Well, before my first was born I was sure I could birth at home, naturally, in a water tub. I had a MW, and she told me I didn't need a doula. I believed that, "every woman can have the spritually enlightened birth at home," etc.
During the birth I hit hard back labor immediately (found out later - posterior baby- owww), untenable pain...no MW for 14 hours. She finally showed up and w/out checking me told me to start pushing as it would help w/pain. It didn't, and I pushed for seven (yup, seven) hours! She told me the baby was "stuck" and had me get out of the tub, lay on my bed, and she put my legs up over my head to un-stick the baby. More owww..water broke, dark with meconium. Maybe two hours later, my daughter was finally born, and real pushing urges made her shoot out, land on the bottom of the tub (!), and had meconuim sucked out of her. Placenta would not deliver, finally after two hours got a shot of pitocin in the thigh and it came out. I ended up with a fourth degree tear, which had to be sewn by doc at the hospital (after waiting at home for five hours til I was nice and swollen!). My pelvis was dislocated, and I couldn't walk for a week after the birth, got a fever of 104 and mastitis...hmm, what else? I think that was about it. It took me about a year to feel "normal" after that, and by then was five mos. pg with #2.
I had #2 in a hospital, also w/ a tub of water, but requested a doula, a Bradley coach, a friend, and an epidural. Had a great, healing experience, baby nursed right away.
Wouldn't do another home birth if you paid me a million dollars.
P.S. I think the whole hospital experience depends on you, and the particular hospital. DD#2 also had decels, and I "had to get the baby out right away" because I refused the scalp monitor...got her out in ten minutes! But, I also refused all shots, heelstick, bath, everything, and we left AMA five hours after her birth. I had a Rn/MW deliver, and it was wonderful. I had my son there (in the same room!) three years later.
In retrospect, I guess I got a bad MW, but still, wish I'd been at the hospital the first time too.....I doubt there would have been such a dramatic tear (at my HB the MW wasn't even right there to help the bb out), and probably would not have separated my pelvis by pushing for seven hours.
I know I'm in the extreme minority for having had that home water birth that everyone wants, but it didn't work for me. Just my experience....