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Am I in Labor? Moms Share How They Knew

Posted by on Aug. 4, 2016 at 1:50 PM
  • 13 Replies

Am I in Labor? 10 Moms Share How They Knew It Was 'Time'

Sasha Brown-Worsham
Sasha Brown-Worsham

signs of laborIf only there were some kind of magic ball that could tell us exactly how and when we would go into labor. For planners like me who are used to knowing the map of things at the start of every day, the five weeks of pregnancythat are considered "term" -- 37 to 42 -- can be a maddening exercise in suspense, boredom, and fear.

The reality is, just like every human is different from every other one, every labor is different as well. Even women who have had four, five, or six children will readily say that no two of their labors started in the same way. Some had signs for weeks. Some didn't even know anything was happening until they were in the hospital.

So, for me, a pregnant woman in my 39th week, it's good to know that I need to trust my OWN instinct. There is no pattern. We asked around and found 10 different ways women knew they were in labor.

1.) "Had 'bloody show' for two weeks prior to my water breaking and even lost my mucus plug and NADA! It wasn't until my midwife stripped the membranes at 41 weeks that I finally went into labor."

2.) "I'd had bad diarrhea and an irritable stomach for a couple hours, but nothing else. No other symptoms but they sent me to Labor & Delivery. I was five centimeters dilated! My daughter came two hours later."

3.) "My water broke two weeks before my due date. Sitting on the couch with my husband just chatting when I heard a POP! I ran to the bathroom and everything was covered in water. My daughter came 11 hours later."

4.) "This is gross, but I knew when I had a very rare bout of very loose bowels, like my body was trying to evacuate EVERYTHING before starting labor because, OMG, cannot move a baby out and digest food at the same time."

5.) "Water gushing out in bed at 3:00 a.m. Pretty easy to tell I was in labor!"

6.) "My water broke, and while waiting for labor to start, I went on Facebook and asked every woman I knew whose water broke first what was going to happen next."

7.) "I was at the end of my rope with my pregnancy and had tried everything -- sex, eggplant, walking, pineapple, wine. NOTHING was working. After my third time going into Labor & Delivery, I begged them to strip my membranes. They did. Later that day, my mucus plug expelled. The next day, I got one super intense contraction that made it clear the time was NOW. He was out two hours later."

8.) "I labored for two days slow and steady, breathed beautifully through contractions, went hiking and walking. My doula and midwife came to check one afternoon and said it'd be the next day but not before then as I was only one centimeter dilated. My husband went to bed, and about an hour later, I woke him up running around the house like a crazy person. I was in and out of the shower, exercise ball, yoga poses on bed, etc. He kept calling the doula who said things like help her breathe through it, this is too early still. Finally I got on the phone with her and said, 'If you don't get the f*ck over here right now, I'm going to the hospital and asking for every drug possible!' She arrived a few minutes later. My water broke on the way to car and I was at 10 when I got to the birthing room."

9.) "I was only 36 weeks so I had no clue what to expect (with my first). I was getting what felt like period cramps and they were coming more and more frequently. I called my midwife and she came over. I swear she came more as a courtesy to a first-time mom than anything else. Well, she was super surprised to find I was eight centimeters. My son was out less than an hour later."

10.) "I was 37 weeks, so not even expecting the baby any time soon. I met a friend for dinner and she kept commenting about how different I looked. 'Your face,' she kept saying. 'It's so different.' I thought nothing of it, but a couple hours later, my water broke. I always wonder if she saw it in my face."

If this isn't your first pregnancy, how did you know you were in labor?

by on Aug. 4, 2016 at 1:50 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by Member on Aug. 4, 2016 at 3:22 PM
With my 6 year old, I had lower back pain for a few hours. It was new, but I thought I'd just strained something or overdone it, or it was just regular pregnancy back pain. Then my water broke. We went to the hospital, I was 7 cm. I was 41w6d

With my triplets, I felt regular, sharp abdominal contractions. I went to labor and delivery and they saw I was contracting regularly. They gave me some meds to stop it, got a dose of steroids in, and thought I'd be able to go to the high risk unit. That night I woke up with sharp pains again and a huge gush of fluid. NICU barely made it there in time for the first baby. I was supposed to have a c-section, but ended up delivering all three vaginally in the bed. I was 24w2d.
by Group Admin on Aug. 4, 2016 at 4:22 PM

