I was just on the ride of my life and I thought I would share - it certainly took me by surprise.
TL;DR - labor was stupid fast (4 hours!), baby flew out, I now use a sitz bath, but baby is cute and well!
The anticipated experience was to labor at home for a while after my membrane sweep at 10am on Friday (12/30) morning; expecting an average, long first labor. I went home and sat on the couch all day, experiencing zero symptoms from the sweep or early labor signs. I went to bed around 10:30pm, thinking DH and I would go out and run errands on Saturday and spend some time walking the mall to get things going. I was actually looking forward to trying all the different laboring techniques available at our birthing center; ball, birth stool, tub, etc (that's weird, right?).
Anyhoo, back to 10:30pm Friday night, I went to sleep, no cramps, no nothing.
I then work up just after 1:10am on Saturday morning after experiencing an incredibly strong pain. A little dazed at being woken, I got up to pee and came back to bed, only to experience it again about 4 minutes later (I have a habit of always checking the time when I get up in the middle of the night, not sure why, but that's how I knew the timing of everything). So, I stayed awake a little longer to see if this really strong pain (a contraction at this point, obvi) would come again in another 4 minutes. Yup. So I laid there and just paid attention to the contractions to see if they came at regular intervals, not actually timing their length. By about 1:30am, I was quite sure that they were regular, so I got up to start timing them on my phone. They were strong enough that I was using the exercise ball to get through them and strong enough that they were almost hard to talk through.
I decided to "officially" measure the contractions for about 30 minutes before waking up DH. They were coming on strong for about 40-50 seconds in length. I woke up DH and asked him to start timing me so we could be sure that I wasn't somehow making them seem longer by being the one in charge of the timing app.
At this point (2am), the contractions were alternating between 30 seconds and 90 seconds and it was hard to get through them. They were also about 3 minutes apart. DH told me that this was it and we needed to call the midwife. I wasn't totally convinced! I thought labor was supposed to last longer at home! Surely we are not timing things right!
The birthing center is about 20 minutes from our house, so we hop in the car. I knew the ride was going to be awful because the only way I was able to get through the pain at this point was to be on hands and knees and the thought of sitting upright in a car was ntot a good one. We stopped actually timing things at this point because it didn't matter, but looking at the clock to focus and get through the pain told me that the contractions were definitely longer than a minute and probably about 2 minutes apart.
We get to the hospital, and I had to stop 3 times before we even got to birth center within. I was literally hanging on these random railings on the side of the building. We get to the check in at the little holding area where they make sure you are actually in labor and ready for a room. I couldn't even get on the table. They had to put the monitors on me as I just hung from the table with my knees on the ground. At this point I was thinking that my beautiful, med-free labor experience was about to go out the window. If this is early labor and I have to do this for 12 more hours, get me drugs.
At this point I have lost all sense of time, so I'm going to take a guess and say 20-30 minutes have gone by, they are trying to measure baby's stats and my contractions, but I just can't get off the floor. The contractions are coming faster and faster. I am about to be sick. I never got to pee in the cup. I finally some how get on the table for a blood draw. I am moaning, DH is trying to keep me focused. The nurse is finally getting readings on the monitor because it was too hard with me on the floor. It's now almost 4am and the nurse goes to check me. Friday morning I was 2cm dilated, 70% effaced. I thought, maybe I'll be a little further along. I was 100% everything, ready to go. I had no idea at the time, but I probably had just transitioned in that room.
They call the on-duty midwife, they get me to a room and I began the most hellacious hour of my life. Keep in mind, I didn't understand that I was so far into labor. For some reason in my mind I thought this was still the early stuff. The incredible pain made me stupid. Just after 4am, the midwife comes, I've been wanting to push for a while and we get on that ride. I don't know how long I pushed, maybe the better part of an hour? I could only be on my hands and knees. I was open to trying other positions, but I just couldn't. The only time I was somehow able to check my watch it was 5am. The nurses and midwife were encouraging me to sustain longer pushes. I was having a hard time, again, no concept of how long each push was. DH was a champ and started counting in my ear to help me get my bearings. Allison was born 10 minutes later when her head completely popped out to the surprised of the midwife! Her furious decision to come into the world so quickly resulted in some second degree tears, but I am up and about just fine now. It's the sitting that hurts :-P
This story probably took you longer to read than my labor - so thanks for sticking it through!