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Fast labour is not an easy option

You know what, I am utterly sick of being told that my super fast labours are the easy option.

I’m sick of having people tell me that they’d rather have that than their experience.

I’m sick of having to bite my tongue when I’m told that its far easier than whatever they have been through.

I’m sick of having to try and explain that its not easy, its different.

What people seem to not realise is what a really fast labour means.

It means going from nothing to fully dilated in 10 or 15 minutes. All the effort required to get that dilated happens in that short time frame.

It means going from no contractions, or just back ache to full on full blown can’t talk, can’t walk, right on top of each other contractions. Contractions so intense you can’t get across a room, let alone anywhere else.

It means not knowing how long this will last but knowing that this degree of sudden all encompassing pain is not something you can deal with for a long time.

It means having no time to acclimatise to the idea you are in labour.

No time to pack a bag.

No time to do more than call your midwife and moan through a contraction to get her on her way.

No time to light candles, to put on music, to decide where you will birth, to change into something comfortable.

No time to mentally prepare that this is when you’re going to meet your baby.

No time to get someone to look after your other child.

It means feeling your body start to push before you are ready. That there is nothing you can do to resist this process, no matter how much you want this to slow down.

It means feeling your baby’s head whilst on your own, no midwife, no husband, nobody. Just you and your body having taken over and deciding what is going to happen.

It means no pain relief.

It means nobody to massage your back, to reassure you, to hold your hands, to look lovingly into your eyes.

It means panic, fear, terror. On your own.

Afterwards it means shock, loathing that you didn’t do better, panic about what might happen next time.

It is totally different from a long, drawn out labour. Not harder, not easier just different.

Please don’t offend me by telling me I had an easy time.

Unless you have been there you do not know what you are talking about.


My second baby was born in about 40 minutes from first contraction to arrival. 

My midwife arrived 6 minutes and 3 or 4 contractions before my baby was born.  I could feel her head before my midwife arrived.

My husband was woken up and thrown into trying to look after me and to look after Bigger, and Bigger needed him more than I did and there wasn’t time to get anyone else to look after her.

We were supposed to go into hospital for Littler’s delivery because of my high risk pregnancy, in the end I couldn’t move across our living room let alone get into a car.

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75 comments to Fast labour is not an easy option

  • How true! I didn’t know I was in labour until my water’s broke and even after then I didn’t have a contraction for at least half an hour – and then boy oh boy did I know about it every minute lasting 40 seconds! Mine took a little longer than 40 minutes though – 8 hours – quicker than some not as quick as others. But it was definitely not an easy option. No drugs either and home birth (all planned I hasten to add – wouldn’t get me near a hospital!)

    PS My sister was 84½ hours – but she knew she was in labour from the first rumblings.

    • Muddling Along

      My first was a planned homebirth (and again nearly arrived before the midwife) and the second was unplanned but yes, it really isn’t an easy option. Wish people stopped viewing labour as some kind of competition

      p.s. if you count my first contractions, I was technically in labour for about 20 weeks on and off!

  • Oh I totally agree. I have super fast labours too – less than half an hour with each boy and they are terrifying. However, people are always saying how lucky I am to have it so easy, much to my consternation as all I can remember is panic and terror followed by shock and a bit of vomiting.

    Felix was born about 5 minutes after my waters broke. I was examined about 15 minutes before this and had not yet dilated. Despite this, when I was pregnant with Oscar (who was 10lb 5oz when he was born but they ignored my enormousness too), my local birthing unit wouldn’t let me labour there and sent me to a hospital 40 minutes drive away. I told them that I had had a swift labour last time. ‘Oh, get your husband to Google how to deliver a baby then just in case you have to pull over,’ was their response.

    Oscar was even quicker than his brother in the end. I’d like to see the ‘Oh aren’t you lucky to have it happen so quickly’ brigade deliver 10lbs 5oz of baby in about two minutes flat while lying on your back because you haven’t time to get upright. Actually, no I wouldn’t like to see that – my husband tells me it’s a bit terrifying. 😉

    • Muddling Along

      Yup panic, terror followed by shock but fortunately for me not vomiting, just lying in a shaking, frozen heap on the floor

      That’s awful about the birthing unit – did you deliver by the road?

      • No, thank goodness. I had a show and a few pains on my due date so hoofed it down the motorway to hospital where I totally failed to progress so sat around boring everyone, totally failing to dilate and refusing to go all the way back home again until suddenly it all kicked off. I was very lucky to have ample warning if not proper labour both times but have decided not to try fate a third time.

        Oh God the shaking. I distinctly remember wailing ‘What’s happening to me?!’ when Felix shot out and a midwife shouting ‘You’re having a bloody baby!’ at me. I was utterly shocked because, er, ten minutes earlier I’d been sitting on the bed having a chat and absolutely *not* having a baby any time soon by the looks of things!

  • Annabel G

    totally understand x

    E was born in 6.5 hours from very first inkling that something might be happening, to holding her in my arms. Nothing I had read or heard had led me to believe that first babies arrive in anything under about 12 hours minimum and yes, after the birth, I was in shock.

    H was born quickly, 2 hours from slightly crampy and doing the is it/isn’t it? thing in my head, to holding him. Around an hour’s worth of proper labour. When we got to the hospital I couldn’t make it across the car park, my body was pushing for me and I didn’t want it to. People were staring in horror and I felt so vulnerable and pretty damn mortified. I thought he was going to be born between two parked cars but a lady with a child of about 7 in tow had ran inside and got porters and a wheelchair for me and H was born within seconds of getting into the delivery room. My husband just stood gaping. I wish I knew who that lady was because without her I would have delivered in the car park and I’d like to thank her properly for helping rather than staring like everyone else and making me feel like a circus sideshow.

