How I Gave Birth in Under 2 Hours


Precipitous labor only occurs in less than 3% of the population according to the CDC. Labor is considered fast, or precipitous, when it occurs in less than 3 hours. It is not common for first time moms to experience a fast labor, it is much more likely in a second or third pregnancy. Occasionally precipitous labor is due to a baby coming prematurely or being under weight. In my case, it was only 2 hours, it was my first child, and both me and my baby were healthy and low-risk throughout the entire pregnancy. If you haven’t given birth but are expecting you might be wondering what I did to encourage that kind of speed and efficiency from my body. If you have given birth already then you probably hate my guts right now. Either way, you are probably curious about what it was like, so I’m going to share my birth story with you. I think it is important that women talk about birth freely and openly with one another, especially around younger women and little girls. It is time for us to stop being afraid and uninformed (or worse, misinformed) about our bodies and the birthing process. I found natural birth to be rewarding, empowering and even (dare I say) thrilling! I hope my story inspires you, informs you or at least interests you.

What was it like?

It was a full week before my due date and my husband and I had just finished having sex and I went to the bathroom. As soon as I sat down to pee my mucus plug fell out. Moments later my water broke and about 5 minutes later I began having contractions. My contractions started at 1-2 minutes apart and were very, very strong. Some of the rushes were so close together that I couldn’t tell where one began and the other one ended. I planned on having a natural home birth, but my midwife was over 2 hours away and we were supposed to have the birth the home of a friend who lived near her. My bags were packed and ready for the trip because we were leaving that weekend so I could nest and wait for the baby to come in comfort. We knew the baby might come early, and had discussed driving there during the early stages of labor if need be, but as soon as I started having contractions I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to travel that far. I remember feeling very afraid in those first 10-20 minutes. I couldn’t help but wonder if something was terribly wrong and if I or the baby was in danger. My contractions were so close together and so intense that even as a first time mom I knew this was not a “normal” birth. I also felt afraid because my birth plan was not going as planned! At one point I even thought to myself, if this continues, I just want a c-section!

Finally, we made the decision to call my midwife. As soon as I heard her voice I started to calm down. She calmly listened to me while I labored and confirmed that I was in advanced labor and that she would make the drive and come to us. I felt better knowing that she was on her way, but I was still scared. She stayed on the phone with me for a full hour, reminding me to breathe and find my center. She knew I am a practitioner of yoga and meditation and that I had practiced breathing and meditating to prepare for labor. Hearing the words “find your center” helped me calm down. Slowly I began to feel more at peace with what was happening, and when the urges to push began I felt a combination of relief and determination.I don’t believe I could have gotten there without my midwife. Her calm, supportive guidance was crucial to alleviating the fear and panic I felt early on. As I calmed down I felt less and less afraid and more and more empowered.

Eventually it became clear that the baby was coming faster than any of us expected, so my midwife advised my husband to take me to the hospital. We made it there in the nick of time. He was delivered with the help of nurses before the doctor on call could even make it into the room! I had absolutely no interventions of any kind and experienced no tearing or excessive bleeding. My baby came out healthy and strong and alert. I was immediately able to hold him and talk to him, though I didn’t get to breastfeed him right away like I had planned. My midwife arrived a few minutes after he was born and we all laughed at how crazy the last 2 hours had been! It was a joyful and life affirming experience, and even though it didn’t fit into my plans I wouldn’t change any of it!

What caused it?

Those who knew me while I was pregnant weren’t surprised that my labor turned out this way. I am a Yoga teacher and wellness practitioner. I meditate and practice Reiki regularly. Many of my friends and acquaintances assumed that my lifestyle had something to do with how things turned out. My favorite reaction to my birth story is the comment, “it must’ve been all that Yoga!” I think to some degree my lifestyle definitely helped me prepare for labor, but I also recognize that practicing Yoga and meditation is not a guarantee for fast labor. What these practices did do for me was help me to prepare mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually for the experience of labor and delivery.

A regular Yoga practice was a huge part of my pregnancy. I had to completely change my practice to fit my pregnancy, which was mentally and emotionally challenging for me. Before I became pregnant I was working on difficult poses such as handstand and scorpion. My Yoga practice was energetic and fast paced, but in order to honor my body when I became pregnant I had to lessen my intensity and practice a more Yin style Yoga. I also incorporated Pranayama into my practice, breathing became more and more important as my pregnancy progressed. I am grateful for those months  of practice because not only did it help me prepare for the challenges of labor, but it has also helped me evolve into a more well rounded Yogi. I have always excelled in taking action, but now I have learned the importance and the power of surrender.

Meditation and Reiki also helped me prepare for labor. I have trouble keeping myself in the present moment. I am prone to anxiety because I am usually future oriented in my thinking. I habitually stress myself out over things that have not yet occurred. Over-planning and over-worrying are modes of thinking I have to practice getting out of. When I meditate my goal is to simply be present. To allow the World to be as it is and to create some space between myself and the constant flow of my thoughts. I have been practicing mindfulness meditation for years and my training came in quite handy during my labor. When my midwife reminded me to “find my center” I knew what it looked and felt like because of all those hours of meditation and Reiki practice. I knew how to slow down my breath and find the space within myself to allow the experience to unfold. I had practiced withholding judgment, which allowed me to separate myself from the thoughts telling me this situation might be “bad” “painful” or”scary.”  I was only able to do these things in the heat of the moment because I had practiced it so many times before my labor began. I encourage any woman who is pregnant and prone to worrying (so basically ALL women!) to find a style of meditation that works for them and to begin the practice as soon as possible. It can mean the difference between feeling lost and scared and feeling strong and powerful during labor.

What was the recovery like? 

My recovery time was fairly quick. I still felt sore in my pelvic area for about 5 weeks. I did not tear, so I required no stitches. I honestly believe I didn’t tear because of how calm I was when my baby began to crown. With each push I felt his head moving gently back and forth, preparing my skin to stretch when he finally emerged. There are a few ways to prevent tearing, all of which are more likely to work if the mother is alert, calm and unmedicated. I also did not suffer from postpartum depression, and I felt very clear mentally. I had my placenta encapsulated so that I could take it orally to help regulate my hormones as my body regained equilibrium. As soon as I felt strong enough, and my midwife approved, I began doing light yoga to help my muscles recovery, especially in my belly. Overall, I healed quickly and enjoyed motherhood from the very beginning. I am also lucky to have an amazing support system of friends and family. If you do not have a support system I encourage you to find a doula or a midwife to assist you in your labor and recovery.

Any more questions?

Would you like to know more? Want to share your story? Leave your comments and questions below!

The author is a Reiki practitioner, Intuitive Tarot Reader, and meditation and Yoga teacher. You can find out more at

Kay Metzelaars
Kay is certified Yoga instructor, Reiki master, Intuitive Tarot Reader, and public speaker. She is a former Teach For America teacher and studied philosophy and psychology at the University of Portland. She is passionate about empowering individuals to take their health and wellness into their own hands through spiritual practices such as Yoga and Reiki, as well as proper eating and exercise. She teaches that compassion, understanding, empathy and forgiveness are essential to being a happy human. She offers classes, workshops and retreats and runs a small private practice in southern, IL.