Precipitous Labor aka as Rapid or Fast Labor is a labor that last less than 3 hours from start to finish. Many moms with 6+ hour labors hear that and may pang with jealousy... well how easy is that? Such a short labor... let me tell you, not that easy.
While the labor and birth may be fast, unlike a normal length labor, it is much more intense and hard. I have, so far, had both, a prolonged labor of 28 hours and a precipitous labor of 2 hours 21 minutes. Both were definitely hard in their own ways, but my rapid labor was much harder, and here's why:
With my longer labor I had the chance to ease into contractions, I felt them build. I had the chance to get excited, call my family and let them know... I was in labor, YAY.
With my longer labor I had breaks, I could feel the contractions come, peak, and subside and I had a short time to rest between them, I could feel my body doing it's job and could take advantage of labor techniques like massages, sitting on the birthing ball and even for a short time, laying down.
My long labor was more tiring from the lack of sleep and the abnormal length which made recovery harder and blood loss heavier. The labor was easy, recovery was hard.
With my rapid birth everything hit hard and fast. There was no build up, no real moment to be excited, "Yay, I'm in labor" The contractions were long and hard and close together with VERY short breaks, Contract 2 min, break 30 seconds, contract 1 min 40 sec break for 20... it was hard. It felt hard to focus, hard to do anything but rock on my hands and knees in agony at how intense it was. It took all my focus just to breathe and not clench my teeth to the point of breaking.
It was scary wondering, will my midwives arrive in time? Is everything okay? My labor didn't hurt like this before... is the baby okay?
Pushing and delivery was the worst, so much more painful, so intense but it was over quick.
Recovery was a breeze. I felt great after my birth, almost like I barely had a baby. I was up and about the next day,
In comparison, I think 6 -8 hours is a great length of time. Just long enough to not be crazy intense, but just short enough not to take everything out of you. Rapid Labor may be shorter, but it was definitely more painful and emotionally taxing. Makes me nervous about my labor this December, seeing as I will likely have another rapid labor....