Listening to Music and Labor?

While pregnant with my first son I envisioned listening to my favorite music while laboring, and letting those familiar songs take me to a far away place.  This place would have no pain of course, and I would need no drugs, only songs, to get me through.  Naive?  Probably.  Also, my husband never got around to making that awesome playlist I had written up for him.

I didn’t listen to any music.  The only background music I heard while in labor was the beeping of the multiple machines I was on, and the heartbeat of my then unborn baby, which echoed in the room.  Eventually we turned the TV on and I watched my soap opera at 1 pm while the midwife broke my bag of waters.  This is the only time marker I recall, so thank you, Day of Our Lives.

If all goes according to my plan, my next son is going to be born in comfort of my own home.  My doula came by and said our home had a warm and inviting feeling.  This made me feel even better about our decision.

Once again, I am imagining using music during my labor to “take me away” as Calgon would say.  I do believe there is a transformative power to music. As a teen music was my escape from the shitty life I had and the shitty home I lived in.  I shut myself inside my shitty room and cranked my Smashing Pumpkins to 11.  I cried to those songs and dreamed I would get the hell out of that place one day.  And I did.

Radiohead, Zwan, Smashing Pumpkins, Nickel Creek, maybe some Sigur Ros. These are artists I want in my labor playlist.  Do I sound like a product of the 90’s?  (You may be wondering where the hell Nickel Creek fits in.  The fiddle and banjo make my heart happy, so sue me.)  I went on a shopping spree last week.  Over multiple moves (high school home, to college dorm, to townhome with my then boyfriend (now husband), to apartment in NY, to duplex in NY currently) my favorite cd’s were lost or scratched beyond repair.  So, I rebought them on

This Side, Why Should the Fire Die?, Mary Star of the Sea, Amnesiac, all came to live with me this week.  Many of my other cd’s I wish to listen to are still in my basement to be rediscovered.

I popped in my Zwan cd yesterday and felt so happy to hear them again.  It has been years.  A part of me was afraid the music would remind me of the bad times, or my younger life of concerts and traveling.  For whatever reason the cd only makes me feel hopeful and joyful.  I doubt I could listen to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness during labor, or any other time, and not remember playing the cd every day for 3 years and feeling sorry for myself.  But Zwan came at a later point in my life when things weren’t as bad because I made them better.  I was older and had a license.  Life wasn’t as sucky.  In my new life, this morning, while washing dishes, I had tears streaming down my face just hearing my beloved Zwan.  In my former life I got 2 Smashing Pumpkins tattoos and one for Zwan. (Yeah, I have band tattoos, and non band tattoos.  I also have/had quite a few piercings.  I was a wild child!)  In my new life, Billy Corgan has disappointed me.  Thanks Twitter for shattering the god-like image I had of him.

I haven’t listened to new music since college.  I am that person who will always love the music of their youth.  Apparently, it can mean something else to me these days.  My life is nothing like it was when these songs first came out.  I have a son and a husband.  I am about to use this music (hopefully) to bring another baby into the world.  Maybe part of the reason I can listen to these songs and not remember the bad is because during the bad I was always thinking of the good.  I wanted to get married and have a family.  I pictured myself as the best mom in the world!  I don’t know that I am that, but I think I do ok.

As a person who has used the power of music to transport herself elsewhere, I feel this plan will work and I am excited to bounce on my birthing ball, let the contractions do their job, and let Radiohead put me in a trance.  (My husband hates them and says they put him to sleep)

Anyone else use music during their labor?

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