I got painful ones about 5 days before my due date, went to the hospital and got sent home. Then I took castor oil the day before my due date and after realizing what painful Contraction were, I had him at 11:32 that night. (He is a week old now <3)
I never experienced bh or really much cramping. Just woke up 5 days past my due date with painful contractions and knew it was the real deal. I had been 4cm since 36 weeks, and when I woke up they were about 7 minutes apart. They mostly felt like painful cramps at first but within the hour they got pretty painful and the pain just increased from there. They broke my water in the hospital and I had my daughter 3:12pm that day
So did your water break first?
With my second baby I started having BH when I was around 20 some weeks I gave birth at 36 weeks and contractions started hurting when I hit 5 or 6 cm. That was a 8hr labor . Now pregnant again due in 6 more days hopefully contractions won't start to get painful until I'm at least 7 or 8 cm. Its different every pregnancy.