After two children I thought I had childbirth down pat.
With my first child I had a 40 hour labour. It was painful and long and I was so sleep deprived that I was confused and disorientated and couldn't make a decision to save my life. I had pethidine mainly to give me a break and let me get some sleep, even though I had previously decided I wouldn't use pethidine. After 36 hours I had an epidural which was sweet, sweet relief. The following four hours were pleasant enough in comparison to what I had previously been through. My daughter was finally born via a vacuum birth, and I had at least 16 stitches. The aftermath was particularly bad. The normal problems were there but the biggest shock to me was the fact that I felt like my insides could just fall out of me at any stage. I was not expected that - and I was shocked to say the least.
With my second child, I had the best birth imaginable. I was induced as he was not interested in leaving his cosy home and it was all over and done with within 4 hours. I was given an epidural prior to inducement and the next fours hours passed pain free. My little born was born pain free without me needing any stitches and I felt fine within a week.
I expected the birth of my third child to be similar. I was induced and had requested an epidural. My body had other ideas. After I was induced it all happened so quickly that I gave birth before an epidural could be administered. It was THE MOST PAINFUL EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE, and I screamed the hospital down, which was a surprise as I am normally a very quite type of person, especially when pain is involved. I am a hold my breath and wait till the pain subsides type of person - not this time. It was a whole new side of myself I have never seen. However once the birth was over, I felt fine, and within 24 hours I felt back to normal. No stitches and no issues at all.
I am not sure whether my fast recovering from my third birth had anything to do with me doing it drug free and I was never a person that wanted to have a natural birth without any pain relief, however I am glad I did it (or had no other choice but to do it this way). It was an amazing experience. No less or more amazing then the birth of my first two children, but enduring that pain and really "feeling" the birth was incredible.
We would love to hear your birth stories..... the good, the bad and the ugly.