August 12, 2014 by Melanie L.
I was scared sh!tless. I was scared because the labor of my second pregnancy was nothing like my first. My first labor went a bit like this: pain, wait, pain, wait, pain, wait, pain, wait. . . epidural, sleep. . . pain, wait – for 18 hours. That picnic left me woefully under-prepared for the onslaught the second time around.
On the morning of my second delivery, I showered and got dressed for work. As soon as I was ready to leave, the contractions started. They did not progress from a dull cramp to an eye-popping paroxysm over the course of an entire day. No. These contractions were abrupt and intense from the start. Luckily, I received a merciful 15 minute pardon between spasms.
Believing I still had plenty of time to get that epidural, I calmly called out of work, called for a ride and patiently waited for half an hour. But 30 minutes became 40 minutes and in that same span my contractions shortened to three minutes apart. Not only had the frequency increased, but so too had the intensity. Each one racked my mid-section like an evil super-villain who had sunk his hands directly into my abdomen and squeezed my innards through a Play-Doh spaghetti maker. Naturally, I tried to walk it off.
An hour passed since I had called for my ride, and yet, I still had no ride. At that point, I figured I was in a wee bit of trouble. I was not so much worried about delivering a baby in the car. I was worried I would not arrive in time to get my epidural. Given the intolerable pain of my first labor and delivery – with an epidural – I could not fathom the increased pain I would experience without it.
Thankfully, my ride arrived. Halfway to the hospital, though, I felt the urge to push. My foggy sense of impending trouble condensed into sheer terror. I called 911 from the car. An ambulance met us at a police station.
“Give me an epidural. . . NOW! I want a f*@king epidural!” I begged, pleaded and screeched for an epidural the entire ride from the police station to the hospital interrupted only by my bouts of hyperventilation and the EMTs’ admonishments to take deep breaths. I shrieked as they wheeled me in through the emergency department doors. I screamed to the techs, to the nurse, even to the poor hospital security guard who dismissed me with a shrug and a who me? expression. Finally, I beseeched my OB for drugs, any drugs, to curb the pain.
“No,” my OB sternly advised. I was too far along to get the epidural.
Before I could die from panic, she had the magic words to abate my terror: “You’ve already done all the hard work.”
My breathing steadied, my mind refocused. On the second push, my baby raced out. Sure enough, my OB was right: the delivery was comparatively pain-free.
My burden lightened. I had worried for naught. My desperate cry for the epidural transformed into the battle hymn of a warrior-mom. It may not have been my plan to have a natural birth, but once I became the accidental naturalist, I knew could tackle anything. For all my efforts I was rewarded with a perfect little baby, but also a newfound confidence.
I’ve revised my original post (link here) with the help of the yeahwrite.me bronze lounge! Many thanks to Cyn at That Cynking Feeling, Nate at The Relative Cartographer, Jenn at Graceful Press Poetry and everyone else in the bronze lounge.