There exist all sorts of tricks to help you go into labor. The day I was admitted to labor and delivery, I had my husband massage some pressure points that are supposed to induce labor. There's one between your index finger and thumb, and another on the ankle. Later that night, I was experiencing my usual contractions but they were getting a little more painful and it was difficult to breath through them. I tried laying down and drinking a lot of water, but they weren't subsiding. At this point, I had been experiencing contractions for over a month (prodromal labor). Every five minutes or so, my abdomen would contract and my lower back would hurt. So knowing when it was the real deal was especially difficult for me. I called labor and delivery, but they told me I didn't "sound" like I was in labor. Um... So I waited and the pain wasn't going away. Finally I told my husband that we're just going to show up at labor and delivery, because there was no way this was another false alarm.
Sure enough, the doctors check me and I'm admitted. They're impressed with my pain tolerance. (yeah YEAH What!) I try to go natural, no epidural or pain medicine, but after twelve hours, give in. I'm exhausted and the contractions are definitely worsening. The epidural works great, but numbs the one side of my body more than the other. I'm allowed to administer it to myself once it's in place in my lower back, and I opt to have a very low flow of drugs. I can still move my legs, the sensation is just dull.
Sorry to just whirl through this explanation, I just don't feel like writing all the details. Maybe you don't feel like reading them.
But honestly labor isn't too bad. It hurts, it really does. But I'd describe it as bizarre before I'd say it was the all-out most painful experience of my life. Yeah, no it's just weird. You'll be in excruciating pain during a contraction, your eyes will water, you'll have a hard time breathing... thirty seconds later you're able to sit up in bed, tell a joke, talk about mundane things like how your foot itches, and then... oh wait, here comes another one! Ow, ow, ow ow, cue difficult breathing, wincing in pain, some tears stream down your face, etc. Oh, okay, it's gone now. So what was I saying? Oh yeah, so I bought a new pair or shoes, yada yada. Weird. Once I got the epidural, of course, I hardly felt a thing. But I'd like to think that twelve hours of un-drugged labor gave me a pretty accurate picture of the real deal. I'm told pushing is the least painful, but the moment right before you push is the worst. Pushing with an epidural? Not bad at all. I hurt my ribs bearing down, but that's a small price to pay for getting that baby out.
So the baby finally comes, weighing in at 9 lbs.