Occasionally people have seen fit to tell me how lucky I am to have fast labors. And it is true that I have absolutely no desire to go through one of those 50 hour pitocin-fests culminating in C-section in which one of our local hospitals seems to specialize, and I have nothing but deep sadness and righteous anger for those who are subjected to such torture. For the interested, however, here is a look at precipitous labor.
My first labor was, as my beloved and ever more useless Bradley book would call it, a textbook labor. It started definitively with hard contractions that gradually increased and lasted 13.5 hours. My four babies since then have combined for about half that time: 2.25 hours, 2.5 hours (41 wk med-free induction via water breakage), a little over an hour (ditto), and most recently and terrifyingly, a little under an hour. These times do not include "false" starts.
If I were to think of that first run as a standard stomach bug, the others would be food poisoning. Over faster, but considerably more characterized by panic and violence, and subject to the relevant repercussions, kwim? This last one was Mexican restaurant food poisoning, the most exquisite I've ever enjoyed. If I had a choice . . . hey, why isn't "gin martini" among my options?
There seems to be some perception that a baby in a hurry just pops out much to everyone's surprise, and then a good laugh is had by all. Maybe that happens to some people--goodness knows there are unlikely-sounding descriptors applied to "birth experiences"--but you might tick off someone who has fast labors by assuming/implying this. When I've been there, the moments of truth are monstrous as whales, and that business at the end is still very much a matter of loathsome will.
Once there's a baby in your belly, there's just no good way of getting the dear thing out.