensity.
After a little discussion with LeAnn, she said she thought maybe baby was not coming straight down, and that his head was at an angle. She told me to go up and down our stairs 5x, which was a number she said she just made up. I was supposed to go up sideways, and through each contraction, rest one leg on an upper stair and one leg a step below. An “assignment” like this was exactly what I needed. I had a hard time forcing myself to do anything that would bring on more pain, but if LeAnn said it, I would do it. Tom went with me, and the contractions really picked up. We started stairs at 3pm and I was going ever so slowly. I focused on belly breathing and relaxing my pelvis, as well as directing inhaled air to certain areas of of my pelvis. The belly breathing really relieved the tension, and the directed air was very much causing a burning sensation and pressure below, which I took to mean dilation and baby descending, so I embraced it. I was very vocal through these. At the top of the stairs on our fourth round, Tom helped me with something we had learned from a class I made him watch with me. I had my arms around his neck and sat into a half squat where my thighs were parallel with the floor. He took my sit bones with his arms and pulled them apart. We stayed that way through a contraction and I could tell it was so extremely effective. I remember telling Tom, “I can’t do this!” and then immediately after, “I can do this!” because I didn’t want negativity to get in my way. Tom half laughed and said “Yes, you can do this! You get to meet our baby today.” It boosted my morale to hear the strength and support in his voice. On the way down the stairs, I had another contraction and then started to shake and cry from nerves, and to get myself through it, I’d say “I get to meet my baby today. I get to meet my baby soon.” Tom was there with me, emotionally – I could feel his full support and his empathy. I told him, “It’s not bad enough to cry, I just needed to let that out.” After the fourth round was done, Tom said that was probably enough stairs. But I’m very “by the book” and said we needed to do that fifth one. At the top of the stairs, at 3:24pm, my water broke mid-contraction, water was clear. I wanted to get in the birth tub NOW.
LeAnn came to help me get down the stairs with Tom. At 3:27 I was in the tub, and soon contractions were feeling really pushy. I really started to lose it. I absolutely hated pushing with Willis, and these were way more intense. Lasting longer with no break. I would push as long as I could and was being loud as heck, and then I’d run out of air but felt like the contraction was going. I’d take a breath just to be loud as heck again as I kept the push going. I looked at Tom, and grabbed his arms. LeAnn said later that she didn’t know what he said to me, but that it really worked to calm me. But he hadn’t said anything that I recall. I just remember looking at him in the eyes, and seeing in his expression that he was there in that pain with me – I wasn’t alone physically or emotionally. That was such a comfort to me. LeAnn asked me to change positions, and I told her I couldn’t, just as another contraction started. Next thing I know, she jumped in the pool  fully clothed and a moment later, I felt the sweet, sweet relief of our baby’s head deliver. Another push, and the body was out at 3:38pm. It was a total seven minutes pushing and four pushes. From behind me, she somehow guided the baby between my legs to the front of my body so I could pull baby up too. Once he was exposed to air, he started crying. We had decided to wait to learn gender until baby was born, but we intuited all along it was going to be a boy. It was such a sweet moment of relief and love. My team got me out of the tub in order to assess bleeding, and placenta came within ten minutes.
In retrospect, I have really positive feelings about the labor. It was a great learning experience for me. With my first labor, things progressed smoothly and only required my internal focus. This one I felt required some outward change (like the stairs!), which made for a slower labor upfront but then a tougher transition once my body got what it needed to progress. With Willis, I didn’t have a super clear transition phase, but this one it definitely was the stair time.  It had more change compacted into a smaller time frame, which mounted to more intensity. I didn’t cope as well – but the thing about labor is that you don’t really know how long it’s going to be until it’s over! Had I known at 3pm that baby would be born in less than an hour, or at 3:31 when I was pushing that baby would be born in 7 minutes, I would have understood the intensity. As it was, I was a little panicked, not knowing when or how I would ever find relief. But what a sweet blessing when it came!
Not only are my prenatal visits in depth, a venting session, informative even with the 3rd, and downright comfortable... she lets the littles help and listen to their baby sibling!!! This home birth 'thing' is by far is the best choice (x3) that I have made for our family! 
Thanks for being awesome LeAnn!! 
Minnesota home birth: Cormac 

