Having a quick birth runs in my family apparently. Not only did my mother have quick births, so did my sister, and now I have too. After getting home from the hospital last week, I did some googling (because obviously Google knows everything 😊 ) and learned that giving birth in 3 hours or less is called precipitous labour. Depending on the website you look at, some groups even define precipitous labour as labour lasting 5 hours or less (americanpregnancy.org). Precipitous labour only occurs in roughly 2-3% of women.
Since giving birth and telling my story to friends and family, many people have reacted by saying how ‘lucky’ I am that my entire labour lasted roughly 2 and a half hours. What they don’t realize, is that my body basically ran a marathon in record time. Because of how quick the progression was, there was no consistency to my contractions, and no one was prepared for how quickly the baby would arrive after we got to the hospital. My poor husband went to park the truck after I was set up with nurses and our mid-wife in a room, only to find out when he returned that it was time for me to start pushing. Roughly 15 minutes later, we had a healthy baby girl.
Along with the physical shock, there was some mental shock too. Because of how quickly things progressed, I did not have time to be excited about finally meeting my new baby, and did not have the instant connection so many mothers have when the baby was first placed on my chest. That connection did not come until early in the morning, while the hospital was quiet, and it was just the 3 of us in the room. Watching my husband jump into ‘daddy mode’ so effortlessly gave me my moment.
This is not to say that my labour experience was entirely negative and traumatizing. I was incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by supportive people in a situation that seems almost unbelievable to many. I have also had an incredible amount of support since we came home from the hospital. We have had a flurry of friends and family coming over, bringing meals, helping to clean, and socializing with us while I recover and we adjust to life with a newborn.
All in all, I wanted to shed some light on the fact that having a ‘quick birth’ comes with its own set of challenges and does not necessarily mean that it was easier on your body than other births. Labour and birth is a wild ride no matter what your experience, but when you finally have that ah ha moment and fall in love with your baby, and maybe fall in love with your partner a little more, you realize that labour is only part of the journey.