it can be quite normal, yes. your body might just be gearing up for the real thing, it might be a long latent stage if baby is OP for example it's not true labour if it has stopped, you are probably warming up i had lots of stop start contractions with DD, and then once it got going, it developed a rhythm and a pattern and did not die off
I had true labour that stalled for several hours over night. With baby #3 I'd been in early labour all day, getting into active labour at night, with strong contractions 3-4 minutes apart for a few hours and then it just stopped for about four hours so I got some sleep.
I'm not convinced there's a normal course of labour, op. Everyone's rhythm seems different. But contractions are doing something, getting your body ready, helping your baby into position, toning up your uterus. It's all good
Did you have any contractions with the first baby?
This is very normal. Some people call it prelabour but I hate that term.
Basically, you are in labour, but not enough for anybody (Except you) to get excited about. The more labour you can do like this, the shorter and easier the hard work bit, but only if you have the energy, so make sure you eat and get as much rest as you can.
Good things to do at this stage are a)practise your coping techniques with each contraction so that it becomes second nature when you really need it. b)get those 'feel good' hormones going however you can. i.e. laughing, watching a comedy (RomCom good), eating cake, cuddling, sex, snuggling up into clean sheets - whatever does it for you. b)distract yourself d)rest rest rest, e)give yourself a pep talk about not going into hospital too early because this won't make your baby come any faster, and worse, stats show it can make your baby come later.
Forgot to say, - OP or not, adopt good posture and good birthing positions NOW to help ensure that baby is in a good position.
Sit on your birth ball and wiggle your hips, or on a kitchen chair backwards with you leaning forwards, or the toilet. Or kneel on the floor leaning on the sofa or cushion. Don't slouch or lie back. If lying do so on your left.
If you have spare energy you can walk upstairs sideways or crawl around on hands and knees.
I had this with DC2, waters broke then very on/off contractions for 24 hours. At hospital check was only 1-2 cm, but midwife did fairly heavy-duty (painful) sweep and DD was born 4 hours later. Maybe you could request sweep to get things moving? Good luck.
When a contraction start, breath out and then start breathing in VERY slowly, filling your lungs whilst counting as fast as you can in your head (aim for 25 - doesn't matter if you don't make it) and then breath out VERY slowly.
Once you have got that sorted (practise on the less painful ones now) you can add things like imagining you are somewhere really lovely and warm (if you like warm) whilst you are counting.
Once you have got used to that, imagine something that makes you go 'Mmmmmmmm', like a massage, or a cake, or sex. I liked to imagine a someone lightly moving their fingers down my back and making it go all tingly.
It's the very basics of hypnobirthing and it is very effective. Try it.