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Music During Childbirth
By Emilia, MT-BC
5/10/2011 11:18:00 AM

I recently gave birth to our first child.  As a music therapist I of course I had music going in the background during labor and delivery.  In fact, I had just finished my labor playlist for my iPod earlier in the week.

Though I have no training in formal Music Assisted Childbirth (for more information on SoundBirthing please contact Mary DiCamillo, Ed.D., MT-BC at 949-459-0805 or mpd@cox.net) I used my knowledge as a music therapist to guess what kinds of music and what songs in particular that I would want to hear while in pain, while tired, and while needing extra motivation.

When I got checked into the hospital, one of the first things I did was set up the iPod.  The playlist was completely set to random, so keep that in mind later in the story that I had not planned which songs I would hear at specific moments. 

Throughout early labor and into active labor the music I had going provided both a relaxing environment as well as some good distraction.  Such songs as Calico Skies (Paul McCartney), Three Little Birds (Bob Marley), and a variety of songs from our wedding played, just as nice reminders as to why we were there.  As I was in VERY active labor, and the pain was getting to be a bit more than one wants to feel, I was in the big tub soaking in warm water with my 3 wonderful assistants.  I was tired and just wanted a break.  At that moment, I once again heard the music playing in the background and the Dixie Chicks song "Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)" came on.  It's such a pretty lullaby, but at that point I was in too much pain to sing along, but ever the music therapist I was able to mouth the words along and found comfort in that.

As the moment that we would meet our daughter (of course we didn't know at that point that she was a girl) got closer I literally thought I was going to die from the pain.  At one point I even said, "I don't care, hit me over the head with a hammer."  Just a few pushes before she made her arrival, I once again heard the music playing.  At this point, I hadn't heard the music in a long time, I thought that the playlist must have ended.  There was just so much chaos in the room and I was in so much pain that I just hadn't heard it or something (next time I will make sure I turn the volume up higher).  But moments before she was born the music made its way back to me.  This time it was one of my very favorite songs in the world, one that my brother introduced me to years ago before it became "popular".  The song was "Hallelujah" and it was my favorite recording of it by Jeff Buckley.  I felt this incredible sense of peace come over me and it was the most religious/spiritual moment I've had in my entire life.  I got lost in the peace of the song and the beauty of its melody and lyrics and momentarily forgot about all the pain.  I was about to meet my child.  Let me just add that the name of the CD this particular recording is on is "Grace".  Remember, at that point I had no idea that it was going to be a girl coming to meet us as we had chosen to be surprised by the gender, but we did have the names picked out, and her middle name that we had chosen happened to be Grace.

Moments later, my beautiful baby girl entered this world through her Daddy's strong and gentle hands and we were a family.  

In the end, the pain was worth it, and I had the support of people far and near, with me physically and spiritually, those who are still with us hear on earth and those who have gone on before us.  And yet again the music played such a powerful role that day, just as it had played a powerful role on the day of our wedding.

Tags: Music Therapy, Child Birth, Music Therapist, Importance of Music, Hallelujah, Jeff Buckley, iPod, Paul McCartney
Categories: Music Therapy
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