    Then there’s also the issue that when they fly out so fast when the MW is telling you to slow down and stop pushing, they do a lot of damage…

    Definitely not easier, just a completely different experience.

    Forty minutes must be absolutely terrifying x

    • Muddling Along

      It was terrifying and yes, they do do an awful lot of damage on the way out (reminds me I must update those posts about that recovery)

      How scary to be in a carpark and in that stage of labour – I just cannot imagine how horrid that must be, at least with mine I have been safely at home

  • Eve

    I had a very fast second labour. Just over an hour from first contraction to delivery. I had planned a homebirth in water, but there was no time to get the pool up and the midwife, not realising how quick it was going to be, didn’t arrive in time. As you said, I remember feeling the baby’s head in abject terror when I realised I was on the bathroom floor on my own with no pain relief and no professional help.

    I have always said though that the experience was ‘easier’ than my first birth, an instrumental hospital birth for a back to back baby with a team of doctor’s present. To me they’re incomparable, I was on a massive hormonal high after my second birth which instantly overtook any worry about it not having gone as planned. This is SUCH a personal thing though, and I wouldn’t ever assume it was the same for everyone.

    In fact my husband is still, fifteen months on, traumatised by the arrival of our daughter. He doesn’t like to talk about it. Despite being a massively hands on father, never fazed by an exploding nappy, seeing me out of control as the baby came so quickly, not being able to help, not knowing what to do, has had a massive impact on us. At least at our first birth he had the doctor’s to share the burden with.

    So in my case, faster WAS easier. In my husband’s, definitely not x

    • Muddling Along

      Its interesting that your husband found it less good – I guess for us, Mr at least had Bigger to cope with and our midwife did arrive just in time (and there was so much else going on with the pregnancy that he was happy to not be with me) – I just remember that sheer terror of being on my own and unable to cope mentally or physically

  • Whilst my experience was not particularly traumatic in the same way as the other stories, my second, a planned homebirth, arrived approx 15 minutes before the midwife as things progressed far more quickly than I expected from the first proper contractions – approx 30 mins. whilst I can look back and laugh now at the comedy of the situation (husband dancing around on the phone shouting instructions to me from said midwife on the phone as the reception didn’t work in the room I was in) at the time it was absolutely terrifying. I was in the birthing pool when Small Boy arrived and the cord was around his neck when I tried to lift him up out of the water. It felt like an eternity before we both realised we just needed to push him down under the water again and unwrap it. Luckily all was well.

  • Don’t I know what you are talking about. I was in labour for a very short 5 hrs. I got to the hospital and delivered Marie within 30 minutes of getting there. no time for nothing. she was 5 weeks early too and I had nothing ready. For Noelie, I went to the hospital feeling there was something wrong, apparently I was in labour but could not feel any contractions which were coming every minute or so. This one was a C section as she was breached. I got the same comments and no, it’s not easier, it’s very different.

    • Muddling Along

      I just wish people didn’t try and make out theirs is somehow better – we all have different experiences and it isn’t a competition

  • I hear you!

    My second labour was about half the time of my first (about 4 hours compared to around 8) and I’d say my second was more painful and difficult – I remember feeling a little out of control in a way I didn’t with my first.

    I rtalked to one of my health visitors afterwards and said that I didn’t understand why people said second labours tended to be quicker and easier. She replied that they were often quicker but not necessarily easier (that’s just want people assume because of the ‘quicker’ bit) because the faster contractions are often so much more intense.

    S x

    • Muddling Along

      I have tried to explain to people that it takes the same effort to get fully dilated it just takes shorter so more intense and have been laughed off and told ‘you try that for 24 hours’ – when I went into early labour at 37 weeks it was so different, I was able to find somewhere I wanted to be to labour, to mentally prepare, to have myself set up as I wanted. In the end it didn’t progress properly but it was a totally different experience than bang and you’re off

      Intense is definitely the right word

  • Because I was induced it was very different for me but in the end I did have a very fast labour. Because my contractions were due to being on the drip I went from no contractions to one every couple of minutes in a very short time. I found it very overwhelming and don’t feel that my body had time to ‘warm up’ or for me to understand what was happening.

    All in all it was around 4 hours from going on the drip to Piran being born. I am trying not to think what this time will be like!

    • Muddling Along

      Probably very different but do make sure you have a back up plan in case its super fast – I think if I’d thought it through more I’d have been better prepared mentally rather than just not thinking about the actual birth (but that was a function of my horrid pregnancy)

  • One of my friends has had all three of hers in under 3 hours and the last one in 45 minutes which was a problem as we are an hour from the nearest maternity unit! So this time she was prepared for a quick labour and had a home birth with the paramedics turning up 10 minutes later. She said it was the best one yet because she hadn’t factored getting to hospital at all.

    • Muddling Along

      Gulp that is incredibly fast but yes, if we go for a third at least I’ll be ready for it to be fast (and it’ll probably be 36 hours…)

  • I’m so with you – I had such a fast labour with my son, I got to the hospital at 9:48am and he was born 6 minutes later at 9:54, on the toilet floor as I didn’t stand a chance of making it to maternity! Feeling the head hanging out before the midwife had got to me was probably the scariest moment of my life (apologies if that’s tmi!). You’re right, the whole thing is intensified and condensed, I almost feel like I missed out, I’ve not even had gas & air lol! That said, having a c-section, which was an option until 36 weeks when the placenta was finally confirmed as ‘out of the way’ bizarrely scared me more than any amount of pain! I’m not sure the grass is ever greener when it comes to the pain of labour!

