Precipitous Labor: A Blessing and A Curse
Precipitous Labor. Never heard of it??? Neither had I until recently when I was doing research for this post. AKA about a year after having my daughter. Apparently it isn’t something they write about in all the pregnancy books you read because it only occurs in about 3% of all labors. Precipitous labor is defined as a labor that last less than three hours from the time contractions start to the time of birth. Because there isn’t a lot of information out there talking about precipitous labor, it made me completely unprepared for mine.
My Precipitous Labor
When I tell other moms that my first labor was under three hours total I usually get eye rolls and comments like, “You are so lucky, mine was over 12 hours.” Was I lucky though? Yeah, maybe. Except because of such a short labor everything I had planned about my labor went out the door.
When I went into labor I was so ready for this baby to come! I had tried every trick on google the week before my due date. I had tried all natural medicines, pineapples, membrane sweeps, and yes, even castor oil. On the day of my due date I decided to try castor oil one more time. I was surprised nothing happened, so I decided to just go to bed and let the baby come when she’s ready.
As I was about to go to sleep, I heard a pop and felt a rush of liquid. I immediately woke my husband up and told him. Upon standing it was confirmed my water did break so we immediately started getting ready for the hospital. I was told to come in either if my water broke, or contractions were five minutes apart. When the contractions started they were already two minutes apart. I told my husband this isn’t right and we need to get to the hospital now!
He dropped me off up front and I went up to labor and awkwardly told them I was in labor. It was past 11pm on a Saturday night and pretty slow in the hospital. They took me back into the holding room and starting my in processing, which felt like forever because of how fast and furious the contractions were. They were getting closer and closer. I guess when you say your water broke they don’t believe you. Which I can understand. What they do is take a sample and send it to a lab to be tested. When they first checked me I was already dilated 6-7 centimeters. I felt like I was in the holding room forever waiting for the results to come back.
If you didn’t know, which I didn’t, having a baby makes you feel like you are going to poop. I didn’t know this, and don’t forget that I had taken castor oil a few hours before, so of course I kept asking to go to the bathroom but it was just the baby pushing down on whatever is down there. One of my biggest fears about labor was pooping while pushing. (Probably TMI but whatevs.)
When I finally got back to the room I asked about the epidural. You know I was damn ready for it! It was a huge let down when she said I couldn’t have one because I was progressing too fast. I was never one of those women who wanted to wait out the epidural to see if they can take the pain without it. I was always gung hoe for the epidural. I wanted it as soon as possible and because of this I never learned any pain management techniques, so I was lost and pretty pissed about the situation.
I finally spoke up about feeling like I have to go the bathroom and she decided to check me again. When she did, I was over nine centimeters and she told the other nurse to call the doctor and tell her to hurry because I was ready. They actually had me do special breathing techniques to keep me from pushing until the doctor got there. At this time I was in labor for about an hour and a half.
As soon as the doctor got there we started pushing. After about 45 minutes of pushing my beautiful baby was here. I have to hand it to the nurses because they really helped me through it and guided because I was not prepared for that kind of hard and fast labor. You usually push in sets of three but my contractions were so long that I pushed for five sets. I did have to apologize for all the cussing that came out between pushing. Never mad at them, I just get upset when things I plan don’t go how I wanted. So I was angry at the pain.
Sounds like a pretty easy labor overall right??? Yes, maybe. But I think I was lucky. Some precipitous labors have complications both to the baby and to the mother. Trauma and low oxygen levels can affect the baby. Because labor is hard and fast you are at a higher risk of tearing or hemorrhaging. I did tear, an “almost 3rd degree tear” and let me tell you, it was anything but fun.
As I stated earlier, I was given no medicine at all. Some moms do not want any, and that is perfectly fine. I was not one of them. They couldn’t even give me mild medicine through the IV because of how fast the baby was coming and it was a risk that it would make her drowsy. There just really isn’t time to give you any medicine with a precipitous labor.
With a precipitous labor, your significant other might miss the birth. I was lucky that I went into labor on a weekend night. My husband is a pilot and I couldn’t imagine if he was out flying and they had to call him back. He would have definitely missed the birth of the baby.
The nurses were a great help and guided me through it. I could tell they were experienced and for that, I am very grateful. A precipitous labor moves a lot different than other labors. Its much faster than anyone anticipates. Typically the nurses aren’t allowed to “let” you push without the doctor there. Hence why they had me do breathing techniques to make me not push until the doctor got there. It was late at night so no doctors were at the hospital when I went in.
No one knows your body as well as you and when they had me push for the typical three rounds, I had to tell them I needed to keep pushing because the contraction wasn’t over. I ended up pushing for five rounds each contraction. Contractions with precipitous births are abnormally stronger and longer than with a typical birth.
My Next “Ideal” Birth
Overall I’m happy I got to experience a natural child birth. If I had the choice would I want to do it again? Uh, no. I would love to have a slower labor with an epidural so I can just relax for a bit and really take it all in. This is the main reason I want to be induced with my next, among other things. This might not be the most popular choice, but its mine as of now.
I’ve heard how each labor is faster and faster. This may be a myth, but it’s not a chance I want to take. We were lucky that my husbands job allowed him to be home each night and live in a small town where everything is close, including the hospital. Our next baby won’t be like this. Pilots are gone 2-3 weeks a month even when they aren’t deployed. I know they always say that it’s normal for a husband to miss at least one birth in the military, but I would much prefer to have him there. We will also be in Hawaii where there’s tons of traffic. The last thing I want is to have a baby in the car.
When we went into labor we had to get up and go so fast. I know it has to be even more hectic when you already have children. You have to set up childcare and get all their things ready as well. We won’t have family around to call and ask them to come over. It will most likely be a friend.
Of course these are all hopes. This isn’t guaranteed and we aren’t even pregnant with that next baby. It would have to be allowed by my doctor. I look at it as if I can have a set plan with a more laid back labor with less pain, then why not? Who knows I could get this wish and then not want it with the third baby. Only time will tell and we will just have to hope and see. Remember, it isn’t always about how you get there, but it’s about the package that comes after.
Do you disagree? Was your induction hard? Let me know in the comments!