Posted in Birth Stories, How Tos

How To Create A Kick-Ass Birthing Playlist (in ten easy steps)

I can’t even tell you how many countless hours Shane and I spent creating the ultimate playlist for our labor and delivery experience. First off, lets get real here, Giving Birth is probably going to be the most painful experience of you life, I ain’t gonna sugar coat it, sorry! With that said, the music you chose should speak to you, and allow you to escape the pain and get lost in it, It should be tolerable by your guests, and pull at your heart-strings. Chose carefully and thoughtfully! My choice of music is a largely contributing factor in the fact that I was able to have drug-free birthing experiences.

WARNING: Your pregnant and hormonal, If you haven’t cried while creating your playlist you’ve done it all wrong!

#1. Rock Out! If you like to pump the bass, sing along (albeit off-key), or even tear-up the dance floor, choose a birthing team that will allow you the courtesy to experience the music in your way. I can not stress that enough!!! I, personally, like music  a little on the loud side, so that’s exactly how we listened to It.

#2. Dig deep. Reach well into your past and pull out all the sappy nostalgia you can, if it makes you happy, excited, energetic, and isn’t a love song you shared with someone other then the father of your child, add it! I’m talking circa 1990s folks!

#3. Mix it up! Tune into your favorite radio sites and upload your favorites from the top 20 lists.

#4. Blend It Well. Chose songs from different Genres. This will help pass the time quicker, and get you through those debilitating contractions, trust me!

#5. Make it romantic. The love making isn’t just for the day of conception, todays the day your love for each other will multiply. Chose songs you shared together like first dances, wedding songs, and songs that make you think of each other.

#6. Dedicate a Song to your child. Find a song that you feel adequately expresses the excitement you feel about your child. Make this their song, and know that every time you hear it, you will never forget this day. If a song exists with their intended name in it, make sure to use it too!

#7. One trademarked word; GOOGLE. He’s been your BFF since the beginning of time, so source out his help! Search “Best birthing playlist” and review the plethora of blogs, forums and sites, give a quick listen to the suggested songs, and copy and paste the ones that “Give you all the Feels!”

#8. If your stuck, reach into the pockets of your favorite artists. Look up the more obscure songs they have on their albums, give them a listen a couple of times and if you like it, add it!

#9. You Do NOT need to add Push It a la Salt n’ Pepa  Seriously! how cliché!

#10. Make it Happy, Period.

I have gone ahead and Rounded up a 150+ of my favorites in no particular order (below)

Tight Squeeze and Happy Pushing!!

Ella

What a wonderful World ~ Frank Sinatra

Syrup and Honey ~ Duffy

Bubbly ~ Colbie Callait

At Last ~ Etta James

How Deep is your love ~ The Bird and the Bee

Sweet Pea ~ Amos Lee

Lucky ~ Jason Mraz and Colbie Callait

Here comes the Sun  ~ Nina Simone

Dreamin’ ~ Johnny Brunette

I was made her love her ~ Stevie Wonder

Cupid ~ Jack Johnson

Beautiful World ~ Colin Hay

Venus ~ Frankie Avalon

L-O-V-E ~ Nat King Cole

You Got Me ~ Colbie Callait

Don’t Worry Be Happy ~

Baby Love ~ Diana Ross

Boogie Shoes ~ KC and the Sunshine Band

Fly me to the Moon ~ Frank Sinatra

A Wink and a Smile ~ Harry Connick Jr

Wishin’ and Hopin’ ~ Dusty Springfield

My Girl ~ The Temptations

Isn’t She Lovely ~ Stevie Wonder

Just the Way you Are ~ Billy Joel

Come Away with Me ~ Norah Jones

I believe in you and Me ~ Whitney Houston

My Everything ~ Barry White

When I’m 64 ~ The Beatles

If your not the One  ~ Daniel Beddingfield

Isn’t it Romantic? ~ Tony Bennett

Stop, Look, Listen to your Heart ~ Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross

