Birth Story of My Second Son (Prodromal Labor)

Baby: the birth story of my second son and prodromal labor.


By now, you’ve probably read how our first son was born. Our second experience was so completely different!

Because we had a good experience at the hospital, we decided not to do the birth center this time and just go back to where I had birthed our first son.

D’s due date was April 9th, but I just had a sneaky feeling he was going to be early. I took my maternity leave early this time to clean the house and prepare. Wednesday April 3rd, I had prodromal labor all day, but it died off by the evening.

How long after prodromal labor does real labor start?

For those of you who may not know what prodromal labor is, it’s essentially fake labor. The contractions are real (not Braxton Hicks) but the labor doesn’t progress or go anywhere. I had never heard of prodromal labor before I had it, but I did some googling… I scoured the internet for: “how long after prodromal labor does real labor start?”

There was no good answer, and I didn’t even know if that’s what I was experiencing. My midwife confirmed at my appointment the next day that that’s exactly what it was.

While I was at my appointment, she also swept my membranes and told me that she would be shocked if I didn’t go into labor before the weekend.

Lucky for me, my labor started that night around 7:30! I felt both fortunate and terrified that my labor was starting on its own. My first birth had been incredibly controlled and calm… I had my doubts that this one would be like that again.

Boy was I right!

Confusing Contractions

Right from the beginning of labor, my contractions were 3 minutes apart, so I was quite obviously confused about how to measure when to go to the hospital. They tell you 311, or 3 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute, for a total of 1 hour before coming to the hospital. The intensity wasn’t there, but the numbers were. I was afraid of not making it to the hospital in time, so we left the house around 9:30, dropped M off with his grandparents, and made it to the hospital a little before 10:30.

Unfortunately, I was only 3.5 centimeters dilated, and the midwife told me that I had to wait until I was 6cm before they would admit me! (What a bunch of lies! I think she told me that to make me realize that my contractions needed to be much more intense, but I was just following what I was told.)

She gave me the option of going home and relaxing, or walking around the hospital for 2 hours before I returned. She urged me to go home and take bath.

Labor is Faster the Second Time!

I am SO glad that I didn’t listen to her and trusted my out instincts!

We walked around the hospital lobby for a grand total of 20 minutes before my contractions were much more painful. When I returned upstairs to be measured again, I was at 5 cm. (1.5 cm in 20 minutes… yeah.)

The nurse took 30 minutes to get my IV started (insert irked emoji here), meanwhile, I barely got through about 12 more contractions without screaming. I snapped at him to get the midwife again because things were moving much quicker than I had anticipated. I requested an epidural because it was so late and I was exhausted already, but they told me the anesthesiologist was with an emergency c-section… they would get him as soon as they could.

When I was wheeled to Labor and Delivery, I was actually screaming full out through my contractions—it was literally the only thing I could do to get through the pain. I measured at 8 cm and they told me that the baby would be here before the anesthesiologist would. I couldn’t even get pain medications in my IV drip… they wouldn’t even start working until after he was born.

Your Body is More Powerful Than You Know

Thankfully, I was getting to relax between contractions, so I just breathed and then screamed, a complete victim to my uterus. When they say that the uterus is a strong muscle, they truly mean it. I had not felt that kind of power and strength the first time I birthed a baby because of the epidural… I was completely powerless against anything except to ride the waves and hope that it would be over soon.

The midwife broke my waters (with consent, of course) and told me to push gently to help me open up to the full 10cm. I did that for 2 contractions. She didn’t even measure me again before telling me to push the baby out.

I pushed through 5 contractions… on the last contraction, D got his shoulder stuck for a few seconds that felt like an eternity. The last contraction was by far the most painful and the longest, and the midwife shouted at me to keep pushing once the contraction was over. Finally, the nurses managed to maneuver him and he was born!

D was similar to M in that he also didn’t cry (once again invoking panic among the hospital staff)… I had to quickly shout that I wanted delayed cord clamping, and the midwife backed off once she saw that D was breathing fine.

D didn’t look up at us like M did. Not that I would have been able to see much anyway: besides the fact that my consciousness was still deep in my body, almost like a dream state, after I birthed D, the lights were low and I couldn’t see much.

Thankfully, though, about one hour after birth, D latched on to feed! (And he barely unlatched at all that first night. Phew!)

Final Thoughts

If you’re pregnant and might be experiencing prodromal labor, you’re probably wondering how long after prodromal labor does real labor start. I don’t have a good answer for you, but I do know that I was one of the lucky ones!

My midwife said that prodromal labor is an indication that your body is just about ready for real labor! So here’s hoping that you go into labor soon!

I will leave you with this embarrassing story—my husband told me (and my parents, when they came to visit) that it was clear that I was a singer from how I screamed… my screaming during each contraction was almost like singing… high and pretty, rather than raw and rough (which is how I was feeling). I’m pretty sure when he shared that, I turned purple… how embarrassing!!!

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3 thoughts on “Birth Story of My Second Son (Prodromal Labor)”

  1. I went into the hospital at 39 weeks and my water broke. My doctor wanted to induce me with Pitocin even though I was progressing naturally. I refused the Pitocin and my contractions got closer and closer. I was only in labor for 13 hours which is not long for the first time. If I had listen to my doctor I don’t think my natural birth would have been possible. Thanks for sharing your birth story.

  2. Love your story! I had epidural with both my deliveries by the second time around ot probably didnt last until the pushing stage as the pain was huge! But I have to say that the second childbirth was somehow less complicated and faster – even though it was induced as well.

  3. Great tips! This will help new Mamas to be in their pregnancy journey! I waited too long for an epidural with my second and my labor went much more quickly than the first!

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