A baby was given perhaps the most serene entrance into the world when his mother played the harp – throughout labour.
Musical Morwenna Rose Louttit-Vermaat, 29, composed a song specially for baby Django earlier in her pregnancy and thought it would be a good distraction.
Morwenna, who has played the harp for 17 years, plucked her 31-string Celtic instrument until the last phase of her son’s four-hour home birth on 10 October.
It proved so successful in soothing her that she didn’t realise she was anywhere close to giving birth until midwives told her she was into the final stage of labour.
Morwenna said: “It really helped me relax, so much so that I assumed I was just having pre-labour pains.
“I expected it to be a lot worse than it was. For the last hour I couldn’t play any more because I was concentrating so hard and it just became too painful.
“I played during the tough contractions, then had a break before playing again.”
“It was a lovely birth, and playing really helped to begin with. But when the pain change from labour pain to pushing pain I thought ‘now I really need to put my mind to this’.”
Morwenna runs a harp orchestra and harp-making workshop called Hands on Harps with her husband Craig, 30, and says she first got the idea from an African tribe.
“I got the idea from a tribe in Namibia called the Himba tribe, which I came across online, who do a birth song,” she said.
“The birth wasn’t the time they considered to be the beginning of the child’s life, it was when the mother got inspiration for the life song.”
“I thought it was a really nice idea, so I wanted to write a piece of music he would have for the rest of his life. I composed it during my pregnancy and played it to him regularly.
“It’s basically a lullaby, it’s very gentle. When I composed it he was kicking so I chose sounds that soothed him and soothed me.”
The couple, who live in Stroud, Glos., had planned to give birth in hospital but Django came too quickly and they decided to stay at home with the help of midwives.
Morwenna’s husband, Creag, who makes harps from their workshop in nearby Nailsworth, loved the sound of the music during the birth.
The 30-year-old part-time maths teacher said:
“It absolutely helped having the music, as it really calmed everyone in the room.”
“We had read up quite a lot beforehand and all the gurus think the best thing to do is keep everything as calm and low-key as possible.
“It definitely made it easier for Morwenna, but also the incredibly chilled atmosphere was good for me and the midwives as well.
“I don’t think the midwives had ever seen anything like it, and were inspired by Morwenna’s playing.”
Django – who is named after famous guitarist Django Reinhardt – was born weighing 7lbs 6oz, and still enjoys hearing his special lullaby.
“He really enjoys hearing the sound of the harp, so I play his piece to him regularly,” said Morwenna.
“We named him after a famous guitarist who started out busking on the streets of Paris. We busked for three years around the world so thought it was a fitting name.
“Django also means ‘I awake’ and we thought that was nice for a newborn baby.”