I know epidurals are controversial. I have read the pros and cons. I even had a co-worker become temporarily paralyzed from the waist down. For eight months she did not know if she would ever be able to walk again. She was fortunate enough to regain her motor skills, and is now perfectly fine, but I have to admit that added to my fear of getting an epidural.
Nevertheless, during labor I requested one. Some would call me weak, amongst other things.
Despite what decision you make, it is ultimately your choice. I know it is not necessary for delivery, but I felt slighted when my insurance refused to pay for it. I got the bill in the mail a few months later, and when I inquired about it, they insurance company declared that it was not required for labor, and therefore I would be liable for it. Anesthesia is never required, but would the insurance company deny it for major surgery? Or even minor surgery?
Regardless of personal feelings about epidurals, why is delivery belittled in terms of pain? Sure women have been giving birth naturally since the beginning of time, but technically once upon a time they used to amputate limbs without anesthesia using unsterilized utensils. Does that mean we need to regress to that as well and start denying other patients pain relief?
Giving birth is a very violent and painful event. Kudos to those women who can tough it out, I have nothing but reverence for you. However, for the rest of us, I think we should not be denied the option unless we are willing to pay extra for it. Epidurals are not a luxury.