Although labor and birth are often the most trying time of a mom’s life, plenty of moms take great pride in reminding their older kids how many hours they spent fighting their way out of the womb. Telling and retelling their grueling birth stories helps moms remember what they went through to have their children- and reminds the kids just how grateful they should be!
Labor for most moms lasts a matter of hours, and most often less than 12 hours. However, there’s a huge variation in the length of labor. Factors like how many babies mom’s carrying, and how her multiples are positioned, plus whether it’s her first or fifth baby, and other details can impact each mom’s outcome.
Some moms labor for days and wind up with C-sections, while others labor for a matter of minutes and their babies slip out seemingly effortlessly.
Every mom’s experience is unique to her and her baby, but for some reason, we moms find it fascinating to read about others’ experiences and consider our similarities as well as our differences. Here’s a collection of excruciatingly long labors that took forever, plus five stories about moms whose deliveries were record-breaking in terms of their speed.
15 Mom Labors Long For Twins
Mom Joanna Krzysztonek of Poland was pregnant with triplets when she unexpectedly went into labor during her fifth month of pregnancy. Unfortunately, one of the infants was actually delivered and did not survive. The other two babies stayed in until 32 weeks, with Joanna lying in a hospital bed with her feet above her head for the duration of those weeks.
Twin babies Iga and Ignacy were born at 32 weeks and required brief stays in the NICU before they were able to go home. Joanna recovered fully from the reclined bed rest, although she had trouble walking at first. According to the Huffington Post, doctors considered Joanna to have been in labor the entire time she was waiting on the second and third babies to mature- making her labor last a total of 75 days.
14 Labor Lingers For Six Days
Dad Brian Leaf shared excerpts of his book on parenting with Huffington Post, elaborating on each stage of his wife Gwen’s staggering six-day labor. At the first hint of evenly spaced contractions, Brian and Gwen called their midwife, hoping to get the ball rolling on their planned homebirth. But the midwives looked at Gwen and told the couple to get some rest, it’d be a while.
The second day, the contractions continue, but no baby yet. The third day, the couple tackles hiking and their staircase to encourage labor to progress. On day four, the midwives give Gwen herbal tinctures. On day five, Brian noted he felt like his wife might be dying. But on day six, they find meconium in the amniotic fluid, so Gwen has to be admitted to the hospital to monitor the baby. Their healthy son arrived on Thanksgiving Day, thanks to some labor augmentation in-hospital.
13 Marathon Labor Makes Mom Weary
First-time mom Olivia Hinebaugh wrote about her birth story for Romper, and the story started out just like all others. Olivia read about birth, took classes, listened to relaxation and hypnosis CDs, and wrote herself positive birth affirmations. She did yoga and exercises to stretch out in preparation for birth, and had realistic expectations about managing labor and birth. What she didn’t expect was to be in labor for a full 72 hours.
At forty weeks, Olivia consented to having an internal check, and after finding she was only 3 centimeters dilated, had her membranes swept. This can often result in a jumpstart to labor, but for Olivia, it didn’t happen that way. Three days of painful contractions and cramping preceded her arrival at the birth center, where she was finally a reasonable 5 centimeters dilated. Another twelve hours of labor, and Olivia gave birth to her son.
12 Long Labor Results In Emergency C-Section
Katrina West is a blogger, so it came naturally for her to write about her first birth experience. She wrote on Mother and Baby that her labor began the day after her due date, when her water broke. When she went to get checked out at the hospital, she was 3 centimeters dilated. The hospital preemptively booked her for an induction the following evening, just in case things didn’t take off on their own.
Despite active contractions and lots of discomfort, it took hours for Katrina to dilate to 7cm. However, hours later, she was back at 3cm. Ultimately, Katrina accepted an epidural to try and get some rest so that her body could handle the delivery. By the time she was three days and only 7cm into her labor, doctors recommended a C-section. Baby Bear was soon delivered safely, and Katrina notes it was all worth it.
