The Accidental Naturalist (Edited)


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.”

Suddenly, something clicked.

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 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.

30 thoughts on “The Accidental Naturalist (Edited)

  1. I suppose a lot of women have interesting birth giving stories. This one’s definitely blog worthy. Quite a feat!


  2. You certainly a story for moms and future mothers. However, this lil lady is still not enticed by the pains of birth, haha. I think I’ll stick to being the cool aunt. (;


  3. We panic about so many new/unknown/preconceived things in life — especially childbirth. What a brave and inspiring post! Thanks for sharing! TiV


  4. Woo you!! Jeez!! You had me panting there!! and just so you know – i had an epidural with my second at 9 cm. wish my dr. would have said what your did. mine said – if it was me, i would. a$$hole.


  5. Sarah Ann says:

    Despite the pain and terror this has such an uplifting ending. This wasn’t necessarily the best way to become more confident, but it’s heartening to know your baby brought you more than just itself.


  6. inNateJames says:

    Now you can conquer the planet! Great post, Mel. I’d read it before and still was on the edge of my gurney!


  7. Silverleaf says:

    Wonderful! I love how this turned out: punchy and straight into the action with an equally effective conclusion. An encouraging battle song for mothers 🙂


  8. Jennifer G. Knoblock says:

    Great post! I think you did an awesome job with your revisions.


    • Melanie L. says:

      Thanks, Jennifer. I really tried. I’m at least happy that I was able to shave more than 300 words off the original! Hopefully, I’ll be able to use this skill again, and again, and again!


  9. Jen says:

    Good for you!!! I was wondering how this was going to turn out!
    I had to be induced with my 2nd and the only way I would agree to do it is if they gave me the epidural BEFORE they did it. lol


  10. This is plain awesome. You developed the tension and terror well. I could feel both. Having two kids, I could feel her pain and desperation for that epidural. I had c-sections for both but never went through these God awful spasms that you described. The pain for me happened after the fact. Childbirth really does make you feel as you can kick ass and take names. Brilliant!


  11. Danielle says:

    My second labor and delivery was a lot like that! I tell everyone it’s the way to go – too fast for an epidural. I had one with my first with a long labor and a lot of pain anyway. I’d go for too fast any day! Love the ending. Totally how I felt at the end.


  12. Tina says:

    Any woman who can handle childbirth can handle anything, as far as I’m concerned!

    You seemed awfully calm waiting for your ride…I would have freaked after they were five minutes late!


  13. I like the new beginning. I forget who suggested it (and I’m too lazy to check as I comment), but I think it draws the reader in. Then you build up to yelling for the epidural, ratcheting up the tension. Nice job on the rewrite.


    • Melanie L. says:

      That new beginning is the result of both your and Nate’s suggestions. Thanks so much for all the input. I really appreciate that you (and the others) took the time out of your busy day to really help me!


  14. Marcy says:

    Great birth story. It’s such a worrisome and stressful time. Glad everything turned out OK.


  15. Ooh. So many phrases I liked in here but my fav was “battle hymn of a warrior mom.” It describes so well the battle you faced and pain you endured during labor. Great post!


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Behind the Blog

Melanie L.

Melanie L.

Wanna-be writer, amateur oil painter, practicing law and motherhood with varied success.

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