First birth- No BH contractions ever, no dialation, no nothing 2 weeks "overdue". At midnight I heard a pop, felt a gush, stood up realizing my water probably broke, 5 minutes later contractions started with a bang, 3 minutes apart and 1-1 1/2 minutes long. They did feel like menstrual cramps but got more and more painful really quickly. The hardest thing for me to do was stay still, making the car ride to the hospital hell and the nurses telling me I *had* to stay in bed even harder. All in all contractions lasted 5 hours.
Second birth- Again, no dialation. I had BH contractions about 10 minutes apart from somewhere around week 15 (
seriously!) So I wasn't sure if I was in labor or not the night it started. They were still about 10 minutes apart but something felt *different*. I called in work sick and felt guilty all night wondering if I really was in labor or if I should go to work. After trying to rest all night I finally decided it was real and called my MW at 6am. 7am she came over and told DH to take me for a walk outside. After we got back from our walk they were getting stronger. Totally felt like menstrual cramps but stronger, more painful.
I never felt anything in my back like alot of people talk about. Both times it was all in the lower front like menstrual cramps. I never got diahrea either (I wish I did, maybe I wouldn't have had the little poops with pushing
Mine were both just like real bad period cramps that got worse and worse to where I though I must absolutely die, Something horrible is going to rip. There is no way one can have so much pain and still be healthy and live :LOL I guess in technical terms they call that transition.