I sure it does hurt for some people no matter what. But if you go in thinking its going to hurt there is just about no way in hell what it isn't. That is more my point. I like to try to tell people that it doesn't hurt for everyone, so maybe it won't for you.
I don't think people who have experienced this say it enough. I will never say it's easy.
Things didn't go prefect for me either, I pushed for 3hrs and got an episiotomy that was later extended (now those hurt like hell) cause he was stuck. I did get pitocin at the end it scared me but they said my contractions were back to 5 min apart (I had no concept of time). I think it just put things back on track in my situation and he was born soon after.
Like I said it is very hard work. I guess I was lucky that the whole labor was just under 24 hours, vrs days that the poster above mentioned.
Like everything with having and raising children its all personal decision and are many strong opinions. I don't think the OP is wrong for wanting to goto a hospital and have an epi, I'm sure that is right for some people. I agree with the poster that mentioned going to the hospital and trying to do it without, knowing its an option if needed.
I believe that people in the US believe labor is going to hurt no matter what. I don't think that should be a fact. It may hurt but, in my opinion, it's not a guarantee.