I talked on the phone with my grandmother last night. She's 83 and has birthed four children. "To deliver," she said, "especially the first time your body is stretching so it takes time. You need to allow for that. You must be open and relaxed so your not fighting what your body needs to do. And if you need drugs to have that mindset than you need to consider doing so."
The first recorded incidence of a woman surviving a c section was in the 1580's in Switzerland. The husband, a pig gelder performed the operation on his wife after a prolonged labour. Prior to that the section almost always resulted in the death of the mother.
I spent some time researching the epidural and the drug options that are available to me and possible side effects both to me and my baby. I believe knowing this will assist me in the decisions I make going into labour and while birthing.