elcome to MDC.
I also had a very difficult first birth; I was in active labor for 4.5 days, and even though I had a vaginal (vacuum assisted) delivery I had a 3 day recovery in the hospital, and Eli spent a week in NICU.
The decision to get pregnant a second time was hard coming. For a while I didn't even want to have sex on the off chance that I might get pregnant; learning about FA really helped me gain confidence there.
Before Eli's birth, Mike & I had planned to have a baby every year and a half or so until we had four due to his age & chronic medical condition. He's nine years older than I am and didn't want to be an old potentially sick man when he had kids. I was okay with that... until Eli's birth.
We finally did decide to ttc on schedule (and our kids will be 19 months apart or so) after I was able not so much to come to terms with my birth as to really understand that each birth is different
. I still worry about the pain, but now I know my options and will not tolerate incompotence on the part of my care providers. I no longer worry about being a frequent flier in triage; if I have any suspicion that my water has broken I'll be in there so fast heads will spin, and I will not call and check in with my dr first (this was a big mistake I made last time; I assumed that other people knew more about what was going on with my body than I did, because I had never delivered a baby before). I was fairly well educated and (for the most part) recieved excellent care, but I had one very important lesson left to learn: TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.
I'm much more confident in my own assesment of my body this time around, and it's made all the difference in how I feel and view myself.
For example, at every appt. with my first pregnancy, the dr would ask "Do you have any vaginal discharge?" and every time I would dutifully describe what discharge (if any) I had. Now I know what they're looking for and the question they mean to ask, so I answer that instead by saying "My discharge is normal and appropriate for my stage of pregnancy". (And my current dr doesn't ask the wrong question, instead he asks "Are you experiencing any symptoms you feel are abnormal?") It's a different kind of answer, and it gets a different kind of response. Instead of "well, that sounds like it could potentially be strange, maybe we should do a pap smear or a culture" I get a nod and a check-mark on my chart.
I will go into labor informed about what I want, knowing what to expect should things go smoothly or otherwise, and able to advocate for myself (or have my husband advocate for me; he also has learned a lot!) Educate yourself and your husband about all the possibilities and make your own decision. You can get all the facts, and you can have the birth that you want. Information and confidence, those are the most important things to have. Feel free to pm me if you like... I can go on at length on this subject.