Signs of labor?

I am 38 weeks and 3 days pregnant with baby #2 and I’ve been having really bad cramps and lower back pain for over a week. Today however they have been more intense and accompanied by some contractions. My contractions were happening every 20 minutes for a couple hours thus morning but then gradually slowed down and stopped. I’ve had only a few since they stopped coming regularly. At my last appointment I was only 1 cm dilated and they today me if I didn’t have the baby by my 39 week appointment which is thus Friday they would do a membrane sweep if I wanted. Now my question is has any other mommas had early labor signs like this and how long till you went into real active labour? Also had anyone had the membrane sweep and it be successful in bringing on labor? What were your experiences with that? I know baby will come when baby is ready and I don’t need any rude comments. I just feel like if my doctor is offering to do it I might want to give it a try. I’m extremely uncomfortable from the cramps. I have a 20 month old I take care of by myself and my husband can’t just take time off to help me unless in in labour and need to be at hospital so the sooner baby comes the sooner I can start healing and be the best momma for both of my kiddos. Any thoughts, opinions, suggestions and experiences your willing to share are appreciated. Sorry it’s so long and again no bashing please.

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Trulyn T you went through that remember early labor.

I had a membrane sweep at 39 weeks appointment at 5pm for the sweep and labor started approx 12/1 am. It was helpful ,and baby was born healthy at 8am. I had epidural at 5 cm and after that it was not all that bad after that. The membrane sweep - I did not even feel…Good Luck!

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I labored at home for four days off and on with my first.

The last month is the worst bc it’s uncomfortable and unpredictable. However, it sounds like you’re going to have this baby by the weekend. I would go ahead and make backup child care arrangements for the 20mo old.

I had a membrane sweep, didn’t do anything.

I’m 38 weeks and 2 days, baby number 2, and I’m in the EXACT same boat.
If I didn’t already know that my pain and contractions were false labor I probably would’ve gone to the hospital a million times already! Lol
I definitely don’t remember feeling like I was in labor for damn near 2 weeks with my first! I was pretty comfortable right up until I went into labor.

I thought after the 1st baby things usually go quicker for the next. Following.

I had all of your symptoms of early labor for two weeks before my water broke. (Shooting pains, cramps, backache) A few days before, Braxton Hicks contractions were happening every 4-5 minutes. I had him I believe at 38 weeks 2 days

Im 39 weeks and 2 days i have been havimf eaely labor for about 2 weeks. Finding out tomorrow when i get induced.

I never had regular contractions the entire labor with my son. Thats how mine stayed til my water broke then they came every 5 minutes or so

I had what I now think back were Braxton hicks every night from dinner time till midnight from about 30 weeks with my 2nd. I got a sweep at 40 +2 and my waters broke next day and had my girl 2 days later

I had a sweep with my 2nd at 38 weeks, the doctor did it without informing me what he was doing, my daughter was born an hour later and was jaundiced we had to stay in the hospital for a week.