Monday, April 9, 2012

Labor Play List

Music moves me, affects me, calms me... Certain songs can take me right back to a particular moment or special time in my life. A good play list can make or break a work out session/run for me. A creative playlist can make a long road trip bearable.

There are certain songs, for every point in my life, that play in a soundtrack of sorts.

When I made the decision to attempt natural childbirth, I knew I would need a good soundtrack to get me through.

I am all about some strong "girl-power" songs - Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Colbie Caillat and Kelli Pickler are my most played artists! However, I had heard many ladies talk about what a spiritual experience labor and delivery had been for them. That, and the fact that we were even pregnant, made me decide to place only Christian songs on my Labor Playlist.

 I chose songs that I thought would help support and encourage me. Songs that would help remind me that I wasn't  alone in this "the worst pain you could ever imagine" experience. I also chose songs that were meaningful and encouraging to me during past difficult times in my life, in hopes that these songs would remind of tough times that Jesus pulled me through.

I got a lot of compliments and inquiries on this playlist by the staff in the delivery room with, so I thought I would share it with you.

When I was desperately trying to gain any measure of control during some of the most intense moments, I remember trying to focus on the songs playing and sing them in my head. This usually worked for... oh... about 1.5-5 seconds. In the immediate few days after Ellie's birth, I remember being quite surprised by how little I seemed to have "used" the music. However, in the weeks after, when we started venturing out of the house again, and started listening to the radio, I would hear a song that was on my Labor Play List, which I previously had no memory of hearing, and it would take me right back particular moments in  labor.... and usually leave me in tears. Tears of overwhelming joy laced with some affects of post traumatic stress disorder.:)

I remember skipping one song, Jesus Bring the Rain. It came on as I was being catapulted into transition... and! I was not wanting Jesus to bring "no"rain.... I was wanting Jesus to take the wheel and DRIVE ME HOME! :) Unfortunately, I didn't have a song like that on my play list.:)

If I had to pick any songs as my theme songs, I would pick two songs: Laura Story's What a Savior, and Kutless' Carry Me to the Cross . If you were extremely observant, Carry Me to the Cross, wasn't on my playlist. I heard the song for the first time the night before I was induced, and searched all over the web for a place to download it. Unfortunately, it wasn't available for purchase yet. However, even after just hearing it once, I could replay it almost word for word in my head while I was in labor. Especially these words:

When the path is daunting
And every step exhausting
I'm not alone
I'm not alone, no, no

I feel you draw me closer
All these burdens on my shoulder
I'm not alone, I'm not alone
You pull me me from this place

You carry me every day
You carry me all all the way

You carry me to the
You carry me to the cross

I am so thankful I was able to take the time to make this playlist and have it play continually through my labor and delivery. Even though I wasn't always acutely aware of the words or tunes being played, I do believe it set the tone of the room. Anyone who walked into my room heard the soft melodies playing and knew this was a situation Jesus was not only invited into, but that He was very much present in the room. I like to think it helped minister to the hospital staff, serve as a reminder of who was really in control of this situation, and maybe bring some peace.

That being said, I do wish I had realized I had a set of headphones in my purse. I think if I could have really plugged into the music, it might have helped calm my thought processes down. It was all happening so fast, I couldn't seem to get on top of anything - the mental strength needed, the emotions, the contractions, etc... I thought I was just in the beginning of true labor... I kept trying to listen to Ellie's heart beat on the monitor and worrying that the pitocin was stressing out her worn out little body even more. I tried listening to the whispers of my mom, Jared, my cousin Leah, and the hospital staff. I wasn't a mom just yet - I was still very much a nurse first. I think the headphones would have helped me drown out everything else and focus more on the task at hand.

When Ellie was about 3 weeks old, and she and I were finally home alone, I took her upstairs with me, in her bouncy seat, while I did some straightening up. She was a little restless, and since I always clean better to music, I plugged my iPod in for the first time since labor, and of course the Labor Playlist started playing... and Ellie and I both dissolved into tears. It was definitely too soon to go back and relive those traumatic moments. :)

Before I got pregnant and was running semi-consistently, I had an awesome running playlist put together. The lyrics and beat really helped motivate me to push on just a little bit more and step of the pace a bit. Now that I am months out from the delivery (how on earth is that possible?!?!) the labor play list kicks the running playlist's butt! Running any distance simply does not impress me anymore... delivering a child, on pitocin, without pain medication? Now that is the stuff of legends!:) The songs on my Labor Playlist remind me I am capable of so much more then I ever thought possible, because...
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!
Philippians 4:13


  1. Great playlist!!!!! Our first baby is due in just a few weeks, and your playlist is perfect!

  2. Ah, Congrats Sherry! I still LOVE this playlist... although it too weeks/months before listening to it quit bringing me to tears!:) Bring some earphones/buds... wish I could have really plugged into the music better at times... but I also like that everyone in the room could hear the lyrics too. I think it helped set a calm, Christ centered mood. Good luck! Parenting is the greatest thing ever... after labor is over! ;-)

  3. I googled "Christian Labor Play List" - and it led me here. THANK you. I am about to give birth to our third child - planning a home birth - and desperately relying on my Jesus - thought music - to get me through. I loved this blog and I am thankful I found it. I never had music at the last 2 and I am hoping this birth is entirely different. So - bless your heart for posting this - I went through and took the songs that really spoke to me. Thank you!!

    1. I am so glad you like it!! I am actually a few weeks away from delivering our second daughter and working on an updated version. Hope music helps you - it was a lifesaver for me. Even my medical team Really enjoyed it!:)

  4. Thank you Amy, for sharing. My daughter is due with my first grandson in January and I will pass this playlist along to her. God Bless your beautiful family!