The Wind ~ Cat Stevens

More than this ~ Roxy Music

Mercy ~ Duffy

Northern Sky ~ Nick Drake

Brighter than sunshine ~ Aqualung

This years love ~ David Gray

Without you ~ Syl Sylvain

The Lovecats ~ The Cure

Through the Years ~ Kenny Rogers

Isn’t it Romantic? ~ Tony Bennett

Cant get enough of your love ~ Barry White

Can’t take my Eyes off you ~ Frankie Valli

Say Hey (I love you)  ~ Michael Franti and Spearhead

I Got a Feeling ~ Black Eyed Peas

Hey Soul Sister ~ Train

Modern Love ~ David Bowie

Sea of Love ~ Cat Power

Love Fool ~ The Cardigans

Finally ~ CeCe Peniston

Relax Take it Easy ~ Mika

Just a Little More Love ~ David Guetta

I’m a Believer ~ The Monkees

Rock your Body ~ Justin Timberlake

Another one Bites the Dust ~ Queen

You Shook Me ~ ACDC

Hit me with your Best Shot ~ Pat Benatar

I’ll Remember ~ Madonna

Walking on Sunshine ~ Katrina and the Waves

Do it ~  Nelly Furtado

Fire Burning ~ Sean Kingston

Surf City ~ The Beach Boys

Dizzy ~ Tommy Roe

Little Darlin ~  The Diamonds

Beautiful Girls ~ Sean Kingston

Fireflies ~ Owl City  

Stuck on you ~ Elvis Presley

Shiver  ~ Shawn Desmond

In my Head  ~ Jason Derulo

Butterflies ~ Stereo

Your Love is My Drug ~ Kesha

Miss Independent ~ NeYo

Alejandro ~ Lady Gaga

California Gurls ~ Katy Perry

Nothin’ On You ~ B.O.B

Numba 1 tide is high ~ Kardinall Official

Cooler than me ~  Mike Posner

Whatcha Say ~ Jason Derulo

Sunglasses ~ Divine Brown and Nelly Furtado

New York ~ Alicia Keys and Jay Z

Let’s Get it Started ~ The Black Eyed Peas

Save me San Francisco ~ Train

Rich Girls ~ Down with Webster

Replay ~ Iyaz

Yalla Habibi  ~ Karl Wolf

Ghosts and Stuff ~ Deadmau5

Gimmie Sympathy ~ Metric

OMG ~ Usher and Will-i-am

Hey Soul Sister ~ Train

Norah Jones ~ Turn Me On

Body Bounce ~ Kardinal Official and Akon

If we ever meet again  ~ Timbaland and Katy Perry

Maneater ~ Nelly Furtado

Bullet Proof ~ La Roux

Tic Tok ~ Keesha

Rock your Body ~ The Black Eyed Peas

I Think I’m Ready ~ Katy Perry

I Gotta Feeling ~The Black Eyed Peas

99 Red Balloons ~ Owl City

Your Love is My Drug ~ Ke$ha

I’m Not The Only One ~ Sam Smith

Sweet Annie ~ Zac Brown Band

Gonna Make you Sweat ~ C + C Music Factory

Must Get Out ~ Maroon 5

Candyman ~ Christina Aguilera

Ice Cream ~ Sarah McLachlan

Life is Better With You ~ Michael Franti

Ring of Fire ~ Johnny Cash

Baby ~ Justin Bieber

The Freshman ~ The Verve Pipe

Love at first sight ~ Kylie Minogue

S.O.B ~ Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats

Hold My Hand ~ Hootie and the Blowfish

Lighting Crashes ~ Live

Come Away With Me ~ Norah Jones

I’m Yours ~ Jason Mraz

Biscuits ~ Kacey Musgraves

When you say nothing at all ~ Alison Krauss

Read my mind ~ The Killers

1,2,3,4 ~ Plain White T’s

Bubbly toes ~ Jack Johnson

Your Song ~ Elton John

Your Beautiful ~ James Blunt

Red Hands ~ Walk off the Earth

Bless The Broken Roads ~ Rascal Flatts

Can’t Feel My Face ~ The Weekend

Raise Your Glass ~ Pink

Say Something ~ A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera

Don’t Call Me Baby ~ Kreesha Turner

Need You Now ~ Lady Antebellum

Can’t Get You Out Of My Head ~Kylie Minogue

Hips Don’t Lie ~ Shakira Ft. Wyclef Jean

Glamorous ~ Fergie Ft. Ludacris

Counting Stars ~ One Republic

Stay ~ Lisa Loeb

Weezer ~ Buddy Holly

Stay With Me Sam Smith

Stressed Out ~ 21 Pilots

Loving You Easy ~ Zac Brown Band

Shake it Off ~ Taylor Swift

Who Will Save Your Soul ~ Jewel

Criminal ~ Fiona Apple

Torn ~ Natalie Imbruglia

Forever Young ~ Rod Stewart

Your Gonna Miss This ~ Trace Atkins

Hey There Delilah ~ Plain White T’s

