Frank: Music helped me through difficult childbirthFARGO – When music therapist Anna Driscoll told me people use music therapy as a coping mechanism without even realizing it, I completely understood.
By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM
FARGO – When music therapist Anna Driscoll told me people use music therapy as a coping mechanism without even realizing it, I completely understood.
I sing to my children to calm them, belt out my frustrations when I’m upset and dance around when I’m happy.
But more than that, music pulled me through the most terrifying moment of my life.
I had been in labor for 12 hours when a nurse casually mentioned that I might need a cesarean section.
My son’s heart rate had been dropping with my contractions. The nurses had me lie on one side, then the other, then kneel. Nothing helped.
But there wasn’t a hint of worry in the nurse’s voice and the possibility of a C-section seemed so far off that I didn’t think about it. That is, until a few minutes later when a group of people rushed into my hospital room and started prepping me for surgery.
Then I panicked.
People dressed in scrubs were talking to me, but I felt numb, removed, like I was watching them work on someone else. Someone behind glass. Someone who wasn’t me.
All I could do was worry about my son. Would he be OK?
A part of me also worried about myself. Would I survive? Or would I leave my husband a widower and my children motherless?
I started crying and I couldn’t stop. I wasn’t sobbing, but I couldn’t control my tears.
I knew, intellectually, I needed to calm down. Women have C-sections all the time without complications. Many women planned them.
But my intellect couldn’t convince my emotions to comply.
I needed a distraction, and I found it in music.
I forced myself to think about the musical I had been in earlier that year. My church put on a production of “Godspell” and I had a solo. It was the first time I had been brave enough to sing alone on stage.
I was terrified, but I got through it and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
So, strapped to the operating table, tears streaming down my face and clutching my husband’s hand, I thought about the songs and the harmonies and the choreography.
My mind was a jumbled mess. It jumped from a bit of one song to part of another. “Oh Bless the Lord” merged with “Light of the World,” which became “Prepare Ye the Way of The Lord.”
But it didn’t matter. The next thing I heard was my baby screaming and my husband reassuring me our son was fine, healthy and perfect.
His words, and our son’s screams, were music to my ears.