Why You DON’T Want a Short Labor

Everything about the birth of my third (and last) child was different than the other two.

This last baby came after a VERY short labor. Sounds great, right?

My first two were scheduled inductions. We knew exactly when we would be going in, we calmly packed our bags, had a meal and headed for the hospital. With each one, I was in active labor for about 4 hours and my water broke while having the epidural placed. (The epidural never actually happened with the second, as soon as it was placed and before they gave me anything, I sent the anesthesiologist running for the doctor.) Both times the pain was completely manageable. With Reagan, I never actually had any pain because of the epidural. Oh, and both babies were 7 lb 7 oz.

Perfect, right?

Then came Harrison’s birth. My induction was scheduled again. (My doctor does this routinely. I understand this is controversial, but it worked wonderfully for us and the vast majority of my doctor’s other patients.) We packed up the kids and sent them to my in-laws house five minutes away. I had been fine, and busy most of the day running last minute errands. We were all set to settle in for the night to get good sleep before heading to the hospital at 7 am.

I had been feeling a burning pressure since about 7:00 pm, which was actually kind of welcome. I carried all of my babies extremely high, and I was glad to know that this baby (we didn’t know boy or girl yet) was FINALLY dropping and might not need the assistance that my first had to get into the right position. I decided to take a shower because, who knew when I would get to do that in peace again and I wanted to at least start out fresh and clean.

Just then, (about 8:00) my mother-in-law called and said that she had forgotten something that Reagan needed for school the next day. Instead of my shower, I hopped into the car, drove over to my in-laws and brought her the missing item. Back home 10 minutes later, I finally got my hot shower. The pains from earlier were getting more intense, but walking around and stretching seemed to make it better. Another phone call from my mother-in-law. I told her we were getting ready to go to bed early so that we could have a fresh start in the morning.

During that conversation, I noticed that the burning/stretching pains were coming in waves. They didn’t feel at all like the contractions I’d had with Noah, but the regularity made me pause. I decided to time them, just to see. This was at about 9 pm.

Ummmmm, 3 minutes apart in regular intervals. Wow! Maybe they were contractions.

I told my husband that I was having regular contractions. He looked at me in a panic. Remember, even though we had done this twice before, everything was carefully planned and scheduled. He was in the middle of packing his hospital bag.

“Should I take my medicine?”

He takes a sleep medication for insomnia. This was a real dilemma for us. If he did not take it, he would not sleep. If the contractions faded away and he got no sleep, he would be useless to me the next day when it mattered. Also grumpy. I did not need a grumpy exhausted husband while trying to birth a child. If he did take them, driving would be out of the question and again, he would be useless to me if we needed to go in. He assured me that if he took them now, it would take awhile for the effects to actually kick in and it doesn’t keep him asleep, only helps him go to sleep to begin with. As long as he had about 4 hours, it would be fine.


“Yeah, go ahead and take them. I’m sure we have 4 hours. And we could both use a little sleep.”

I kept timing the contractions. They were definitely getting stronger and closer together. 2 minutes apart now. My contraction timing app was telling me in big red letters GO TO THE HOSPITAL NOW. I was pacing back and forth involuntarily.

9:15 pm

“Ok, we need to go. Now.”

The look of sheer panic on my husband’s face is something I’ll never forget.

We threw our bags in the car and I remembered to grab a towel and a coke for my husband, whohad of course, taken the sleeping pills a few minutes before. He started the car. Nope. Couldn’t sit down, another contraction had hit.

By 9:35 we were on the road and thankfully the hospital was only a ten minute drive. I did have to remind my husband a few times that he did not need to run red lights and that I wasn’t going to die.

You know how when you’re pregnant with your first, other moms tell you that it won’t be like in the movies. I’m sure I even told other moms that it’s not like in the movies. This time it was EXACTLY like in the movies.

9:50 pm

When we pulled into the emergency room drop off, I jumped out of the car (this is just an expression, 9 months pregnant women in labor don’t actually jump out of anything) and pushed my way past a group of old people getting out of a van and lining up in the emergency room. Seriously! Where did these people come from and why were they in the emergency room?

