Thank you again for all the very interesting and varied replies.
Most of the time, I really look forward to the challenge of labor. (One of my life goals is to run a marathon - so I'm not afraid of some pain!
as much as in my own mind I feel positive and even excited about it most days, sometimes someone will get hold of me and scare me. Most recently, it was my MIL. We had dinner with them, and she was very negative about the pain of childbirth, and how it would be impossible to do it without drugs, etc., and that no matter what I thought, was I going to have someone on standby at all times with drugs available? I bit my tongue and didn't tell her billions of other women have done it without drugs, so I knew I could, too. As much as my MIL and I disagree on just about everything, her attitude still haunted me for about a week, and doubt crept in. It's hard sometimes as a first-time mom to "know" that you know better than someone who has given birth before. I can't really know that, of course. But if I go into it listening to all the women I know IRL who have given birth before and believe a particular way about it, I will never accomplish my goal. So I have to choose to believe in myself and the books I read, rather than the nay-sayers. To someone who believes childbirth is the worst thing you go through in life, that seems like an incredibly arrogant attitude, I realize, so I just try to keep my mouth shut. But then sometimes they keep at you and erode your confidence.
I think it's super-interesting, too, that the women who talk about how unbelievably horrible the pain was are almost always the ones who took drugs that supposedly remove that pain. The women who did it without drugs rarely talk about the pain as being something horrible that they barely lived through.
Anyway, thanks again for all the replies. I was glad to see some people saying their BH contractions were at least a little uncomfortable - I had started to wonder if I had some really skewed view of pain or something.