A 40 Hour Long Labor- My Natural Birth Story

Are you looking for a long labor birth story to read? Read my natural birth story of surviving a 40 hour labor- from early labor to delivery.

Let me just say, 40 hours of labor is not as fun as you would think…

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How My Early Labor Started

Exactly one week before my due date I was getting ready for my weekly prenatal appointment around 11:00 am. All of a sudden, I felt as though the baby shifted positions, and he felt really low.

I told my husband if the baby moved down any lower he was going to come out!

I started getting pains in my hips and pelvic area that would come and go and it was difficult for me to walk.

At first, I wasn’t sure if it was contractions, Braxton Hicks, or just because of how the baby was positioned.

When I got to my prenatal appointment, I told my midwife what was going on. She checked me and said I was dilated about 2 cm, but that in itself, didn’t necessarily mean I was in labor, as you can start to dilate when your body is getting ready for labor, even up to a couple weeks before.

However, on my way home, my contractions were starting to get stronger. I told my husband that I thought I might be in early labor and he called off of work.

After I Came Home From My Prenatal Appointment

Remembering what my doula recommended, I took a bath and then took a nap for about an hour or 2.

By the time I woke up, I realized I was definitely in labor and my contractions were to the point where I felt like I couldn’t sleep anymore.

I let my doula know I was in labor and she urged me to try to go to sleep again, but to try taking another bath first, because that helped my contractions.

Afterwards, I was able to take another nap and eat and drink. My contractions were about 7-10 minutes apart for some time and when night came, I took another bath and was able to sleep for a few hours.

Let me just say I’m so glad I listened to my doula and got some sleep in when I could, because I didn’t realize at the time that this would be the labor that never ends. (Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit- my labor did eventually end, but there was a time it felt like it wasn’t going to..)

The Next Morning

The next day my doula came by in the morning, and my contractions were gradually getting stronger. She encouraged me to take another nap and to keep eating and drinking.

I was in and out of the bath tub and was able to nap for about an hour.

I told my doula that I felt like my pelvis was out of place, (which had happened during my first pregnancy as well,) and I was concerned about having to push out the baby when the time came.

She encouraged me to go to the chiropractor that morning if I could.

Going to the Chiropractor During Labor

I called my chiropractor’s office and fortunately she was working that day. I explained that I was in labor and that I was pretty sure my pelvis was out, and they said they would get me in.

The chiropractor I go to specializes in treating pregnant women, so I have always been comfortable going there during pregnancy.

When I arrived, she adjusted me right away. It turns out my pelvis was indeed rotated out of place. (Thank goodness I went before I pushed out the baby, right?!)

…And Back Home Again

My doula met me back at my house and I continued to labor with gradually intensifying contractions. She helped me by pressing on my back and also brought a hot water bottle that she held on my back that was a lifesaver.

I was able to take a short nap after getting in the bath tub again, and I continued to eat and drink water afterwards.

A little after 3 in the afternoon I lost my mucus plug.

My contractions continued to intensify and a little after 6pm, my doula suggested that I could consider going to the hospital then. The midwife on call was one that we were both comfortable with, and her shift would be over soon.

We Went to the Hospital

I decided to go to the hospital to at least get checked, and even if we wanted to come back home, it’s only about a 5 minute drive.

We got to the hospital around 6:30pm and at this point I had been in labor over 30 hours already.

Apparently it was ‘the day’ to have babies, because all of the labor and delivery rooms were filled with other laboring moms.

The staff set me up in a triage room and when my midwife checked me, she said I was just about 5cm dilated. 

She also said that the water sack, (which hadn’t broken yet,) was resting on my sacrum. (This resulted in very painful back labor for me.)

Additionally, my midwife said that although my baby was head down and faced in a good position, his head was resting on my pubic bone. She explained that this was likely making my contractions less effective, which in my opinion is probably why I had such a long labor.

My heart sank a bit when she said that, because the one thing you don’t want to hear during labor is that you are experiencing pointless contractions.

I continued to labor in the triage room for about 3 hours. I moved around and also took a shower.

Finally, I was moved to a regular labor and delivery room. I was happy about this (as happy as one can be during labor, at least,) as there was a Jacuzzi that I was able to labor in. (This was actually one of the reasons I picked that hospital to deliver in during my first pregnancy.)

I personally like laboring in a tub/Jacuzzi more than the shower, but that is just me.

My doula made sure I was drinking water or juice in between each contraction, and the hospital surprisingly let me eat as well. (A lot of hospitals don’t allow eating during labor.)

At some point my midwife checked me again and said I was between 6 and 7cm dilated.

She said the baby was still high up because of him being on my boneIt was suggested that I try to move around so that the baby could move and be able to come out.