    • Muddling Along

      That’s awful, must be so hard to be so close but still to not be in the right place

      I’ve not had gas & air, I hear great things about it and am almost tempted to ask if I can have a go to just see…

  • JustKarie

    I suppose there are pros & cons to fast births & slow births. I dare say there’s no such thing as a “perfect birth.” Though my story was a gruelling opposite to yours (induction which led to long labour, haemorrhage, anaphylaxis…), I do see that I would have much panic & fear with a quick delivery as well. Well written. Thanks.

    • Muddling Along

      Exactly, I can see that your experience must have been difficult, challenging and I respect that – we each have different experiences, not sure that there is such a thing as a ‘perfect’ birth to be honest

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Hannah, Hannah. Hannah said: Sorry if this offends but don't tell me fast labour is an easy option http://j.mp/foX64w […]

  • My first labour was about 13 hrs all told, second was just under 3 and third decided to take somewhere around 3 days on and off, although jiggled for the preceding week also. I feel fairly well able to put a pov across therefore! As you said not easier, not more difficult, just different! Ds2 almost arrived before the midwife and before the pool was full, so I almost birthed alone, and he was born in our bath. I was told nearly there and remember thinking you must be joking I haven’t been in labour that long, and simultaneously thinking I don’t remember it being this bad first time round – the contractions were already intense as he was so close to being born, I just didn’t realise. Ds3 wasn’t intense labour contractions – they almost got to the intense stage and then would wear off, become irregular – I think he was in a funny position and took ages as was rotating into a better fit. In the end I was exhausted and dehydrated (my only summer baby and born in serious heatwave – forgot to drink, d’oh – too busy trying to remember to pee every hr to keep bladder empty ironically!) after two previous home water births, I ended up in hospital with a drip and an epidural, although was a very straightforward quick birth once it all got coordinated. (I was threatened with a drip to speed labour up, but knew at this point I was already fully dilated and could feel head coming – they didn’t believe me until I made them check!) all in all, think my first birth was my favourite, as I had time to get everything prepared how I wanted and needed it to be, but didn’t go on for so long that I became exhausted. I used natal hypnotherapy with all three and I’m sure that why I didn’t panic at the prospect of birthing ds2 alone.
    As you said, not better, not worse just different – best to have labour and birth that is right “speed” for your baby and body to work together.

    • Muddling Along

      You make a good point, with both of mine they happened fast for a reason – Bigger had her cord going into the membranes not the placenta (I had a bi lobed placenta) and so needed to be born fast and in her waters to ensure she got out before the cord severed and Littler had all of her challenges and so needed to get out fast. I hadn’t ever thought of it like that

      Its incredible that yours were all so different – wish I’d managed to remember the natal hypnotherapy with mine, maybe next time, if there’s a next time

  • I hadn’t realised how fast they both were. I have no idea what a contraction is despite having had 2 children but I can imagine it’s a terrifying experience when your body just takes over and you have no control over it.
    I hope if you decide to go for no 3 that you have a much more relaxed time.

  • It took nearly four days from start to finish for my little one to be born. It was a very long and very painful labour. But after reading this I definitely wouldn’t want a really quick labour. That sounds just as awful. Especially if it meant I couldn’t have my husband with me. I don’t know I would have done it without him. I guess the lesson to be learned is, unless you are very lucky, having a baby hurts and is rather scary however long it takes.

    • Muddling Along

      4 days – incredible

      I think you’re right – having a baby hurts and is scary full stop – its different but still scary and painful

  • With you on this. My labour was 9 hrs but I was induced so 0 to full blown contractions, 45 secs every 3 mins in less than 10 mins … What a shock!

  • Vix

    I wholeheartedly agree with you! I have had 2 labours and my first was 3 hours from waters breaking until baby which was absolutely horrible, 3 – 10 in 40 mins is NOT the way nature intended it! 2nd birth was a bloody joy incomparrison, took 12 ish hours and was a fab, only painful for the last 40 mins. Fast labours are scary!

  • This is precisely what I’m worried about with number 4! I’ve never quite worked out when you start timing from but I had first contractions about 4pm, was in hospital at 8pm and told I was about 3cm dilated and so it would be at least seven hours from then until I needed to push. Two hours later, having had no gaps between contractions (I remember at the time thinking that was odd – the NCT had all been about “how far apart are the contractions coming?”, “Erm, not at all”), on my own (I was in the bathroom because I thought I needed to go to the loo), I felt her head come out. I hadn’t even realised I was pushing. B pushed the call midwife button and she came rushing in, and uttered the immortal line “baby’s head is here…!”. Two pushes later and out she came.

    S&A were born by planned c-s so I’ve no idea how my body would have reacted to them – but bearing in mind that my first came out much quicker than expected (although clearly not as quick as some), that I’ve carried, if not delivered, two more since then, and we’re a good half an hour from the hospital with both sets of grandparents respectively 50 and 350 miles away, I’m a little concerned…

  • I didn’t have a super fast birth (c.19hours from first twinges to baby being delivered although I went from 5cm to pushing in about an hour) but your post really spoke to me because the point is noone can comment on how good or bad your birth was except yourself! I had what everyone thinks is a ‘good’ birth. 3 hours of active labour, 30 mins of pushing, no pain relief (didn’t get to hospital in time as attempting homebirth) and no serious damage (small tear). But I HATED it. It felt brutal and violent to me. It felt like an assault, it felt disgusting and I wanted to be out of it every minute I was in the midst of the hard stuff.

