Monday, 11 December 2017

Ignatius' Birth Story

Tomorrow is the due date I was given for Ignatius, although I never even put it in my calendar, as I was so sure he was going to come earlier. Sure enough, we have already had our sweet squish in our home for three weeks.

It has been a really smooth transition so far, and I am really impressed with how the older boys are adjusting. Both of them like to kiss and hold Ignatius, briefly, and then go about their days as usual. Benedict will often sit with me while I am nursing or holding Ignatius, and has not shown any jealousy or aggression toward Ignatius. 

{Meeting for the first time.}

With the coming of our due date, I thought it would be appropriate to share Ignatius' birth story. Over the last month of pregnancy, I had experienced a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions, so much so that at any given time, if you touched my belly, it probably felt taut. Unfortunately, this made me quite nervous as the end of my pregnancy approached. It had taken me such a long time to trust I was in active labour with Benedict because of all the practice labour I had experienced, and I was worried this would end in us not making it to my midwife in time.

In our discussions about baby names, Tharin and I quickly narrowed the list down to two names. For the second name, we decided we would use the name of the saint whose feast day the baby's birthday fell on. After a lot of prayer over names, I felt quite sure the baby would come early, three weeks before his due date on Saint Clement's feast day, and was definitely anticipating an early delivery. In the end, he came two days before this anticipated day, on a lesser Saint Clement's feast day.

On that Monday, we headed out to my parent's house in the country to stay until whenever the baby arrived. As Tharin works an hour and a half away, we felt it would be wise for me to be staying with family to ensure I would have help with the other kids and a drive to the city if I went into labour while Tharin was at work.

Waking up the morning of the twentieth, I had no idea how my day would end, however, by the time supper rolled around, I was experiencing somewhat painful contractions and began timing them around 8:30 PM.

Once again, I was unconvinced I was in active labour, and so, when I contacted my midwife at 11:00 PM to tell her I had been timing contractions which were a minute long and ten minutes apart for two and a half hours, did not have a hard time believing her when she determined I was experiencing false labour. At this point we were attempting to watch a movie at my sister and brother-in-laws new house near my parent's house (I had delivered Benedict in their dining room just over a year earlier) while I timed contractions, but with the belief of my being in false labour, we decided to try and get some rest.

12:00 PM - 7:00 AM As it turned out, I did not end up getting any rest that night. My contractions continued, although they did not seem to get closer than ten minutes apart. All night, I tried to sleep, breathing through contractions and finding it easiest to lie on my side. Every once in a while I would get up to go in the shower, frustrated with my false labor for taking so long to relax. In the shower, my contractions always got much worse and closer together but would slow down to ten minutes apart again as soon as I was settled into bed again. From what I understood about false labour, this seemed to be accurate.

7:00 AM However as Tharin was getting up to leave for the day, I had a strong feeling he should not leave, and it was right around then my contractions jumped up to seven minutes apart. When I called my midwife, she told me it was time to come in, and we started preparing to make the hour and a half trip from my parent's acreage to the city. Before heading up the stairs from the basement bedroom we were staying in, I decided to take one last shower to try and calm myself down, and it was during this shower that I felt my first moments of panic.

Standing in the shower, my contractions were one on top of the other, exactly as they had been during my labour with Jerome when we were getting ready to leave for the hospital. In the standing position, I could feel the pressure of the baby weighing down on my cervix and could actually feel him moving down with each contraction. My mom came to check on me and I, in a moment of panic, told her I did not think I would make it to the city.

7:15 AM Stubbornly, I headed back to the bed and refused to move for the rest of my labour. Laying on my side in the bed, my contractions settled and became easier to bear, and instinctively I knew this is what my body needed me to do. Tharin called my midwife and she supported my decision not to get in the car and blessedly decided to drive out to me instead, even though they do not usually travel such a long distance for a home birth. I knew it was going to be a long hour and a half waiting for her, and I prayed she would not get lost as many people do when trying to find my parents acreage.

My midwife told us that if anything changed, or if the baby came before she arrived, we would need to call 911 and have the paramedics come from the nearest hospital. The thought of this type of intervention is largely what caused me to stay so calm as I waited for my midwife; staying still and not allowing myself to become anxious slowed my contractions and made it more likely I would be able to wait for her.

For the next hour and a half, I lay on my side, breathing as calmly as I could as the contractions rolled one after the other. My sister Emilie and Tharin alternated pushing on my hips, which miraculously eased the pain and helped me to stay calm. Eventually, however, I started feeling the urge to push and we were all praying for the baby to wait just a little longer. Emilie had talked to my midwife and knew what to do in the case of a precipitous labor and I jokingly asked Tharin if he had ever thought he would catch his own baby. 

Compared to my peaceful labour with Benedict, this part of my labour is the only part which I would say I preferred - for much of that hour and a half as we waited for my midwife, I was curled into Tharin, gripping his hands and really drawing on his strength, which I do not remember feeling so strongly in either of my other labours. My sister was also right in there, and I drew a lot of strength from her, in fact, I ended up laying against her at the end.

8:42 AM My midwife arrived, and everyone got ready for the baby to be born immediately, however, he surprised us all by taking another hour to come. In the end, it was because my waters had not broken and were preventing my contractions from actively moving the baby. We all believe this was a result of all our prayers for the baby not to come before the midwife arrived. The fact that my waters had not broken resulted in an extra hour of me pushing, as it took a while for my midwife to realize this, and by then I was so exhausted from the weeks of Braxton Hicks and the lack of sleep that I ended up needing them broken. 

This extra hour of pushing was the hardest of all my labours. I was so depleted and wishing so fervently for my birth pool, making it difficult for me to keep my spirits up. This is the only part of my labour I wish I had reacted to differently, much as the rest of it did not go according to plan. Having now experienced a non-water birth I can say with absolute certainty that I will jockey for water births even more so in the future. I had such an impossible time finding a comfortable position and know I experienced far more muscle fatigue this time around than either of my other births.

After my waters had been broken, and I knew my labour would progress more easily, I became much more positive. My midwife suggested I get out of the bed, as the movement would possibly help the baby to get into position, but the thought of moving was repulsive to me, and I think it was out of sheer willpower I delivered Ignatius three pushes later. 

At 10:01 AM on November 21, my tiny little Ignatius made his entrance into the world, and into my arms. We knew his name as soon as he was born, our Ignatius Clement, all squishy 6 pounds 3 ounces and 19.5 inches of him.

Soon after, Jerome and Benedict were able to come and meet him, which was really special. It was definitely a different experience to have them awake during my labour, and before Jerome was taken upstairs, I know some of the sounds I made scared him, as he talked to me about it later that day. Caring for the boys was primarily what my mom focussed on during labour, and we all had a few laughs when, in the midst of an intense moment, Jerome's little voice could be heard calling for, "more cereal, Mey!"
{First moments as a family of five. So proud of our three sons.}

Thank you so much for reading! Follow along with us on Instagram to watch Ignatius' journey and catch up on the other two.

God bless,
Olivia Fischer


  1. You are amazing Olivia. I was so gripped and in awe the whole time I read this!

    1. Thank you! Yeah, I find birth stories to be so gripping. I actually really like reading Birth Issues, which is basically a birth story magazine...