Ruby: For my very first baby's birth, I had the advantage of having already worked as a doula for 2 years. I knew music could be a powerful tool, and I was prepared to use it. This was still back in the day of "burning mix CDs" and I wasn't about to show up to the hospital with just one CD worth 90 minutes of music that would need to be played on repreat. I completed the painstalking process of going through my music library and selecting songs that would be special or significant to me in labor, and I made 6 burned CDs to use at home in early labor, and at the hospital. In the wee hours of the morning I rolled out of bed having some light contractions and decided to let my husband sleep for as long as he could before I needed more of his attention. I sat in our quiet apartment and rocked on a birth ball and listened to my music while looking out the window at our apartment building's pretty courtyard. I don't remember the songs that were playing, but I remember sitting there, feeling flooded with peace, knowing that my baby would soon arrive. It was such a special moment between just the two of us, my baby and me, sitting in the dark with just soft music playing. Not too much later there was a frenzy and flurry of activity when we realized that I was nearly pushing and needed to quickly make our way to the hospital. I'll never forget the song that came on the car radio while I was riding on all fours in the backseat of our little car while my husband drove to the hospital with out doula in the front passenger seat. As I was trying to stay calm and fight the urge to push, The Nearness of You by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. It was a wonderful encouragement and reminder that my baby was coming soon!
"When you're in my arms
And I feel you so close to me
All my wildest dreams came true
I need no soft lights to enchant me
If you will only grant me
The right to hold you ever so tight
And to feel in the night
The nearness of you..."
Clayton: Stalled labor "Deliver Me" by David Crowder
Story: For my third baby's birth, we planned for a home birth with midwives, a doula, my mom and sister present. My water broke in the evening and as my guests arrived, I was easily distracted by visiting with them and not tuning in to my body. When my labor stalled because I was busy playing hostess to all my "birth viewing guests", my wonderful and intuitive doula made created a private laboring cocoon for me in the bathroom. The hot shower and soft yoga music playing made it possible for me to relax and finally allow labor to really get going. For more of this birth, I listened to the beautiful voice of Snatam Kaur softly singing yoga affirmations in the background. I also loved choosing a meaningful song to set a slideshow of our birth to, "The Story by Brandi Carlise".
Silas: Music that connected me to my roots and spiritual practice
You can listen here: Strength For Labor Playlist on Spotify
Sarah Eiley Cowherd
Sarah is a mama to 4 wild things and a doula in Charlotte, NC with over 10 years of experience in supporting families of all kinds. With gentle hands and a humble heart, she guides women to experience birth without fear and move forward into motherhood in confidence.