Congratulations! I just gave birth to my 2nd daughter, both born at cedars. My first was completely a natural birth, my second (11 days ago) I ended up choosing to have an epidural after being in labor 14 hours with considerable lower back pain, and I have a high pain threshold. My experience is that some of preparation for a natural birth needs to be discussion with your ob before your start labor. And then, once you do go to the hospital, continue to tell your labor plan to whoever is working with you, nurses and doctors. Some of the nurses are more likely to sound surprised that you plan to go without pain relief, stick to your plan. It also benefits you to have a partner, coach or doula, who knows your plan, your pain tolerance, and will stick by your intent unless there is some reason, medical or physical, that you decide together that you have to do something different. My first pregnancy I was in labor a lot longer, but I was younger, less tired, and didn't have to have an iv sticking out of me. This time, I had tested positive for strep b, so I was on a penicillin iv drip. Then there was the contraction/baby heartbeat monitor bands, then the internal baby monitor. Having tubing running into me made me less able to change positions during labor (walking, leaning on my husband, sitting on a ball) all were difficult and then the baby's heartbeat started to drop in reaction to contractions. Dr. Ushigome suggested the epidural to allow me to relax and rest ( I was so exhausted that I would almost pass out between contractions) after trying to slow my contractions.
Ultimately, talk with your doctors and nurses, & have a plan with your partner. The benefit of waiting to go to the hospital is that you won't have as much time laboring in that environment, so if you're comfortable being at home, stay until your contractions are closer together.
Best wishes to you! K.