hi, i have 5 children and all different labours and births i have drug free births and i have also had an epidural. I am no superwaoman, and get quite frightened and hyperventilate when things start happening so i ask for the epidural most times but usually the births are to quick and there is no time. I also love the fact that after the birth, hop in the shower get dressed and away you go, but with the epi, i had the wardies take me to my bed and the catheta stayed in for a few hours(although i don't think it needed to). I did have a sponge bath by the midwife after the birth which was not that nice, but not really bad enought o turn me off another epidural..lol. I feel if you are worried now and frightened like i was/am, there is no problem, you have nothing to prove to anybody, all you need to do is the best you can to get your baby out nice and healthy. I know you feel you may be cheating the whole experience, but its not an easy way out and there is no extra prize at the end if you do decide to go without the epi, we still get those babies. i think i am happy knowing that it is available for me to have, and i wonder if that is enough..i will no doubt ask for an epi this time around also, depending on how quickly this baby comes, and how long it takes the the anethistist (sp) to get down to give me one..lol.