I'm planning one if the placenta moves. I've gone into all of them hoping for a natural labor. Only one worked out that way (other two my water broke and labor didn't start so I ended up with pit and then wanted an epi). My natural one was awesome. I never took classes or anything, I just set out to do it that way, if possible, and stuck with it. It was less than 7 hours start to finish (first contraction at 5am, realized it was labor at 6am, baby born before noon) and I was pretty much comfortable until 7cm (compared to induction!) when I agreed to having my water broken (because it was bulging and making me want to push). That was also the point where the ob I was seeing suddenly decided I should be on my side instead of hands and knees. I should have refused.
big boy 12.8.07 @ 39+2 7lbs 8oz, 20.5" BFed for 13 months
middle boy 8.12.09 @ 39+4 7lbs 9oz, 21" BFed for 13.5 months
little boy 4.26.11 @ 38+4 6lbs 14oz, 19.5" BFed for 26 months
baby boy 10.25.13 @ 41+0 8lbs 15oz, 21.5"
8.16.12 & 12.16.12
If you can, talk to your OB/MW about different delivery positions. Lying flat on your back with your feet/legs in the air is one of the worst positions to push in... sure, it is convenient for the medical professional, but it actually reduces the size of your pelvis/birth canal. For my last two, I pushed actually sitting semi-reclined in bed. I have had friends give birth on their hands or knees or actually standing, bent over forward. Squatting is really one of the best positions to push from... so don't be resigned to pushing laying on your back. Also... don't worry about the stupid 10 count rule... push with the contractions as long as you can, but don't feel like you have to count to 10 every time you push. This is about you getting your baby out in the most efficient/safe manner possible... not about the comfort of your medical provider.
As far as when to head to the hospital... my contractions rarely get closer than 5 minutes apart, even at the end. My MW and I were just talking yesterday and she said to pay attention to the intensity of the contractions, more than the frequency, especially if this is your 3-4 birth, you should be able to tell when you are starting to get to where you need to go to the hospital. She said if you need to stop, breathe, focus on each contraction, even if they are 5-10 minutes apart, you should probably head to the hospital sooner, rather than later. My water has broken the last two times, so I have had to call in and then come in within an hour or so... just so they could make sure that was what was going on.
If you've had long labors in the past, I wouldn't panic too much about when to head in. My contractions remained around 5 minutes apart most of my labor too, but there was definitely a point at which the whole thing became WORK, and that's when I plan to head in this time. Before that, I was able to talk and joke and even play board games between contractions...I had to stop and breathe through them, but in between I was fine. Somewhere several hours in, it got to the "okay...this isn't fun anymore" stage and that's when I should have headed in. Because of the deadline, though, I'd already been there for about 7 hours at that point. I definitely want to stay home a little longer this time. 50 minutes is a bit of a drive, so I think when the thought of sitting in the car that long starts to sound like it won't be much fun, that's probably a good time to head out
As far as positioning, if you have any concerns about that in the very end of pregnancy I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend finding a chiropractor who is experienced with pregnant women/Webster technique if possible. A pg.org friend had a very, VERY long VBAC that was just dragging and dragging in early labor due to bad positioning. Another pg.org friend actually tracked down a good chiro an hour away from her and made her an appointment. She went in for an adjustment and labor started up in earnest just a couple of hours after, and she made her VBAC. It can REALLY help with opening things up so that baby can shift down and put pressure in all the right places. Of course, I'm a proponent of chiro through the whole third tri anyway, but at least keep it in your bag of ideas for the end if you feel you are dealing with positioning issues. Even without insurance coverage, one appointment is generally not that expensive.