I really do not think that women should be told that they have to trade obedience for pain management, and this trade has NOT been my experience. I don't think this trade should be anyone's experience.
When I was in labor with DS, the epidural allowed me to be very present and articulate while it was working, and I was able to refuse pitocin, and discuss episiotomy and surgical vs. instrumental delivery with the delivering OB. My wishes were heard and respected whenever possible. When my wishes had to be disregarded, I was told why. The doctors involved in DD's birth (which was an emergency section involving very few choices at all) also did their best to hear, understand, and accommodate me whenever possible.
I don't think that we can usefully advocate for women or for birth choice while buying into the notion that some choices demand the abandonment of all autonomy and agency, or while denigrating those women who choose anesthesia.
As for autonomy - you are numb and cannot move from the sternum down. How will you move? How will you make choices if you are NOT supported by your doctors and midwives? How will you refuse the augmentation if you only find out about it after your new "saline" is put up and your contractions suddenly become very painful? How will you decline consent for the episiotomy which is done without your knowledge? How will you insist you be with your baby when you are still numb and someone who could walk has already taken it to the nursery?
I am glad that you were supported, but many many women are not, and the majority of those who weren't do not even realise the way they are being treated is unnecessarily unkind/unhelpful/dangerous.
As i write this i am watching One Born Every Minute, broadcast in the UK, channel 4, tuesdays at 9pm. I have just seen a woman screaming and screaming as she is given a vaginal examination where the midwife inserted most of her hand into the vagina to see if the very posterior cervix was dilated enough to break the waters through (it was not). The baby in this case was perfectly fine and happy and the mother was barely contracting, it was by no means an emergency. This might not have been your experience of "care" but here it is clearly so normal they feel it can be televised to the nation without anyone raising serious questions about professional sexual assault.
If we are to advocate for women we first need to accept the very serious flaws with the way those women are treated in the current system.