I went to the other board and read his birth story. Sounds like you went through a lot to get your ds here.
Like you, I was surprised not to have the super quick labors that my own mom had (each of the three of us was less than two hours from start to finish). So I expected that for myself too. First labor was 20 hours with two hours of pushing - no one was more surprised than I was. Second labor was 9 1/2 hours with 14 minutes of pushing so in my experience at least, it was much shorter and easier the second time around.
I think that with all the early labor, drugs to stop that, drugs for the pain, etc., your body couldn't work the way it would naturally want to so I don't know how you could have done anything any different in that regard. I know everyone handles pain differently but for myself, I found being in bed (in any position) was much more painful (during contractions) than any upright position. I walked miles in my house between contrax - leaning against a wall or dh or sitting leaning forward on dh or sitting backward on the toilet during contrax. These positions made it much easier to deal than the few I tried lying down - figured that out quick! It just hurt so much more - or seemed to - when I was lying down.
I would think that working through your first birth with someone (your original doctor if you feel that he/she would be a good person to do that with or a midwife or someone who deals with helping women get over traumatic births) before ttc would be good. That way you are not always keeping that in your mind and worrying about a repeat. Did the doctor ever figure out why you went into premature labor? I don't know anything about it - is it just a fluke thing (which would probably not reoccur) or is it due to a tipped uterus or something specific to you (that may reoccur)?
If it were me, I would have a consultation with a midwife in a freestanding birth center and see if they would consider taking you if you decide to become pregnant again. I don't know what deems a woman high risk or not. But midwives do home VBACs so I would think that you could have a birth with a midwife if you wanted. Even if some of your previous medical issues happened again, IN GENERAL midwives are so supportive and respectful that you may not be as traumatized as you were in the hospital environment.
I feel like we moms will go through anything to have our babies but that is easy for me to say as it wasn't hard for me. I don't blame you for not wanting to sign up for another round after the first round you had. But it could likely go very well. I truly believe the Bradley classes we took allowed us to have the births we did - and having midwives was a great choice for us also. I feel that stacked the deck in my favor - of a natural birth.
I hope you come to a peace about your first birth experience and are comfortable going on to have more kids any way you want.