All My Life ~ K-Ci and JoJo

What Goes Around Comes Around ~ Justin Timberlake

I Try ~ Macy Grey

Somebody I Used To Know ~ GYOTE

Sweet Pea ~ Amos Lee

 

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Posted in Birth Stories, Oliver

October 17, 2014 ~ Olivers Story

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As the story would go for most women, the second birth is faster and more furious, and well… we are old pros at this point. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious, I mean, with my first delivery I was embarrassingly naïve about what to expect, but this time I had all the horrifying expectations fresh in my memory.

None-the-less it didn’t stop me from choosing a drug-free birth, and (much to my husbands dismay) insisting on another attempt at a home birth. I still didn’t talk as excitedly about this birth, this time around it was much more business-like and I decided I wanted to have it quiet with just Shane, myself, and big brother Elliott close by. I hadn’t talked much about my plans with my family, mostly because I wanted this birth to be a bit of a surprise, and I kept my plans of going through the process alone quite quiet from everyone.

As it happens, I went into labor in the middle of the night anyway, so we didn’t call our families until the morning. It really all started with a conversation with my best-friend Melissa on the eve of Big Ollies birth-day. Melissa had previously given me four naturopathic remedies for labor induction which I safely held onto three parts fearful of the bunch, and one part curious. We were texting back and forth, our conversation went something like this;:

Mel: “Any inkling of labor yet?”

ME: “Not a thing”

Mel: “How many days overdue now”

ME: “Five days…. I probably have another two weeks to go (insert sad face)”

Mel: “Do you still have the naturo stuff I gave you”

ME: “I do… but I am really not sure”

MEL: “I took them, and gave birth just a few hours later”

ME: “Ugh. I’m just not sure if I am ready yet”

MEL: “Just Do it”

ME: (googling each individual remedy, which btw all had unpronounceable names) “Ok took them”

ME: “Am I going to die? I don’t know… maybe I shouldn’t have” (googles symptoms of death)

ME: “Ok I am going to try to lay down…. If I am going to die, Id rather die in my sleep”

MEL: “You will be fine!! Keep me posted, Love ya!”

ME: “Will do, love ya too”

Obviously I survived, but that’s not the point here. NEVER, NEVER take medications your friend gives you that comes in little vials with what look to be homemade labels and have practically unintelligible names… consider this a FAIR WARNING!!!

So I went into labor, just like that! Less than an hour after consuming these pills from hell. At 10:30pm I was rocking happily -albeit emotionally stressed- in Olivers freshly decorated nursery and by 1200am I was lying on the couch with my feet in the air, on the verge of tears convinced I was dying. I woke Shane and we agreed it was emergent that we call the midwife. She talks briefly before coming over, because, I am most definitely in active labor +++. She shows, takes a look and leaves with the instruction to call back if I progress. I am apparently only 3 cm at this point, but I am uneasy, because my body feels a lot worse for wear. My midwife probably didn’t even make it home before I am paging her again, and she agrees I need a midwife, however, she is unable to accommodate because she was already at a birth for the past 30 hours and needs rest of her own. So I wait for what feels like an eternity for my newly appointed midwife to show up.

