Hi there, anxious Mama,
I know you might be feeling all kinds of emotions right now, with days or weeks away from your due date, you might be getting anxious with each passing day.
It’s perfectly fine to feel this way; every first-time mother and even second-time mums feel this way before their due date, contemplating what will happen and what won’t.
Truth be told, with my delivery, I wasn’t expecting much because I didn’t know what to expect.
You read so many stories online or hear from your mother or sisters or friends about their labor and their experiences, and every story is different from each other. My mother’s water broke when she was playing cards with her sisters, while my aunt went into labor while watching her favorite film.
Each labor story and each baby delivery experience is different.
No matter how many stories you listen to, you’d have to go through it to actually know how your labor would be. I know it’s ironic and funny, but that’s the truth.
Some women are blessed and lucky, and they have easy peasy labor, while some women will have 48 hours of labor and would still be only 6 cms dilated and then have a C-section.
You might have made up all these plans in your mind about your labor and delivery but there are no guarantee things will go according to it.
The baby might come sooner or won’t even budge on the due date. So, don’t try to fret, anticipating what will happen during your labor.
For me, I had visited the hospital for a routine check-up and was then sent back home. That night, my husband noticed I was very uneasy during my sleep, and I think part of it is because of the big belly in front of me, which never let me be in the perfect position to sleep.
Everything was normal and usual for me, and my water didn’t break to indicate I was in labor. Rather I started getting these mild cramps in my stomach, milder than period cramps. So, I totally ignored it and went on with my day.
By the time it was 9 am, the cramps became a little stronger and started coming in intervals. I think the reason I ignored it because as soon as the contraction was over, everything was back to normal. It didn’t even seem like I had a contraction 30 seconds before.
When I reached the hospital, they said I was already 2 cm dilated. Then came on the big, painful contractions with 5 minutes of interval, or as I’d like to say, ‘break time for water and food’, and then go back to bending over to endure the contraction. Later that day, I delivered a beautiful baby boy and was the happiest mother alive.
So that was my story, but it’s not like everybody else’s. For some women, their water breaks, or there’s mucus discharge to indicate the pregnant woman is going into labor, while for some they start getting painful contractions right from the beginning.
While some women are angry and unpleasant before their labor, some are the same as they were a few weeks ago.
So, labor stories and experiences are different for everyone. What you should do is be aware of the early signs of labor.
Early signs of labor
Your baby descends
Before you go into labor, your baby will start typically to descend or drop into your pelvis a few weeks or even days before your labor
You will start to feel periods like cramps in your stomach, or groin area, or even your lower back going through your legs.
You stop gaining or losing weight
This usually happens before you go into labor and is absolutely normal. Your baby might still be gaining weight but your amniotic fluid might be decreasing.
You lose your mucus plug
The mucus plug is like a cork sealing off your uterus from the outside world. It can either be discharged as a single, large piece or can come in bits by bits.
You might notice pinkish, bloody discharge in your underwear and is an indication of you going into labor soon. It’s not necessary that every woman experiences the loss of mucus plug early in the labor.
Stronger contractions in interval
You might start feeling contractions- a sudden pain in your stomach, your stomach might feel very tight in every contraction, and these contractions might come in equal intervals.
These intervals will start getting lesser and lesser as your contractions progress.
Try to understand the difference between real contractions and Braxton hicks. With Braxton hicks, with change in positions, Braxton hicks go away. Braxton hicks contractions never come in regular intervals. The time gap between each contraction will be varying.
Your water breaks
Water breaking is the most common indicator of a woman going into labor. But unlike what we see in movies, when the woman’s water breaks while being on a date or grocery shopping, in real life, this is not the same scenario.
Your water breaking might even be the last stage of labor.
If you think you’re in labor or are having even mild contractions, it’s best to contact your doctor immediately over the phone and talk to her about your symptoms. Your doctor will then tell you if it’s time to go to the hospital.
What I’d like to tell you, it’s a good idea to brush up your knowledge on the early signs of labor, but don’t dwell on it the whole time you’re pregnant. Being pregnant is a wonderful time, and trust me you’ll surely miss being pregnant after your delivery.
So, soak up all the time you have now, enjoy being pregnant. Be pampered, eat your favorite food (in moderation), and if you’re bored, nest away.
Located in India and a mother to a joyfully mischievous son, Kelin is the wife of the world’s most patient man and a busy homemaker. When she’s not busy cooking and running after her kid, you can find her in a corner reading, or penning down words on her laptop. She believes the world will always try to instil ‘mom guilt’ in new mothers, but she goes by the maxim ‘a mother knows best’.