For those who have had a drug free birth before!

This is my first baby and I'm planning to do it naturally with no drugs. I'm about 5 weeks away and each day I'm getting more worried about the pain. Everyone keeps telling me it's going to be unbearable and the "ring of fire" is going to kill me, etc. For those who have had a natural birth already, how bad is it? Someone told me that the contractions is worse than the pushing. Is that true? Or does it keep getting worse? Also- what helped you most during labor?