I have been reading about the Bradley method of natural childbirth. Deep relaxation and emotional support from a coach are promoted as the best ways to successfully give birth without drugs. The book I am currently reading cites anecdotal evidence of “painless” childbirth.
When my daughter was born in 1992, I refused all drugs throughout labor and only asked for them during transition, when the doctor told me it was “too late”. Therefore, I had a “natural” childbirth. The process was distressing and painful, but NOTHING as horrible as I had imagined or been told by other mothers. The most annoying parts of the process were the doctors desperately working to intervene (fetal distress was involved). I found labor to be more intense than terrifying, even though I was totally unprepared (she was early) and had an inexperienced coach. However, I still experienced pain and panic at the end of the process. (I suspect that I may be able to do better without medicine the next time because of the relatively low amount of suffering I went through.) The opinion/stories I am seeking would be from other mothers: is it possible to have a relatively painless labor and birth?
Does anybody have any stories about great (or horrifying, I don’t mind seeing the other side too) natural or home births? Since I am contemplating having a second child and am personally opposed to (myself) using drugs during labor unless absolutely necessary, I just want to see some more anecdotal evidence. Doper moms, please share your humble opinion and your stories.