I just finished my second book about birth. It would have been an excellent book if I was a first time mom, and would totally recommend it to anyone pregnant for the first time. But since I've already had a baby the first half was old information that I just scanned quickly. The second half was great though, especially the last quarter, that was mostly doctors either talking about different experiences with women in labor or their own experiences in labor. I found it extremely helpful. Especially the parts where obstetric anesthesiologists were quoted. It is a strong possibility that I will need pitocin again, and if I do, I most likely get another epidural, so reading the book helped me be fine with that possibility. Also pointing out that epidural is safe for the baby especially if complications arise that the woman needs pain medication. It seems to me, a lot of "natural" proponents build up epidurals as evil, but that really isn't the case. I would have not been able to survive my son's birth if I didn't have epidural. If I was a pioneer my husband would have had to bury me on the way.
The book reminded me that childbirth is very unpredictable, so roll with the punches and be mindful of your doctors advice. Each woman and each birth experience is completely different so we really shouldn't make judgment calls on how other woman birth. The real thing is you have to be prepared for both pain medication situations, and relaxation (medication free) techniques, but you never know what is going to happen in birth. I am personally hoping all these contractions aren't in vain, and I progress beyond a one and half, after 12 hours of steady strong contractions.
Another interesting part was when the authors gave the history of pain medication in the last 200 years. Twilight sleep sounds awful, based on the book, it put the laboring woman out, and when she awoke she remember nothing, but apparently they had to tie her down, because she would scream and thrash about so much she would put herself and others in danger if she wasn't tied in bed. I feel very luckily to live in a day, where a woman can chose to have a medication free childbirth if she so choses, but also has modern medicine on her side, if she choses, or if she need it based on complications, or lack of progression.
(By the way, the book either neither pro-natural or pro-pain relievers.)