I'd heard so many stories of second labours going faster that I expected that, and it totally wasn't what happened. With my first, I had a 10-hour labour from start (big, heavy contractions seven minutes apart) to birth, and it was all back labour. With my second, I had a 12-hour labour from start (twinging cramps that I wasn't sure at first were labour, that built up to stronger contractions) to birth, and it was all stomach labour, which was MUCH worse than back labour.
I was sooooo disappointed that my second was longer, because I'd had huge hopes and expectations for a short labour. So by the time I'd been in labour for over five or six hours, I was pretty downheartened. Especially since we went to the hospital right away with my first and I was already 6 cm dilated, but with my second I waited several hours, until my contractions were 2 minutes apart, to go the hospital, and I was only 1 cm dilated.
What I learned from the experience was to have no expectations, but to let each baby come the way it's going to come and to trust my body. I had a lot of fear with my second child, because I'd had to switch doctors partway through my prenatal care and I didn't like the second doctor and didn't want to deliver in a hospital. I wanted a midwife, like I'd had with my first, but I couldn't get a midwife. I was so scared of the hospital that I was considering freebirth or unassisted childbirth, but my hubby wouldn't consent to that. So I think my fear contributed to my longer labour and the reason that I was still so tightly closed when I reached the hospital. I had to relax, to realize that the nurses were really good and helpful, before I could deliver the baby.
So I'd like to hope that, with everything I've learned from my first two births, my next birth will be faster... one of those one or two hour births I hear about... but no expectations!!! :)