11 Mom Pukes Her Way Through Epic Labor
Cheryl went into labor on a Tuesday morning and immediately sent her husband out for snacks and baking supplies so she could occupy herself during early labor. In an excerpt on Slate, she wrote about reading other women’s birth stories, and how those women had baked and watched TV to distract themselves. But seven hours into her labor, Cheryl knew the pain was going to be the distraction from baking.
Throughout throwing up everything she consumed during labor and pacing the halls of her birth center, Cheryl reflected that the pain and ridiculousness of the labor experience was an abysmal way to bring a baby into the world. As her labor stretched into another day and night, it would be 43 hours until her nearly 11-pound baby finally came out.
10 Giving In To Get Baby Out
Andrea Meyer wrote about her 55-hour labor for Babble, inspiring pregnant women everywhere to heave a sigh of impending doom. Her water broke on a Wednesday morning, but the baby didn’t arrive until Friday evening. A self-described laid back person, Andrea handled her water breaking gracefully, despite being on her way to a doctor’s appointment. Contractions were coming six and seven minutes apart, but Andrea was one centimeter dilated so her doctor sent her home.
Despite long walks with amniotic fluid running down her legs, Andrea’s labor wouldn’t progress on its own. Her doctor recommended Pitocin on Friday, and Andrea told him she’d want an epidural to go with it. A few hours later, once she had napped and relaxed a bit, it was time to push. Baby Aidan arrived a short time later, after making his parents wait a couple extra days for his arrival.
9 Two Day Wait For Baby
Keira Shepperson’s due date was on a Sunday, and her labor started that same afternoon. But it would be two days until her daughter Kairo was finally born. At first they felt like cramps, Keira wrote on Baby and Company, but they were consistently uncomfortable although they stayed ten minutes apart. By 5:30pm the next day, Keira was sure there’d been enough action to get her ready for birth. But when she arrived at the clinic, she was 5 centimeters dilated and stayed that way for hours.
Keira wound up returning home with her husband and mother, where everyone got a little sleep. Her contractions continued through the evening, and the next morning her water finally broke. Still, she was only six centimeters dilated at that point. However, only about an hour later, she was ready to push. On Tuesday morning, Kairo was finally born.
8 Prenatal Yoga Doesn’t Favor Fast Labor
Deb at Prenatal Yoga Center prefaced her drawn-out labor and birth story with the acknowledgement that doing prenatal yoga isn’t guaranteed to make your labor go faster or more smoothly. In fact, Deb’s own labor lasted 42 hours, despite her regular yoga practice throughout pregnancy. Her mom had fast and easy labors, so Deb hoped for the same.
Unfortunately, though Deb’s labor started on her due date, it would be a slow couple of days dealing with on and off contractions that seemed to go along with the baby’s odd positioning. She suspected that the baby’s position was hampering progress, so she and her midwife tried multiple yoga positions and other remedies to move him around. After another few hours of labor and a 45-minute crowning process, the baby was born naturally- after 42 hours of labor total.
7 Posterior Baby Postpones Birth
Stacey Plasch wasn’t in a hurry to have her baby, she wrote for Childbirth Collective. In fact, she was already past her due date but looked forward to enjoying a family Thanksgiving with her baby still on board. The baby’s awkward position in the womb gave Stacey pause, since she’d spent much of the last few weeks trying to encourage the little one to adopt a more comfortable pose.
At 40 weeks and 5 days, Stacey’s labor began, but it would last for more than 60 hours before her baby finally arrived. Her contractions picked up at night and subsided during the day, so Stacey tried to relax, eat and drink, and spend time coaxing baby into the right position for her exit. Fifty minutes of pushing and a baby with a lopsided head thanks to her position came after.
6 Baby Makes Parents Wait 51 Hours
Emily and Jim had split up during her pregnancy, and they’d been separated for nearly six months. But right at the end of Emily’s 40th week of pregnancy, she and Jim reconnected. In fact, she credits their intimacy with jumpstarting her labor. But despite the obvious contractions that started that evening, Emily had a while to wait before their daughter would arrive.