Mine always starts with a horrible back ache that I don't recognize as labor until later.

by Gold Member on Aug. 4, 2016 at 4:53 PM
Lost mucous plug
Mild contractions for 24hrs
Water broke
DS born 12 hour later 😊

by Silver Member on Aug. 4, 2016 at 6:08 PM

With my first, I woke up at 2:30 am to pee.  While sitting on the toilet I got hit with a strong contraction (pain level 7-8 on a scale of 10).  When I got back in bed, I had another one.  Then another a few minutes later.  Hard contractions continued every 3 minutes.  Woke my husband after an hour.  He timed them for an hour and then we called the midwife.  She said to stay home and call back in an hour.  45 minutes later we called and said we were going in.  Got to the hospital around 5:30 and he was born at 8:20 am or so.

With my second, I didn't know I was in labor until I got to the hospital.  I had what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions (tightening high up) that started to move lower and feeling like very mild menstrual cramps (seriously, no pain at all, pain level 1-2 on a scale of 10).  Had to pee a dozen times within an hour.  Called in and they thought I had a UTI so I went in.   Was 5 cm dilated when I got to the hospital and she was born 1.5 hour later.

by Emma on Aug. 4, 2016 at 6:09 PM

Because the baby came out :P

by on Aug. 4, 2016 at 6:11 PM
Unfortunately I knew with my first when the head came out
by Bronze Member on Aug. 4, 2016 at 7:01 PM
I was having contractions went in because I thought my water had broke but Dr said no, told me I was only 2 cm dilated! Wanted to watch me for an hour and he came back in and asked was I ready to go and got up to go pee and water went everywhere! When he checked me I had dilated to 6cm within an hour!
by Bronze Member on Aug. 4, 2016 at 7:32 PM

DD1 - contractions started and didn't stop. got closer together, and progressively more painful. went in to the hospital around 8-9pm-ish, was dilated to 4cm, and had her at 3:53am.

DS1 - had my 39 week appointment, was 3cm dilated and lived 45 mins away at the time. had my dr strip my membranes, went and spent a few hours at my grandma's to see how things went...contractions were steady, but not enough to go in, so we went home. after we got home contractions got closer together and stronger, decided to head there around 8pm and was 4cm, dr broke my water, and he was born at 12:09am.

DD2 - had my 39 week appointment at 39w3d...wasn't dilated enough to strip my membranes, doctor was going on vacation two days later for a couple of weeks. decided to induce. went home and waited for the call to come in...went in at about 8pm, pitocin started at 9:30ish, she was born at 1:29am. 

by Platinum Member on Aug. 4, 2016 at 10:07 PM

1st my water broke and ten mins later contractions started.

2nd I woke up to contractions that got closer and stronger.

3rd woke up to strong contractions. I got up to call my midwife and Doula. As I was moving around they got stronger and 2 mins apart.

by on Aug. 5, 2016 at 1:22 AM
With my first my water broke at 37 weeks exactly. We were at the outlet mall shopping during tax free weekend. She was sunny side up and I had horrible back labor. I'm pretty sure I hugged the anesthesiologist once the epidural was in place. With my second I went to the hospital with steady contractions but they weren't close enough so I got sent home and told to come in Monday for a blood pressure check. I contracted all weekend but no baby. I went for my blood pressure check Monday and the PA could tell I was in pain. She said I had to contract for 45 minutes before the on call doctor would check me so she "went to look for paperwork" so I would have an excuse to stay the 45 minutes. The on call doctor came to check and said I was between 4 and 5 cm dialled, then asked how far away I lived. We were expecting an ice storm and she didn't want us having to drive through it if we didn't have to. Once I told her I lived a half hour away she asked me if I was ready for my epidural and to meet her upstairs to break my water. Thank God she was on call and not my doctor because he would have sent me home and I know my body. Once I hit 6cm I get to ten within an hour. I was 38 weeks exactly. I met her upstairs, had my epidural and my water broken and laid back and watched football. It was all smooth until all sorts of nurses ran in and put me on oxygen and started turning me on my side because they lost the heartbeat. Turns out I went from 6cm to 10cm in 15 minutes and he was already in the birth canal. He is my Washington born baby, the rest of us were all born in Texas.
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