View Full Version : contractions
07-01-2002, 10:13 PM
Hi all....Is someone able to give some sort of description of a contraction? Everyone I have asked says something along the lines of "there's no way to describe it but it is the most unbelievable pain you will ever experience" or "it's a different kind of pain." My stomach does a lot of tightening up, but it really isn't accompanied by any kind of pain. Sometimes I feel like I have menstrual cramps, other times it feels like gas pains, and still other times it feels like the placenta is separating from my stomach wall. I know every one says that there is no way to not know that you are in labor, but then I hear stories about women who didn't know that they were in labor and barely made it to the hospital or just had the baby at home. I'm just imagining myself peeing and then all of a sudden the baby's head popping out and me trying to run to find a shoelace or something to cut off the umbilical cord. I know, silly, but I have all this time to think about it! The baby is now four days late. I guess he inherited his/her father's stubborn streak :)
07-02-2002, 07:04 AM
For me, the contractions started as lower back pain. They felt mostly like menstrual cramps, beginning with mild ones (hey, this isn't so bad!) and finally becoming like 100 times worse than any cramp I had ever had before. That was when I asked for the epidural. After that, life was good again. But I was also on a very high dosage of Pitocin. As a result, my contractions were very strong, and one on top of the other. I had like 30 seconds between contractions and this went on for hours.
It is prettty unlikely that you won't know you're having contractions, at least not once you enter active labor. (And there's still plenty of time to get to the hospital when you're in active labor unless you live hours away.)
07-02-2002, 08:28 AM
When I was pg with Evan I would get the tightening in the stomach--it would feel like he was trying to push his butt up against my ribs. Turns out that was probably Braxton Hicks contractions or something. Because once I was at the hospital and the nurse asked if I was having contractions, I said "No" because I didn't think I was. But when the tightening happened, she said, "That's a contraction." I can't remember if I was hooked up to the monitor then. I didn't have the pain until they started the Pitocin. Then I could tell when I was having a contraction! LOL!
Then there's the whole thing about do they go away when you lie down or whatever it was. Then it's probably not a contraction.
Has you doctor said how many days they will let you go before they induce?
07-02-2002, 12:53 PM
You'll notice that almost all the "whoops, there's the baby!" stories you read in the paper happen to mothers who have already had at least one, so your chances of this kind of thing are fairly close to nil.
For the record, my labour started as painless-but-emphatic Braxton-Hicks contractions that became very regular (every ten minutes on the dot). After nineteen hours of waiting for things to pick up, we went into the hospital. "Yep," they said, "you're in labour, but nothing's happening, so might as well go home." At 11am the next morning I lost patience and had my water broken, which started the serious, can't-talk-through-them contractions, but even then La Poopie wasn't born until 8pm that night. Those contractions started in my back, and came around to the front, and they came on like irresistible tidal waves.
So I guess the moral of the story is that even when you DO know that you're in early labour, you've got time to pick up the bag and stroll out the door. As for squirting out the baby, that comes as an absolutely all-consuming total-body I HAFTA PUSH RIGHT NOW urge... and even then it takes some time to finish. Can't mistake that feeling for anything else.
Sleep as much as you can. Stock the fridge. Read a trashy novel or rent some movies. You'll be glad you did.
Hang in there,
P.S. - My mom, a retired nurse, suggested a warmish bath to me - if the contractions stop, you're not in labour. If they keep coming, you're started, and you're all nice and clean to boot! (Of course, if your water breaks, this is not necessarily an option. But then if this happens you know you're off to the races anyway.)
07-03-2002, 01:40 PM
"So I guess the moral of the story is that even when you DO know that you're in early labour, you've got time to pick up the bag and stroll out the door. "
With my son, I was totally prepared for a long early stage labor. All the books and child birth class said to expect early stage labor to last for hours before really getting going, so we planned to stay home with our doula....
Apparently, I skipped early stage labor all together. I went from no contractions to full on, 1 1/2 minute long, 10 minute apart, doubled over contractions. By the time we got to the hospital I was already 5 cm and at a +1. By the time they could push the IV for the epidural, I was already fully dialated. Believe me, we weren't strolling out the door. But we weren't delivering in the car either.
I think the reason no one can describe contractions to you is that everyone has a different experience with labor. Lots of factors affect your experience including your tolerance for pain, the shape of your uterus/pelvis, the size and orientation of the baby etc.
People used to tell me that you forget the pain after the baby is born. While I was in labor, I thought that was the insane. No way was I forgetting that pain. The second they put my son on my chest, I forgot all about it and even now remember it was bad but can't really remember the pain.
Best wishes for a wonderful birth experience and a healthy baby.
