Re: natural birth
I had a completely natural birth at a hospital with an OB. (Although I didn't go to the hospital until I was 9 cm dilated.) I had a long labor, all back labor, and a long transition. The pain was truly awful and I never felt that high some women talk about. But I was never even tempted to ask for an epidural because my fear of the epidural was worse than the pain of labor.
I had a difficult recovery. I got out of bed an hour after my daughter was born and promptly passed out. I continued to get dizzy and lightheaded every time I stood up for the next 24 hours. I had second degree tearing and was in horrible pain for the first couple of weeks. It was hard to sit and riding in the car was awful. There was no way I could drive. I was exhausted from being up with my daughter round the clock and when she would fall asleep I would go lay down and try to sleep and despite being completely exhausted I couldn't sleep because I was in too much pain. I also had trouble with bowel control.
I tell you all of this not to discourage you, but because sometimes I think natural birth advocates tell other women that natural birth is all sunshine and roses, and it's not, at least not for some people. But, I'm glad I did it natural and plan to do it natural next time as well. If you choose natural, my advice would be to do lots of research and have lots of different natural pain relief options available. You have no way of knowing what will and won't work for you until you're in the middle of things. Good luck!