Been there, done that moms: How did you know you were in labor?
That's the question one our site Community member jwl4545 posed to her peers in a quest to get a handle on what it's really like.
Dozens replied, with answers varying from textbook signs of labor to more unique experiences. Here are seven of their stories...
1. Kerich1117: I woke up to a jolt, almost like someone kicked my stomach but without pain. I stood up and my water broke. Very obvious contractions started almost immediately. Baby was here 5 hours later. There was no mistaking it was labor!
2. Mackloti: There was no question for me. I never felt any Braxton Hicks throughout my pregnancy, but my first contractions started at 8pm. They were about 30 minutes in between at first. I went out to eat and ran some errands before deciding to get some sleep at around 11pm. The contractions were too strong to be able to sleep and they kept becoming more frequent...I downloaded a contraction timer app on my phone and called the nurses line when they were 2 minutes apart to get the green light to go to the hospital. My water did not break until I was about 8cm dilated in the hospital.
3. Wjk2016: I was getting ready to get out of bed and go to work when I felt a little pop and my water broke. A lot. Contractions didn't start for a few hours later.
4. BelovedSteph: I hadn't felt her move in a while, so I went to the hospital. They hooked me up and said I was having contractions. I couldn't feel them. Just some pain in my back. Then they broke my water and all hell broke loose. Had her 1.5 hours later.
5. Sloanemommy: My water has never broke on its own, but both times my contractions started on their own. I get a ton of Braxton Hicks in the 3rd tri, which are strong but not painful. So when I suddenly started getting painful tightening, I know they were something different. Then they just got stronger and closer together, to the point I couldn't talk through them. My instinct would be to hold my breath, but I had to force myself to breathe through them. That's when I went in
6. griddlecakespartyog: It felt like someone had stuck dull knives in my back and abdomen and were slowly turning them counterclockwise.
7. Jenelifant: My experience was almost exactly the same with both of my kids. I wake up in the wee hours of the morning with kinda painful bladder pressure. I get up, go to the bathroom, go lay back down. Bladder is empty but pain is still lingering, then all of a sudden it stops and I begin to drift back off. Then BAM, the pain is back. It took a while with my first before I realized there was a pattern in effect, but with my second I knew what was happening and started timing them. Then I got up and my water broke with both.
I'm one of the women whose water breaks without any other warning signs. With both of my boys it was thankfully more of a trickle than a gush, but then my contractions couldn't get going without Pitocin.
What interested me most about hearing from experienced moms is how much more in tune you can get with your body through each subsequent birth. Years ago a friend of mine was working full time while pregnant with her fifth child. Most days she had no problem keeping up, then all of a sudden a day came she said, "I think I'm done."
She went home early and gave birth 12 hours later! It amazed me how instinctively, even without contractions or her water breaking, she knew she'd reached her max and it was time.
Your turn! How did you know you were in labor?
Images via iStock
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.