I can't believe how similar others' experiences are to mine, too. This is the first time I've written this all down...it's lengthy, but it's been a good experience to write it down.
My husband and I had planned for a homebirth with two great midwives and a doula for the birth of our first child. I had an amazingly easy pregnancy and felt great throughout. I was "due" on 10/20 and was still feeling good but by the time Halloween rolled around, I was trying acupuncture, evening primrose oil, etc. to try to get things moving. When Thursday rolled around, I was 42 weeks and went for a biophysical, which didn't raise any concerns. That night, I started having contractions and I was awake from about 3am on, timing them. We called the midwives and doula in the morning; our doula came over in the early afternoon and our midwives came later on (after being at another birth) in the early evening of Friday. My contractions weren't getting more frequent though so late that night, they decided to leave. I kept having contractions about 8-10 minutes apart throughout the night though, so I didn't get much sleep. I don't really remember what we did on Saturday, but I know our doula and midwives didn't come back until Sunday...On Sunday our doula came back out and we went for lots of walks and then I raked leaves in the back yard for a while or maybe that was Saturday? It's a little fuzzy. But Sunday, our midwives came back and I asked for an exam to check if I was dilated at all. The midwife found that I was about 6 cm, said she felt a lot of hair (!), and said that the baby was posterior and asynclitic (I just looked up what that even means - I had no idea at the time). So from Sunday to Monday we tried lots of different positions, moxa, the birth tub, the rebozo and lunges and walking to try to get the baby to move into a better position. Unfortunately by this time, I was having crazy back labor and many of the things that were supposed to help, hurt a whole lot more through the contractions, and I -- and my husband -- were getting exhausted. Monday afternoon, I asked for another exam to see if any progress had been made; I was still 6 cm but I don't recall exactly what they said about the position - I think the baby wasn't asynclitic anymore but was still posterior and had maybe tipped her head backward so the moldable part wasn't lined up with the cervix. The midwives were basically advising to do more of the same - more moxa, more side-lying and more knees and chest position - and said the other thing they could try at that point was to manually rotate the baby. I was exhausted and in a lot of pain, and had started thinking about transferring to the hospital but was also afraid to raise that as an option, but then my husband suggested it and I felt this sense of relief and we decided to transfer with the hopes that an epidural could give me some rest and I could continue trying for a vaginal birth there, possibly with pitocin to get the contractions going. One of the midwives came with us to act as our doula at the hospital. The doctor who was on call that day didn't have a great personality or bedside manner and initially said basically, you're going to end up with a c-section, but she did allow us to try for the vaginal birth. I got the epidural and they started pitocin. I don't really remember sleeping, but I think I must have for a couple hours. I'm also fuzzy on the order of things at this point but basically at some point, the doctor did another exam and said that I had only gotten to 7 cm dilation and that the baby's position hadn't changed at all. The baby's heart rate started having 'decelerations' where it would go down after each contraction but then go back up. After stopping and restarting the pitocin a couple times, her heart rate kept doing that and at that point, the doctor said I'd basically run out of options and needed to have a c-section. I was surprised at how fast everything went after that point. Basically about 10 minutes later, my baby was pulled out of me. My husband was in the OR with me, but they weren't able to or didn't do much of what we had hoped for (having her skin to skin immediately, waiting to cut the cord). They sort of showed her to me quickly and then brought her to the nursery, with my husband, to weigh and do the vitamin k etc. After I was back in the recovery room they did bring her in and I put her on me for skin to skin and to see if she would nurse (she didn't then). We then moved to the post-partum room and they took her to give her a bath. It seemed to take forever for them to bring her back and it wasn't until the middle of the night that they rolled her back into the room, but then she spit up so they said they'd watch her for a little while longer. Basically, we didn't have her in the room until practically the morning, despite our stated preference for rooming in. We stayed in the hospital until Friday. People have asked how the hospital was and my diplomatic answer has been that the nurses and doctors were all well-intentioned and many of them were perfectly nice, but they're all *hospital* staff and I had wanted to be at home during this time! In the hospital they do things like wait until the middle of the night (between midnight and 3am each night we were there) to take the baby to the nursery to weigh her and do all her vitals. Not exactly restful.
I've had a hard time dealing emotionally with the c-section. Yes, I have a perfectly healthy baby and "that's all that matters" but I've felt really disappointed about not being able to have a home birth and ending up with a c-section, even though on the other hand, I do feel like we certainly tried hard to avoid it. I've tried to talk to others about it, but so often get the "well it turned out for the best" response or "if you'd kept trying longer, something could have happened to the baby and then you'd be questioning why you didn't go to the hospital". At our postpartum visit, the doula actually acknowledged that it's a loss - a loss of the birth experience I'd been hoping and planning for, but she's the only one. I also have a hard time not wondering if there was more I could have or should have done, or if I'd just been a bit stronger or able to deal with the pain better, that I could have avoided transferring to the hospital.
It's getting a little easier every day (she's three weeks old now) and now that I can drive again and get out of the house, I'm definitely feeling better, but I still tear up when I think about it all. And I haven't yet dealt with all the home-birth supplies we have and didn't end up using. When I think about boxing it up and either storing or getting rid of it, I also end up crying.
Well, thanks for starting this thread and reading my long, long post!