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Is it Time?

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...

Yes, 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.

To discover...

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 golly, those pesky contractions have slowed down.

Or stopped.

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.

At. All.

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's not labor.

If you can walk and talk through your's not labor.

If you take a warm bath, and the contractions go's not labor.

So, try this...

You notice you are contracting and you are standing up walking around...sit they go away? Or, vice versa...if you are sitting, laying, relaxing...get up and 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 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, 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.


  1. You speak the truth! I tell women the same thing when I am teaching about labor.

  2. Ha! I am so the opposite of what you just described! With both of my kids I didn't know if I "needed" to go to the doctor. I mean, the contractions were sometimes 2 minutes apart, but then sometimes they were 5 minutes apart. They are supposed to be consistent, right?! :) Anyway, with my second baby, I was having contractions that were bad enough that I would need to bend over or hold on to something, but I didn't think it was "that time" yet (craziness, I know), so I continued to stay outside with my bigger man and pull his 4-wheeler out of the trees when he would get stuck. And when I finally decided to go to the hospital, they couldn't believe I had walked in by myself, because I was already 5 cm dilated! :) Makes me wonder if a 3rd baby will be delivered while on the way to the hospital!

  3. Neat post. I had no clue with my first, but knew immediately with the second. Following you back from FF!

  4. I think I'm a freak of nature. Lol! The morning of my baby's birth (second) I felt contractions but they really didn't hurt at all. I even went to work to finish things up! When I left work and started timing contractions I called my man & I was still all "Dude, I guess we should go.." He left work & came & got me and I walked myself up to the L&D floor- I was sure they were gonna send me home (and they probably thought so, too!) But they checked me & I was 5CM already. I had my girl within !out 3 hours of arriving at the hospital.
    Hopefully the next one is more...I dunno, intense labor? (Who wishes for that?!) I don't wanna have a baby in the car on the way to the hospital... Lol

  5. I LOVE this post; however, it did not happen to me that way. With my first I had contractions and went into labor and delivery and told them I "think" I might be in labor. They gave me a weird look and laughed at me. They said "you think you are in labor." Again I said yes I think I am in labor. They proceeded to take me back. They told me that since I was 36 weeks they would try to stop labor if they could. They measured me and I was at 6 cm. I had him within 3 hours of going to the hospital.

  6. You are right on knowing if you are in real labor by the intensity of the contractions. All that timing contractions is bologna. At least it was for me. With my second I had the BH's all the time. I knew I was really in labor when they started dropping me to my knees. They still were so sporadic though. If I would have waited to go to the hospital until they were "timing right" I would have had my son at home.

  7. This was a great post!

    When I was preg with Jaina, her head was SO low in the birth canal, that every doctor and midwife that checked me said, "Oh, you'll have this baby by this weekend for sure." starting at 37 weeks.

    Um, she was born at 41 weeks 3 days gestation, thank you very much. After 24 hours of labor. So, she didn't just "fall" out of me like everyone had predicted. That was my first lesson that no one knows jack about when your baby is coming!

    My labor with my son was different. I went in to get checked after a few some mild contractions and I was at a 6!!! And then it still took 12 hours for him to come!

  8. So I've been reading your blog for a few months now, and this is my first time commenting!
    This post is hilarious, and so true!! Great pointers :P

  9. So true this is my fifth pregnancy and I actually have never went into labor on my own (well I was but didn't know it till they hooked me up to the machine right before the pitocin). Thanks for not sugar coating it.

  10. Another "the exceptions prove the rule" girl here! Short and fast, every time. Walking/talking through it, every time. Super intense pain, not a single time (well, until that whole pushing thing....).

    BUT -- I absolutely did KNOW each time. Something is just, different, when you hit that real thing part.

    Even if, like me, you walk in w/#1 and the nurses gather around to see the crazy "you *walked* up here??" girl in labor who is nearly 8 cms already.

  11. Too funny. I am sad that I never got to experience any of that. For my first one I was induced, I know what contractions feel like because of that but I have never had that "it is happening" steak of fear hit. And he was an emergency c-section. The other ones have all been planned c-sections. :( Oh well. Funny post though.

  12. Love it!! I really love your style of writing. Such a humorous spin on things! Thanks for the laughs!!

  13. With my first, I was told to wait until my contractions were 5 minutes apart for an hour. What I wasn't told is that some women never get regular contractions. We showed up at the hospital with minutes to spare. Fully dialated, too late for drugs, not even technically admitted to the hospital until after baby boy was born. SCARY.

  14. You crack me UP! You have to be one of my favorite blogs to read!!!!!

  15. All 3 of my babes were delivered an hour away from my home so I could use midwives. To my husband's dismay, I might add, since we live 5 minutes from our local hospital.

