The Born Supremacy
Kieran's birth was pleasantly uncomplicated.
At 11:00pm, Jessica had a single, strong contraction. She'd been having isolated contractions for a while, so we didn't think much of it. At 11:30pm, though, her water broke. We let our midwife Mary Barnett know, and then tried to get some sleep. The first time, with Uma, there was about a day of unproductive minor labor after Jessica's water broke, so we feared the same. However, this time Jessica's body had its act together. After about an hour, she started experiencing increasingly strong and regular contractions. Those made it rather hard for us to sleep.
At 2am, we decided they probably were going to continue, and called Mary again. Upon hearing that the contractions had been strong and regular for over an hour, she told us she'd head over. She got here at 2:45am, with another midwife, Whitney, arriving around 3:15am, and Becca, the assistant/student arriving shortly after that. I was quickly made useless as the midwives swooped in. Jessica's contractions grew longer and stronger as the hours passed. Uma slept contentedly through the night, not knowing what was going on. As morning grew near, it became clear that, while the labor was progressing steadily, the baby would definitely not be born before Uma woke up. The plan was for Jessica's mother to take Uma during labor, so we called her at 6:50am and described the situation.
Mary said that there often seems to be a deep subconscious resistance in women with more than one child to give birth before their older child is settled. That seemed to be the case with Jessica; her contractions became more spread out, and she was able to grab a little bit of sleep in the lulls. Indeed, right after I told Jessica her mom was on the way, she had an intense contraction.
Uma finally demanded my presence at 7:40am, at which point I had to go tend to her. I kept her on the other side of the house so she wouldn't get in the way. At one point, she heard Jessica expressing some discomfort (*cough* understatement *cough*), turned to me and said, "Uh oh! We left the music on!"
Grandma showed up at 8:10am, having fought through the thick of morning rush hour. I got her set up with Uma and headed back in. Labor kicked into high gear at that point. Jessica started pushing in earnest, and Little Guy Kieran was born at 9:00am.
This was a hard birth. Labor always is. One thing I can say is that it was uncomplicated. The only hitch was that he was 19 days early; I'm skeptical of precise due dates, but I figured at least the month would be right. It wasn't so nice of him to start coming out right at bedtime, either, but we've mostly caught up.
A little of the smoothness of this birth was luck. Some of that was no doubt doing this for the second time. It also helped a lot that it was a home birth. I used to be skeptical of home births. Now, having done it both in the hospital and at home, doing it at home was just a lot more normal. There was none of the byzantine, involved production of a hospital. It was calm, relaxed, and refreshingly uneventful, just the way it should be.