Oh gosh. Thank you so much. You've been so helpful and informative. I'm literally scared to death.
Missed a couple questions. How long the pain lasts depends on your body. Some people have quick labors with hardly any pain and some have long labors.
You'll lose a pretty significant amount of weight at birth what with losing the weight of the baby, placenta, some blood and lots of water but you won't be prepregnancy skinny right away.
It'll be ok. Contractions just feel like really strong cramps. At first they can actually feel more like gas pains but they get stronger as you go. You don't feel yourself dilating so nurses will check you periodically to see how your doing. They do that with their fingers which can be a little uncomfortable. You can rip but it happens while the baby is coming out so it's masked by the pain of that so not nearly as scary as it sounds. Some doctors will cut you if they think you're a high risk for tearing badly. Some women don't tear at all maybe you'll be one of those.
As far as the epidural it's completely up to you. I've had three and getting them wasn't painful. They numb your back before inserting the epidural. There are other options too besides epidural or nothing. There is a spinal block which is kind of like an epidural, IV pain killers, and some hospitals are starting to offer laughing gas but those are still rare in the US. I would discuss your options with your dr at your next appointment just so you know what's available in case you change your mind later :-)