Although why I bother, I'm not sure, neither of my prior birth experiences paid any attention to what I wanted...
Going into labor with Jess seemed better though. I went into labor at home, stayed home for a couple of hours, waited until the contractions were five minutes apart for at least an hour and then headed in. I was in hard labor for about eight hours, got the epidural, loved it, and then four hours later, I completely stopped dilating at nine centimeters and ended up with a c-section. It was back labor with Jessie.
Going into labor with Sam was a disaster from the very beginning. I felt the first contraction while I was waiting for an ultrasound to check the amniotic fluid level, and riding in the elevator down from my midwife's office, my water broke. Mortifying - just really, really, embarassing, I looked like I wet my pants. We were already at the hospital, so just checked in, and after about four hours of half hearted contractions - they didn't really hurt and I was so thrilled about having the baby eight days early (instead of five days late), my midwife decided I looked "too happy" to be in actual labor and we started pitocin. Which, for the record, really, really hurt. I wanted to postpone the epidural for some reason (can't remember WHY I thought that was a good idea) and opted for Nubain instead, which did nothing for the pain, but it did render me completely incoherent and unable to open my eyes. I had to just lay there and suffer, moaning for TWO HOURS, until I finally got my epidural. I was six centimeters when they started the epidural, and ten by the time it was finished, and the nurse wanted me to push. It was all back labor, and I had NO desire or drive to push, just incredible leg and hip cramps. To this day, I swear Sam just barrelled out on his own, because I certainly had nothing to do with it. Mostly, I pretended to push, mostly because everyone kept yelling at me to, but really, I didn't want to push, my thighs and hips hurt - pushing didn't seem like the logical thing to do. Either way, I only "pushed" for about twenty minutes and out popped Sam.
So what do I want to do differently this time? Having done it twice - have to say that the C-section was a lot easier, seemed to flow better, and I had more of a connection to my body and the baby. Which I know is the exact opposite of most women's reaction to an unscheduled section. And I know all the arguments in favor of natural childbirth - getting to hold Sam immediately after birth and nursing right away was amazing - the recovery time is SO much faster... so I'm planning on another VBAC.
I just don't want to be as miserable with this one. My main impression of Sam's birth is being sort of lost and alone. After getting the Nubain, I couldn't talk or communicate, I just laid there and hurt. And everyone hollering for me to push was just baffling to me, I didn't understand why I didn't WANT to push, why was I getting leg cramps instead of contractions? Everything about it was strange and weird and unbelievably painful. I don't think the epidural helped at all, it might have numbed belly contractions, but it didn't stop my pain.
I'm not sure if it makes sense to NOT get the epidural, I know I'll avoid any narcotics this time around. Labor at home longer? Because my water broke at the hospital, I ended up in there a lot earlier than I should have, with led to the pitocin, I think. I really want to avoid that this time out, so will wait at home until I'm in full blown hard labor. I had a great epidural experience after Jess, was able to get some rest and relax, but didn't end up actually pushing. The epidural with Sam - I don't think it worked at all, I know I hurt just as much after it was in as before, and it may have contributed to me having no urge to push at all, so there's a part of me that would like to avoid it. Although with the amount of hip/leg pain I've got going on now, I'd almost like to hook myself up to one RIGHT NOW.
In the end, all the planning in the world isn't going to make this go the way I want. This baby will come out the way she wants to - and my thoughts on it, while entertaining to me, aren't really going to factor in, I don't think. I'm just hoping that when I look back on this delivery, probably my last, I feel good about it.
I really like the baby part of pregnancy - but the labor part I'm really not looking forward to.