Lemme set the stage:
Sweet young mother wakes...gently places a hand on her belly. Her face becomes curious...and happy.
"Honey...", she gently shakes her love awake. "I think it's time."
"Hmmm? Let me get the car, my love." says her adoring hubby, while giving her a kiss and patting her belly lovingly.
Stop! I wanna know right now! Do you love me? Will you love me forev...
Oops, sorry. Meatloaf sometimes takes over my brain...
Anywho, that scenario above? The nice, quiet, all-knowing "Honey it's time" scenario?
It's all a buncha crap! BS my friends!!
Let me give you a statistic...37 women out of 10 don't really know "if it's time". 'Specially if it's bambino #1.
Or, perhaps, even bambino #5...not that I'm mentioning any names on that one. Ahem...*blushing*.
There's a lot of information out there on how to determine "when it's time".
Oh, the doc's, the midwives, the books...they'll all tell you different things. All good "guidelines"...and you'll nod and "mmm, hmm" and agree...until...
Those contractions start. You'll think, "ohmigosh this MUST be it!!!!" and you'll pack a bag (oh, who am I kidding?! I know, with our first babes, we all had our hospital bags packed as soon as we entered our third trimester!!) and you'll get all excited and head off to the doctor.
Your cervix is closed.
And located somewhere near your tonsils (which is made apparent when the doctor or nurse examines you and it feels like they're up to their elbows in you...).
And, by this time, you'll notice...by golly, those pesky contractions have slowed down.
And, you'll head home, slightly embarrassed (don't be...we all do it...even, ahem, those of us who have had multiple labors before...not mentioning names again *cough*mama.m.wantedtobeinlaborbutwasn't*cough*)...still pregnant, and convinced you'll "never do that again".
Until, "again" comes around...contractions, timely contractions, seemingly "painful" contractions...and off you go.
*Ding Ding...Round 2*
Same ol' same ol'.
YOU, my friend, are experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions...or, "prodromal" labor. Contractions, that can be painful (and by pain, I mean you have no idea what real pain is at this point...), and regular.
So, I am here to give you a coupla pointers!
A few of my own "guidelines"...just for YOU!
First, dear sweet young mother...lemme just say...
YOU'LL KNOW when it's real labor!!
Labor is pain like you've never experienced before. And I don't say this to scare you.
I'm just trying to be honest. Just call me, Mama Honest, today.
If you are TRULY in labor, you will KNOW when it is time to go to the hospital.
You will have no doubt in that mind of yours that it is time to birth that babe you've waited so long for.
Only thing is...sometimes those pesky "teaser" contractions, can truly be quite painful. Pain that makes you think..."gosh, this must be it!!"
(Again, pain is relative...i.e. ask a first time mother how painful her contractions are in early labor, and she's sure to tell you "10!!!"...ask that same mother further along in her labor and she'll say something to the effect of, "You know those contractions that I told you were a 10 earlier? Yeah, they were more like a negative 75 compared to these!!!")
So, here are some more pointers:
If the contractions go away with position changes...it's not labor.
If you can walk and talk through your contractions...it's not labor.
If you take a warm bath, and the contractions go away...it's not labor.
So, try this...
You notice you are contracting and you are standing up walking around...sit down...do they go away? Or, vice versa...if you are sitting, laying, relaxing...get up and move...do they go away then?
If yes...stay home. Labor is probably "starting", but not really active yet.
If not...take a warm bath. Typically, "real" labor will NOT slow down with a bath, in fact, sometimes taking a bath will intensify labor...then you'll REALLY know!
If you're really eager for labor to start...and you notice that your contractions are happening when you are up and about...go for a walk...do some "squats" with contractions, you might just get things going a bit more!
And if your water breaks? Well, then all bets are off.
Mama M. doesn't hold a candle to what your doctor or midwife or favorite pregnancy "How To" book says...follow their advice and "protocol" on water breakage.
Seems like there's a bit of varying opinion on this one...so, just give them a call.
Well, you know...give the doc or the midwife a call. Unless you've got the author of your favorite preggo book on speed-dial...then, feel free to call her. Or him. Whoever. (Whomever?)
Now, I hafta say, you probably won't pay any attention to those guidelines above when the time actually comes.
You'll probably be all, "Oh, that nut job Mama M., she doesn't know what the heck she's talkin' about!"...and you'll pack yourself off to the doctor.
You might stay.
You might not.
Just consider yourself warned!
Wise woman once say: She who's not sure if she is in labor...isn't in labor.