    When chiming in on a discussion with other mums about the pain, one turned to me and said, “shut up! you had an AMAZING birth”… Which drove me mad. I totally understand where you are coming from.

    • Muddling Along

      What a horrid thing to say!

      I’ve been warned not to say too much about my births because I had (on paper) exactly what I wanted, BUT I still came out of the first very traumatised and getting the birth I wanted was due in part to fighting my corner for 9 months

      For me its about respecting that you cannot judge anyone else’s experience and should respect that theirs is different – not better, not worse, just different

      And yes, that having my body taken over thing really felt quite horrid to me – I found myself fighting my body which really didn’t help things

  • Overall I was lucky enough to have had two positive birth experiences – a very long latent labour first time, ending in epidural and ventouse delivery, while my second baby came after induction, a pretty fast labour with continuous contractions.

    My father commented that compared with the first birth, the second “must have been a treat.”

    It’s not called “labour” for no reason, Daddy dearest.

    • Muddling Along

      Its people who make comments like that who I particularly find hard to deal with – um its still painful and not a great deal of fun, its just perhaps a shorter period of pain and not fun…

  • This makes me mad too – reading these comments has been a great eye opener to the fact that I’m not the only one who struggled with a quick birth (Curly headed boy was 4hrs, I went straight into transition with 1 min contractions every min – I reckon he would have been quicker if I’d known I was allowed to push). I was really shocked about the whole thing for months after, and terrified of giving birth again (I’d screamed so bad I couldn’t speak for a week). But Little Dimples was a much easier 7hrs, no scariness, not much pain, really mellow – mind you it was at home.

  • Emma

    I had the same comments for both of mine. My first was born 4 hours 55mins and everything was fine. I did have a small tear but nothing that required any stitches. My second was different though. I went into labour and within an hour phoned a birth centre because it was out of hours I had to phone a different one so they had to get a midwife in for me at the local one. A midwife phoned me back and said I had to wait till 9.30pm till she was there till I could go in. By 8.30pm I was climbing up the walls wanting to go in. By the time I got to the birth centre I was 9 1/2cms dilated but my waters hadn’t broken. All in all it took 3 hours 35mins for my 2nd to be born and then had to get transfered to the hospital because I had a 3rd degree tear. I dont think it was easier the 2nd time round especially as she was 9lbs 1oz when she was born.

  • Jess

    I feel your angst!! I felt totally shell shocked after having my first in 40 minutes. Nobody understood why I felt a little disappointed and upset by the whole ordeal. ‘You had a quick labour, you were so lucky’…women would kill to have a labour like’ that I was told.
    I quickly learnt to shut up about it and not to discuss it as it would only upset me more, even to my husband.
    Fast labour is just as you describe, it’s fast, it’s painful and it’s very out of control. Your body begins to zone out as it had no time to build up endorphins and the baby gets very distressed as it too, has had no time to adjust to what’s going on. My bub’s heart rate stopped each time I pushed because it was hurting him that much. How could you wish that on a baby!?
    You don’t even know what is being send to you, I was told not to push at one stage, and in the depths of my consciousness, all I heard was push and the baby is in distress. I pushed as hard as I could at the wrong time because I wasn’t aware what was going on. He flew out but gave me a third degree tear in the process, I was bleeding from both my bum and vagina (tmi) for three months afterwards!
    I understand that nobody can understand unless they’ve been there. Never the less, I get very frustrated when people tells how lucky I was!!!

    • Exactly! It isn’t a walk in the park because you don’t have time to get used to the idea – and your body doesn’t have time to get used to it. I hear of people bonding as a couple during a longer labour and I know I was alone and scared for almost all of mine… Not exactly an easy ride

  • Laura

    My daughter was born at 36 weeks in a little over an hour. My water broke right at 5 AM. I felt my first contraction 5 minutes later, and from there they were stacked one on top of the other. My OB’s hospital was 45 minutes away. That meant that instead of delivering with a familiar face in a familiar place we pulled off at the first freeway sign that said “hospital” and I gave birth on a gurny in a triage room of the emergency clinic.

    I had absolutely no idea what was going on the entire time. I hit transition right as a transport team arrived to take me to an actual hospital, and from there she came so fast that I could barely breathe and was hanging off the bed gasping and screaming because it was so painful.

    The ER was very ill-equipped to handle a birth and many of the staff acted in complete panic, which in turn sent me into a panic. Nurses were yelling, my husband was standing there wondering if I was dying. The natural, intervention-free childbirth I thought I would be having was completely discarded.

    I was forcibly separated from her for 3 hours following birth, because the ER staff thought that, despite her being completely healthy, she belonged under a heat lamp, rather than on her mother’s chest. They transfered us to the hospital in separate ambulances and all I did the entire time I was being transfered was sit there and stare into the distance because I could not come to terms with what just happened. All I knew was, I was supposed to still be pregnant and I wasn’t.

