It took me three tries to experience the birth I had originally envisioned the first time around. I learned a little bit each time so I could do some things differently and so I could accept that some things would just be the same (for instance that I roar like a lion(ness) when I push my babies out). I watch those videos of women not making a sound as they push and it's so magical and I always felt a bit sheepish about all my screaming...but that's just the way it is. And for what it's worth, my friend Kate (who was here this time to watch my older two) claims that I wasn't even that loud.
The thing that really surprised me this time around is how much more I was able to actually work with the labour instead of just hang on for the ride. I was definitely still experiencing the whole labourland thing but I was able to come out of it here and there to talk with my midwife about how things were going and I was able to work with the pushing sensation and kind of breathe through it until I was mentally ready to commit to pushing the baby out.