It was interesting to be on the other side with a laboring a patient I had. By the end of her labor I was sure she would absolutely never go without an epidural again. So I asked her...and low and behold, she told me how grateful she was for my help, and how she was glad she didn't get the epidural. And she had epidurals with her previous children. It made me pause for a second. There has to be more about how we perceive pain than just the actual sensations. There is also more to how we deal with it.
Here's a brief link to a site that talks about some of the things to expect during transition(one of the hardest parts of labor):http://nursingbirth.com/2009/02/08/top-ten-things-women-saydo-during-labor-and-trust-me…-they-are-totally-normal/