This week, one of my favorite colleagues returned from a five-month-long maternity leave. She was born and raised in a part of Oregon where home births are relatively normal, and well… vaccination is not embraced. Her mother birthed both her and her sister at home, and her mom was born at home, as well. So she was a little bit of a weirdo when she decided that she would give birth in a hospital, but have a birth doula for emotional support and also what she hoped would be a natural, unmedicated birth.
A day before her due date, she started having real contractions, and lucky for her, she actually gave birth just six hours later. They call labor that is this short “precipitous labor.” It’s extremely unusual (and lucky!) for a first-time birthing person to have a labor this short. She said that her contractions got stronger and closer together within the first hour or so, and when she told her doula that she really thought she needed to go to the hospital, her doula told her that she probably had another 24+ hours to go, so maybe should just try to relax. But by the time she got to the hospital a couple hours later, she was almost completely dilated and in so much pain that she just kept on screaming and yelling, “GET ME A FUCKING EPIDURAL!” over and over, so loud that the entire hospital floor could hear her (she said she has no memory of this ever happening, but her husband told her after, and this also explained why some of the nurses were a bit intimidated to interact with her after the baby was birthed). By the time she asked for the epidural, the nurses and doula told her it was too late and it was time to push, so in the end, she got what she wanted: an unmedicated vaginal birth, plus the added bonus of one of the shortest labors ever for a first-time mom.
I would love to have a labor that short. Maybe she can send some of her short labor vibes over to me.