I have three kids and each labor and delivery has been very different. I will update this page with links to posts of more detailed birth stories, but here is the short version:
Our first son was born just 6 hours after my water broke (or rather, leaked) when I was 37 weeks pregnant. We had a good doula, who kept laughing that at 5 cm dilation all I was feeling was “a little crampy.” Things picked up in intensity and soon I required all my concentration to breathe through the contractions during transition. I didn’t feel like pushing during the “pushing phase”, so I didn’t until our son was crowning. At this point the Dr. said his heart rate was quite low, so I pushed once and he was delivered. Very easy for a first time delivery. (longer story can be found here)
Our middle child was delivered posterior (sunny side up). I had start and stop labor for an entire week and by the time I was sure that it was time to go to the hospital it was too late. She was born in our living room. My husband and neighbor (who was a doula in training) delivered her, my sister filmed the delivery (which was how we realized the baby was posterior). We caught the placenta in our soup pot and drove ourselves to the hospital after I had eaten a smoothy and two bowls of soup. Again, it was a fantastic experience for me. (long version is here)
The pregnancy of our youngest was much more difficult and the delivery was long. After three hours of active labor at home we went to the hospital, she wasn’t born until the next day, a full 22 hours after we checked in to Labor and Delivery. No interventions apart from an amniotomy (breaking the water). I was so completely exhausted postpartum that I couldn’t walk for several days. My whole body ached for over a week.
Despite the differences, I consider all my births to have been beautiful. I would never want to relive my third birth, but it did bond me to our youngest in a unique and special way since I endured so much to bring her here. It also transformed nearly all my previous opinions about birth.