my first birth was sheer hell. it was at home and everything, but omg, i thought i was dying. literally. i was begging people to call 911. lol. i was convinced armageddon had some at last. neighbors were circling the block to stop and ask about the screaming, while onlookers were stationed downstairs, waiting to see if i really was dying. 15 minutes of pushing, but felt like 8 hours.
the second was soooo easy. omg. i know they're all different, so its not always the case, but it was heaven. it was slow to start, but no pain at all til well into transition. when i started making those sounds, the ones that start happening later on, they put me in the tub. that was fantastic! (only water birth i've had of the 4, but the best). 2 pushes, he was out. i actually made a lasagna and took a shower after. called a friend in another state and giggled into the wee hours of the morning. i still can't fathom how it was so much better.
i should add- i also had a very narrow birth canal to start, so i'm thinking my first one, where she had to break my body in half to come out, had something to do with all that pain. i remember my mother talking about birth, and how it was like bad period cramps, and the stuff you saw on tv was just 'dramatic women' making more of it than it was. LOL. boy oh boy, 'cause i sure was one of those dramatic women on the first go-'round!