Re: contractions (possibly tmi?)
This is your third baby…I’m having my first. Can you describe what the contractions feel like? Is it a tightening? A cramp?
For me, they start out feeling like bad period cramps. You can feel your stomach go hard, and (if your baby is sitting up high like this one) it gets a bit hard to breathe for a bit. Most of my pain starts at the bottom of my stomach (a hand’s width from my belly button, maybe less) and radiates up.
On a graph, the pain rating kinda looks like this for each contraction (in my experience, anyway):
The weak ones (blue) I can ignore. They’re inconsistent or far apart. As labour continues you get harder, longer ones (green, then tan, then purple) that hurt a heck of a lot more. But it isn’t like BAM! PAIN! It kinda builds up, and then wavers around at the peak a little bit, then they fade away.
I kinda messed up the scale a bit. The tan and purple ones should be a bit longer, but they wouldn’t fit. I think you get the general idea, though.
There is also back labour, which I’ve never had, where (I assume) the pain radiates from your lower back instead.