Trying to Get the Baby to Move

My doula had me try different movements and positions to try to get the baby to move. I walked around, did hip circles on the birthing ball, and so on.

I got on the hospital bed to see if I could position myself in a way to better deal with the contractions.

All of a sudden I was feeling contractions nonstop for several minutes.

I couldn’t tell when they ended. (Did they even end?)

I was in constant unmanageable pain, and I couldn’t even move.

My doula called the nurse and asked if she could hook me up to the monitor just to check on things because of me not getting a break with the contractions. I was also shaking.

Because of how the baby was doing when they used the monitor, they wanted to keep me on it for several more minutes to make sure he was okay.

I asked the nurse if she would fill up the Jacuzzi because I couldn’t bear to stay on the bed any longer than I had to. The contractions were just so intense, and I hoped if I got back in the tub maybe I would be less uncomfortable.

My midwife came in and checked me again. I was now 8 cm dilated.

She said my water sack was bulging right in front of where the baby’s head needed to come out. She couldn’t tell if his head was still on my bone or not because of the water sack being in the way.

My midwife didn’t want to break my water in case the baby’s head was still sitting on my bone, but she said that once my water broke he might just come right out.

The Crazy Way My Water Broke

After my midwife had checked me, I was determined to get my water to break so I could stop being in labor- mind you- I had been in labor around 40 hours at this point.

I needed my water to break- that was my focus. And not gonna lie, I was literally praying my water would break.

But I was stuck on the bed with being on the monitor and even if they’d unhooked it already, I didn’t think I would be able to physically move off of the bed.

So..what did I do?

I purposely pushed. And pushed. And…

My water FINALLY broke.

And by my water breaking, I mean my water sack literally shot out of me, across the hospital room, up in the air, and splatted on the floor several feet away. (It almost hit my husband in the face but he bolted out of the way just in time..)

And then something else happened at that moment..

I started pushing.

Not me pushing on purpose because I wanted to, but actually pushing.

I couldn’t control it. I couldn’t stop. And it FREAKED ME OUT. I was literally screaming out, “Help!!”

Yes, I had been in labor before. I had a natural birth before. But not being able to control my pushing still freaked me out.

Although, I should note that after a 40 hour labor, I was definitely relieved to be pushing F I N A L L Y.

Right after my water shot out, when my doula saw me starting to push, she immediately pressed the call button and asked for the midwife and nurse to come in.

The Midwife and Staff Rushed In

My midwife and the hospital staff should win an award for how fast they came in. And it’s a good thing, too. Within the minute or so between me starting to push, and them running in, I was already starting to crown.

The baby was coming out…

Let me tell you, I felt the ring of fire from the moment I started pushing until he came out. But it’s okay, because he came out within a few minutes.

And then I held him, and I nursed him and it was all worth it. I had an adorable baby boy.

newborn baby boy after 40 hours of labor for his mom

The 40 hour labor that I felt would never end was finally done. And somehow with no medication. Yay!

My Advice to Other Expecting Moms

If you take anything away from this as a currently pregnant mom (or one who hopes to be pregnant someday,) just know that you can get through your labor.

If I could do it, you definitely can too. Whether you choose to have a natural birth or get medication, you can do this.

Take heart, because a 40 hour labor is NOT the norm.

My pain tolerance is not exceptional. I have previously been called a ‘wimp’ in less serious things, so if I survived labor, you definitely can too.

Hopefully my natural birth story encouraged you and didn’t scare you.

And once you lay eyes on your beautiful baby after birth, you’ll be glad you went through your labor, no matter how long. 🙂

If you’re currently pregnant and trying to prepare for your baby: you can sign up for my free pregnancy email course here.

Thanks for reading!

The natural birth story of a mom who survived a 40 hour labor and delivered a healthy baby boy


  1. Shari | 15th Sep 18

    Awww, what a cute little guy! Your water shot out across the room? That must have been a riot- I mean, as much as it could be during labor. Thanks for sharing! : )

    • Ellie | 29th Sep 18

      Hi Shari, thanks for reading! Yes, it was definitely an experience. 🙂

  2. Jamie | 22nd May 24

    I read this article as I was approaching my 41st hour of labor at home with our 7th baby… I decided to give it a go and push. As soon as I did, I had terrible contractions for about 20 minutes. Then my water broke and baby was born in 3 pushes! Thanks for sharing and helping me to finally give birth to our baby girl after an excruciatingly long 2 days. I really did not want to go through all that work only to end up in the hospital with a c-section!

    • Ellie | 22nd May 24

      Congratulations on your new baby! Hallelujah everything turned out okay for you! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your birth story. I’m glad you found my experience helpful. 40 hours is a long labor for sure, especially when your water hasn’t broken yet! It’s great you didn’t give up and were able to avoid an unwanted c-section.

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