Re: In case I don't get an epidural . . .
DH and I each read Husband Coached Childbirth (a Bradley Method book, it may or may not be the one everyone is refering to) and found it really helpful. Also, learning about different laboring positions was helpful, if you're not 'tied down' by the epi, you can explore ways to feel most comfortable. For me, laying in bed either or my back or side was NOT and option, I simply could not manage my contractions that way. Sitting on the edge of the bed, sitting on a birth ball while gently rocking, and hands and knees position on the bed all worked very well for me. Also, if you're not already, look into prenatal yoga classes. Knowing how to breathe, for me, was priceless, and practicing yoga is a great way to learn how using breath can calm your body and mind and give you focus. You could even google prenatal yoga for more information and you might even be able to find an online class or 2 for free. I recommend learning about ujayi breath and durga breath, both are a form of deep breathing that are easy to learn and practice (do it in the car at a red light, do it while you're showering or washing dishes, whatever, just practice for a few minutes each day - better yet, once you get the hang of it, try using it when you're stressed out - kids throwing a fit or something isn't goingthe way it should - stop and do a few rounds of durga breath, you'll get to feel first hand the difference it can make).
If your intention is to hopefully have a faster labor, then keep that at the front of your mind, knowing that an epi can slow things down (and you know this first hand), take those contractions one at a time, each one brings you closer to the end, and make that decision with each contraction - 'i handled that one, can I handle the next one or do I want the epi knowing it might slow this process down?" Trust your body to do it's thing and that you won't be given more discomfort than you can bear. You can totally do this!
F/T SAHM to Veganzilla (2/09) and our angel-bean (6/10)
.married to my BFF (9/05)
cautiously with #2 (7/1/11)