Ok Midnight Daydreams--I will respond in an entirely different post to help you out a bit
Ok, so your entire post got me thinking about the topic of silent labor. In fact, I never even considered it what happened to me, but maybe there is a name for it? My birth story with my DS 2 1/2 years ago comes close, but I am not sure if its really what you are talking about.
My first pregnancy everything seemed normal. At 38 weeks I had a day that I did not feel the baby move AT ALL the whole day. By 11pm I was starting to worry. Called my mom and she said to go to the hospital. I was FTM and didn't want the embarrassment of being sent away for being so stupid. Well her and DH convinced me and there I was in L&D with monitors on my stomach by midnight. My dr came in and said--guess what--you are in labor! I thought he was kidding. According to the printout, I was having regular-timeable contractions--but I wasn't feeling them. Next he said I couldn't leave because I was about to have this baby.
So here is what happened next-- I was told I was one centimeter at that time, I got an epi (because I was scared) about 2 hours later, my water broke in the hospital bed 30ish min later. Only 5 1/2 hours after arriving at the hospital my son was born.
So there you have it. I never experienced any actual contractions that were not just BH leading up until that day. I even returned my stopwatch I bought to time them with. As cool as this story sounds, I do not want to repeat this. I found out the reason my son wasn't moving was low amniotic fluid. My new dr says if I hadn't gone in when I did, I may have not brought a baby home (worst case scenario). It was a sign that the placenta wasn't quite doing its job anymore.
Sorry for the long post, but now my DH asks everyday if I feel this baby moving. To tell you the truth I am hoping my water breaks or I get real contractions to know that its time and don't have to make a guess.
To answer your questions-- I don't think heredity played in it for me. My mom had three kids and did not experience it the way I did. There is a much larger chance that you will have a normal labor. Just make sure you listen to your body and watch for signs. Seriously, I almost let my pride get in the way and that "might have" been not so good for DS. I think I am more nervous this time around, but I feel much more prepared too. Good luck to you!