Have you thought about what sort of pain control, if any, you're going to ask for?
With my first labor I was petrified of having an epidural. I went 23 hours with intense, pitocin augmented, contractions. Finally I was so exhausted that even though I had finally gotten to 9cm I caved and got the epi.
Second labor I had just gotten out of the hospital for the flu so I already had no energy. I opted for the epi again.
If I have a third labor some day, I think I'd like to skip the epidural.
What's your plan?
As someone who has done it both ways, I can say with certainty--Epidural! I wanted to have my first baby all-natural, but was having really extreme back-labor and finally caved and asked for the Epi. Turns out it was a good thing I did because my daughter had turned around (which explained the back-labor) and came out "sunny side up" (face up). When baby comes out face up, her head can't be pushed down to make the shoulders roll in, so baby comes out with shoulders (which are the widest part) flat. This meant a considerable amount of time (over an hour and a half) of pushing. If I hadn't had the epidural, I don't think I'd have had the energy to get through the delivery and probably would've been stuck with a C-section. Baby number two came fast and by the time I was settle into the delivery room it was too late to have the epidural, so I had to just work through the pain. I am someone with a really high pain tolerance, and I was in a tremendous amount of pain. If I ever have a third, I'll make sure to get to the hospital early enough.
From the beginning my birth plan was to have a natural birth, no epidural, no getting induced and no c-section. I stayed on track with my plan for about 15hrs out of 24hrs of labor. The pain was the worst pain of my life but i stuck through them, every contraction I told myself "I can do this, stick to the plan" the nurse kept coming in asking if i wanted the epi and i kept saying no but once i hit 8cm and having no sleep and having nobody to encourage me to keep going I broke down and got it. Not saying the father of my child wasnt there because he was but he kept saying i was crazy for not getting it.
I decided to get the epidural at around shift change which is not a good idea, the anesthesiologist seemed tired and in result of that only half of my body was numb. I felt nothing on one side and on the other i still felt the horrible contractions, so they called another anesthesiologist to come. Nothing like paying for two epidurals in one labor. But when i got to 10cm they turned off the epi and waited until i could feel my legs again to start pushing. I pushed for 2 hrs before the dr came in and said I would be better off having a c-section because my son was to big. Thankfully i didnt have to have the big needle again they just gave me another epidural by the tube.
After my C-section i had the shakes so i couldnt hold my son, which also meant i couldnt feed my son. He got used to bottles that he never latched on to my nipple when i tried breastfeeding him the next day.
With my next labor, I will NOT get an epidural and hopefully the plan works out differently. I plan to have an Vbac next time around since my dr will allow me to
I just had my first baby and did without the epidural. (I did get the analgesic pain meds through the IV though...and they were nice. :3 I highly recommend them if you don't get the epidural. I could still feel everything, but once I got the pain meds, I just didn't care that I was in pain. It makes you hella loopy though. I was waxing poetical about the Popsicles that the hospital provided to my husband for a couple hours.) So, I have no experience as to what it was like with an epi, but my labor went pretty quick. She was born 7 hours after we got to the hospital. I pushed for an hour, and she was out. All 8 pounds, 9 ounces.
I will say though, that every mother I talked to who had to be induced said that if they're going to induce you, you REALLY want the epidural. Something about those pitocin induced contractions are five times worse than just normal run of the mill contractions apparently. ;3 In fact, I had that as part of my birth plan. If they were going to induce me, I wanted that epi, screw going natural.