They called a wheelchair for me immediately and sent me up to labor and delivery. The ride up to the labor and delivery unit was comical. First we went through the emergency room hallway where an elderly woman with an IV was slowly making her way across the hall at the perfect pace to collide with us. The next obstacle was the door that took a full 10 seconds to open. This was quickly followed by the elevator closing just in front of us. When we finally arrived and they put us in the room, they started asking all the check-in questions. At this point, it was taking all of my focus to make it through contractions still breathing. I could still talk, but I was annoyed at having to answer questions at all.


The funniest part was when the nurse asked what kind of pain relief I wanted. I was not opposed to an epidural having had a positive experience with one before, but I had actually preferred my birthing experience without one taking effect, so this time the plan was nothing. However, I could tell this baby was not going to patiently wait for an anesthesiologist and told the nurse that there would not be time for that.

Then she forced me to sit on the bed, I was still involuntarily pacing, so I could get my IV. The things this nurse told me were hilarious.

“I know you’re not going to like this, but I have to ask you to stay on the bed. We don’t want you to deliver a baby in the toilet or on the floor.” I won’t. Don’t worry.

“We called Dr. Shakespeare and Dr. Walker, they’re on their way. You’ll need to wait to deliver until they get here.” That’s funny.

“We’re going to move you to another room. This room is just for triage.”

“Try not to scream or yell as we move you down the hall. It might scare the other mothers.”

&url=http://www.everythinghappensinthrees.com/dont-want-short-labor/" data-link="https://twitter.com/share?text=Nurse%3A+Try+not+to+scream%2C+you%27ll+scare+the+other+mothers.+Husband%3A+I+don%27t+think+she+cares+right+now.+%23laborstory&via=">&url=http://www.everythinghappensinthrees.com/dont-want-short-labor/" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">Nurse: Try not to scream, you'll scare the other mothers. Husband: I don't think she cares right now. #laborstoryClick To Tweet

10:20 pm

We were actually settled into the delivery room and the contractions were coming hard and fast. My water had broken on the way to the new room with a pop and a gush. This was 10 times worse than ANYTHING I had ever experienced with either of my other babies. Each one was about a minute long with about 30 seconds in between. By 10:30, I was convinced I was going to die. I lived for those brief minutes in between contractions. That sweet calm where I could almost fall asleep.


I could feel the baby moving down with every contraction and knew that pushing was not going to be optional in a few minutes. At 10:40, I started pushing whether my doctor was there or not. At 10:50ish, I could feel the baby crowning. At the exact same moment, my IV popped out. At the time, I did not care at all about the IV. I was FAR more concerned about the baby that was about to come out. The nurse, however, seemed much more concerned about the stupid IV. With one hand on my baby’s head and one stopping the blood from pouring out I remembering her calling to the other nurses, “I need a little help here.” They came in with the on-call doctor in tow and fixed the IV problem. Pushing was not an option at that point and Harrison George (no, not because of the Beatles) was born at 10:59 pm, less than two hours after I had determined I was actually in labor.

In the chaos, everyone forgot to tell me that it was a boy! Well, once that was cleared up and we settled in to rest, I was able to reflect on how different this experience was from my other two deliveries. A short labor might sound great, but in reality, it was incredibly stressful and exhausting.

Oh, and my doctor and his partner? They walked in at 11:01 pm.

Did you enjoy reading my crazy labor story? Do you need to know what items you’ll actually need as a new mom? Check out this post on The Baby Product Must-Haves I Actually Used and sign-up for my no frills registry list.


58 thoughts on “Why You DON’T Want a Short Labor”

  • Holy cow! What a story! I haven’t had kids but I still sort of think short sound better 😉 But that’s just because I am absolutely terrified by the thought of being in labor. lol. I’m glad your non-Beatles baby was healthy <3

    • My other two took longer, but were less painful and stressful. The easiest was my middle child – 4 1/2 hours from beginning to end and not too bad on the pain scale.

