Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Ultimate Birth Playlist

in front of the hospital gift shop, 36 weeks
In preparation for the moment when Mickey and I need to dash (or arrive leisurely) to the hospital for the birth of our baby, we've been studying checklists of items that belong in your hospital bag. Some of those items seem pretty obvious: toiletries, socks, etc., while others surprised me: lollipops to give the laboring mom energy, a swim suit for the partner so that he can support you in the shower.

We've also heard that you're welcome to bring CDs or an iPod and dock/speakers in order to listen to relaxing music or any type of music that might make labor slightly easier for the new mother. Though I hadn't thought about this before, I'm certainly willing to try anything that will make my birth experience feel more comfortable. A friend indicated that listening to her hypnobirthing CDs over and over again during labor and through contractions actually was very helpful.

So, for a while now, I've had "create the ultimate birth playlist" at the top of my to do list and I sort of don't know where to begin. The thought of creating a soundtrack to accompany one of the most alternately intense, boring, exciting, painful, emotional experiences of my life is both daunting and hilarious.

I guess relaxing music makes sense because a woman's labor progresses more efficiently when she feels comfortable. So, does that mean Enya? What about that wood flute music they play at day spas? Are there moments in labor when you want to hear upbeat music to motivate you through the pushing? I'm trying to imagine myself laboring to "Eye of the Tiger" or Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" (oh, we're halfway there!). Would that help or would I just want to punch somebody?

Alternatively, what kind of music might set a good tone for a C-section? I'm hoping that I won't require one, but if I do, what songs might make me most okay with having major abdominal surgery while awake? I've heard that the experience is surreal for many reasons, one of which is that a C-section is pretty routine for the surgeons and they sometimes discuss weekend golf plans while performing them. Meanwhile, the new mom is numb from the chest down during one of the most critical moments of her life. Should she distract herself by listening to surgeon chatter or focus on her partner and the soothing sounds of say, Norah Jones? I've always felt that listening to "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles can improve any situation so maybe that belongs on my playlist somewhere.

Years ago I heard about a woman who watched The Simpsons during labor and delivery. That always struck me as odd, but maybe television is a better distraction than music is. Mickey loaded our tablet up with episodes of my current favorite show Parks and Recreation so that I have the option to watch that at the hospital. Because watching the show makes everything less scary to me because it reminds me to not take life so seriously, it felt like the right choice.

Perhaps the more amusing question to contemplate is what do I absolutely NOT want to hear during labor and delivery? I enjoyed creating the 'do not play' list for our deejay for our wedding reception: no Disney, no Celine Dion, no Chicken Dance, etc. It tickles me to come up with songs that would be totally inappropriate for birthing: "Monster Mash" and anything you might hear at a Halloween parade, "Achy Breaky Heart" and any song that has its own dance, "Mambo Number Five," etc.

What about you? What's on your ultimate birth playlist? What wouldn't you want to hear? Ladies who have been there before, feel free to give me a reality check and tell me that there are parts of labor and delivery during which background music makes absolutely no difference.


Nan said...

The Beatles are appropriate at ANY affair. Also, the C- section goes so quickly it was actually fun.

Ms. Beav said...

I'm so excited! I think you should have a mellow playlist for when you need mellow and pumped up one for when need motivation. !!!!

CN said...

We created a playlist for Lili and to this day its songs still bring me straight back to those amazing early days, like only music can. I would create one, and when/if you don't end up using it for birth, make it double up for sweet listening with your new baby.

P.S. I did not pack a playlist for birth, nor did I need one but music is very personal as is birth, so go for it!

AllisonDacia said...

I watched Sunday football while in labor with Dacia. Once you have the epidural, its just waiting for the time to push. Since I did need a c/s with her, I wasn't fully prepared and did have a bit of a panic attack while they were doing the c/s. They had to give me some meds to calm me down right after Dacia was born.

For Timmy, I was so excited and happily enjoying the (epi) labor, I never had a need for music or any other distractions.

For Henry the c/s was a breeze since I never labored. Its still a weird feeling, but I was able to control my anxiety much better.

Not sure if a surgeon would allow you to play your own music in the OR, unless you had earphones. But honestly, I think you will be so excited that you wont even notice what the OB is talking about. The anesthesiologist is the one who sits right by your head during a c/s and thats who is talking to you and the dad the whole time.

Belinda said...

I mentioned to my five year old that you were creating a soundtrack. She had a couple of suggestions. The standouts were Brahms' Lullaby, and "that one that goes 'I'm on the right track baby I was born this way'..."!!

runawaymorena said...

Glad you are giving this so much thought: ) I doubt they would allow you to take your music with you to the OR were you to have a C-section. But don't worry about that. With your doula and whatever relaxes you and makes you feel good, you'll do great!