PARENTS
07/22/2013 12:09 pm ET Updated Jul 22, 2013

Labor Time: How Long Will It Be Before Kate Gives Birth?

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This will probably take awhile folks.

First labors (pardon me, labours) usually do. According to the Mayo Clinic, first-time moms are usually in early labor for six to 12 hours and active labor for up to another eight. Plus, recent research from the National Institutes of Health, moms take significantly longer to give birth today than they did 50 years ago. Altogether, as Laura E. Riley, the medical director of labor and delivery at Massachusetts General Hospital and the author of You and Your Baby: Pregnancy, told USA Today this morning, it takes about 12 to 24 hours for first babies to show up.

Except when it doesn't.

Much the same way that first babies are always late. Except when they're early. (I have long railed against this conclusion, by the way. If first babies are ALWAYS late, as is the common wisdom, then really isn't the problem that we are counting wrong? Seriously, the babies are on time.)

So since this is going to (likely) last a few hours, let's play a little game. We'll call it #howlongwereyouinlabor.

After all, what the Duchess of Cambridge (oh, let's call her Kate, shall we? Modesty and formality don't last long during labor) is experiencing right now is a rite of passage for parenting. Every one of us has the tale of meeting our child, and together they are a reminder of the power of the moment.

I'll start.

With Evan (who was, by the official calendar, two weeks late...) I woke up with contractions at 3 a.m., then hung out at home until 8 a.m., while my husband and I did the Sunday Times crossword puzzle and wrote the timing of contractions in the margin. (Yes, the puzzle, which we never did finish, is in Evan's baby book.) Bruce also insisted on playing Enya the entire time, which he decided would be soothing, but which I can no longer hear without doubling over. We arrived at the hospital at 9, had 11 hours of pretty textbook labor, a very welcome epidural, and a push or two.

Then came Alex. I had a funky blood complication during my pregnancy with him, and as a result I could not get an epidural. Unfortunately, I didn't really understand that until I was asking for one (rather loudly). Instead, I was given a lovely drug that made me feel as though I was wrapped in a fuzzy neon pink cocoon, where I remained for several hours while Bruce watched the NCAA tournament on the labor suite TV. I surfaced from my trance in time to push Alex out eight hours after we'd arrived.

In short, nothing dramatic. But I am betting that many of your stories are. Why not while away the hours sharing them.

Your turn. How long were YOU in labor? Tweet your answers to @HuffPostParents or add them to the comments below!

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