contractions?! help! FTM here!

ok so the dumbest question ever... when you have a contraction, I'm cramping and hurting but my stomach on the sides doesn't get super tight. I get it all up front and down the middle SUPER tight and hard and some on the sides but not all over. And the bottom of my stomach has some extra lovin' so it doesn't get super tight. But like I can't bend forward when it gets tight. Is that a contraction or just him being right there? I feel so dumb asking this but I have no idea what to expect with a contraction. I'm not cramping super painfully but it definitely is more than just uncomfortable! Thank you in advance!!