07-04-2002, 12:37 AM
I wasn't sure if I was in labor or having gas pains. I kept trying to go to the bathroom to make myself feel better but it didn't seem to work. I finally decided to check my pregnancy books which said that labor could feel like gas pains. So I was pretty sure but still not positive because the pain seemed to last a while but wasn't happening at regular intervals. Sometimes it almost seemed to be a constant pain. That started at 1:30 in the morning and didn't get regular until noon. By 2:00 they were 5 minutes apart and about a minute long so we left for the hospital. By the time we got there, I was 6 cm dialated and fully efaced. Started pushing at 5 and DS was born at 5:18. I remember the whole experience vividly but can hardly remember the pain at all and it's only been 3-1/2 months.
Not that you want any more advice at this point, but from my experience, I would say stay home as long as you can cause it's much more comfy there. I took a bath. A little while later took a shower. I spent most of the time in my glider chair rocking back and forth which I found to be the most comfortable.
Best of luck! It's an amazing experience!!! :)
07-04-2002, 06:49 AM
Same here! I can remember that I was in pain. Can picture the L&D room and everything--staring at the little dots on my hospital gown (my focus point), waiting for the pain to end. But I can't remember what the pain felt like. You forget so that you're willing to go through it again, IMO.
07-04-2002, 10:34 PM
I have been having needle pains very low down with some back pain. I too am confused as to what a contraction is. My midwife at the drs office is frustrated with me cause every time I go in she asks if I have had contractions and I honestly dont know. I just know I have had the needle pains and lower back pains. Count me in as being totally confused as well. Oh yeah....1cm dilated and 50% effaced.
07-05-2002, 09:08 PM
Well, a few hours after I posted the question, I got my answer! I was sleeping and was woken up at 1:30 because I thought I had peed myself. An hour later I started to get regular contractions. We went to the hospital way too early, but only because I thought my water had broken. Turns out it was the mucus plug. Got to the hospital at 4:00am and waited nearly five hours for a doctor to see me! (Our hospital is crap.) My water still hadn't broken, but the contractions were regular and at that point I was at 3 cm, so they kept me there. I would much rather have gone home and labored some more there because they wouldn't let me eat or anything until the doctor looked at me, which is fine, but then don't take five hours to sneak a peek! I finally reached 10cm at 9:00pm and my little boy was born at 11:30.
I have to say, I've always thought I had a high threshold for pain, but apparently I was fooling myself because I got lots of drugs. My contractions felt like really bad cramps. No back labor, just really really bad cramps. And they are intense. They just kind of roll over your stomach. And they hurt like hell. But a good friend of mine had said the afternoon before I went into labor that you are unable to recall pain specifically, and it's so true. I know that it hurt a whole lot, and I wouldn't want to do it again tomorrow, but I can't re-enact it in any way. I think a big problem with me is that I went to the hospital way too early and didn't eat or sleep for nearly the entire time. I knew that when I reached 10cm it meant that I still had to push and that could take however long.
How do you count how long labor is? I am counting it from the first contraction. They couldn't figure out when my water broke. So I am saying that I was in labor from 2:30am to 11:30pm. Is that right?
07-05-2002, 10:28 PM
First off, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Name? Details? Or is that info someplace else I haven't read yet? Just curious.
I guess you can make your "labor" however long you want to. You could say mine was 11 hours--since my water broke ~7:30am and Evan was born at 6:24pm. But I just always count it from when they started the Pitocin at 12:30pm, since I wasn't having any contractions of note until then. And I wanted to start pushing around 4:30pm, but until we got the nurse, they shoed my parents out of the room, checked me, and let me start pushing, got the doctor, etc., it was probably closer to 4:50pm.
You know, I had something else I wanted to say, but the thought has left my brain. Oh, well. Oh, I remember. Did I mention I couldn't get an epidural because I had spinal surgery when I was 14 and they were concerned about scar tissue, metal rod in my back, etc. (I never did locate a set of x-rays from back then for next time.) I just had some super pain shot to take the "edge" off. Don't know if it helped or not. Luckily I can't remember the pain either, and am almost ready to go through it again.
07-05-2002, 10:30 PM
Never mind! Found the info! :-)
Welcome to the world, Gannon! :-) :-) :-)
07-06-2002, 11:30 AM
Congratulations! Welcome to the wonderful world of motherhood. :)
07-06-2002, 12:46 PM
Congratulations! Sounds like things went very well. Glad that you and little Gannon are home safe and sound!
Best of luck!
Another wonderful little person to celebrate life with!
(great timing on these message boards too... I'm due anytime this week or early next...)
07-08-2002, 10:46 AM
One question for the crowds: where do you find out the good news? I haven't been able to locate the link and would very much like to be a part of the excitement.
07-09-2002, 08:15 AM
If you're talking about "jojo2324's" good news, look at the last post in this thread:
>One question for the crowds: where do you find out the good
>news? I haven't been able to locate the link and would very
>much like to be a part of the excitement.
07-09-2002, 11:22 AM
Thanks so much--I wasn't sure if there was a designated thread or not.
07-10-2002, 09:36 AM
Thanks everyone! Sorry, I am no longer able to look at these message boards with as much frequency now :) We are all healthy and happy. We did have to go back to the hospital for a day or two to monitor him because of jaundice, but that has cleared up. Off to take a nap!
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.1 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.