Music to give birth to

We bought a little docking station with speakers to take into hospital with us and use with my ipod for some musical accompaniment for birth. (Actually, it’s not really little – the husband helped me select it, because he cares a lot more about sound quality than I do, and he selected one with a tiny sub woofer in it – “so at least there’s some bass”.) I’ve been busily filling my ipod with things I think I might like to listen to, focussing on music that I find relaxing. I find the process of labour hard to imagine, mostly the length of time it takes, and I wonder what exactly I’m going to do with myself for all that time. Of course, by all accounts, I will be totally focussed on my body and not terribly aware of hours passing, but as I find that hard to imagine I’ve put a PG Wodehouse audio book on the ipod as well, just in case I want to pace around having contractions and listening to Jeeves and Wooster getting into amusing scrapes. I’m sure that afterwards I will laugh cynically at my innocent ideas, but for now, given that never-go-anywhere-without-a-book is such an ingrained part of my personality, I feel better knowing I will have some Jeeves and Wooster stories with me.

Another purchase I’ve made has been an electric oil diffuser, which I’m going to take into hospital with some lavender and sandlewood oils – the idea of which is to make the hospital smell relaxing and comforting and not so much like a hospital. I’ve been burning these oils at home when I’m relaxing, although I realised I need to be careful around the cats after Abigail jumped after next to the oil burner, took an experimental lick of sandlewood oil, and spent the next five minutes on the floor making the cat equivalent of a “blergh!” face. I turned on the tap in the bath as I thought she might like to wash her mouth out a bit, but she just attacked the stream of water with her paws, so the sandlewood can’t have been that bad. Either that or she is a bit brain damaged, as we tend to suspect.

My musical choices have tended towards the classical – I have some Bach cello suites, some Albinoni oboe concertos, Haydn symphonies, and then some collected classical music called something like, “The Most Relaxing Classical Music Ever!” and “The Most Relaxing Guitar Music Ever!” Which are horrible, horrible names, but they contain nice familiar pieces of classical music that I find comforting – one of the Water Music suites, Canon in D, Moonlight Sonata, that sort of thing. Then in case I’m not in the mood for classical music, I have some folkish music, ranging from The Weepies and The Waifs to Vicki Swan and Johnny Dyer, which is more traditional British folk music. And I also have the entire Beatles discography, because the Beatles always make me feel happy.

The baby was kicking around having a jolly time when the doctor tried to listen to his heart today, and I was sent up to the maternity ward to have some monitoring for a while, to check that his heartbeat wasn’t too high. I lay with the monitor strapped on, clicking a little button whenever he kicked and watching as it coincided with a higher heart rate, spiking on the print out slowly scrolling out of the machine. “What an active baby,” the nurses said as they watched the monitor, and I watched my stomach, the skin jerking and rolling as he moved underneath it. I tried to practice some of my relaxation breathing, closing my eyes and listening to the other women on the ward being told they needed to stay in overnight, to have steroids, to call their workplaces and arrange to cut back their hours, and felt rather lucky that this pregnancy has been so dreamily uncomplicated. It hasn’t prevented me complaining about my back aching, or this lovely new burning feeling from the muscles at the top of my stomach, but I do realise that everything has progressed wonderfully easily, compared to the things many women experience during their pregnancies. This experience has made me feel more confident about giving birth, as I feel (probably unjustifiably) confident that the birth will be easy as well – although by easy, I mean a nice uncomplicated natural birth where everything progresses without problems. But I’m prepared to go with the flow of whatever happens – however it goes, it’s going to be wonderful to have this kicking wriggling little lump of a baby out of my stomach and into our arms.

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