    Almost everyone who hears the story of how fast she came comments that I’m “lucky” I wasn’t in labor for hours/days like they were

  • nicola lap

    i no ok u get the baby but i had my second son on the landin at home the only other person with me was my 2 year son ok alex is fine now but i
    was scared the first words i said too him was dont u dare die on me dont u dare alex is 10 aug 🙂 its not sumthin u should b saying too ur new baby when baby number 3 was anounneds oh dont worry nice and quick like alex they would say oh good so u want me scared out oh my mind again then thanks sean just got too the hosptail now iam 34 weeks again and brickin it luck has nothing too do with fear has lots even my first son was born with in 7 hours witch was quick 4 fist time my biggest fear is baby come with water and as u no there can go anywhere

  • Tracy

    I’m so glad I found this site! Just because I have quick labors does not mean I had a easy time of it, if anything it’s totally the opposite. My first was born in just under 3 hours and I was left in shock and trying to work out what had just happened! I remember saying to the midwife this is not what the book says would happen lol. I feel I was a bit more prepared for my second knowing that it was probably going to be quick but ended up being quicker than I imagined at just under 1 hour. When people ask how your labour was and I tell them how quick they were the first thing they ask is “so did it hurt” as if saying because it was quick it didn’t hurt as much. It’s as painful as any other labour it’s just concentrated into a shorter time frame and there’s no time for any pain relief.

    • Exactly – I have tried to explain to people that it is so fast, so scary and so intense but do frequently get the comment back that it can’t hurt as much…

      I guess if you knew it was going to be 45 minutes upfront it’d be easier to cope with than worrying you really really can’t cope 15 minutes in and wondering if it will be like this for 36 hours

  • Kelly seres

    I had a quick labour with my last only just made it to hospital. My contractions were back to back no break at all and it really shocked me and really painful compared to my others.
    I am pregnant again and so scared I won’t make it to hospital this time or I be on my own when it starts and what will happen.
    It gets to me too when people say fast is better case it’s not I’ve had 5 children and I find faster births are more intense and painful and afterwards is also painful and hard.

  • Valerie

    I’m so glad to have found your post. With my daughter, my water broke at 12am and she was born less than 3 hours later at 2:42am! Fortunately we had planned for a home birth so we didn’t have to worry about making it to the hospital. But it was still scary…my contractions were so intense so quickly, I had no idea how to cope. My husband was running around getting the bed ready, talking to the midwife on the phone, and trying to look after me all at the same time. I remember feeling so terrified when he was on the phone with the midwife and I started feeling the urge to push! The midwife did make it in time, but the 20 minutes it took for her to arrive felt like an eternity.

    It’s so good to know that I’m not alone in my experience. Nobody I’ve talked to has had such a short labor and they assume that it was easy. Like you said, not easier, just different.

    • Hannah Brewer

      Valerie – that sounds so similar to our experience – scary and intense and with the midwife only just arriving in time

      You aren’t alone and I can completely empathise with what you have been through

  • First Time Expecting


    A few questions I’d love to get at least a few of you to try to answer….?

    My mum had all 3 of us siblings fast labour, within approx 3-4 hours first, 2 hrs me and about 1 1/2 hrs youngest. My cousin from mum’s side of the fanily also had 3 with less then 5 hr births.

    My first question to help me think and plan for mine, due in Approx 2 1/2 months – any idea if any of your mothers or sisters also had fast birth? Do any of you ladies believe our birth can be anything like relatives etc??

    Also, how did you cope with the stress or panic & shock, how or did you get over these feelings of shock etc, how long do you think it took to get over the panic etc and did it have any affect on how you got/get bonded with baby etc? Eg after effect of fast birth?


    • Hannah Brewer

      My mother didn’t have fast births so no link there – with both of mine there were medical reasons that suggest that nature wanted a fast delivery to protect the baby. Bigger’s cord went into the amniotic sack rather than the placenta (and the placenta was in two parts), rupturing membranes would have probably caused the cord to sever with obvious issues – in fact she was born with her membranes intact. Littler had had IUGR and a failed placenta – we believe she came fast because she wouldn’t have been able to cope with the stresses of a protracted labour. Both in their way freak issues which needed them out fast – Mother Nature is clever like that

      With Bigger I was terribly shocked (also haemorrhaged which didn’t help matters) and it did take me a while to bond and it wasn’t helped by people telling me how lucky I was. With Littler in some ways I was ready for the shock and whilst I felt terribly drained it wasn’t half as bad as the first one (and it was a fraction of the time) – preparation and an open mind are key I guess (and lots of support)

      I think that the home birth did really help – we didn’t deliver in transit, I didn’t have to get in the car whilst in advanced labour and I felt safe in my own house (and able to crawl upstairs into my own bed after a bath)

      Will also email you – take care xxx

  • Andrea

    I am really grateful to have stumbled onto this post… I am expecting our 4th (actually overdue now) & I have been a bit worried about how labor will go. With my 1st, labor was less than 5 hours. With #2, it was 1 1/2 hours & the 3rd was just under 3 hours – all intense & rapid (obviously!). I barely remember the last 20 minutes of any of them, since things progressed so quickly. With my 3rd, I remember asking the nurse to check on my progress since I tend to go from 8 to pushing within minutes & she said that she would check me after I used the restroom… Wouldn’t ya know, baby crowned while I was in there… (I wanted to say “THAT’S WHY I SAID ‘CHECK ME’!”) Husband yelled for help & nurse came in just in time to catch baby. This time, I am nervous & unsure of what to expect. I have tried to prepare for emergency home birth, just in case, since I am often home alone with no vehicle to get to the hospital (which is only just a few moments away).

