The second was completely posterior.
The third time, the nurse at that hospital made me get out of my squat and into the bed AS THE BABY WAS CROWNING. For those three, pushing was not pleasant and made me feel like a failure.
For the next 2, I was at home, in a squat for the first and hands and knees for the second. For those two, I have to agree with Sara...relief mixed with excitement. Although, for my squatting baby I didn't push at all. In fact, her crowning SHOCKED me just as her water broke.
I'd say, if you're not on your back, pushing is less intense and more rewarding!
With my first, the pushing stage was a relief from the contractions. It was also only about 15 minutes (I am lucky to not have long pushing stages). I was on the bed, on my back but sort of upright.
With this LO it was about 25-30 minutes and not the same relief as the first time, the contractions still sucked, but it still felt "good" to be pushing during the contractions. I was in the tub leaning back with my feet up on the edges of the tub somewhere - maybe a laying down squat?. My head was pushing on the back of the tub and was slightly bruised the next day. The crowning ring of fire was maybe less this time then with my first but his shoulders were a bit stuck (they had me turn over onto hands and knees after his head was out) and getting them out was a lot more work and a bit more painful... I had to really really push and that is when I tore a bit (just a small 1st degree tear). At that point my focus was really on getting him out and the pain was there but more in the background and not my main focus.
Even with this, for me at least, I don't think pushing is worse then transition and labor at all. Equal or better!
I got an epidural at 9 cm as well, with my first. So I was very nervous when I was pregnant with my second about what pushing would be like. In my opinion, it is not more painful than the contractions -- it's just a different kind of pain -- and you know that you're almost at the end when you feel it so in a way it seems easier to deal with.
For me pushing in general was a bit of a relief -- like someone else said, at least you are doing something. And in my first two births it felt like it hurt less then. Not so much this time around, but you know that meeting your baby is getting close and it's so exciting it makes me not care as much. The crowning hurts but that doesn't last long and by then you are really about to meet your babe so again it doesn't matter that much -- totally worth it. I'd say if you made it to 9 cm with no epidural you've already gone through most of it, you can totally do it mama!!!
Pushing for me was such a relief! I still felt the contractions but it did not hurt, and even though I pushed for 2 hours, i had longer breaks between contractions. DD was facing sideways, which is supposed to be harder than backwards, which is why it took soo long, but the only painful part was the crowning during pushing, and the nurse said to push into the pain and that helped alot! I agree that being able to do something and not just lie there is awesome! I think if u can make it 9 cm, hopefully from there it will be quick ,and easier than getting there. Good luck!