I had three really wonderful births and I wish it could be that way for everyone! I find myself downplaying it a lot and I sometimes feel a bit sheepish saying I actually quite enjoyed it, as I find people expect you to have hated labour, and I don't want to sound smug, but I really didn't hate it! I used hypnobirthing and have no doubt in my mind that that's what got me through - as well as the amazing midwives. I had two girls, both water births and straightforward. My third, a boy, was massive and back to back (we didn't know till I was in labour) and I feel totally sure I would have ended up in an emergency C section if I hadn't had the hypnobirthing - kept me calm when they couldn't find his heart beat, kept me going as it was WAY more painful than the girls were. One of the first things I read when I started reading about Hypno/mindfulness/not being scared of birth is that you wouldn't run a marathon without training hard but somehow we aren't always encouraged to prepare our minds/bodies for labour.
Oh and perineal massage - didn't do it with no 1 and did with the others and oh my what a difference. It's hideous and not remotely, in any way sexy (Marie Mongan suggests you make it part of your 'love making'?!?!?! I couldn't have wanted my husband further away!!) but it really worked!!