As I wait I play all my worse case scenarios in my head, and I am absolutely convince that I will be giving birth before my midwife arrives. I am clutching my phone in my hand as I consider calling an ambulance to rush me to labor and delivery, and I stand out on the porch and check to see headlights coming up the road. “Ok I will give her two more minutes and if she isn’t here, I am calling EMS” this is what I decide in my head, while my husband is sleeping soundly after climbing back into bed for a few. Luckily, she shows, and I am now at 7cms with urges to push, except I don’t tell my midwife about that, because I am not prepared to push at 7cms, so instead I continue to utilize my kegels and cross my legs while I stand, and counteract the pressure with each contraction. I also don’t tell my midwife, Debbie, that I have taken some sketchy medication to induce labor, so no one understands how serious I am when I report to them that I am in fact dying, that I will not be giving birth tonight, and that they need to rush me to the hospital because I have broken my back.

I can’t even begin to describe to you how intense my back labor was with this labor. I either had an exceptionally painless experience with Elliott, or I had really just signed my life away with those damn pills. “Why was I so careless?!?!?!?!” (palm to forehead). Regardless, no one believed me and they succeeded at keeping me home despite my greatest protests to get the H-E- double hockey sticks to the hospital. At some point my water was manually broken but I was in far too much pain to recall when.

We made it to 7am… a whole nine hours after throwing back a concoction of naturopathic torture. Elliot wakes as if on cue, our tiny little sixteen month old was gloriously unaware of the situation and stood like a stunned deer as he took in our current surroundings, medical gear sprawled across our dresser, mom near tears on the bed, and two strange woman he’d never seen before (well actually Debbie was our baby/back-up midwife when Elliott was born). We gave him hugs and kisses, and he was proudly introduced to the women who were trying tirelessly to bring his baby brother into the world. Dad and I took that as our cue to call family, because we were going to need family to entertain our nugget while we were otherwise occupied.

My mother-in-law, and two of my sisters arrived a half hour later, and were instructed to keep Elliott entertained. They popped into my room briefly to see me, give hugs, and check in. They were instructed that we were close, though I was only 7cm, my cervix had shortened appropriately. Moments later, when my siblings and son were down stairs, We reached the conclusion that I had a strange and unexplained lump or swelling, and when that was pushed behind Olivers head I was instantly 10cm dialted and pushing. I grew much wiser this time, and knew that I could push hard and fast to get this babe through my pelvic bone with much less pain. He was out in a minute or two laid on my chest and we had a brief cuddle, meeting each other for the first time. 0930am, October 17th, 2014.

Elliott heard his brothers cries from downstairs and immediately called up for “mama”.

We had a mere handful of breaths together, Oliver and I, before discovering I was apparently hemorrhaging. My midwives were screaming down to my family “CALL 911, We need an ambulance NOW”. It became frantic and scary. Shane immediately went into the terrified place he was weary of when he tried to convince me not to attempt another home birth. I felt great, though. I was finally free of the debilitating back pain I was suffering with the last 10 hours. Oliver was taken from me, wrapped in warm blankets and brought downstairs to meet my family. I didn’t know when I was going to see him again, or feed him for the first time.

When the paramedics arrived, I was stripped of all modesty when they walked into my room. There I was, lain on my bed, legs spread eagle, a puddle of blood between them. Much to my increased embarrassment its two men, that have NEVER responded to a post-birth, EVER. I remember clearly my response when they assessed me and asked how I felt, with full enthusiasm I responded; “I feel like a Million dollars!” and I meant it! I just gave birth to my second son our surprise and a treasure, I was immensely blessed! Aside from that, I also knew that how I presented, and how I was feeling didn’t add up. If I was in fact hemorrhaging I would be weak and faint, possibly even passing out, but instead I was full of energy and even offered to walk to the ambulance, which, of course, they declined. I was strapped into the ambulance, and Oliver was secured in his car seat to take the ride along with me.

I laugh to myself when I recall arriving at the hospital and being escorted through the halls with a newly born child on my chest. I could see all the staff and guests assessing the situation as if thinking “Did this girl just give birth on the way here, or in a street somewhere. Did she know she was in labor or was this a totally unexpected thing.” I was assessed immediately after my arrival, and (deep breath) I was perfectly fine. This was just a weird thing my post-birth body does (as you may recall it happened after Elliott too), I know to expect that now.

