I would say that you should never say never! When I went into labour with my first child I progressed quite quickly and was in a fair amount of pain when the nurse suggested it. I told her no and she left the room telling me she would let me think about it. When she returned I told her no again to which she seemed confused as to whether I meant "no, I don't want one" or "no, I'm undecided". After speaking to my mother and sister who were in the room I had decided against it because my sister had been experiencing migraines ever since her epidural. When I told the nurse "no, I don't want one" she seemed stunned and gave me a lecture on why I would choose to be in pain when I didn't have to be. I couldn't believe this woman! It was as if she wasn't hearing me. I later learned that the doctor was upset to be woken in the night and did not want to come in and the edidural likely would have slow my labor a little.
Little did anyone know that I would dialate from 1cm to 9 cm within a matter of a couple of hours! Nor did anyone know that I would be pushing for hours! In hindsight I probably should have taken the epidural because I started pushing to soon which caused some of the trouble with baby coming and the epidural probably would have helped ease the urge to push. On the other hand, even if I had asked for it, it probably would have been too late by the time the anestigiologist (sp??) got there and if he did get there in time and I didn't start pushing too soon but the baby was still stuck, I wouldn't have been able to push as well to get him out!
Everything happened in such a rush that I never did find out exactly what happened. I know I was blamed by the nurse for pushing too soon, but my son also had his head turned which is why I couldn't push him out. I also know that the doctor was furious that I had held up his scheduled c-section and that after he yelled at my mom to turn off the camera and he got the foreceps on the baby's head, put his foot up on the delivery table for leverage and began to pull, he yelled at me that I wasn't doing anything. If he had shown up hours earlier when he was called I might have had more energy to put into my pushes! All that mattered in the end was that my baby was born happy, healthy and huge!
Would I change anything with that birth? I wouldn't have had the same doctor, but since everything went so quick I don't think it would have mattered if I wanted the epidural or not.
I do not mean to scare you with my story, only to share my experience. As you will see the birth of my second child was much better.
When I went into labour with my second child I did not even know it. I had mild cramping but noticed after a few hours that it had a pattern to it. I called my mom and told her they were 10 min apart (doc said I should leave for the hospital when they were 20 min apart due to the hour long drive) and lasting for about 1 min, but didn't hurt. She told me to wait another hour to see how I felt but called back 1/2 hour later to tell me I should go to the hospital due to the fact that the last one went so fast.
When we got to the hospital emergency room no one seemed to be in a hurry (probably due to my lack of pain) and after at least a half hour I was taken to L&D. While I was in the bathroom changing my mom came in the room where she was told that I was being sent home. My mom told them that they were not sending me home until they examined me! Can you believe they were going to send me home...I think my contractions were about five minutes apart at this point (and still not painful
). I was hooked up to a fetal monitor and was finally seen by an intern about a half hour later who was confused as to why he could feel the baby's head but not push it back. The nurse checked me and informed me (and the intern) that I was 9cm! The doctor was sent in to break my water and I joked about how an epidural was out of the question now and how I did not want to be pushing for four hours. She assured me that this she wouldn't let that happen. I also joked with her about the fact that everyone was going to miss the birth because they had all gone outside (smoke break) to give me some privacy for the examination.
The doctor was just about to break my water when DH peeked in and I informed him that my mother and sister should hurry up if they wanted to see the birth of this child. My water was broken and I had to get up from the bed so they could put some clean sheets down. Just as I was about to get into the bed I had my first urge to push and was allowed to do so with the support of the bed. I then got up on the bed and blew away the next contraction and heard nothing but complete silence as everyone stared at me. The doctor said "we're waiting for you". I was quite amused, as I had blown away the previous contraction because I didn't think the doctor was ready yet! Two pushes later my daughter was born. I had been in the hospital a total of about 2 hours and it had been about 15 min from the time my water was broken until I gave birth.
My suggestion to you is that you research all of your options. Once you have decided what you would like to do if your birth experience is going as you imagined it would, think of what you would like to do if it isn't going so well. Discuss your plans with your doctor. You may tell everyone that you don't want an epidural but it might be wise to have the nurse to let you know when you are approaching the stage in labour when it will be too late to get an epidural, just so you can make one final decision. You may decide that you want an epidural but you will also want to discuss, with your doctor, what you want to do if an epidural can't be done. You also may want to consider the fact that sometimes, due to complications, they want to do a epidural as a precautionary measure in case of an emergency, but also keep in mind that they may want you to have an epidural in case a situation arises (these are two different situations as one is done because something has already risen a red flag and the other is due to the fact that the baby is fine, but something MAY happen).
Every labour is different and I can say that even if there had have been time to have an epidural (and I was sure I wanted one) with the birth of my daughter, I was never in enough pain to require one. If, while in painful labour with my son, someone would have said "even though you are fully dialated you will be pushing and in pain for four more hours" I would have had one.
I don't know if most of the women who avoid an epidural are afraid of the pain although no one likes needles. I think many women want to prove to themselves and others that they could do it (I dare any man to try it!LOL). I don't know why we feel the need to feel the pain (isn't that a man thing), I mean we carry them in our bodies for 9 months, give birth to them and raise them, what more can you ask for?
Good luck to you on making your decision and also to a happy and healthy baby!!!