alrighty. I did this 8 years ago. I gave birth without ANY pain medication. I have a very neurotic reason, too::::: I HATE NEEDLES !!!!!!!!! :::::::: So the thought of that 12-inch long Epidural needle made me PUT IN WRITING to my OBGYN: NO NEEDLES.
Hints for you:
Have a PARTNER help you with BREATHING. Surely you have taken Lamaze classes? This is the only thing that saved me. My hubby at the time had zero interest in helping me with the breathing and relaxation techniques necessary for a drug-free birth; so, I hired a woman named Mary Jo. She was the teacher of the Lamaze classes I went to.
Have a WOMAN help you with the breathing. Men will get bored of it or not be able to see such pain in your face. Trust me. Women can handle pain way better than men. Pain like childbirth? You want a woman who has been there/done that, who can tell you step by step what your body is doing. This is what Mary Jo did for me.
Use a heat pad for your back. Labor pains are mostly in your back. I hardly felt a thing in the front; it was all in my lower back! The heating pad really helped to take 'the edge' off of the contractions.
As you dilate more and more -- your contractions will peak higher and come closer, last longer. You will not have much time inbetween contractions to 'focus' or do much other than breathe and anticipate. I didn't have a focal point; instead, I had soft music playing (this relaxation stuff) and I kept the lights down low; I closed my eyes and just focused on my breathing and my body. However if you are a really visual person and there is a favorite picture or something small you want to focus on, use that vs. closing your eyes.
As you get closer to being able to push -- you will notice it will feel GOOOOOD to push. Your body will start to push the baby out 'all on it's own' (kind of like when you go to the bathroom... not to be gross but when the baby comes out it feels like you are having a BM). It feels natural, there is some pressure, but weirdly enough it feels GOOD to push. Go with it and remember to breathe.
As the baby passes down and through the birth canal, there is a nerve or something that is supressed -- your legs will sort of feel numb and your 'area' down there will feel a bit numb. If you have to have an episiotomy --- the doc will numb you locally by dabbing this stuff on you. But as the baby nears the opening it will be naturally numb (so it doesn't hurt as bad at this point).
Delivering the head was no problem; it's the shoulders that hurt -- but the shoulders pass pretty easily --- it's all over in a minute. Then POOF the pain is pretty much gone. You'll have to deliver your placenta, but it just feels kind of googly. Plus you will be tired, exhausted, and happy, because you will have a brand new baby laying on your chest!!!
I can't stress enough about the Lamaze breathing... it was the ONLY thing that helped me. If Mary Jo was not there with me to help me through, to coach me and to explain what my body was doing - I'd have freaked out and had no choice but to use drugs (since my hubby had no interest in helping).
I only yelled once, and it was when the nurse stuck her entire arm (or so it felt) up inside of me to help push the cervix back over my baby's head. I called her the B word and yelled at her. Then while I was delivering I screamed at my doctor to "get it out" because -- it was the shoulder-delivery -- and like I said that is the only kind of painful part.
Docs & nurses will understand if you curse like a sailor... the nurse I called a B just let it roll right off her back (from what I remember).
Good Luck, and sorry this is so long, but I'm excited for ya! It was fun, childbirth... call me crazy but it was the coolest thing I ever did.