The next morning, Emily called on her birth support people and her midwife, who arrived late that evening. After walking and crying through her contractions, Emily wrote for Kidspot, she was feeling “utter despair.” She hadn’t slept in 48 hours and was overwhelmed by the fact that she may end up birthing in hospital after all. After some pain medication, though, Emily made it through the final day of labor and birthed her daughter Stevie, right into her own arms.
5 Destined For A Fast Homebirth
A labor that lasts less than 3 hours is termed “precipitous,” and for Liz and her husband Jason, their second child’s birth took nearly half that amount of time. They toured the maternity ward where Liz intended to deliver, although Jason had voted for a homebirth. It turned out, however, that a homebirth would be their only option.
When Liz was feeling twinges of what the couple thought was early labor, they tried to relax. But a few minutes later, Liz was doubled over in pain and started bleeding. The pair called their midwife, and after less than an hour in labor, Liz was begging to go to the hospital. But the midwife told them they wouldn’t make it- and she was right. Their baby was born five minutes later, making the overall labor less than two hours.
4 Two-Minute Labor Doesn’t Surprise Parents
Mary Gorgens has only spent five hours in labor, but yet has six children to show for it. Her first child was born just 12 minutes after Mary and her husband arrived at the hospital. Their second baby was born in the car en route to the hospital, and so was the third. The fourth and fifth children were born in 10 and 2 minutes, respectively.
Their sixth, and final, the couple told the Daily Telegraph, child was born in a staggering two-minute-long labor, but it didn’t surprise the veteran parents at all. Although the couple doesn’t have plans for more children, they explained, they’re not saying it will “never” happen. By now, though, Mary’s husband is quite the midwife, and it almost seems safer staying home for the births rather than trying to make it to the hospital via car.
3 Five-Minute Labor Stuns First-Time Mom
Daisy Stewart’s hospital labor and delivery went so fast, Guinness reached out to her and her partner in an attempt to create a category for the fastest labor on record. The Scottish mom was 20 years old and pregnant with her first child, the Mirror wrote, when she began experiencing symptoms of pre-eclampsia. Doctors decided that at 36 weeks gestation, it was too dangerous to let the pregnancy continue any longer.
Daisy received medication to induce labor, and her nurse told her it could take days for her body to deliver the baby. But within a few minutes, Daisy felt the urge to push and had her partner call for the midwives. The delivery took 5 minutes, the couple reported, and only three pushes. Little Poppy weighed 6 pounds 3 ounces and was happy and healthy.
2 Baby Makes Her Own Schedule
A writer over at Mamamia wrote about her experience attending a mom in labor who seemed to be lagging behind when it came to speed. She assumed the mom would wind up heading home to labor, since her contractions were so far apart. But just when she sat down to take a rest and wait out her other laboring mom patients, the husband of the woman she’d been tending to called out for help.
The baby was already out when she got to the room, and the entire labor lasted about four minutes. The baby was also born in the caul, with plenty of fluid still inside. She just looked around, lying on the bed where her mom had pushed her out. Fortunately, mom and baby were both fine, despite their fast meeting.
1 Surprise Pregnancy Moves Fast
Katherine Kropas didn’t know she was pregnant when she checked in to the hospital with back and stomach pain, but she knew something wasn’t right. But an hour after finding out she was pregnant, Katherine delivered her full-term baby. The Washington Post reported that Katherine had no idea she was pregnant, and that she’d been on birth control for the duration of the pregnancy and never noticed any symptoms.
The only sign that something was happening was Katherine’s extra weight gain, which she attributed to overindulging over Christmas time. She also noticed her feet getting swollen, but assumed it was due to her job, which required her to be on her feet almost constantly. Fortunately, her quick labor resulted in a healthy baby girl for the young mom and her boyfriend of four years.