When it's active labor contractions will become very regular and stay that way, and will slowly get closer together. Sometimes they don't get more intense for a LONG time. With my first I had false starts for days, so when I finally did go into labor I didn't know it was the real deal for a long time. I was probably 5 or more hours in before they finally started getting regular enough to time and intense enough that I knew it wasn't false labor. I would just sit and wait. When they become intense enough that they would keep you from sleeping soundly and are coming at regular intervals, you know it's real. Or, for me anyway...but I was fairly text book. Good luck, and congrats!
at 11:41 AM on Dec. 5, 2010