How did you know when you were really in labor? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 10-21-2006, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I had an induction for medial reasons with DD. I had been contracting for weeks with her and was one fingertip dilated at 40 weeks before my induction. I also had horrific back labor with her.

This time around... more contractions for weeks, usually in sets in the morning or afternoon. For the last 2 days I've had extremely painful sciatica (it does travel down my leg so I'm assuming it's sciatica and not pelvic girdle pain). Last night I was crampy and gassy, but no loose stool. I have been very emotional today and feeling lots of cervical pressure.

How will I know if I'm in labor? I have contrax everyday and now I'm having frequent back pain that could be likened to back labor I guess. I know the typical stuff... membranes rupture, loss of mucous plug, nesting urges, etc., but I'm afraid I won't have any of that, my back pain will mask (or be) true labor, and I won't know what hit me.

How did you really know, despite the obvious signs?
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#2 of 13 Old 10-21-2006, 05:02 PM
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For the last few days before labor I had building up contractions like labor ones a lot, started to loose plug, and felt the baby settled very low. But on a Friday night at exactly 9:55pm I had a contraction I had to sit down for all the sudden, it felt different and stronger, and somehow I just knew it was labor. Of course, for me it was 24 hours straight of 'early labor' (which was more intense than expected) before I even got to the serious stuff.
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#3 of 13 Old 10-21-2006, 05:12 PM
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I do a lot of Prodromal Labor before the real show begins. It usually seems to start the month before birth getting more and more frequent. I learned to NOT look at the clock, because my ctx were usually patterned and reducing in frequency. I kept worrying about whehter or not I was in labor. Or I'd think there was something wrong with me for all the ctx. There wasn't. That just seems to be the way I labor!

I like to think that the more ctx you do before labor, the easier actual labor will be. That's what I tell myself from 2-6am when i can't sleep due to ctx!

I know some people say to lay down, eat something & drink a lot of water and it will all go away. So, make sure that you're not getting dehydrated. For my body that really doesn't work though.

Here's a link to my second birth. There's a lot in there about ctx that weren't really labor and the emotional journey I went on with it all. (the link asks for a password, but just hit cancel a few times & it will go away)

I feel like I most understood prodromal labor with my 3rd baby though. with my 2nd baby, I really took it like there was something wrong with me or that the baby wasn't coming. With my3rd, I was much more patient and gave my body more space to do what it needed to do.

Happy pre-labor!

Spark and her four firecrackers.
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#4 of 13 Old 10-21-2006, 08:34 PM
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For me, when labor has really started, I have had regular contractions (feel like menstrual cramps not just a tight braxton hicks contraction), mild but regular (like every 5-10 minutes) that don't go away. They gradually get stronger, too. When I am getting close (like within hours of birth) they get stronger to the point I need to stop what I'm doing and breathe deeply or otherwise focus on them. Hth,,,

Mom of (11/27/03) and (9/29/06).
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#5 of 13 Old 10-22-2006, 06:09 AM
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The first time I knew I was in labour because I was having regular contractions which were gradually getting stronger. Then my water broke.

The second time I realised I was *truly* in labour when his head was coming out of my vagina. It was so fast that, although the contractions were painful, I was expecting to have another sign that 'this was it'.
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#6 of 13 Old 10-22-2006, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for sharing your experiences. It sounds like I'll know somehow... whatever the symptoms might be. I just wish this whole childbirth thing was more cut and dry.

Spark ~ Your birth story with Cicely was beautiful!! What an amazing experience.

The second time I realised I was *truly* in labour when his head was coming out of my vagina.
WOW!! That had to be quite the shocker!
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#7 of 13 Old 10-23-2006, 12:30 AM
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The difference is that you'll stop saying, "Hmmm, I wonder if THIS is labor?" and say, "OH. THIS is labor!" You just get a lot more serious. You go from your regular brain, being able to "Do Life," to being in your brain stem, and being in the labor fog. You don't care what other people are doing or saying, because you are focusing on YOU, on YOUR BODY, and on what it's doing. That's how you'll know.

FWIW, I knew the second time because my prodromal labor, which I'd had for six weeks, and usually stopped at eleven pm, kept going. Then my water broke at 2am, and I KNEW the game was on.

Mama to two awesome kids. Wife to a wonderful, attached, loving husband. I love my job-- I'm a Midwife, Doula and Childbirth Educator, Classes forming now!

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#8 of 13 Old 10-24-2006, 06:49 AM
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Honestly, my husband told me I was. I had had similar things happen in the last few weeks and nothing came of it. My husband just waltzed in, saw me have one contraction, and said that is it, we are going to the hospital. Haha, he was right. Baby was born about 3 hours later.

I didn't really believe it for myself until the midwife checked me when I got there and I was 6cm already. Haha.
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#9 of 13 Old 10-24-2006, 08:50 AM
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My contractions started out very strong, and exactly 5 minutes apart, right from the beginning, so it was pretty obvious, although I was in denial for several hours because I wasn't expecting it to be like that. When I said I wasn't sure if it was really labor, everyone looked at me like I was crazy.
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#10 of 13 Old 10-24-2006, 12:17 PM
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I didn't know until my water broke, although I had been having contractions all day.
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#11 of 13 Old 10-24-2006, 02:29 PM
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I had prodromal labor for weeks - lasting up to 4+ hours a day, I kept asking the same thing, how will I know when this is real?

Lost my plug on a saturday, nothing more all week so I finally let my midwife check me on thursday, 3cm diliated and 75% effaced - we thought a baby for sure that weekend. Nope, no baby monday, tuesday, wed, so on the next thursday I let her check me again, 4cm and fully effaced - I was a week overdue at this point. So I let her do cervical massage. Contractions all the way home - yippee! Then they stopped!!!!!

Next morning I had one contaction while DH was rubbing my lower back, and went "this is it" - it wasn't more intense than the prodromal labor, or longer or anything, it was just "different". DH wasn't convinced, so I ran a warm tub and got in to soak. 5 min, another one, 5 min, another one - now he was convinced! 4 hours later I was pushing!

It drove me nuts that everyone kept saying "you will just know" but from one momma with severe back issues, who suffered through back pain my whole pregnancy - you will know, it will feel different!
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#12 of 13 Old 10-25-2006, 03:46 PM
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I think it's so individual! My friend had cx every 5 minutes but no pain to speak of. She got to the hospital and was 8 cm (and then she asked for an epi "just in case" future cx would hurt; she still was feeling no pain).

With my 1st child, I didn't know I was having regular cx at first. I just went to the hospital because I was bleeding non-stop and couldn't feel the baby. Then I had cramping, then they broke my water, and then I KNEW I was in labor.

With my 2nd, I had mild cramping at 10 pm and figured the baby would be born within a week. NO cramping or anything prior to that. (Though I knew I was 3 cm dialated according to my MW check.) By midnight the cx were irregular but I couldn't sleep. By 3 a.m. they were every 2-3 minutes, but I was fine in between. That last hour . . .those last few cx . . .THOSE told me that yes, it was going to be any moment. DC was born around 5 a.m.

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#13 of 13 Old 10-30-2006, 03:16 AM
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When a friend who had birthed two babies looked at me like I was nuts after I said, "Yeah, I seem to be having some contractions. Little ones. The baby will probably be born in the next couple of days." When she insisted that the time to pack the hospital bag was in fact now, and that I might want to consider that "next couple of days" should be restated "next couple of hours." She was right. But goshdarnit, I *finished* assembling that chest of drawers before driving her home. Yep. Driving her home. Denial is a powerful thing.
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