Wow, I am so glad to see this thread. Yeah, my natural labor was horrific. Absolutely traumtic. I was able to move all I wanted, and I had taken natural childbirth classes at the hospital where I delivered and the hospital had very strong support for natural childbirth. I was having extremely strong contractions, back labor, and zero progress. At the MOST I got to 2, maybe 3, but that was really generous. He was sideways and totally not engaged.
Personally, IVs and monitors were no issue for me. I really didn't notice them at all because the pain was so horrible, I couldn't feel any of it. I have also been on IVs and monitors for other things, and I actually preferred to have the IV pole to help with balance anyway.
The c-section was also traumatic, but not the actual surgery. The moments leading up to the c-section when he was going in severe distress and I was scared I had waited to long to consent to surgery...that was the traumatic part of the surgery. When he came out and didn't cry and had to be rushed to be recessitated, that was the extremely traumatic. The surgery was easy, and the recovery was no worse than all the laproscopy and endometriosis surgeries I have had to maintain fertility. It sucked, but it wasn't any different than previous experiences.
The thing that was the most healing to me from my first birth, was my second. It was a MUCH harder pregnancy, and then complications brought her early. I was SO sick, and my blood pressure was so bad there was a serious risk of me stroking out at any moment, but the c-section was calm, controlled, and actually very healing and wonderful. The staff was amazing and gentle, and my baby cried as soon as she left the womb. Even though that birth had me in a much longer hospital stay and a somewhat pre-term baby, the whole experience was so much better. Much saner, much more in control, MUCH more peaceful.
Anybody who says that c-sections can't be wonderful, healing experiences has never opened themselves up to the possiblity of allowing that to be the case.
In hindsight, the only thing I would change is planning my first c-section and not going through labor. I was born small and have always had a very small pelvic arch, and it didn't stretch nearly enough in pregnancy. The reason I have problems with my bladder and will likely require surgery for incontinence is because of the labor. If I could do it again, I wouldn't go through all that pain and injury for no good reason.