I was very young when I had both of my children- one at 18 and one at 20, and I delivered both without the aid of any drugs or an epidural. Although it hurt, it wasn't unbearable, and I liked the feeling that I had complete control over my body, without any loss of sensation or a fuzzy head. The pain gives you cues as to whats going on, and what you should be doing, IMHO.
The only really difficult part of the birth is the "transition" stage. The period of time between being fully dilated and being able to push. Its the point where you start thinking you can't do it, and feel like giving up, and usually occurs when you're about 9 cm dilated. Its pretty much all downhill from there, the birth goes quickly after that, well, for me anyways.
I'd recommend spending the early labour period soaking in a warm tub of water. it really takes the edge off the pain. Oh, and have something to focus on during the contractions, like a picture of your cats or something that is pleasant for you.
My first labour was 9 hours total. My water broke at midnight and my daughter was born at 9 am. I spent the early part of the labour in a warm bath, and when that stopped helping I got out and dressed and walked up and down the hospital halls. When I'd have a contraction, I'd stop and lean against my hubby for support. The walking helps the labour to progress faster. I remember being so thirsty! I drank four or five bottles of juice! Hubby would wipe my forehead with a cool cloth during the contractions. I became irritated with that during a particularly bad one and punched him in the leg
:tounge2: Once I got through the transition period, the birth went quickly. The pushing just seemed to come naturally, no one had to tell me how to do it or when, I just knew. I attribute knowing what to do, with doing it naturally, with no drugs etc. But thats just my opinion. The nurse held up a mirror so I could see my daughters head crowning. Then, with a few more pushes, she was out, screaming and in my arms. I don't know if you plan to nurse, but it really calmed my little girl down when I nursed her right away. She seemed so comfortable wrapped in a warm blanket and nursing, right on the delivery table !
They took her away to clean her up and I had a little nap. Shes now 6 years old, and I remember every detail as if it were yesterday.My sons birth was very similar, so no need to repeat.
By the way, my daughter was in breech postion until a few weeks before she was born. This was my doctors advice to get her to turn, and it worked! he told me to lie in a very dark room and to take a flashlight and put the light against my tummy, near the top where her head was and to slowly move the light down the side of my tummy to the bottom. He said she may follow the light, and she did. She was a big girl, and it was a bit painful when she did her 360 turn, but once she turned, her head dropped into position where she stayed until she was born. Maybe this will work for you? It sounds silly, but for me it did work
Regarding the episiotomy, i didn't have one with either of my kids. If you are careful to go very slowly when pushing the baby out, you may not have to have one. Thats not as easy as it sounds, when you body says 'push' and you try to hold off, its difficult. But its worth it in the end to not have to worry about lots of stitches. I had a small internal tear with each child, that required three tiny stitches, I didn't even feel them.
I wish you luck with the birth of your child. Its a beautiful, miraculous experience you will never forget