False labor, Braxton Hicks, prodromal labor, prolonged labor: these are all the most annoying terms an expectant mother can hear. Each is different and hosts its own annoying qualities.
As an all-natural home-birthing mother who has gone through 4 pregnancies, I have a lot to say on the subject of labor and birthing. My mom keeps trying to tell me that “we didn’t have Braxton Hicks when I had you.” I guarantee it existed, people just didn’t know what to call it.
Nowadays we have categories and nice little terms to define every tiny thing. I don’t care what it’s called, when you’re pregnant and experiencing any kind of contractions the body gets taxed.
I’ve had Braxton Hicks. They started at 20 weeks this time around.
My kids mixed up the name and kept following me around asking if I was having more Brandon Hickles contractions. They made me laugh so hard it eased the slight discomfort. Because they do generally have some kind of effect on a person. Sometimes its exciting to know that things are moving along, sometimes it’s annoying.
Each time I have a baby they start earlier.
The modern trend of having only 1 or 2 kids seems to have lost a bit of insight for parents of bigger families. My grandmother had 8 kids. I imagine she had a lot more knowledge of labor and birthing than a lot of medical pros nowadays.
Braxton Hicks are just little annoying contractions that don’t do much, but they serve a purpose. The body is always practicing for labor. When nearing the end of a pregnancy they can be discouraging, but nothing too bad.
False labor can be different. Depending on the source, this is really just a blanket term for labor that doesn’t result in a baby.
I am so sick of “experts” who either have 1 child or no children with only second hand knowledge pretending that Hollywood births are standard. Pregnancies in TV and movies is usually a joke or some kind of fairy tale. Bellies don’t pop out nearly as far as in real life, the aches and pains are magically downplayed, and labor is consistent and easy to determine.
Someday maybe I’ll get the baby movie I deserve about a giant pregnant woman who keeps going into labor and NOT having a baby. That happens. It’s agonizing, but funny when looking back.
Prodromal labor can mimic active labor (the real show). I’ve been through this plenty of times and still never know exactly how to be sure. Contractions can come steadily, increase in pain, and last for hours with no baby.
With each kid this is more common. With my son, my 3rd child, I experienced strong, painful, steady contractions that mimicked real labor consistently for a few hours every day for about a week or 2 before he was born. It was ridiculous. I’d think it was time, call the midwife, and have nothing for her to do. It made me mistrust myself and my crazy body.
The trade-off is that I usually only have about 6 hours of active labor and pushing goes fast. But it’s still confusing and frustrating.
At 38 weeks, with this last baby, baby #4, I had steady contractions that grew stronger and mimicked real labor the night before labor day (go fig) for 10-12 hours. The midwife, my husband, and I were sure I was having a baby. Imagine our exhaustion when the contractions decided to stop at 5:30 in the morning after a long night.
I’m still struggling to get over that. The disappointment was enormous. My body was done. My mind was a fried egg. I decided, “This baby is never coming!” and sulked like a brat for a few days. #Hormones
The contractions started right up again as soon as I gave up and went about my day. But of course I wouldn’t dilate past 4 cm and they’d stop at bed time for a little while.
The female body takes a lot. Women handle chronic pain a lot better then men do because of crap like this. The trade off is that men generally handle stab wounds and gun shot wounds better than we do, so maybe that’s why they’re more likely to go to war… just to experience the equivalent of what we battle through. haha I don’t know.
I def feel as if I’ve been to war many times. People who say that childbirth is a miracle and imagine it to be this “beautiful” thing must appreciate blood and guts and pain.
Or they just like the idea of life starting, not the reality that truly brings it about. I say that childbirth is work. It takes dedication to take of yourself and grow a healthy baby. Having the right attitude and properly preparing for natural childbirth takes a lot of determination. There’s a reason we call it, “labor.”
Every birthing story is different. The outcomes do vary. And getting there is one hell of a ride.
For all the mommies to-be who are experiencing the different forms of labor and contractions, it won’t last forever. I always have to keep telling myself that. Sometimes I even joked about naming this last kid Brandon Hickles haha Laughter sometimes brought on more contractions, but it eased my head and my heart.
For anyone supporting these women, just be there for them. You can’t fix it or make it any less painful, but you can listen and comfort, or maybe break out some humor.