I think that my labours' lengths were completely in-line with my state of mind.
I had two c/s with no labour.
My first labour (UC, ds3- 10lbs3oz): 9 hours, painless after the first hour, which was my transition from four weeks of nightly prodromal, and this began at 45 weeks. I had a lot of processing emotionally and mentally, as well as physically, so the pace was perfect for me. Until he was shooting out, he was high. I tore and then later had it stitched, which was a bad idea because my body reacted to the stitching material and caused the tear to heal apart from so much swelling. I should have known because during my pg, I had "dissolving" blue stitches from my previous c/s coming out of my body through my belly skin. This labour was supremely awesome- completely triumphant for me. I was in awe the whole time, and had genuine gratitude for every contraction, and gratitude that I could see the baby being positioned and feel my bones moving, and all the rest. It was life-altering in a very positive way.
Second labour (UC, ds4- 10lbs8oz): 3 minutes, excruciating, but in a birth-hostile town and I needed it to happen fast. It did. I was fine- 11pm until 11:33, three contractions with broken water all at once. This happened suddenly, after I'd gone to the kitchen and lifted him to reposition him because I was uncomfortable; he was high still. He was born at 44 weeks, after a flu that kept me from eating for five days, having been wretching until the day before. I may have been having contractions all that time, but wouldn't have known. That night, two of my children ended up vomiting, and they were coming in and out of my room on their way to the bathroom to see their new brother. My eldest happened to be there for the birth. Great timing! I was fine- no tearing.
Third labour (UC, dd- 9lbs): 3 hours, very safe place, slept through 45 minutes and when I woke up, decided I wanted it to be done, so I lifted her into place and manually shoved her head down into place, at which point my body took over in a big way and she rocketed out, elbow first, other hand on her face, totally pink, alert, aware. I was fine, too- no tearing. Before I positioned her, my contractions were very wishy-washy and I was a bit ambivalent, not determined, just riding it out. Then I wanted it done, and it was. This was at 46 weeks.
ETA: She was also sunny-side-up. It didn't matter- it was so fast.
I am very happy about my labours. I am also actively preventing pg because I don't want to be pg again, and want my family to move on now.
Edited by PreggieUBA2C - 3/5/11 at 1:01pm