I am contributing by sharing something that made my second birth really positive. At my booking in appointment I was asked if I would be willing to be followed through my pregnancy by a student midwife. I agreed, not realising at that stage that there would be a huge benefit to me. The student midwife was at each of my antenatal appointments with me, was there through my labour and actually delivered my baby (under the supervision of a fully qualified midwife). I grew comfortable with her during the pregnancy and her presence made me more relaxed during labour. I felt safe. Continuity of carer is something of a luxury nowadays because services are strained, but I think it has the potential to make a huge difference in many ways.
My own births as were both fairly smooth; minimal tearing first time, none second time, no instruments. I didn't feel trauma afterwards. With my first delivery, though, I did feel a sense of failure for having had an epidural. The midwives tried their best to persuade me to power through (my words not theirs) and I just didn't have the strength left.
I often wonder, given my feelings over an epidural in an otherwise straightforward delivery, how I would have coped if things had gone further from my plan. Whether I would have coped. I reflect on it often and also wonder if part of my decision to have a home birth second time was to prove to myself (and others) that I could do it "naturally".