After 21 hours of labor, we had Cormac Faircloth Larson at home on September 6. My labor began with my water breaking on Tuesday at 10:15 p.m. (September 5). After contacting the midwife, we went to bed and tried to get some rest. Contractions began around midnight and by 4 am, they were becoming regular. I was nauseous and throwing up intermittently (this continued throughout my labor, making it difficult to keep food and liquids down). Dehydration was a concern but I kept drinking liquids between every contraction. 

Early labor contractions were easy and I was smiling and joking throughout. Active labor started around 2 pm after walking through the neighborhood. [Q: What did contractions feel like? A: A strong tightening/burning of my uterus, terrible gas pains.] I relaxed through contractions by opening my palms to the sky, sitting in a rocking chair, swaying and hanging on Caylan, doing deep yogic breathing, moaning, and having Caylan open my pelvis with his hands by pressing on and around my hips. My moans would drop from a high pitch to a low “uhhh” when Caylan applied pressure. Caylan felt very helpful - and he was. 

I never had a strong urge to push. In retrospect, I was afraid to push because I was so confident in my handling of contractions. I could have worked through contractions forever. 

At 5 pm, I was dilated to 9cm (but I didn’t know the number, I really didn’t care). I had a cervical top lip, so when I dilated to a 10, our midwife directed me to push so that she could help fix it by applying direct pressure to the lip with her fingers. The lip receded in a half dozen contractions. The midwife feared that if I pushed with the lip that it could become swollen and impede the head from progressing downward. 

I tried various active pushing positions: on my side, on my back with hands behind quads, and on hands and knees. I hated every position and felt I was making no progress. My birth team assured me that I was making progress. I was continuing to vomit and I felt I was running out of steam. I only had the stamina to push 2-3 times through a contraction. The birth team tried to coach me to push 3-4 times through a contraction. At the end of a contraction they wanted me to push but I wouldn’t have the energy. 

My birth team kept reminding me to not scream high-pitched, but instead to lower my pitch and grunt/yell through the pushing. They also coached me to breathe slower. 

At 6 pm, I moved into the birth tub and the water gave me much relief and renewed sense of energy. I initially tried pushing on all fours. I then moved into a squatting position with my back against the tub. The baby’s head was yo-yo-ing: down and out a little, then back in. At one point my birth team suggested that I reach down and feel the baby’s head. I did, but I didn’t like the feeling because I realized how far my vagina had to grow to get his head out. I felt frustrated because it seemed impossible. 

My midwife checked Cormac’s heart rate after each contractions and always assured me what a good, healthy baby he was because his heart rate was always stable. I pushed Cormac out at 7:16 pm. Caylan and the midwife caught him. 

The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice and once under his arm pit. They plopped him on my chest like a baby hippopotamus and he started to cry with the rest of us.

Cormac is perfect and we couldn’t have asked for a better birthing team. We are so happy with our experience. Our doula was great and we had full confidence in our midwife. Caylan was my rock and I couldn’t have birthed this baby at home and unmedicated without him. 

I understood labor would be hard and the most difficult thing I had ever done. I didn’t understand it would be next to impossible. I didn’t have an orgasmic birthing experience. I hope I can be an inspiration and reminder to others that a healthy baby is on the other side. For me, having a list of strong women who had birthed before me was a wonderful motivator and reminder. 

I tore “less than 1 degree” in 3 places and opted for stitches (the other option was to just let them heal on their own). My tailbone has been very sore and is likely bruised and inflamed. The long lasting bone pain is unexpected and uncomfortable. 

Breastfeeding was difficult (impossible?) at first because Cormac would latch but not suck, but after two newborn chiropractic adjustments, Cormac is a great eater, albeit a 7-course grazer. He is exhausting.

Cormac weighed 6 pounds 7.5 ounces and was about 20 inches long at birth. At his two week appointment he’d gained an entire pound.