  • I hear ya! My daughter’s birth took about the same amount of time (big surprise for my first). Definitely not fun and I had a third degree tear to top it off. Not fun! Can’t believe the nurse said that to you! Unreal!

    • Yeah, that nurse was something else! Fortunately we had better ones for the rest of our stay, including the magic angel nurse that got my baby to sleep!

  • Wow Mama, what a story! Isn’t it amazing how WE know our bodies more than anyone else? Even though it sounds stressful, it looks like you handled it with grace. He is beautiful by the way 🙂

  • My third was a trip too! I’m glad you had as much time as you did though! I headed into the hospital a little early for a non stress test appt since I’d had TWO contractions five minutes apart hoping they’d just admit me….we drove five minutes to the hospital and our daughter was born less than 45 minutes later!!

    Thanks for sharing 😀

  • The title is super confusing. Your birth story sounds GREAT!

    I, too, had a “precipitous birth” (when you’re in active labor for less than 3 hours) with my second daughter. My water broke on the highway when driving to the hospital, she was crowning in the elevator in the hospital up to L&D on the second floor, and she was born in the hallway. The midwife with whom I’d had all my prenatal care was at her son’s high school graduation (it was a Saturday), the on-call doctor didn’t make it in time, and the only doctor on the floor wasn’t close at hand. My husband, thinking we had more time, had parked the car and missed the whole thing!

    Thank goodness I wore a maxi skirt, or else she would have been born in my pants. Nevertheless, they had to cut off my underwear.

    Still, she was a healthy baby and a VERY easy labor.

    Also note: six weeks later, my sister’s baby was born in her car after less than 2 hours total labor.

    Girl, your labor could have been much worse! haha!

    • Oh my! That’s quite a story! Glad I had a little more time. As to worse, I have friends with very scary birth stories. I was fortunate to have three relatively easy births. If I had to choose to relive any of them, #3 would definitely be last on the list.

  • My third labour was short too. With my first two I was in labour for 20 and 24 hours respectively. With Baby 3, we took the kiddos trick or treating, came back put on a movie and then things started to progress super quick. He was born the next morning… he basically walked out.

  • I had my first vaginal birth after having 4 c-sections. I was so concerned I wouldn’t make it to the hospital in time. My Dr. was the best and everything went extremely well.

  • It was a nail-biting read, Heather! I was literally on edge and almost felt like I lived through it with you, girl! haha
    It’s great it was such a quick labour (I know many “suffer” for more than 24 hours!) but boy, that was adventurous! How did your husband manage? 🙂
    I definitely look forward to having kids and LOVE reading {real} mommy blogs and honest stories <3
    xox Nadia

    • Thanks Nadia! It really was an adventure. Give me my slightly longer labors any day! My husband was great. He crashed about 10 minutes after Harrison was born, but he managed to survive it. I had to remind him a couple of times that I wasn’t going to die, lol. I guess the worst was when the IV came out – he told me later that blood was pouring out all over his hand and on the floor and that’s why the nurse was more concerned about that than the crowning baby. It was definitely an experience.

  • My experience was exactly the same! Our Harrison was our first and I felt the short labor made it worse. The contractions seemed to be instantly be on top of each other. My nurse kept telling me to stop screaming

  • Love this. My last was born via planned induction, and thank goodness, because she would have been born on the side of the highway otherwise. My previous 4 deliveries were 11 hours, then 4 each for the next three. From the beginning of this induction until baby was born this time around was exactly 66 minutes. The nurse felt the need to tell us on the way to recovery. I was thinking we were on schedule for another 4 hours, and consequently, when transition hit about 50 minutes in, I was totally unprepared! I think that if we do this again, we’ll have to have the house prepared for a homebirth just in case I don’t make it to the planned induction date that I’m sure the doc will want to schedule at my 8 week check up,,,lol.

  • Could not agree more. I was delivering my first so obviously I wanted to go to the hospital at the first sign of labor. Once the real pain started and my water broke, I was so glad to already be situated in a hospital bed (and a mere 30 minute wait for an epidural). I was in labor for 18 hours and I wouldn’t change a thing.

