I've had two 90 minute labors. Both times my water broke and then nothing happened for 30 hours and then it was like "oh, is that a real contraction?" and then 90 minutes later I was holding a baby.
The first time it was crazy. For 30 hours I tried to bring labor on. For 30 hours nothing happened and I wasted time I should have been sleeping, eating, relaxing, being peaceful with hiking (but not for fun, to try and bring labor) and all sorts of other stuff that wore me out. Then, my first real contraction came and I was like "yay" and then the next one came, like, 2 minutes later...and 2 minutes after that and on and on and on non-stop. No gradual build up, no resting in between, no drinking and eating and talking as the contractions slowly got more intense. Labor just ran me the frack OVER.
The second time was much better. I'd had much more in depth conversations with my mother at that point, realized that she had FOUR 90 minute births with water breaking 24+ hours before hand, and I expected that I was going to have a similar experience again.
When my water broke, I got up, did what I needed to for pads, etc and then went back to bed. I didn't even let myself feel like labor was coming. I got up and made food, I put together some last minute things and mentally prepared myself for the "labor truck" that was surely going to run me over when it finally started....and boy did it. Exactly 28 hours after my water broke, I got my first contraction. Exactly 1 hour and 37 minutes after that first contraction, I was sitting on a birth stool in my kitchen with an exploded vagina, holding a beautiful boy.
I don't have any other kind of labor to experience it to....so I don't know how much more intense it really is. But I asked my MW "is this as intense as it feels like" and she was basically like "Um, when you go from high, tight and maybe 1cm dilated to holding a baby in 90 minutes, yeah, it's supposed to feel that intense" - so, there it is. At least it's "supposed" to feel as intense as it seems to me when I'm in it!! Hahaha.
With my DD I "came to" from her birth kind of like "what the hell just happened to me" ......with my son, because I was expecting it, I was very, very deeply moved in a spiritual way. Because I fought it much less and let it just wash over me, I was transported to a crazy cool place. I totally left my body from the intensity of it and I'm actually really looking forward to having the experience again(she said, stupidly!).
What is interesting to me is how silent I became with both of my births. My DH and MW were very surprised when I finally looked up at them and said "the baby is here, s/he's coming out now" because I'd been so quiet. The intensity was so incredible both times that I couldn't even speak or make a sound outside of a quiet hum. My MW took this as me being very prepared with hypnobirthing and using the skills I'd gained in doing hypnobirthing work...yeah, EFF THAT! My hypnobirthing work went out the window...I was just sitting there, unable to move or speak.
People have said around here and to me in real life that third births can be fluke births. I think I will probably have a similar experience this time as the last two times...but a part of me kind of wonders what it would be like to have a more "normal" experience. It seems like the more typical birth being a little longer, people tend to get tired...but having such an intense, short birth takes so much out of you, too....I'm not sure, in the end, from a healing/bouncing back standpoint, that one is better than the other.
I will say though, something I would REALLY like to experience is pushing. I didn't push a single time with either of my kids. My body just did the whole 90 minutes of labor ending with a straight up CANNON BALL shooting out of me. I had no control over the labor or "expelling of the baby". It would be nice, I think, not to explode again...to stretch things out nicely by pushing and giving my tissue time. Healing from "explosion" tears really kind of sucks. The scar tissue being in so many different places is kind of sucky too.