Below are real life stories submitted by people around the world for our recently published Article – Evidence on: Prolonged Second Stage of Labor.
Jessica pushed for 3.5 hours, without any complications. Here is her story!
“I was in constant labor for 3 days, arrived at the hospital at the beginning of day 3, was 5 cm dilated, and didn’t fully dilate and start pushing until almost 24 hours later. About 2 hours before pushing I did get an epidural – was about 9 cm at that point. So I was on epidural and had no pain during pushing. But I only had the epidural in for the last 2 hours or so of labor, then for about 2 hours of pushing, and then they turned the epidural off to let it wear off when I’d be done with birth (hope that makes sense!)
I mainly pushed laying on my back propped up, in the very classic position. I tried different positions a bit, because I thought it would be a better idea, but the midwife said I seemed to be giving strongest pushes and making most progress on my back, so she recommended I use that position. Both mine and baby’s heart rate, etc, stayed fine during the whole pushing, no major concerns that I ever knew of. It was a really calm experience, I wasn’t in a huge rush or feeling desperate to get her out or anything. She did apparently start crowning, and half her head was out up to forehead for a few pushes, and then on the next push she came out completely, and I think surprised everyone! She was crying strongly right away, was put on my chest immediately, did a breast crawl and latched within the first 40 min or so, Apgar scores were perfect. I had a second degree tear, only needed 3 stitches.
I later found out from my doula that the OBs of the hospital monitor the cases that midwives are delivering, and they repeatedly were kind of pressuring my midwives to put me on pitocin or intervene since my labor was so long, and also during the long pushing. The midwives repeatedly told them that everything was healthy and convinced them that other intervention wasn’t necessary. Our doula said she was really glad that my case was a good example to show them that long labor or pushing can be healthy and normal.”
Kelli pushed for 3 hours with her first baby. She had very mild preeclampsia, diagnosed at 34 weeks, and went into labor naturally at 38w 6d after her doctor stripped her membranes. She did not have any complications during labor, nor did her baby have any complications– she had an unmedicated labor with no Pitocin, no pain meds, or IV fluids.
Kelli says, “I was completely dilated at 5 am. Started to feel urge to push towards the end of contractions, but not at the beginning. Looking back, I wish I would have waited until I felt a stronger urge. Pushed in a variety of positions at first, including squat bar. Made slow progress. My nurse didn’t feel comfortable with me pushing in squat position on bed, so we moved into a semi-upright position and didn’t move from this position until baby was born. If I’d had a doula, this wouldn’t have happened! After 2 hours, dr came in and said we could do a c-section, vacuum, or keep trying. I said, “keep trying.” After 3 hours, he said we could do vacuum or episiotomy. I was doing okay but trusted my dr to make the right decision. Again, with a doula, I don’t think this would have happened. I agreed to episiotomy, then tore on top of it. 3rd, nearly 4th degree, tear. Baby was fine throughout and I was doing fine, never complained of getting too tired. After having a second baby, I realize I was probably using the wrong muscles the first time and not pushing down into my bottom.”
Alyse pushed for 7 hours. Here is her story:
“I labored at home for 8 hours from 6pm-2am. At 2am my contractions were 4 min apart for 1 hour, so we drove to the birthing center, which is connected to our hospital. I labored in the birthing center with my midwife, doula, and husband for another 8 hours from 2am-10am. At 10am, I was fully dialated and asked my midwife to break my water to hurry things along. Shortly after, I started pushing. I pushed for three hours!
The midwife could touch my baby’s head so we knew he was close. Baby and I were stable but after 16 hours of labor and 3 hours of pushing I was exhausted. Like, the most exhausted I have ever been in my whole life. The pain was tolerable but I knew I couldn’t push more without a rest and I knew I couldn’t rest without an epidural, so at 1pm I left the birth center and moved over to the hospital wing. I got an epidural and a 30 minute nap. I woke around 2pm feeling reenergized and ready to push again…so we did. I pushed and pushed and pushed, and chatted with the nurses because I was getting bored and irritated that this baby was taking so long to get here. I kept asking for a c-section or forceps (yikes!) to just get it over with but my midwife kept saying “everyone is stable, he’s moving, just millimeters at a time.” So we kept pushing. Poor little guy came out with a bruise on his head from rubbing against the pelvic bone for 7 hours but finally, at 4:45pm, after 23 hours total of labor, we had two big pushes and Otto Edison was born!
I am so thankful my midwife, the OB, and my doula didn’t assume “he was too big” or “my vagina was too small” and encouraged me to keep pushing. Even the nurse that was with us told me “any other OB would have called for a c-section after 3 hours.” I am so grateful for my experience and proof that our bodies can do amazing things…even if it takes 7 hours!!
Marlene gave birth at home after pushing for 3 hours. Her baby’s head was asynclitic, which explained why it took so long to give birth to her seventh baby. Here is her story:
“My previous 6 labors had been pretty fast… between 70 mins & 4 hours! So when my water broke, around 7 pm, I called my team in right away. They arrived before labor even started, thinking we would have a baby shortly after they arrived. We hung out & had a great time. Eventually ctx started. I thought for sure once the kids were in bed for the night, I would relax better & things would pick up. But they only progressed slowly through the night.
In the morning the kids didn’t want to go to school, they wanted to stay home and be part of the birth team, but I “convinced” them to go. Again I thought once the kids were gone, I would relax better & have the baby. My mom came over to help with the toddlers (one of mine & one of my friends, both still nursing, so couldn’t be left with a babysitter). No such luck. At one point I got scared. “What was taking so long?” I asked myself! I knew my labor had not been as long as many others I had attended, including my 2 friends who had come to be my midwives, but it was way longer than my previous 6 labors. Maybe something was wrong?
Then a sudden realization struck me (God whispered in my ear, that I had nothing to fear.) I had been so blessed to have such fast easy labors thus far, why shouldn’t I experience a labor more like others do? This experience will make me a better midwife! From now on, I will have more patience & empathy for those who have long hard labors. I immediately felt better and didn’t give the length of my labor another thought. Still, it wasn’t nearly as hard as I’ve seen others work, just exhausting, more than painful! Around noon, I was complete and pushing. I would pace the house, until I was tired, then I would go lie down for a while, but everyone said, “get up! You’re not making any progress when you lie down, get up!” Finally, one of my friends suggested a nice relaxing bath. That sounded wonderful! And it was!
I got in the tub a little before 3pm. By 3:10 we could see just a little bit of the head. At 3:15 the kids got home from school yelling, “What’d ya have mom, what’d ya have?!?!” To which I replied, “I don’t know yet, all we can see is the head.” At this point everyone converged in our tiny bathroom. A few minutes later, We had a girl. I could see right away, from the lopsided molding on her head that acyncliticism had been the hang up all along! That was the first waterbirth any of us had seen.”
Jessica pushed for 4 hours with an OB, and had a forceps-assisted vaginal birth. Here is her story:
“I had a 56 hour labor with my son. His head was asynclitic and then he turned OP (posterior). I pushed him OP and he ended up coming out facing my right thigh after a forceps assist. At 3.5 hours pushing, they basically offered me forceps or a cesarean. I embraced the forceps happily and with one assisted push they helped pull him under my pubic bone and I pushed him out myself. It was an immense relief! He needed a little stimulation but was totally healthy! In our first photo together, you can see the little forceps mark on his face.”