I really respect and honor your birth experience. I think you are amazing to have gone to 7 cm and I think if you remind yourself about transition, what it is, and how it makes you feel, you can do it this time if you want!
I don't know about the water breaking. But I can identify with how you felt--I labored at home for 2 days (got sent home from birthing center on day 2 when they said I was a 4cm not a 7cm) and got to a point where I was really worried I wouldn't be able to do it anymore. Not the pain, but the tired. I told my mom and DH to take me to the hospital and get an epidural. I was so afraid I had another 12-15 hours of labor ahead of me. My mom said, "let's go to the birthing center and have the MW check you. If you havne't progressed like you feel you should have, then we can take you to a hospital" Thank god for her--we got to the birthing center an hour later, my water broke immediately--I was a 10 and started pushing. Never mentioned the epidural again.
It really is true that the worst part (transition) is just before the best part (pushing) And if you can just hold out during that transition you will be fine. It's the not knowing how close you are that can make this stage of labor seem so impossible. And I know if I had been in a hospital setting, I would have asked for it, and gotten it
Maybe work with your birth support people (partner or doula) to recognize transition and get you through it. Help them come up with a way to help you separate the emotions of transitions from the true desire for medical pain relief. Like, I don't know--make you wait 1/3 hour before getting the epi. Or make you ask 3 times. Or make them offer several other pain relief options first (diff. position, shower, birthing ball, massage, lower back compression) Just get through transition! Let them bargain with you. I know my DH did not feel confident enough with birth #2 to "deny" me the epidural when I was asking for it. So I would work this out ahead of time for sure and make him feel comfortable about helping you resist the urge for medical pain relief.
You made it all that way last time--you did the super hard part so I have no doubt you can do it. Also, OMG, you had Pit. I never have, but I've heard that can make the pain more intense (I know not for everyone) But perhaps this time if Pit. doesn't enter the picture you will feel the pain in a different way? You also might look at some of the threads here talking about Pit because some women have done it without an epi., and while some have and that is totally understandable, that may make you feel more confident, too, if you should get Pitocin again.
Oh, and avoid vaginal exams! They only discourage and can't really give any useful info!