Well, I have a lot of experience with natural birth, as a doula, etc., for years, seeing over 50 natural births. 1 almost natural, 1 not, last natural at home, and I just don't know what to do with this one. I am so completely torn. My labor experience with the last was so incredibly painful (duh...it's labor). I am NOT one of those people that came away from the experience thinking, "wow! that was such a great experience! I love natural birth!" lol No way, not me. I HATED labor, and though I loved the immediate relief when it was done, I couldn't even marvel at my newborn baby for a while because I was just in such a state of shock at the pain and almost panicked that it wasn't truly over. I BEGGED my husband to take me to the hospital and got mad when he didn't (although he didn't really say no. he just listened but I knew even if he said yes there would have been no way I could have made the 40 minute drive in the car to the hospital). I told my husband and the midwife that I made a horrible mistake and that if I'd remembered how much it hurt (from the first), I wouldn't have made the choice to have the baby at home.
After the birth, like I said, I still kept telling my dh and everyone else, that it was such a horrible experience, BUT, that the postpartum made it worth it. And that's where I feel so selfish for even considering a hospital birth, let alone with an epidural. My precious son was born without any drugs, into my husband's arms, and didn't leave us at all, have bright lights, cold tools or rough hands. No scrubbing or suctioning, no scratchy blankets, hats, or clothes. We didn't have to constantly fight anyone and everyone to get what we wanted and avoid what we didn't want. I went straight into my own bed and took a shower when I wanted, went to sleep when I wanted, nursed when my baby wanted, etc. My dh and I laid in bed together with our newborn. The pain was gone, except for the afterbirth pains, which won't even go away in the hospital, lol. I wasn't hooked up to anything, my baby didn't have to be pricked, poked, stabbed, gooped or tested.
During the labor, though it sucked royally, and, seriously, was so friggin intense from the get-go. I'd been having strong contractions every day for weeks before actually going into real active labor, so once the real thing started, I never had any of the slow labor contractions where it's just the beginning and you're still able to talk and laugh and joke in between, and even sometimes during, contractions. The labor wasn't long compared to my other two (10 hrs), but it wasn't 10 hrs start to finish with early labor, active labor, and transition all in there. Nope, it was just really intense active labor about 7-8 of those hours, with 2 or 3 at the end being horrible, "kill-me-now" contractions where every single one I knew there was no way I'd make it through that one, let alone any more afterwards!
So anyway, all that to say, most of my reasons for wanting a hospital birth are totally selfish and have to do with my desire to not have pain (I remember the sheer joy of having the epidural after natural laboring for so long with my first), and 100% of the reason for wanting an epidural is because I have no desire to put myself through that ever again. However, even though my experiences before in the hospital with my children were quite positive, ever experience is different, and I don't know how I could forgive myself if something happened in a hospital that would have been prevented had I not had the epidural or been forced to give control over to someone else
Can't midwives do epidurals at home yet??