Thank you for sharing that! That is also the type of experience I wanted to hear about... on some level it doesn't matter what's "typical," because anything is possible.
I have been getting a lot of advice to "be open minded" about labor and pain medication, and your story helped me to understand what I should take away from that advice. I think when a lot of my particular friends say that, my first instinct is to be rubbed the wrong way because it comes with advice to basically check myself in for the epidural right now (everyone I know except one acquaintance has had an epidural, and for most people it has worked out very well and they can't really understand why you would go through birth without one. Not that I have told them I am considering trying to do that, but they seem to sense that I am not 100% "give me the epidural now" and some people have really been kind of a pain about it.) It bugs me to be told to "be open minded" when what they really mean is "do exactly what I did." But that doesn't mean their overall advice is bad; rather than get defensive, I think what I should hear is that we live in a time and place where the option for pain relief is there if I need it, for any reason--nothing more complicated than that. (Also that, thank goodness, emergency care is also available if I need that.) I can safely say that in your situation, I would need the epidural and be very grateful for it.
So, thank you again for sharing what sounds like a very traumatic experience (at least at the time) to help those of us who haven't gone through this before. It is much appreciated.