Even though I had been told the second baby would be easier, I didn't believe it until it actually happened. From day zero, baby number two has been 100 times easier.
Pre-Delivery: With Max, I read every book about labor and delivery inside and out. Paul and I took a birthing class, and we practiced various massage techniques, visualization and positions to ease the pain. I even wrote out my ideal birthing plan. With Maggie, I didn't read a single book, not even a single website about labor and delivery. It didn't hit me how unprepared I was until I started having hard contractions. I didn't even remember how to breath. Luckily deep breaths in and out seemed to suffice.
Labor and Delivery: With Max, I was in labor for 10 hours. It started with my water breaking followed immediately by contractions every two minutes. I was begging for an epidural even though I originally wanted to try and do it drug free. I also had an episiotomy that cut so deeply into the muscle, that the midwives were worried about it tearing with my second baby. With Maggie, I had been having contractions off and on for several days, so I wasn't sure if I was actually in labor or not. By the time I was convinced that I really was in labor, we left for the hospital only three hours before the baby was born. My midwife had to break my water when it was time to push. I had no time for drugs.
Breastfeeding: It took six weeks for Max and I to learn the art of breastfeeding. Maggie immediately took to the breast, before we had even left the delivery room and has been eating like a champ ever since.
Sleep Debt: Max wanted to sleep all the time, and probably would have if I hadn't been so histrionic about him needing to eat every four hours during the night. Maggie has been sleeping six to seven hours every night since she was born, eating well during the day, and is already back to birth weight in the first week.
Stress Levels: Paul and I struggled the early weeks with the stress of feeding Max and adjusting to the sleep debt. This time around, we are so much more relaxed about the little things and of course it helps that we are sleeping well.
Baby Blues: I cried every day for several weeks after Max was born, I haven't cried once with Maggie. I suspect I won't get the baby blues this time, at least not until Paul has gone back to work and my mother has returned to the United States. Then I might be singing a different tune.
Temperament: It's a wonder that Max turned into such a relaxed child after the struggles of his early weeks and his crazy parents. Maggie so far seems to be pretty relaxed, but I suppose we'll find out with time how her personality develops.
What I've learned: I have to agree with my girlfriend Pernille's grandmother, "Easy parents lead to easy babies."