3rd time Mama here to share my epidural experience. I got an epidural with my 1st, but it didn't work. Only numbed one leg so I felt everything, plus they upped the meds so much to see if they could get the epidural to work that it made me super shakey and nauseated. All around horrible experience.
With my 2nd, I was laboring for 11 hours all natural- fast, hard contractions - but my cervix just wasn't dialating! I was stuck at 3 centimeters for 8 excruciating hours. I finally couldn't stand the pain any longer and got an epidural. It worked like MAGIC. I felt nothing until 1 1/2 hours later when I felt the urge to push. Nurse checked, and I was at 10 cm and ready to push! The Dr told me sometimes epidurals speed things up, like in my case.
All of that to say, my advice is to take things as they come, be flexible, and just be open to readjusting your birth plan as things go along. You just can't predict the way things are going to go. This time around, I would like to go all natural, but I am going to keep the option of an epidural open (especially since it was such an amazing relief with #2).