    • Hannah Brewer

      Fingers and toes crossed it all goes ok – we had a session with our midwife where she talked us both through how to deal with an unattended birth (we were about 2 minutes away from that being the case) – think she had an inkling that it could have come to that but it did help us at least think we might be ok

      Can’t wait to hear that your little one has arrived

      • Andrea

        Hi again… I kept meaning to let you know how everything went when little girl arrived, but humm, I’ve kinda been a bit busy – not to mention sleep-deprived! lol 🙂

        She actually came on the 26th of March… first contraction around 8:35 in the morning; hard & painful. They continued every 4 minutes (lasting about 2 minutes with a 2 minute break between). Between the pains (I couldn’t talk or walk through them from the start of labor), I gathered my things & called my husband home from work. He finally got there at 10:30 & we were at the hospital by 11 am. When the midwife checked me, I was only dilated to 3/4 & I was discouraged thinking that I had progressed so little for 2 & 1/2 hours of such pain. By then contractions were 2 min apart (& practically no break between)… trying to remain still while the IV was put in was quite difficult & as soon as that was done (after 1 failed attempt), I was allowed to move to the birthing ball… Within two or three contractions, my water broke & she was coming out literally. Husband had gone into the restroom & the nurse couldn’t run across the room in time. She actually slid out & I tried to catch her but only got a handful of cord. I vaguely remember the horror of looking down & seeing my baby on the floor & even now, I can’t believe that I DROPPED my baby!! But trying to hold her in was impossible! I was shaking & in shock & couldn’t move for a few minutes while little Emma was crying in the background (reassuring that she was breathing, but I was terrified that she was hurt)… She was fine (no ill effects whatsoever from her unorthodox entry into the world; & she had great APGAR scores) and other than emotionally traumatic for me and mortified that I couldn’t catch her, I am fine too (very little tearing even).

        Although not a “true” precipitous labor (since it was almost 3 1/2 hours long), it certainly had all the bearings of one. I had no idea that I was THAT close to delivery; all I know was that the labor for hers was more intense even than the previous ones. I think will be talking to the midwives at the practice about better preparedness (for expectant moms & for delivery staff) for the event of precipitous labors… I had a false sense of security (again) that since we made it to the hospital, everything would be “fine”… silly me.

  • kerry

    hi all
    i have just been reading your stories and it is nice to hear people that have been in the same situation.
    i have just given birth to my beautiful 3rd child after a long 17 year gap! and the birth has well left me traumatized i started in labour at approx 7pm and stayed at home till 11pm as thay were manageable i then went to my birthing center to be examined and told i was only 2cm and to go home, i did question this as by then i felt they were pretty strong but thought i had got soft as i got older lol, both my older children wanted to be there for the birth of there new little sister so i went home and when i got there i was in so much pain i was literally climbing the walls, i then lost a massive amount of blood which terrified me, my partner rang the birth center and told then and they said if he felt i needed to come back then bring me (making us feel like we were wasting there time!)i got back in the car with my two older children following after locking up in there car, by the time we reached the birth center i knew baby was on her way my partner ran in to get help and a midwife came out and i said i was going to push she said dont be silly at that i dropped to my knees on the welcome mat at front doors and gave birth leaving myself my newborn and my partner in shock! so much for the yoga and water birth.
    it saddens me that both my elder children missed the birth and i was dismissed as i feel women know there own bodies and should be listened to more. it all ended well as we are now healthy and happy although it took my sores and tears and body a while to recover.

    • Hannah Brewer

      Gosh that sounds really hard on you – hope you are all doing well now and healing in all the places mentally, physically and emotionally you need to

      Would you consider talking to your birth centre and sharing your experience with them to help them learn from it?

  • Summer

    My first baby came at 36+5 and i had an epidural he took 12hrs so not sure how long he would have taken if i went natural? My second was 40+10 and over all my worst birth she was spine on spine so a lot more painful and longer and had to do it natural 🙁 i got to the hospital an hour from my first contraction and they said your ready to start pushing…i ended up pushing for 5hrs then they took me to OR finally! she took 6.5hrs. My last baby was my fastest from start to finish 3hrs. I was 39wks and woke to contractions we timed them for about ten mins or so. by that time i knew it was time! i went to the toilet and blood everywhere, i was freaking out a bit so i called the hospital and they said come in. so i jumped in the shower to try to get freshen up a bit. Got the the hospital and had to stop a few time during contractions, got to the bed and by this stage i was going so quick i couldn’t keep up with my body i felt so out of control i couldn’t get a breathing pattern happening, nothing! i couldn’t even feel the urge to push i was in so much pain and so quickly. They checked me and said in 2/3 pushes your baby will be out, i started to panic as i was told that i was having a 10+lb baby so i was thinking how can i push this giant baby out? they said as soon as the baby comes out the pain will stop…so i pushed and pushed the midwife had to catch her lol she was only 7+lb and i had a massive tear 🙁 I am now 20wks with my 4th and final baby and im am terrified of how quick my labour will be i dont think i will make it to hospital and think i will have to do it home alone or worse with the kids there!

    • Hannah Brewer

      It is the home alone one that worries me – so far we have had the midwife arrive with 20 minutes and 3 minutes respectively to spare – who knows what will happen

      Are you going to plan for a homebirth to give you some degree of control?

