Wow!! Thank you for all your feedback. It really is encouraging.
drjen: The OB who did the reconstructive surgery after babe #1 said that I would need a bilateral epis (?? does that make sense) with subsequent babies. When I first met with my midwife, I was planning a hospital birth with epidural. We spent hours talking and I eventually came to the understanding that I could do this w/out pain medication and that given the negative experience in the hospital the only place I thought I could relax and concentrate would be at home. I'm so glad I came to that realization. I was still super nervous about tearing and had told my mw that if she needed to do an epis to prevent tearing then she should just do it. I think she was just as nervous about me tearing down the old scar site. When the baby crowned both midwives attending agreed that the scar tissue just wasn't giving at all. Mine was (still is) the only epis they have ever done in a homebirth. I labored for a while in a pool, but then wanted to get out and birthed the babe sidelying. I was completely paranoid that I would tear. I think I asked the mw's a million times to "check if it's stretching" I didn't push a bit (breathed through every single contraction) b/c I was so scared to push the baby out. It took a good hour and a 1/2 after I was dialated to get the babe out and I needed every minute of that time to mentally prepare for that babe coming out.
I'm thinking that with this next birth, ideally, I'd like to birth in a tub, all by myself (not UA, just no help in the pool, except maybe dh). The scary thing for me is, no one will be able to "check if I'm stretching". I'll really just have to trust that it'll all work the way it's supposed to. And worst case scenerio, I'll have a huge tear again, and have to go to the hospital to get it surgically repaired. I don't know if I'm ready to risk that. In many ways it feels safer to just put my trust in my mw, instead of myself. In my head I know that doesn't make sense and that I CAN do this, but it's like my body and my soul haven't caught up to that idea yet. I have a few more months to work through this . . .
Thank you again for all of your input and encouragement. I guess I know it's possible, now I just have believe that in my soul.