Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Ultimate Delivery Room Playlist



I've been wanting to make this post for about . . . let's see . . . eight weeks now? But I've definitely had my hands busy. And my arms. And my lap. And my boobs. Most definitely the boobs as I keep our growing boy growing incredibly strong (and far too fast - folks weren't kidding!). But now that I have missed getting this up before two more dear girlfriends gave birth to their baby boys, I made it a priority for the other mothers looking for the ultimate delivery room playlist.

As many know, music is a huge part of our lives. From our tour company to the town we love to how we met and who I come from, there is always a soundtrack playing somewhere in our personal lives.

I spent a lot of time laboring (pun well intended) on the playlist I would have while I labored. Jamie concentrated on how the list would be played and pressing play when the time seemed right. And even though I was in a delirium of pain when he cued the tunes, I'm so glad he did. 

During those last final hours, when the pain relief had kicked in and I was pushing my heart out - literally, because there is no doubt my heart now lives on the outside - Jamie, our delivery nurse, the doc and I began to wonder which song little Walden Weatherford would arrive to.

Of course, it would be one of Dolly Parton's. At 2:17 p.m., Walden arrived to a song that a dear friend (you've seen her video work here) gave me when I needed to pick myself up off the ground. Lyrics from the song "Light of a Clear Blue Morning" go:


Cause I am strong and I can prove it
And I got my dreams to see me through
It's just a mountain, I can move it
And with faith enough there's nothing I can't do

And I can see the light of a clear blue morning
And I can see the light of brand new day
I can see the light of a clear blue morning
And everything's gonna be all right

It's gonna be okay

That song arrived with Walden like a gift card on a gift from God. Right after that, as I held my newborn in my arms, experiencing the most precious moment of my life, the next installment of Dolly cooed, "And I'll always love you . . . " Even my doc looked up from post-delivery and said, "Now this one is an appropriate song, isn't it?" Once again, the force that is Dolly Parton was there. 

But Dolly wasn't the only artist in the delivery room that day. Here is the song list that got me through (almost) 12 hours of bringing our baby boy into the world. In the order on my I-pod:
  1. Alabama Shakes: "Hold On" and "You Ain't Alone"
  2. Aretha Franklin: "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman" and "Son of a Preacher Man"
  3. Band of Horses: "The Funeral" (I know . . . but Jamie and I courted to this song)
  4. Bonnie Raitt and John Prine: "Angel from Montgomery"
  5. Carrie Rodriguez: "Got Your Name On It," "Before You Say Another Word," and "I Don't Want to Play House Anymore" (great for those contractions!)
  6. Cake: "The Distance"
  7. Curtis Mayfield: "The Making of You"
  8. Carney: "Testify"
  9. Davin McCoy: "These Walls" and "The Sun"
  10. Drive-by Truckers: "Two Daughters and a Wife," "Paint Houses" and "Purgatory Line"
  11. Dolly Parton: "Better Get to Livin,'" "Jesus & Gravity," "Only Dreamin,'" "Light of a Clear Blue Morning," "I Will Always Love You," "Rockin' Years," "To Know Him is to Love Him" (featuring Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris)
  12. Elvin Bishop: "Fooled Around and Fell in Love"
  13. Etta James: "Hold Back the Tears," "How Do You to Speak to an Angel?" 
  14. Fleet Foxes: "White Winter Hymnal," "Your Protector"
  15. Gov't Mule: "Beautifully Broken," "Soulshine," "I Shall Return"
  16. James Taylor: "Sweet Baby James" and "Fire and Rain"
  17. Jason Isbell: "Decoration Day"
  18. Madonna: "Like a Prayer"
  19. Marshall Tucker Band: "Fire on a Mountain" and "Can't You See"
  20. Lynyrd Skynyrd: "Simple Man"
  21. My Morning Jacket: "I'm Amazed"
  22. Modern Skirts: "N.Y. Song"
  23. Otis Redding: "I've Been Loving You Too Long," "That's How Strong My Love Is," "Pain in My Heart," "Down in the Valley," "Try a Little Tenderness"
  24. Percy Sledge: "When a Man Loves a Woman," "Warm and Tender Love," "The Dark End of the Street," "Adorable One," "My Special Prayer" and "Bring It on Home to Me"
  25. The Edwin Hawkins Singers: "Oh Happy Day"
  26. I-Nine: "Same in Any Language"
  27. Priscilla Ahn: "Dream"
  28. Loretta Lynn & Jack White: "Mountain Top"
  29. Lizz Wright: "Old Man"
  30. Mahalia Jackson: "How Great Though Art," "Highway to Heaven"
  31. Sugarland: "Fly Away"
  32. Bonnie Somerville: "Winding Road"
  33. Sam & Dave: "Hold On, I'm Coming"
  34. T-Bird and the Breaks: "All the Blame"
  35. Prince: "Future Baby Mama"
  36. Johnny Cash: "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
  37. Lionel Richie: "Easy" (featuring Willie Nelson), "Hello" (featuring Jennifer Nettles), "Lady" (featuring Kenny Rogers), "Stuck on You" (featuring Darius Rucker)
  38. The Pointer Sisters: "Yes We Can, Can"
  39. Sister Rosetta Tharpe: "Sit Down"
  40. The Rolling Stones: "Wild Horses"
  41. Widespread Panic: "Climb to Safety"
  42. Tom Petty: "Free Fallin'"
  43. Miranda Dodson: "Try Again"
  44. Roberta Flack: "The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face"
And there you have it. I culled it all from my i-Pod during the last days of pregnancy, and I'm so grateful music was there for us - all three of us - during one of the most trying, strenuous, beautiful and celebratory time of our lives. Rock-a-bye.


 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Mother Nature




Today, I found a piece of cereal in my slipper. I haven’t quite mastered the art of eating breakfast while standing, especially when there is a sling attached to me. Later, as I was undoing the sling, I found even more crumbs and gently brushed them off my unfazed baby.

To say this has been nothing but wine and roses would be more obscene than the noises my son makes when he dirties his diaper after diaper. The simplest of tasks – things like putting baby pictures in an album or updating this blog or finishing up on thank you notes – seem light years away. I suddenly look back on my life and remember a simpler time when I could literally do whatever I wanted to do. And to think I ever thought that was stressful?

Easy it is not. Demanding and taxing and tolling it most certainly is. But natural . . . Natural is the best way I can describe it. There is just something so instinctual about this. Primal, too. I am that mare who lets her wobbly foal nudge and head-bump her into feeding after feeding. I am that cat who wants to clean and preen her kitten. I am that dog who is constantly sniffing him, making sure all is well. I am that wild sal who looks like a mean, hot mess but is tender and soft when it comes to her young. I am that mama bear stressing, nuzzling and teaching my demanding, precious cub . . . and who would fight to her death to protect him.

Walden is now a month old. He changes every day. Two pounds heavier, and I already get the sinking feeling he is growing up too fast. He remains a good baby. There is always an answer to his whimpers and cries. It just comes down to if mommy and daddy are good enough to figure it out.

Figuring it out we try. Through the bleary nights and fussy moments, daddy and I give it all we’ve got. We grow from who we were as a couple. We embrace who we are as a new family. We beam at the twinkles of new life and new love. And as we settle into our nest, we fan our feathers around our little hatchling, bringing us all comfort and uncontrollable joy.