  • Ruby

    I couldn’t agree more! I had my sweep the day before due date just out of pure luck, I’d felt some throbbing in my lower back for a couple of weeks but I’d have never thought they’d have been contractions. Found out I was 2 1/2cm dilated with my sweep. Contractions got more intense as the day progressed and early hours of my due date I went into hospital. I got to the hospital at about half 1-2am and I was 3cm dilated. Got to 6am and I was fully dilated and had my waters broken. I was convinced I’d been fully dilated for about an hour before I was checked because I was needing a poo as what I thought so kept running to the loo. Had my waters broken and my son was born at half 8 that morning. It was very quick, very intense, and I was so drained I couldn’t even lift my baby boy until he was a week old. If you could choose I would have wanted slightly more time because it was so intense and so painful, it was so quick I can hardly remember the details. But I agree, a fast labour is not easy.

    • Hannah Brewer

      I think you have captured it exactly – it is so intense and you don’t have any memories because there is nothing you can do except just go through it

      Part of the problem I believe is that you don’t have the time to mentally adjust

  • Wow! I thought I had had fast labours, but yours have been on another level.
    Fortunately I made it to the hospital both times (and it was a 45mins drive). With the boys I woke up at 5am thinking something was up, and Tom was born at 0635, Seb at 0653.
    With Seren they were intent on having a wee sample, and had to rescue me off the loo as she was more than ready to arrive!
    I think there’s that thing, that constant thing, about not comparing if you haven’t been there. Honestly, I don’t know about people have the strength in long labours- haven’t been there, but likewise as you highlight, there’s an emotional adjustment that doesn’t have time to happen in a fast labour, for your brain to catch up with your body.
    I do hope you get your happy medium this time.

  • Sammy

    I’m a first time mum- went to L&D at 33 weeks as I was having upset tummy, vomiting & cramps. They tested me for early labour- came back negative & said my cervix wasn’t dialated. Thank god my Obgyn decided as it was quiet- maybe it was best if I waited there or went home then came back- to be monitored for the next 2 hours. We decided to Stay & They were about to send me home- when I felt a pop- like a water balloon coming out of me- my waters broke in the triage room. Right away / I felt I had to go to poo- made my hubby come with me to the toilet- poor thing/ whilst the drs checked it was my waters as they thought I had peed the bed?!! In the toilet, I peed dark green which freaked me out but turns out it was the babies merconium. I went back into the triage room- they scanned me- found out baby was breach & I would need csection. They checked cervix again & I was 4cm. In the next 10 mins- I went from being able to sign a consent form for csection to literally being off the bed- writhing in pain- my hubby had to hold me on- I didn’t know what to do with myself. I kept saying I needed to poo- at which stage they checked my cervix again & I was now 9cms. The drs were faffing around looking at charts etc- when this amazing nurse came in / took one look at me & said- we are going to the Operating room NOW. They kept saying to me wherever you do- don’t push – as I was wheeled down & sitting having epi put in. Hubby was then allowed in & my beautiful little girl was born about 15 mins later. From waters breaking to her arriving- it was just over an hour. I can honestly say the pain was immense- like nothing I have experienced before. Had she not been breach & had to have an emergency csection- I think she would have come in the triage room. My hubby & I were just shell shocked/ we had nothing prepared – even our phones had died/ so the drs had to take pics of the baby for us! A fast labour certainly is not easy- it’s traumatic, intense & not something I would wish on anybody. Thank god I didn’t go home…. She would have come in the back of the car! Yikes!

  • Lynne

    Quick labours are the worse my third was 26 mins and I completely lost control ,it was one continuous contraction,I broke furniture attack every one that attempted to come near me ,even thought I was dying most terrifying experience of my life,my first child was two days give me long labours any day my second was an hr and pretty horrific too,but the quickest was most definitely the most intensifying pain ever,

  • Deej

    Hi all loving the stories, I too get the you got it easy comments. I have 3 kids. My 1st was premier at 33 weeks n 3 days and my labour (natural, no induction) was 7.5hrs first niggle to finish. My 2nd I had planned to relax at home for hrs before going to hospital…nope. 1 hr 40 mins. My water broke spontaneously while I was sleeping and I knew from the 1st contraction that I didn’t have long. We got to the hospital with my contractions 40seconds apart and 9cms dilated. 10minutes later I pushed out my daughter POSTERIER! Back to front and we hadn’t even known and no tears!! Thank goodness. That was really scary, so when I fell pregnant with number 3 I was apprehensive about the labour, and I had every right to be. 37weeks my water broke spontaneously again while sleeping and the 1st contraction was unbelievable. Hubby yelled at me cause I went for a shower, threatened to call the ambulance if I didn’t get out now. We got to the hospital with 15 minutes to spare at 7cms dilated 2contractions later I was pushing and bub was crowning (don’t kneel backwards on the bed while bub is coming, can’t get your legs wide enough, my pelvis hates me still) a total of 50 minutes exactly and my son was born. 2 weeks later we got a speeding camera fine for 26 minutes before bub was born lol.. All of my labours were scary stressful extremely painfull (no pain relief at all any of them) and short, but I have to say that my 1st labour that was nearly 8 times longer than my last labour was my favorite 🙂 I am definitely not doing that again. My faster labours were far more hard, painful, scary and stressful and there’s no time to get your head around it, I felt really stocky after the last one. It’s crazy. Those women that give birth in 8-12 hrs a re the lucky ones 🙂

