I've had four, and honestly experience has definitely lessened the pain for me.
1) Induced at due date with pitocin, epidural forced at two centimeters as the "guy" was leaving, sadly it ran out around seven and I was stuck on my back in horrifying pain for the next four-ish hours. Epesiotimy was given without consent, and I felt it and all the stitches afterward.
2) Went into labor two weeks early, husband was gone and my water broke and we had just moved to Japan. I got a friend to take me in, and was completely stalled for three hours at six centimeters with a leaking water bag. Agreed to medicine to "speed things up" and spent the next few hours in one constant "throw yourself out the window, it's the only way to end this" pain until I got a nurse to check and found that the baby was crowning. Hit the doctor when he was stitching me, and had back labor the whole time. And yet, it was still less painful than when the epi wore off!
3) Starting to figure this whole this out, labored at home in my house and tub alone for maybe 6 hours, hubby was sleeping. I spent the time catching up on volunteer work. Totally distracted and relaxed. Actually, by the time we hit the hospital I tried to push a little in the parking lot. Popped the kid out twenty minutes after we got to the hospital, and only after labor stalled again and doctor agreed to heavily medicate and wait ten minutes before attempting any stitches. Didn't feel a thing :-)
4)Labored mostly alone for 2-3 days. Hubby took the big kids to his parents, and I alternated contractions/baths/naps and television for the duration. I "knew" I was in labor, but it never really hurt or felt like it was working. Day three hubby came home and at 11 I made my birth partner take me to the hospital to get checked and maybe get drugs to get some real sleep. Everyone laughed at me for checking in as I was "clearly not really in labor", even though I mentioned that this was my fourth and I was sure I hit transition in the car-- but they started running once they did the vaginal and found me to be a nine :-) I was still not in pain, and was talking/laughing through contractions, but I did refuse to get on my back and made her check me standing up. Baby was born in 30 minutes or so.
In my experience, they pain has gotten so much less with each birth and I think that just has to do with experience and knowing what makes me feel safe. After I hit the doctor in birth number two, I knew he wouldn't push me around again so it was much more relaxing. (Side note, in Japan doctors are like Gods, so I was really lucky that he took me again after I decked him). I relayed that story to my last doctor, and told him to stand back during pushing if I started to get mad as I would lash out. The pushing part makes me really crazy and feel out of control.
I came out of my last birth fog to find ten wash clothes on my belly and asked the nurse what that was about. She said "the doctor said to give you whatever you wanted", yeah I wanted was for him to put a cloth on my vagina while he was checking the placenta as it was very tender. If I ever get pregnant again, I am adding that to my list. No rubbing anything on the sore spots!
I never did hypnobabies, but do probably do some of the things they suggest. I really like to try to just relax, and oddly if something really hurts I kind of like it as I feel like it means we will be done soon. If it's a good pain, I really can relax into it and let my body do the work. Not sure how I would do with something that doesn't let you acknowledge pain, but for me the "right" kind of pain--low down on the cervix--means that thing are happening. Back pain means I need to move around a lot and get things going in the right direction. I hope some of this helps