hey, Mr. DJ

Like most (?) first time parents, Tim and I took a childbirth class during my our pregnancy with Eleanor. We spent a lot of time talking about our expectations (for the birth) and feelings, watching videos, and learning about the actual (anatomical) process of childbirth. As part of this class, we detailed a birth plan, outlined our “Take to the Hospital” list , selected the {perfect} ‘going home’ outfit for the baby, and had our “relaxation toolkit” prepared. (We were advised, many times, to have a small bag of things that would be used to make the birth room as comfortable and relaxing as possible: bring candles or scented massage oils, heating pads, tennis balls, lollipops, chapstick, extra hair elastics…anything we needed to feel at home, to relax.)
We had all these things ready, our heads were in the game, and then I had an ultrasound on a Friday afternoon, two days before Eleanor was full term, which revealed that she was frank breech and my levels of amniotic fluid were (dangerously) low. I was immediately taken upstairs to triage, Eleanor was monitored for several hours, and I was eventually sent home with the first cesarean of the morning scheduled for that Monday. (This was the first in a long line of lessons life would teach us about things not always going according to plan.)

Many times I have heard childbirth described in terms of running: “it’s not a sprint,” people will say, it’s like running a marathon.” Despite the fact that I don’t really consider  myself a runner, I have run a marathon so I know what that’s like – I have a sense for what it takes to finish something like that. I also enjoying biking, and was a pretty avid spin-class participant a few years ago (before moving to Africa). As I’ve started preparing for the birth of #2, and because I’m hoping that I can avoid another cesarean this time around, these pieces of advice (and the need to prepare for some pretty grueling physical endurance) have gotten me thinking…

In spinning class, especially (because I don’t typically run with music), what motivates me – more than anything – through the extreme moments of speed work or climbing (or both) is the music. When the instructor has selected a great playlist and carefully paired the chosen songs to the drills she’s using based on their beat and intensity I am able to power through anything. A climb, although exhausting, becomes manageable because I have some guidance: a cadence to follow, a rhythm to track, a set interval of time over which I know I have to endure…and then I get to rest. The music can make or break a class (at least for me).

As part of our “relaxation toolkit” it was also suggested that we have quiet soothing music that we could play during labor.  At the time (and even now, to some extent) this made sense because relaxation is important. But the more I think about birth – the actual birth, as I imagined it would happen with Eleanor – the more I think that the last thing I’m going to want during those intense moments of active labor (when I have to push with every ounce of my being) is Enya’s new-age folk and synthesized sound floating around the room. Or the sounds of the surf, gently washing up on a sandy shore. Nope. I just don’t see that working for me.

I want music that has some meat on its bones; something that is going to power me though, with full sounds and a kickin’ beat. I want something that rocks.

So, I’m soliciting songs. What is the music you listen to when you’re having a bad day and want to sing {shout} at the top of your lungs? What do you put on your playlist for hill repeats or track workouts or spinning class? What songs can you not help but play air guitar or air drum? I know you’ve got ’em…and I want ’em.

{photo credit: macapper.com}


9 thoughts on “hey, Mr. DJ

  1. OMG – Did you read my fb post that we have a lot in common? I am at the point where I wonder what it will be next. 🙂 Today was no exception. I did the nearly the same thing with my first child: Bradly classes, birth plan, “relaxation kit,” etc. I got constipated, and my water broke prematurely. Gave it 24 hours, confessed to my doctor, went through a failed “inducing” and finally had a C-section. Too funny! (Not the C-section, the similarities.)
    My music choices? They would would be Alanis Morisette-Jagged Little Pill (whole CD) and the soundtracks to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. These are not exactly what I would want my child hearing coming into the wold hearing but I think they would get the job done for me. I play them when I am having a bad day and my daughter is napping. Good music to get a lot of cleaning and “procrastinated work” done to.
    By the way, if you are willing – I would love to be facebook friends. Would love to see your face and know where you live. If you are not comfortable with this I TOTALLY understand – just thought I would throw it out there.
    Shawn McGormley


  2. Hi
    For what it’s worth both my children were born naturally and the first time we were similarly prepared: iPod, Bose speaker etc, etc.
    While I loved listening to the music in those early and middle stages of labour, when it came time to actually push I literally couldn’t stand the distraction. Only after did I link this to something our antenatal instructor had told me. She had advised the dads not to talk to us once we were in those final stages, or if they did, not to expect a response. In other words, not to engage with us verbally. It had something to do with different parts of the brain and hormones needed for the physical act of pushing. I don’t remember the exact reasons but do remember eventually telling James to switch the music off because it was driving me mad. I think I may have shouted it actually.
    Might not be the case in all circumstances, but that was my experience.
    Hope you get to have the birth you’re hoping for.


    1. I suppose you’re right- there may come a time when NO music is going to feel appropriate. I just want to be prepared, in case, you know, the soothing stream isn’t cutting it and I need a little more head banging!
      As for the “kind of birth I’m hoping for” I really wish I knew what that was. In the end, as long as he and I are healthy that’s all that really matters- right?


      1. In reference to your wanting to avoid another c-section I meant. My view on birth is that it makes little difference to the baby and a lot of difference to the mom. My kids were coming out whichever way was safest for us. In my case that was not via my stomach but whatever works at the time, I agree.


  3. I’ll play.(Tongue firmly planted in cheek)
    Push It – Salt ‘N Pepa
    Stronger – Kanye West
    Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd
    Eye of the Tiger
    Rocky Theme
    Under Pressure – Queen
    I’m coming out – Diana Ross
    Hurts so good – John Mellancamp
    Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash
    Hey Baby – No Doubt


  4. And just in case anyone else is concerned that I’m going to ruin my labor or have my child enter the world to the hard rock sounds of Kiss or Van Halen, please know that I am kidding. I thought the exercise of coming up with these “alternative” songs might be fun- but by the response I’m getting it seems there’s some concern that I might actually be serious…


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