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I was so afraid to get an epidural. I read the little sheet they game me on what could happen and was like NO! so afraid. I wanted to try and go natural, but god it hurt so bad. I was having crazy labor pains so when they came in and asked if I wanted one I was like "YES!" but up until then I was all for trying it natural. I wanted to try and use the whirlpool but I didn't have that option I guess you had to have a mid wife or something but that's an option you could look into water birth. or just using the whirlpool until its time. Best of luck either way, but I don't think there's any shame in having an epidural.
I was completely the same way when I had my son 3 years ago. I wanted to do a natural birth as well. Unfortunately my son was turned the wrong way and I was at a 7 for 4 hours. I finally gave in and got an Epidural and I am so glad I did. Just like you I was more afraid of getting the epidural than I was giving birth (and I HATE needles as well). But I am so glad that I had it because once I did I was actually able to relax and enjoy the experience a little more. I am now pregnant with my second (not due until December though...so I have some time lol) but I really think that given my experience with the first that I will do an Epidural this time as well. Especially beacuse now I know what to expect and I know that it doesn't really hurt. I didn't even really feel it when they gave me the epidural because they try to do it at the same time as a contraction. With all this being said, no matter what you choose is your decision and it will be the right decision for you. You can always try a natural birth and then go from there. You just let the nurses know a head of time you would like to try a natural birth and then let them know if during some point you have changed your mind. Trust me...people do it all the time. :) Only you know what is right for you. There really is no right or wrong answer. Good luck! I'm sure you will do great! :)