Signs of Labor
My husband is a nervous wreck that I’m going to call him home from work thinking I’m in labor but it will be a false alarm. Did that happen to you?
Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: I’m an ob/gyn, but with my first baby, I wasn’t even quite sure I was in labor! I was feeling cramps, but no real pain. I was nervous because I didn’t want to go in to the hospital, have them discover I wasn’t really in labor, and have them send me back home. Also I thought that my water had broken, but I wasn’t sure. It felt like I was urinating all of the time without control.
I decided I’d better go to the hospital, and when I got there they checked me. I was already dilated five centimeters, but I didn’t really feel it yet. Everyone’s pain tolerance and perception of pain is different. So when someone tells me she’s in terrible pain at one centimeter, I believe her.
—Judy Dudum, MD, a mom of three, an ob/gyn, and a senior staff physician at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, with interests in nutrition and adolescent gynecology
Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: Yes. My husband was pretty calm throughout my first pregnancy. But we didn’t know what to expect when I went into labor. My husband is a physician, too, and he was adamant that I needed to be in the care of my ob right away, so we went to the hospital not once, not twice, but three times, thinking I was in labor over the course of two weeks.
After the third time, my husband said, “Ok, we’re not going to do this again. We’re doctors. We should know what we’re doing.” So the next time we thought I was in labor, he checked my cervix to see if I was dilated. But he’s a cardiologist, so I was curious how he knew what he was checking for!
He said, “I think I feel the baby’s hair.”
I said, “That’s impossible. My membrane hasn’t ruptured yet.”
So once again, we went to the hospital. And once again, I wasn’t in labor. But by that time, the nurses felt really badly for us. They let me walk their hallways for a few hours, and then they said, “Let’s break your water so we can get this done.”
—Diane Truong, MD, FAAP, a mom of one daughter and one son, a pediatrician in a multispecialty group practice in Southern California, and co-founder of Baby Silk, the first personal care line for babies developed by pediatrician-moms.