All three of my labors were 8 hours or less. This last one was Pit-induced, and it felt no different from the previous two, in all honesty.
Hmm..to try and explain labor pains...to me, they start out like a dull ache in your lower abdomen. As they get more intense, they do feel like reallllllly bad menstrual cramps. The first few hours were not bad, because the pains were tolerable. I'd just grimace and deal with them. It's when I hit transition and they are coming one on top of another and I feel like my guts were being pulled out through my navel that labor got a little harder to deal with.
Yes, stabbing sounds about right.
With my first labor, Demerol took the edge off transition so I wasn't so wound up (tension makes the pains that much worse), with my second, transition lasted maybe a half hour so I made it through naturally, and with the third I decided to try the "epidoodle" and see what all the hoopla was about. I asked my anesthesiologist to marry me about 20 minutes later. What a great way to go through the last hour or so of labor.
In all honesty, even if 50 women told you how it felt, you'd get 50 different answers.
It's just something you either "know" or you can't imagine, IMO!