I was extremely health conscious throughout both pregnancies and was a picture of anti-natal health. I had done my pregnancy yoga and was fit and strong beforehand. My Mum had successfully given natural births to 4 children so I figured I had the right genetics for straightforward natural births. I even considered having a home birth as a result. (My husband refused me on this one.) As it turns out, in both cases either I or the baby or both would not have survived without medical intervention. That was quite a humbling realisation in hindsight. In cave man times I would be one of the statistics that didn't make it through childbirth.
My experience of childbirth for my firstborn was a 60 hour labour. I don't think people actually believe me when I say that, and I know it is not normal. I don't know how that fits into the definition of "active" labour and how many hours it was from particular stages of dilation. All I know is that from the moment that show-stopping contractions started happening every 8 minutes or less - and I could no longer sleep through them - it was a completely exhausting 60 hours until baby was born.
Thankfully Bub no.2 was a breezy 6 hours. Although I haemorrhaged afterwards, which was not so breezy.
In both cases, neither birth went anything like my "birth plan". After the first one I felt like I had failed in my efforts towards a "natural" birth. By the time the second one came round it didn't matter any more at all - all that mattered was that we had brought our darling angels into the world and they are alive and healthy and loved and we are blessed and grateful.