Both of my childbirth experiences have been short and snappy and I am blessed with 2 beautiful (not that I’m biased!), happy (if a toddler if ever truly happy!) children. All be it one decided to show up 6 weeks prematurely but that’s another story! However, I want to share a little of my journey to dispel the myth that fast labours are somehow lucky. I’m not trying to score points – there’s no competition- but next time you meet someone who’s had a baby in less than 2 hours maybe you’ll understand why she doesn’t necessarily feel very lucky. Here’s why…
There isn’t any! You ring the hospital and they say take a bath and stay at home – you’ve only just started. Little do they (or you) know that everything is about to go from nought to sixty in 10 minutes. Before you know it you’re desperately trying to get to the hospital wishing your car did nought to sixty just as quickly.
It has probably flown out of the car window as your partner ran that red light. You arrive at the hospital and no-one’s ready. They might have a bed, they might not. They weren’t expecting you so soon. You’ve sent labour ward into a scramble. You attempt to get yourself undressed in the seconds between contractions.
Obviously there’s pain! But it’s far too late for pain relief which is unfortunate because your getting to experience what should be 12 hours of pain in less than 2! There’s no time for your body to adapt or find a coping mechanism. If you wanted a natural birth then you’ve got your wish but there won’t be “Sounds of the Ocean” playing softly in the background and the ship has long sailed on all those yoga moves you’ve been practising for weeks.
Your partner will have no idea what’s going on. There’s too much chaos for anyone to explain. You won’t have the faintest idea who all the faces are. No chance of learning any names during this birthing experience.
Baby is probably fine although a little more stressed than average. You, on the other hand, are much more likely to have tears which need stitching. There’s no time for things to stretch gradually if you know what I mean! In my experience it feels like you’ve been hit by bus and are completely in shock – shaking like a leaf and totally confused. Then someone hands you a baby! That “special moment” doesn’t seem quite as special as other Mummy’s make out. You feel a little cheated by the fast labour, almost like you’d missed out on a rite of passage.
So there you have it. Childbirth is the most deeply personal thing a woman will experience and everyone’s journey is completely different. You might have had a fast birth and feel incredibly lucky?! Anyway, I hope these few thoughts give a little insight. Time certainly helps the memories of childbirth fade but if you meet a Mummy, especially in the early days after a fast labour, all I ask is that you maybe think twice before saying, “You’re so lucky!”