  • New Mama

    I know this is an old post but I was trying to find reassurance that my birth experience wasn’t a piece of cake compared to everyone else (didn’t feel like one to me). My son arrived three days ago, three and a half hours after getting to the hospital (I think it could have been shorter but they didn’t realize how fast things were going and I didn’t recognize the urge to push as the baby being ready to be born). People have been telling me how lucky I am and if I thought that was bad I should try doing it for 24-48 hours etc… I just nod and listen as they tell there horror stories and feel inadequate as a woman and like my birth wasn’t really a real birth. And then if they hear that i got stadol; boy! I almost feel like they are laughing at my weakness…. but It’s like you said; I’m glad it was short because I don’t think I could have taken any more. Once labor started it was so intense I couldn’t do anything! I’d learned all these pain management techniques, I wanted to move around to help things move but once labor started, I couldn’t even move. I just clung to my husbands hand, lay on my side, gasped through contractions, while vomiting with each breath and urge to push, and then grabbing the moments between contractions. I felt terrible and so weak for caving and asking for pain meds via IV. It was so intense I could only think about and focus on surviving each one and on the thought that I didn’t think I could do this… I wasn’t aware of anything else, once or twice I opened my eyes enough to acknowledge something my husband said or focus on his face for a second but that was about it… Then he was born and it was wonderful but I just couldn’t take it in, I hardly remember any of that time, I guess it was kind of shock and maybe the stadol didn’t help but…. I kind of felt jipped out of the feeling of wonder and joy at having my son in my arms for the first time. Thinking about that labor still makes me all emotional and teary. I always imagined it kind of being something that would be painful but empowering and something that would help me feel more of a woman and strong in what we women can do but instead I feel like I barely survived… the memory of the pain is already fading some but those first few days just the thought of possibly going through that again in the future made me almost shake with fear.

    Anyway, sorry for the long rant but I just feel like here I can tell my story and not feel judged in fact maybe some of you will understand. Thanks.

    • Hannah Brewer

      Oh sweetheart – sending you incredible love and healing vibes – you are not a failure, you are a strong woman who has had a difficult and incredibly intense experience

      I hope you are ok and able to enjoy your precious baby

  • Michelle

    Agreed. My water broke with my first and he was here less than 2 hours later. It didn’t hurt at first, but once the contractions came they came quick and hard. I couldn’t walk within 20 minutes. By the time we made it to the hospital I was fully dialated (his head was already coming out). He was born 15 minutes later.

    I am so sick of people saying that I “lucked out” or “got off easy”. I still gave birth people! Am I glad it was short? Obviously. But it still hurt. There was no time for drugs even if I wanted them. No choice. It was also way more scary because I was not prepared, barely made it to the hospital, and didn’t have my doctor. Luckily the nurses were really good!

  • Lauren

    Wow!! I’m so glad I found this!! With my first born, it was 6 hours from water breaking to him being born. I could walk, I could talk, laugh, watch t.v…etc..while my contractions slowly intensified. I was able to stay focused enough to know what was happening, have that excitement of seeing my baby boy for the first time. However…with my 2nd..my daughter…that was sooooo not the case at all!! She was born 2.5 hours after my water broke. The pain was instant and extremely intense. I couldn’t walk into the hospital like I did with my first, I had to be wheelchaired in. My body was in such shock from the intense pain that I couldn’t stop shaking and I thought I was going to be sick. I was ready to push before the Doctor even arrived at the hospital so the nurses had to put me on my side and all hold my legs down while I screamed. I couldn’t even think straight, even to this day so much of it is just a blur. I felt bad afterwards as I still had my uterus squeezed every 15 minutes for the first 4 hours post-birth as I was clotting and losing more blood than normal, so I wasn’t able to hold my daughter for hours. I didn’t get that “bonding moment” when she first arrived as I had imagined. We definitely want one more baby, but I’m nervous about number 3 being born even quicker than baby 2! One of my friends had a longer labour, lasted 20-something hours and she went on to say how she wished she had a quick and easy labour like I did (I didn’t give her the details). I wanted to scream! If someone hasn’t experienced a fast labour, they have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. From now on I will never, ever, say to an expecting mom “I hope you have a quick and easy labour”!

  • alex

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one! My first two labours were about an hour each from start to finish! I’m now 23 weeks pregnant and terrified of it being even quicker this time! It really is horrible when people imply you haven’t really experienced a ‘proper labour’! I’d like to see them say that after having given birth with the delivery room door wide open, right next to the reception desk!

  • Lani

    You are so right. Both my labors were fast and both took a huge toll on my body which did not have any time to make a graceful transition. I could hardly move I was in so much pain and the double contractions made it impossible to get any relief. Women should support other women’s experiences in birth. It is a hard job and made harder if the labor is so rapid that the baby basically rips it’s way out.

    The attitude toward fast labor is irritating much like the judgement about being continually morning sick. I lost significant weight during my second pregnancy and was high risk as a result. Women told me that I was lucky that I didn’t gain weight. I have news for them. Throwing up for months straight is not what you experienced and not a picnic to be celebrated. I am grateful for both my healthy children, but pregnancy and birth for me was not a mood event. It was scary, painful and not a beautiful experience at all.

  • Jodie

    Glad someone has written about this. My waters broke but nothing happened. Then it all started at once got sent home as only 2cm. But was back within 40mins and you could touch babies head. Loved being told I was not in established labour. My midwife told me there was A LOT of bruising. But just like you I was told by my friends how lucky I was. But I was shocked this is not what NCT or the books told me would happen. No water birth of time to mentally prepare.

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