My best advice - go into labour with an open mind, and be open to types of pain relief. Don't have expectations or a concrete plan - these rarely go the way you plan for. You may surprise yourself and not need the epi.
With my first, I wanted the epi, actually, I wanted all the drugs that they had on offer - I didn't know how bad the pain would be or if I could cope with the pain etc, but when DS1 arrived 5 weeks early(2820g - 6lb 3oz), and less than 5 minutes in the delivery room (1hr 30 min labour), I ended up having a drug free birth as there was no time for pain relief to be organised, and was walking around after thinking - that was a lot easier than expected... I could do that again.
I have had 3 subsequent babies, and still am yet to have an epi.
DS2 was 4460g - 9lb 13oz, (7hour labour and the easiest labour!!!) I used gas for the last hour, and found biting on the tube was better pain relief than inhaling
DS3 was 4600g - 10lb 2oz, (1 hr 13 min labour) Used the gas tube to bite on again for the last 20 mins....
DD was 4040g - 8lb 15oz. (50 minute labour)I was only in the delivery room for about 4 minutes before she was born (still in the sac) no time for pain relief.
I am aiming to go drug free with number 5 in January.
To those who have birthed with gas only - I will put money on you being able to birth without it!!!
Just go in with an open mind - don't fully discount anything, whether it be drug-free, or using an epi, and listen to your body and midwives.... they will give you the suggestions and let you know what you can do.
Once that baby is in your arms, the pain is instantly forgotten - you may even forget birthing the placenta afterwards....
Best of luck to all the expecting mums!!!