In movies, we see pregnant moms suddenly clutch their bellies, and in minutes, they are already in full labor and need to rush to the hospital. That’s not what actually happens. Let me share my experiences as a mom of two and a full-time nurse.
False Labor vs. True Labor
There are actually two types of labor pain. False labor, also known as Braxton Hicks contractions, is irregular, short, and mild tightening of the abdomen. The discomfort can be relieved by walking, resting or changing positions.
True labor contractions radiate to the back, sides, thighs and pelvis. Walking or changing position doesn’t offer any relief. The contractions will also become more regular, intense and frequent.
How do I know when I should go to the hospital?
If you have low pain tolerance, you will definitely think that the baby is about to come out. However, contractions aren’t the only sign of labor. To avoid panicking, and early admission to the hospital, observe for these signs:
- Lightening. In layman's terms, this is when the baby “drops” and our baby bump looks lower. The baby has positioned into the pelvis.
- Increased urination. As the baby descends into the pelvis, he or she pushes against our bladder, which causes frequent restroom visits
- Bloody show. As the baby’s head presses against the cervix, it expels the mucus plug that keeps the cervix closed.
- Dilation and thinning of the cervix. Once you are in the hospital, the doctor will perform internal exams (IEs) to learn if you are approaching full dilation of 10 centimeters.
- Water break. Leaking colorless and odorless fluids means your amniotic sac has ruptured.
Will I experience all the labor signs?
Not all expectant mothers experience all these signs. When I gave birth in 2011, I experienced everything except the rupture of the amniotic sac. During my second pregnancy in 2014, my water did not break and there was no bloody show. The most important thing to do is to keep your gynecologist informed. Your doctor knows best!
My labor story
I went to see my doctor for a regular check-up about three days after the first labor signs started to appear. During the IE, my doctor found I was already 3 to 4 centimeters dilated. That very moment, he ordered that I get admitted for labor watch.
Then came the true labor pain that went for hours, and felt like a lifetime. I have high pain tolerance and could handle the false contractions, but the real contractions were unimaginable. I didn’t even notice when they inserted the IV because I was busy figuring out what position would make the pain less excruciating.
I opted for an IV sedation instead of epidural anesthesia, because it was cheaper and my doctor told me that epidural anesthesia could cause back pain in the future. When I couldn’t take the pain any longer, I asked my doctor to transfer me to the operating room table ASAP.
After that, time flew quickly. They told me to push, which I did, and the last thing I remember before blacking out was my doctor doing an episiotomy. My husband wasn’t with me in the operating room because of hospital policy (probably to protect the sterile environment), but they allowed my doctor to take pictures. So, if you want to document your birth, learn the hospital policy beforehand so you can plan!
I woke up in the recovery room, and was transferred to my room when I was stable enough. A few hours later, baby was roomed in with me and the rest was history. Amazing!
How much will hospitalization cost?
When I worked as a nurse, normal delivery was about P55 to 65k, and Caesarean section was about P100 to 120k. Fees can depend on the doctor, hospital and unique factors in your case. Your doctor can give you a quotation, but try to save more than that for unexpected costs like IV medications or extended hospital stays.
As someone who experienced labor twice, and who also stays beside expectant mothers as a profession, I can say that labor hurts – but it’s worth it. Pregnancy is indeed a very special journey, and you will always cherish the memories.
Do you want to share your labor stories or ask any questions. Drop a comment below and let's interact. I would love to hear from you.
About The Writer
Yvonne Claire M. Bertoldo is the mom behind www.whatyvonneloves.com, where she shares everything she loves – newly discovered restaurants, travel experiences, makeup reviews, and exciting events. She is a single mom to an 8-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy. A registered nurse, she is currently working at Maternity and Children Hospital in Najran, Saudi Arabia. In her free time, she enjoys karaoke, watching Netflix, and going to the arcade with her kids.