My eldest son met his brother without me, but, hours later, we were all reunited, and our family hasn’t looked back since. I love love love my family of four! But we will be working on the trifecta… one day 😉

Oliver Ares ~ 9lbs 3oz

Tight Squeeze!

Ella

Posted in Birth Stories, Elliott

June 12, 2013 ~ Elliotts Story

Its the dawn of 2016 and I am just now sitting to reflect In the memory of my delivery with Elliott. I was just confessing to Shane, that I am so disappointed in myself for not taking little bits of time in the first postpartum weeks to jot it all down. There is not a memory quite as intense as a mothers birth story, it does fade over time, the details become unfocused, but a mother will always remember exactly how it all went down.
The birth of your child isn’t just an earthly experience, if I could describe it in any way (and this goes for both of my experiences) I would say it forces you into a zen-like state. I know I was there, and I know exactly what I experienced, I mean, I was drug-free, so the intense physical pain kept me grounded, but somehow your emotional state takes over and you escape to the outside looking in.

For us the story begins on June 10th, 2013 (well it actually begins sometime in September 2012 but I will spare you those uncomfortable details) I was 8 days overdue and visited my midwife for a check-up, I remember all to clearly that she had to bring up the topic of induction, and I sat silently and listened, while my heart broke on the inside. I wasn’t 100% committed to my birth plan, because I know anything can happen,  but I was seventy-five pounds heavier then normal, and had truly convinced myself I was going to have a May baby. Of all the things I was certain I was prepared for, being overdue and talking about induction were not any of them.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I wasn’t exactly certain about having a drug free home birth anyway, but I knew I was absolutely terrified of two things

  1. An Epidural
  2. Induction

I had it all decided that these were my worst case scenarios, and although, I was prepared to travel off course with my birth plan, I wasn’t ready to dive into the shark tank either.

Any how, I went home from that appointment terrified and upset, and loaded with a verbena oil cocktail (a hard to find essential oil to help kick start labor) with strict instructions not to take until morning. That night, Shane and I discussed our options; on one hand I could give birth in my preferred hospital but would need to be induced in one day, Or, I could go to the hospital I was avoiding and have a few more days to spontaneously go into labor. It was tough! I cried, because that’s what 200+lb- 41.5wk pregnant women do – often! I spent the majority of the night awake, and restless, and “damn my back is killing me!”. 5:30am rolls around and Shane rolls out of bed, we didn’t even have to exchange words because we could feel it in the air, we both knew another night had slipped by, and although he was hoping to get out of work that day, he was going to have to go anyway.

I whipped up my cocktail, and swallowed while simultaneously gagging, “what is that shit anyway? and hiding it in almond butter, and mango juice doesn’t help!”. Four hours later… nothing, “While except for this damn backache”. I take another dose of this concoction at 10:30 and boom by 12 I call Shane;

Him-  “Hello?”

Me- “Its Me.. I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet to go over…” – Ok seriously! Don’t even pretend that isn’t what you were thinking here.

For Realsies, though… I called him, he rushed home (in moderate traffic, a one hour commute). I sit in the bath, I’m chilling, probably naively underplaying what I am about to go through. And having an inner panic attack as I run through the scenario where Shane isn’t here by the time I give birth. Shane does make it home, before I am even out of the tub, and immediately starts inflating the birthing pool. I lay on the bed, and call the midwife. I felt rather silly at this point because she wanted to hear me breathing over the phone and I was all like “This isn’t a 1-900 sex line”- except I didn’t actually say that out loud, because, while that would just be extra weird.

