My first birth was with twins. I was living in Mexico, and my mom was visiting for a very limited time. She was scheduled to leave the week of my due date, but we thought the babies would be born early since they were twins. But, nope. We waited for 3 weeks with her there, then I asked to be induced at 39 weeks. I was given Cytotec (I think), orally. at about 6 p.m. It started some contractions, but they were not strong, and I took another one at midnight. We went to the hospital shortly after that, because my blood pressure was up. At the hospital, I think I got Pitocin, too, but there were no real contractions. Actually, it was kind of like a constant one, but it wasn't painful at all, so I don't think I really went into active labor. at about 6 a.m my doctor wanted to do the c-section, so we did. I guess, officially, it was failure to progress.
My second birth was a VBAC 2 1/2 years later. We were still in Mexico. I had a different doctor and a doula who had taught me some childbirth classes. She was awesome and I highly recommend doulas. She worked closely with my doctor and he did a lot of homebirths -- so he was more like a midwife in his approach to childbirth. I told him I wanted a waterbirth and he said that would be no problem. I went into labor 1 week before my due date (although i was prepared in my mind to go 2 weeks past, since I had never gone into labor with my twins).
I wasn't sure it was the real thing when labor first started--the contractions were intense, but short. And I was surprised how fine I felt between them. We called the doc. He came to the house and arrived right after my water had broken. He did the only vaginal check I had the whole time, and said I was 100% effaced and dilated to a 5. He asked what we wanted to do -- we had planned to go to the hospital where they would let him bring in a pool. He was fine if we had decided to stay home, but at the time I wanted to go to the hospital -- although I should have just stayed home!
We got to the hospital, and the contractions were getting closer together. I was taking them on my hands and knees -- I couldn't do it in any other position. I rocked back and forth a lot and moaned. Then I hit a wall -- I didn't know how far along I was and I thought to myself "I can have hours and hours and hours left of this, and I can't do it!" So I told everyone I couldn't do it anymore -- I needed something. They were still filling the pool, and my doula said, "Before we go for an epidural, try getting in the water." That water made all the difference -- it was still painful, but it took the edge off to the point where I was able to cope with the contractions again.
Looking back, I think I was in transition, because after I got in the water I started feeling like I wanted to push. When I told them this my doula said, "Go ahead and push -- you don't need anyone's permission." So, I started pushing and pushed with all I had. It took nearly 3 hours of pushing, I think, but at the time it did not feel like that long. Finally as he was crowning my doula suggested I get upright, and sure enough, out he came. She was a huge support -- physically and emotionally. He was a big baby -- 8lb. 10oz. (a full 2.5 lbs bigger than my twins had been). I was so glad I didn't find out how big he was before I pushed him out -- I thought, "There's gotta be nothing worse than going into labor knowing you have to push out a 9 lb baby!"
The whole experience was incredible. I couldn't believe how easy recovery was -- and I'd had an easy recovery from the c-section. It was amazing.