Everyone told me it was easier, faster, less painful.
It wasn't, not for me.
Anticipating an easier and faster delivery I forego epidural lest it would make the delivery unnecessarily longer. I ended up being in labor for close to two days; very intense contraction yet slow progress.
I started listening to Sufi music in the middle of the first stage of the labor; which helped with tolerating the pains more effectively. It was actually like a miracle how the sensation of pain reduced in my body while I was chanting with the songs. Interestingly other music didn't have the same effect.
I did the breathing method too of course which I tended to forget as the contractions intensified. M was a great help guiding me through them.
I ended up asking for epidural after 3 hours of idle progress while 2/3rd into the first stage of the labor while contractions were really painful. I realized I couldn't relax my body and thought epidural would help. And it did as my body accomplished the first stage in only two more hours. Then started with the delivery itself which took another couple of hours.
Looking back, I hardly remember the agony. I do remember the facts, I remember how each contractions made me say to myself "you can do it" as if i doubted my body. I font remember the pain though.
It was an amazing experience the first moment I saw my little girl. A little precious thing, so fragile, all mine (and M's), choosing me as her pathway to this world. I am ever thankful!!