Lauren, my midwife, makes every thing comfortable, she is relaxed and easy going, and professional. She decides I am in active labor at this time. I am less then 4 min. apart lasting about a minute per contraction, but, and I am totally going to brag here, I wasn’t really responding to much pain. I remember this part. It was a treat! So we call our families, because that was our plan. To me a home birth meant -and this was the deciding factor for me- that I could call all of my family ( mom, dad, three sisters, two fiancées, two nephews and a niece, and my Mil and Fil) and sit around and do this together. I could underplay it for you, because I know that it is totally weird to the rest of the world,  but the truth is, we bought and prepared snack foods like we were hosting a party, brewed coffee, boiled the kettle, and all the women in my family sat around my room while I labored (intensely) in my little inflatable pool. It was pure magic, or straight out of an 1800s history book, either way you look at it, I was happy with my decision. The men, who stayed downstairs, probably didn’t care to be there so much, but it has always been what my family does for these kinds of things, except it has always been in a hospital, and the family gets tucked in a waiting room far-far-away and misses everything.

So as it goes, my carefully selected birth playlist hummed in the background as my mother, mother-in-law, and sisters chatted away about all sorts of regular girl talk. I had an iv antibiotic every 4 hours as is protocol for GBS+ women, and it got knocked out when Shane was helping to reposition me and help me stay comfortable.

I can’t remember the whole play-by-play at this point, but I do know the midwife had to break my water, and I had a difficult time getting comfortable. I was encouraged to pace and stretch, but I honestly couldn’t even stand and straighten my back. I felt most comfortable laying on my left-side with a body pillow between my legs, but as each contraction came, I remember willing the bed to swallow me whole and take me away. I hardly had time to catch my breath before the next one would come.

Finally, my midwife assessed me for the last time at home. She recommended we head to the hospital because it had been several hours since I had dilated. Clearly my labor was intensifying, but my body just wasn’t responding the way we would like. It was non-emergent, so I very carefully climbed into the passengers seat of my car, infant seat secured in the back, and my emergency bag packed in the trunk as Shane drove me to the hospital. It was about a twenty minute drive to the hospital, and my rear end didn’t touch the seat once. Shane and I held hands, and I propped myself up like a stiff board with my feet on the floor and my shoulders against the back of the seat, I crossed my legs and clamped them shut so I wouldn’t inadvertently give birth in the car. With every passing contraction I squeezed my Kegels like I was pulling the baby up to my rib cage. We lucked out and hit nearly every green light. Shane and I were both silently praying in desperation that this baby not be born in the car, honestly and truly, neither of us would have known what to do.

At the hospital I wanted to be that girl that walked through the hospital and  gave birth, but I couldn’t, like white coat syndrome, the moment I walked into the hospital I was READY!. I was scooped into the wheelchair, and I am not sure if we ran to labor and delivery, but when we got to the room suddenly a contraction crept up on me and I was grunting, and heaving, and not really sure how to fight it. After I was quickly assessed we discovered I was ten centimeters and ready to push. At the moment, Shane was off at the desk sorting out the insurance information, and I refused to do this without him.

When he made it back to the room, I pushed on my next contraction, at the instruction of my midwife, but I honestly had nothing left in me. I was exhausted, and the pain was more then I could bear. I could push for a second or two, but I had no idea I had to hold my position for what felt like five minutes each time I pushed. It was hard on my lungs and as his head reached my pelvic Bone, it was like someone lit it on fire.

I pushed for an hour. And in my spirit I gave up, I remember that clearly. The pain got to me, and the exhaustion got to me and I didn’t want to do it anymore. I even remember, just for a moment, that I didn’t even care if I had a baby, that’s what the pain does to you. Then the Doppler started beating and his little heartbeat was slowing. Just like that, I was reminded how precious this life is, and I pushed. Somewhere in that fear of losing him, I found the strength to get through it. I grabbed the mattress and lifted it halfway off the bed as I pushed with everything I had. Shane stood closely by with his jaw tucked gently under the bed. I remember vividly, the colors and expressions he face saw that day. Elliott entered the world alive and well at 3:33am. Proud daddy held him first and cut the cord (with a bit of struggle). They laid him on my chest. We knew instantly he was Elliott, and he was ours forever all 8lbs 4oz. of him.

We were discharged the next morning, as we opted to stay to have my hemoglobin monitored after a suspected hemorrhage.

I have no idea what the rest of the world was up to that day, but our family expanded by one, and I was instantly transformed into a mother. The single most greatest accomplishment I’ve ever done, and I didn’t even have to pinterest it! 😉

Tight Squeeze!

Ella