I'm 28 yo, expecting baby #1. I'm also a medical student going into OB/Gyn next year, which pretty much guarantees a rough delivery (I don't know why, just seems to work out that way).
I'd been having pre-term contractions since 29 weeks, but not dilating, and figured I would go post-dates, have to be induced, have a long and horrible labor and probably wind up with a forceps delivery.
Big surprise, my water broke at 0400 at 36 weeks and 5 days! By the time I showered, got to the hospital and in a room, it was 6am. I was barely feeling my contractions, and because I was only 2.5cm, my doctor said I could eat breakfast. Unfortunately, by the time it came I was hurting a lot, and asked for my epidural. I was terrified about getting it, because I had a lumbar puncture a few years ago and it was horrible! But it really wasn't bad- aside from the "sting and burn" of the local anesthetic, all I felt was some weird pressure in my back.
I was way more comfortable (read: I couldn't feel a thing) and managed to nap for a little while. I woke up at 10am with a lot of pressure, and was 6cm! Anesthesia came and topped off my epidural, and I was able to rest comfortably. At 12:15pm my doctor checked me and I was complete. I started pushing at 12:31pm, and after only 15 minutes, my 5# 6oz baby girl was born!
We all hear so many terrible horror stories about birth, and I'm really happy to be able to share a positive one. I came out with just a tiny little tear, which never hurt. After an hour, I was able to get up and walk around. I never needed anything stronger than ibuprofen, and that I mostly just took to keep from hurting.
Best of luck to everyone as they prepare to welcome their new baby into the world!