When I was pregnant with my first baby almost 21 years ago, I was terrified of birth. I took the "epidural class" and, fortuately, I gave birth not feeling a thing. What I hadn't planned for were those few hours of contractions before going to the hospital. I had ZERO coping tools. It was awful. I cried when I got to the hospital, not because I was in so much pain, but because I could finally have the drugs. I was dilated to a 3 and 90% effaced. I can't imagine doing the whole thing without drugs as ill-prepared as I was.
With my second baby, I got educated. I prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally for the experience. I put a good birth team together and I was ready for the experience. I went in feeling confident, unlike my first birth where I would tense up with every contraction, scared of what was happening.
Let's use a little example. Stay with me. I've moved to the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. The mountain lions are prevelant. A neighbor took this picture of prints she found in the morning near her house. We hear them at night. It sounds like a woman screaming in the forest. Really, it's terrifying.