My Accidental Home Birth

Updated on January 29, 2018
Meredith Cornell profile image

As an artist, author, and mom of two young girls, I love to bring my creativity into all three of my roles.

I had absolutely no intention of having a home birth.

But that is exactly what I got. My first daughter, Zea, was born after only three very intense hours of labor. In the medical world this is called precipitous labor and it is pretty darn rare, especially for a first baby. Boy, were we shocked.

As a first-time mom, you really have no idea what to expect as you approach your due date, but you do not expect to be one of the rare cases. We read a few birthing books and we had talked with many close friends who had several kids already. I think I just assumed I'd be somewhere in the average range of length and difficulty of labor.

My Speedy Little Daughter

The Timeline

We went to bed the night before my due date, no expectations of anything happening during the night. I hadn't had any false labor, any real contractions, any of the signs of early labor at all. I fully expected to wake up in the morning and pick my mom, who was coming into town from Texas for the birth, from the airport.

I woke up right around midnight, not even knowing what woke me up exactly. Obviously a contraction must have woken me up because not ten minutes later, as I was trying to drift back asleep, another one came along and now I was really awake. It was not an intense contraction at all, but it was the first I'd ever really felt. I laid in the dark, waiting in anticipation for another, and sure enough, maybe ten minutes later, another mild contraction.

I grabbed paper and pen so that I could keep track of the time and duration of the contractions. From everything I'd read, I fully expected to have many hours of labor ahead of me. But instead of the slow progression of increasing intensity, frequency, and duration of contractions, my contractions come faster and harder very quickly.

After only an hour of labor, my water broke and my daughter's head was crowning. It became very clear that we were not going to make it to the hospital. At that point my husband called 911 and he was told that firefighters were on their way.

The 911 operator told my husband that I should not push until the firefighters arrived, that it would be safer if the baby was born when they were there. Easier said then done. Any mother will tell you that once your body wants you to push, you push. Fortunately the firefighters arrived in less than ten minutes and five minutes of pushing later, Zea was born!

What Does Precipitous Labor Feel Like?

Very fast labor feels like an intensified, condensed version of typical labor. So say you were to put contractions in categories of intensity from 1 to 10. Typical labor would look like this: an hour of level 1 contractions, an hour of level 2, etc., ending with an hour of level 10, pushing contractions, then your baby is born. Fast labor looks more like this: one or two level 1 contractions, one or two level 2 contractions, etc., then maybe five minutes of pushing, and your baby is born. Pretty intense!

The Pros and Cons of Fast Labor

There are both positive and negative aspects to precipitous labor.

I'll start with the less pleasant parts. Unfortunately, when labor goes so quickly, your body does not have the same time to stretch gradually that it would during a 12-15 hour typical labor. So you are more likely to tear and to a greater degree. Also, you do not have the same gradual build up to prepare mentally that you would normally. The labor process can feel very chaotic, especially with your first, when it is proceeding so quickly. Lastly, precipitous labor may lead to an unexpected home birth, as it did with my first. Now, of course, this is not the end of the world. Plenty of women have beautiful, safe, planned home births. But if there are any complications, a home birth without a midwife present can be more dangerous, if first responders are not able to arrive quickly.

But it's not all bad! Really, I have come to appreciate how quickly my body goes through labor. Such fast labor means that once my daughter was born, I was not facing the same kind of physical exhaustion that comes from a full day of labor. I was better able to enjoy my newborn baby and work through the new experience of breastfeeding. Precipitous labor also makes the possibility of a c-section much less likely, unless of course the baby is in distress. Many complications from delivery come from the prolonged stress of labor on the mother and the infant, so a shorter duration of stress is beneficial to both mom and baby.

Labor Speed

How Fast Was Your Labor?

See results

Once A Fast Laborer, Always a Fast Laborer

After the uniquely quick birth of my first daughter, I was very curious to see what labor would look like when I became pregnant with our second daughter. I heard from a lot of women that each of their children's births looked very different, so I had I no idea if it would be just as fast. We were prepared in case it was, though, because I really did want to have my baby in a hospital this time. And sure enough, my second daughter was born after only three fast hours of labor, just like her big sister. It seems that my body moves at only one speed when giving birth- FAST. Fortunately with my second baby, we did make it to the hospital, though with not much time to spare. I know now to head to the hospital as soon as I feel even two or three regular contractions. So if you've had a precipitous labor before and are wondering if that's what you can expect again, I'd say err on the side of caution and don't wait once those contractions start coming. The worst that can happen is you will be sent home if it's clear no progress is occurring.


Don't Be Afraid!

Before my first daughter was born, an accidental home birth was at the top of my list of fears. In reality, most healthy babies can be born at home without complications. It's really not as scary as it sounds and a quick 911 call means firefighters will be there to help in very little time. So cross "accidental home birth" or "super fast labor" off your list of fears; your body can do what it needs to just as easily at home if it has to!

My Two Speedy Girls

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wehavekids.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://wehavekids.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)