So in a normal birth scenario, we know epidurals are not best for mom and baby, but how do we get past that moment when we think we NEED one.
My first suggestion is to birth in a birth center or at home. If it isn't there, you can't have it. How many of you chocolate fiends out there (I'm guilty!) try to curb your chocolate lust by not buying it at the grocery store in the first place. If your fix is out of control, you can always go to the grocery store and buy some (and if you really need the epidural, you can transfer to the hospital from the birth center). Ok, strange analogy but you get the picture, if it isn't under your nose, it is a heck of a lot easier to avoid and if you have to go out of your way to get it (let me paint you the not so pretty picture of transferring from a home or birth center birth to the hospital while in transition, keep it at this, transition contractions in a car are NOT fun) you just might think twice about how dire your need really is.
Given the fact that our culture does not teach us that birth is normal, it can be hard to make the decision to birth at home or at a birth center. For those of you birthing at the hospital, when you want the epidural, tell yourself you will first try a few different positions, massage, water, new labor support, explore how you are feeling emotionally etc., etc. After you have done all of those things, you might even want to try and wait two more contractions, and then if you feel that you can't relax enough to open up and birth without the epidural, you know that when you call the anesthesiologist, that you have given it your best shot. Isn't that what we teach our kids? If you can't do something, try it again, try it a different way, get a new perspective on it, and then if you still can't do it, that is ok too?
But imagine, if our culture supported normal birth, we wouldn't have to worry about all that stuff because we would know epidurals were not for normal labor/birth. We would have this belief growing up as a kid and we would take this total trust in natural childbirth with us into pregnancy.
Ok, this might not be very practical but it is good food for thought, here is a link to a group of midwives thoughts on how to lower the astronomically high epidural rate: Midwives call for epidurals fee.