Was it obvious or a gradual realisation? I'm 39+ with dc2 but didn't labour normally with dc1 - waters went at home but no contractions so ended up with an epidural and syntocin drip. So don't really know what to expect this time! Now thinking it could be anytime - which feels a bit strange, exciting but scary at the same time! Having said that had a sweep a few days ago and cervix not really favourable, plus dc1 was 10 days late, so could be ages away! Just interested in other people's experiences!
It wasn't a gradual realisation but it wasn't sudden either if that makes any sense.
I started with quite mild cramps but there was a rhythm and pattern to them which made me think 'this is it' but at the same time I was aware early labour can be stop start so I just went to bed with my tens to get some rest in.
I woke 5 hours later (it was night time) to painful cramps and thought it unlikely it would stop from there but it still took a further hour before they became so painful that I could see we were really going to have the baby and this wasn't going to fizzle out.
In retrospect this is a really good way for labour to start as you can get some rest and something to eat before you're in too much pain for either but really need the energy.
I'm already worrying about coping with the pain! Because I had the drip last time the few contractions I did experience were very intense and I needed an epidural. But hoping if things build up gradually I'll manage better this time, and only need the tens and gas and air.
I was 3 days overdue so the boyfriend and I did the deed and as usual it set off mild Braxton Hicks in me. A few hours later I felt like something went "pop" inside me and the pain changed and I has a bloody show. Then I knew business was really getting started!
Agree with a previous poster that it wasn't a sudden thing but not really gradual either... I remember being woken up 3 times the night before I went into labour, and sort of being aware that I was having 'pains' but I just went straight back to sleep and didn't think anything of it. The next morning I stood up and my waters broke at 10.30 am. It wasn't a sudden 'gush' though, it was a trickle and I was unsure whether I'd weed myself. I was getting pains every so often which I now realise were contractions. I went to the hospital convinced that they were going to tell me it was just wee and BH that I was having! DS was born at 7.30 pm after 50 minutes in active labour - it took me several hours to get to 3 cm dilated but after labour really kicked in he was born 50 minutes later.
I went to aquanatal at 39+4, afterwards I just felt a bit funny. Went home, had an afternoon nap, woke up with a slight tightening and then realised they were every 10 mins. They went away, so had dinner that OH made even though I really didn't want to eat it, had a late bath for ages, got out about 12pm with contractions every 5 mins. Told OH to sleep. Contractions were manageable but got faster -- rang ward at about 3am when I had a show and contractions were still ok but every 2 mins, went in at 5am (still ever 2 mins but painful) but was only 1cm, was in active labour at 9:15am (when waters went with a massive pea soup gush, twice!) and DS was born at 12:44pm.
4pm mucus plug lost 6pm water went 7pm contractions started (taxi to hospital went over speed bump and set them off)
I thought losing the mucus plug started it but had EXTREMELY bad back ache since 6am thinking it was normal pregnancy. Then got told in labour my baby boy was back to back so I think it all kicked off that morning jut didn't realise
Just to add that mine was very obvious (after multiple false starts). Waters went while sat in bed around 11pm with a gush -panicked and sat on my only remaining maternity leggings to save the bed which was not ideal!). Contractions started an hour or so later (while I waited for the dryer to sort the leggings) at about 1am and ramped up very quickly -as I say very obvious. He was born by 10am. Good luck
I was 37 weeks and thought i was having Brixton hicks as I am a wimp with pain and they were not regular at all. 3 days of major discomfort and I still had no idea it was the real thing as they were still really irregular. Then my waters went and the contractions finally got regular so I went straight to the birth centre. I was already 6cm on arrival and dd arrived 20 mins later.