Every labor is different. That’s what they say. After being in labor 5 times myself, I completely agree. This is what I’ve experienced:
Baby Number 1: I woke up having contractions in the wee hours. We hung around my house until mid morning, but still arrived at the hospital way too soon. I was only dilated to 4, but they decided to admit me. I got an epidural a short time later. It completely stalled my labor. The nurses kept saying I needed pitocin to get things going again. They called the doctor-on-call several times; he was golfing. He didn’t want to come in, so he wouldn’t order the pitocin. My doctor finally came in at 8:00 the next morning. He started the pitocin and everything got moving again. I was so hungry and exhausted after being chained to the hospital bed by the epidural for so long. Finally, after 32 hours of labor, 2 hours of pushing, very little sleep, and no food, my sweet Andy arrived and made us a family.
Baby number 2: I went in for an office visit and was already dilated to 5. She sent me home, and I came back the next week with no change. My doctor ordered an induction because she said the baby might just “fall out” whenever I finally did go into active labor. Oh how I wish I knew then what I knew now. I went to the hospital, got induced, and took the epidural. About 8 hours later, after 20 short minutes of pushing, my sweet Jack was born in front of an audience of about 15 people. It was the first day of nursing school and apparently my delivery was just the spectacle they needed to get things going. It was absurd.
Baby Number 3: Supposedly, my baby was getting too big to deliver vaginally, so my doctor ordered an induction. I went to the hospital, got induced, and took the epidural. 8 hours later, after 2 quick pushes, my Ben was born and placed in my arms. This was the first time I had ever been given my baby right away. It was the most beautiful moment of my life. At 8 lbs 6 oz, he was the smallest baby I’d delivered up to that point.
Baby Number 4: I learned a lot between baby 3 and 4 and decided I was done with all the unnecessary medical interventions. I woke up in labor around 1 AM. I was timing my contractions and soon realized that this labor was moving very quickly. I woke my husband. He went to wake up all the kids and get them loaded in the van. In the meantime my water broke. We rushed to the hospital and arrived just in time to push the baby out. We dealt with the most unprofessional medical staff that night, but my baby was born safe and healthy after only 3 hours in labor and a few excruciatingly painful pushes.
Baby Number 5: My husband and I took a Bradley Class together to prepare for natural birth. This was the best labor experience I’ve ever had. I started having mild contractions at Lowes around 6 PM. They never started progressing so I finally went to bed around midnight. I woke up around 3 AM with more intense contractions. We went to the hospital around 7 AM. I was already dilated to 7, but still had 6 more hours of labor ahead of me. After being told I wasn’t allowed to push because the doctor needed to go down the hall to check on someone else, my baby practically delivered herself. I guess the doctor didn’t realize that you can’t just tell the baby not to come out yet.
So that’s my labor experience in a nutshell. There’s so much more that could be said about all of my labors and deliveries, but I think you get the general idea.
If we are ever blessed with another baby I’m getting a midwife and having a home birth. I’m so over all the nonsense the doctors and hospitals put women through.