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I had a painless birth (well the pushing hurt, but labor was painless). I did some relaxation practice (like hypnobabies) and I think that helped quite a bit. The nurses didn't believe me when I was ready to push, because they said I shouldn't be able to hold a conversation but when they checked me, I was ready to go! I couldn't feel most of the contractions. It is definitely possible, but I was just lucky I think lol.
my first labor was induced with pitocin and hurt like a mo fo. i didnt get an epidural, but ill be honest - i totally wanted one.
2nd labor, walked in to the hospital pushing because i didnt realize i was in labor til i was pushing..i think largely because it was SO different than the pitocin labor. it was uncomfortable, but not painful
3rd labor i knew i was in labor and thought i was further than i was when i got to the hospital. i was only 3cm, but 100% effaced - i wouldve guessed myself closer to 7cm or something there was a midwife i really disliked there and my labor stopped until the nurses kicked her out - once she was out i went 5-10 in just a few hours. this labor was SO intense and overwhelming. there was so much pressure with each contraction i could barely stand it. i didnt want an epidural or anything because it wasnt painful - but it was absolutely overwhelming.
Its hard to prepare for your first delivery, but I would definitely do a lot of reading up on ways to "deal" with the pain so you can try all of them when the moment comes and find out what works best for you.
Just a note, if you want no pain without mental focus - i think the only way to do that is epidural. And thats not a guarantee! I can only remember a few moments of actual pain during my two births and both of those were went I started to loose mental focus. I highly recommend reading the hypno-birthing books. Its all about letting your body take over, open up naturally, and staying calm. Good luck!