Me and My Girls introducing Lyra Annabel

We did another baby! We have a second girl who sleeps well (so far...), and a big sister who makes sure there's always a teddy nearby.

Already wrapped around their tiny fingers

It all feels so much easier the second time.

When Ellie was on the way, we had lots to get ready. All of the shopping for baby things to keep them clean, warm and generally alive; all of the classes to learn about how to give birth, how to hold the baby and how to navigate the German paperwork requirements. We had no idea what we were doing! So we cobbled together checklists from more experienced friends, parents and courses.

This time we found ourselves far less worried about the details. We had the old clothes, the old cot and the old pram. We had at least a feeling that we’d gained some wisdom through the first birth and Ellie’s first three years, especially with all of those late nights rocking Ellie to sleep. We didn’t even do much cooking in advance this time (the curry place up the hill is fantastic).

The most consequential preparation was telling Ellie about the sleepover she would have with some friends up the road. We told her that we’d have to get her up in the middle of the night, take her pre-packed bag and teddy and put on her coat quickly. She was looking forward to her sleepover for weeks, and made sure to keep reminding us that when the baby comes out of mummy’s tummy we have to take her to her friends’ house.

The Birth

After starting with some late evening “is that a contraction?” we were in hospital by midnight, having deposited Ellie for her sleepover. The hospital was great, and we had a fantastic midwife who was with us the whole time, much more attention that we were able to get in the busy Berlin hospital for Ellie.

Once again, Jo made the birth look easy. It was fast, less than five hours from whoa to hello. She was in the water for the whole labour and didn’t need any pain medication, which was exactly what she wanted. There was some top-notch screaming too – the midwife suggested singing as a way of relaxing her breathing after each contraction, Jo’s interpretation of which was an opera-style soprano effort that would have shattered nearby wine glasses in another setting.

With the last pushes the baby’s head came out facing upwards under the water – in German they call it Sternengucker, star-gazer. One more heave and we had a second baby girl!

Lyra Annabel Kearney

Born 0249CET weighing 3.30kg, and 52cm long

Our shortlist of names was, again, short. We had some good entries in the sweepstake (special mention for “Drumstick”) but none that we really wanted to use. We know the name Lyra from the books and, and it’s also a type of harp and a constellation, giving our little star-gazer some tenuous links to music and science.

First days

Two weeks in, and our relaxed approach is going well so far. Lyra is sleeping better overnight than Ellie did at first, though of course everything is a phase, and we’ll have to see how she does over time. For now it means we’ve both been feeling pretty awake during the days, and Jo has had enough opportunities for lie-ins to catch up with sleep lost to feeding in the night.

Ellie has been delighting in her role as a big sister. She’s gentle with Lyra, sings her songs when she cries, and makes sure that Lyra always has a teddy bear tucked in with her. We’ve heard stories of how older siblings can feel jealous about the baby, grieving for the attention they no longer receive. For now at least, while I’m on parental leave for the first month, Ellie is getting more of our time than usual.

While Ellie is learning how to be a big sister she’s also having to learn not to bash into Lyra too much. We had our first toddler-on-baby incident when she tripped and landed on Lyra; no problem this time, but the first of many bumps, we expect!