There is one thing that all women should know about birth.....the experience is different for everyone, in fact, birth is not even the same for women having their first baby or second.....or third! I know this, because I am a Mum of three and not one of my births was what I expected (and I read 'What to Expect when you are Expecting') and trust me my stories were not in that book!
With my firstborn, I had meconium in my waters which meant I needed to be strapped to the heart rate monitor (no candle-lit water birth for me as I had planned!). My second born got his shoulders stuck on his way out and arrived blue and limp with the umbilical cord wrapped round his neck. And the third arrived 14 days late with me standing on one leg like a flamingo and then I haemorrhaged and had to be whisked away for emergency surgery.
There are so many ways that you can prepare yourself for birth but I do feel that the best thing you can do is to be kind to yourself and quit with the pressure for the "perfect birth". Be prepared for the unexpected, trust your body (it's amazing), trust the midwives (they have delivered a lot more babies than you!) and if you want to read some real stories from real Mums then here is the place to do so.
The other thing you should know is that post-birth you will have an overwhelming urge to tell all and sundry explicit details on your labour and birth!
I view this as a type of therapy and I urge you to share your birth story here and release your "inner Mummy-Blogger"