    • Lol, my first was 23 hours with an induction, oxygen mask, and vacuum assisted delivery. I would still choose that one ten times over my last labor.

  • wow this is quite a story, mine was a C section after about 12 hrs of water breaking with a non progressing labor, I had always thought that the shorter the better but now am not sure lol.

  • I had two natural homebirths (and am planning a third). My first was 4.5 hours and my second was 2.5 hours. I was super appreciative of the short labors, and, honestly, the pain was more bearable than many menstrual cramps that I have had!

  • Holy Cow I can’t believe you delivered before the doctors even got there!! AS someone who hs 4 months pregnant with my first I am both terrified and fascinated with these stories. lol

  • Interesting story! I I had two different both stories with both my kids. With my first, I had a 24 hour labour, ended up taking a epidural and had they had to use vacuum to take him out. With my second,it was a short & natural delivery, I only took some gas as a pain relief. I waited until till the last minute to rush to the hospital, left my 1.5 year old yet home with our friends and went to the hospital at about 2 am and she was born around 4;45am. I was so happy that i experienced a natural birth.

  • I had a short labor too. My plan was to labor at home then go into the hospital and do the last bit of labor. When I went into the hospital I was 9 cm and 5 minutes later my water broke and 20 minutes later my son was born.

  • My labor was very similar! Just under three hours from the start of contractions to her coming out. Glad to know I’m not alone in not enjoying such a short labor haha

  • I’ve heard horror stories of the shorter labours . My eldest was an emergency contact section and youngest was an average length of labour i would say but one of my close friends had less than 2 hours with both of her kids and says it was awful !

  • Whoa! That’s quite a story! I can’t believe the nurse asked you not to make noise. Really? I think the other moms would find out soon enough what all the noise was about… Congrats on a beautiful baby!

  • Wow! Just Wow! You tell an amazing story!
    I am delivering my third in about 5 weeks, if she decides to be on our schedule, and I pray it is much smoother. I had a similar experience with a nurse during my last birth. Hopefully, I do not experience this again as I do not bite my tongue much anymore. Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your beautiful addition!

  • The app that instructed you to head to the hospital sounds great! If you can remember the name of it , could you please share it with me. I’m 36 weeks and my husband works out of town. Having an accurate timing of my contractions will Determine if Hubby makes it home in time for the big day.

  • Each of my labors has gotten longer but easier. My first labor was 6 hours from first twinge to baby in my arms but the entire time was excruciating.

    Number 2, 16 hours but only 2 hours of painful labor.

    Number 3 was 10 hours but I wasn’t even sure I was in labor until I was 7 hours in. I took my older kids to the doctor, made dinner, sent my husband in an errand and hour away all while having contractions so easy I was really sure that my baby was still weeks away. After my nap my hubby made me call my midwife and she arrived just in time to catch my baby. There is no way I would have made it to a hospital. My older kids slept through it all and woke up to a new baby brother.

    I definitely prefer a long labor although the end was more chaotic bc I was so sure that it was just too easy.

  • My labor was INSANELY short with my second. I woke up to my first contraction and after 30 intense minutes woke my husband to time them… but there was no brake between them! I got up to go to the bathroom and he ran to pack and warm up the car but by the time he got back I was standing there in the bathroom holding our screaming child. From first contraction to holding him was 45 terrifying minutes followed by a very calm 30 minuet ambulance drive 😊

  • Try not to scream or yell? Yeah, that’s helpful. I’ve had short easy labors with three of my four children and, combined with contractions that feel just like the braxton hicks, I agree that it’s not the best situation. If I’d followed the advice about waiting to go in, I don’t know where I would’ve had my first. (I had a doctor’s appointment that morning and he told me I was in labor and to go straight to the hospital. The admitting nurse took one look at me and was going to send me home…and the baby was born three hours later.) With #3 I supposedly knew what to watch for and was at 10 centimters when we got to the hospital fifteen minutes away from the house. I wouldn’t WANT a long labor, but these short ones aren’t as easy as people make them sound.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.