    Baby #1 came 4 weeks early so I went to the hospital (after speaking to my midwife for about the 10th time that day) fully expecting to be sent home thinking they were just BH. However I was dilated to 5 when we got there. She came about 5 hours later - total labor about 15 hours.

    Baby #2 came 6 days late - when we got to the hospital and my midwife checked me, I was COMPLETELY dilated! The nurse asked me why I waited so long to come in. I was like Um, I didn't! I called when I started having contractions. He was born about 3 hours after my first contraction.

    Baby #3 was 2 weeks early and the first one that my water broke at home with. He came about 5 hours after my first contraction.

    There will be no baby #4 [the factory shut down :)], but I still enjoyed reading your post!

  16. Hysterical!!! I especially loved the part where you talked about your cervix being closed, thick and located near your tonsils- what a HOOT!!!!! Great post ;-)

  17. LOL!!! Can I get an Amen! Holy mackeral that is so true! I think near the end I went to the hospital like every weekend thinking I was in labor (especially since I had bronchitis). When its time you just know....I was asked by a young girl what labor felt like. I told her flat out - it felt like my insides were being yanked out with a vacuum.

  18. Then there's those of us who are in complete denial that they are in labor :) With my second I couldn't walk or talk through my contractions and I kept telling my husband I was fine and wasn't in labor. He had to drag me to the hospital because I didn't believe I was in labor! I was 5 cm on arrival :)

  19. Amen! I have had three kids and I don't know if I would know if for sure I was in labor. I was induced with the last two. Cute post.

  20. So true. It's been many years since I went through this, but I didn't have any false alarms. When I thought it was time, it was time.

  21. You are scaring me with these posts lately lady!!

    Juuuuuuuuust kidding. I don't care if you tell me poop is going to come out of my mouth and I'm going to labor for 100 hours. I still can't wait.

    Except the whole thing about poop coming out of my mouth (did you ever see that south park episode? I'm not just making this stuff up), because that would be pretty nasty and I really hope that doesn't happen!

  22. I can't help but feel this post was for little ole' me. :) I'm in the waiting game ... the final week of my pregnancy and every twinge, every Braxton Hicks contraction is making me a little nutty. Thanks for your humor and for your practical wisdom. Both are much-needed right now!

  23. With my first, my water broke and we couldn't decide if we should wait until things got going or head in so we called the doc. Good thing he said to come in. The contractions started HURTING on the way to the hospital. Of course it was December in MN, so we were glad to have plenty of time to go in.

    I was induced with the 2nd one but both times I went in before it was time because of braxton hicks. I have them almost constantly the last 1/3 of my pregnancies. I wasn't complaining with the 2nd one because I was dilated to a 4 by the time I was 36 weeks thanks to those contractions so they are so bad!

    The third... we'll see. I'll probably just come see Mama M. at work!

  24. I just have to say, the Meatloaf reference (especially one of my faves of his songs) just made my crush on you a little bit bigger!


  25. Oh, how this made me laugh!

    When I was pg the first time, I "thought" I was in labor, even though the nurse in me knew I wasn't. However, we went to the hospital because I was hoping they would feel sorry for me...even though I wasn't even, ahem, overdue or anything.

    What do you know? Praise Jesus! My blood pressure was 210/118 and I had 4+ protein in my urine. Hello preeclampsia! Thanks for getting me induced!

  26. I was feeling sick the entire day. Like throwing up, and more. I thought I had eaten something or that I had come down with something. Never occured to me that it could be labor. Then it was 9:05pm and I had just settled in to watch Grey's Anatomy, and my water broke. I got up and went to the bathroom, then came out and told Andy that it was time to think about going. So, I went to take a shower, and he flipped out. He was frantic that Addyson would pop out at home. Funny. I went through 23 hours of labor, 2 of which were spent pushing...all to end in a stinkin' c-section. My dr. didn't even let me consider a VBAC with Colton. Scheduled there too. I'm still not totally over it. I really would've like to experience at least one childbirth the natural way.

  27. I have to tell contractions never really hurt that bad and my labor was super quick. No pain meds either. Thank goodness I was induced or I would've probably would've given birth at home! I guess we're all different.

  28. I went to my last doctor appointment with my first baby. I had high blood pressure and had been on bedrest for a few weeks. When my doctor checked my cervix I just so happened to be 5cm dilated and I umm... really didn't feel like I was in labor at all. I was not having regular contractions. Only sign that something was happening was the loss of mucous plug the day before.

    With my second it was really obvious as my water broke after about three contractions and I had my baby 2 1/2 hours later.

    With my third and fourth... well, I had many weeks of hours of regular contractions every single night (Starting at 24 weeks.) Never did have a false alarm until my fourth baby. I knew that child was going to come early though. Put myself on pelvic/bedrest and he still came 5 weeks early!

    Generally what you say is definitely true but there are always exceptions. I always wonder how some women manage to give birth without ever knowing they are pregnant!


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