Alice Michelle Deets -Birth Story

WARNING: This post is really long and it goes into great detail -many of you might feel like I go into TOO MUCH detail, but I need to. This labor and delivery was hard and awful for me… it might sound silly to say that it was traumatic, but it was. Never before has a birth sent me through so many negative emotions. I’ve been needing to work through them for days, and today I finally sat down to do it. This is my healing space. It’s also a pretty great story with a wonderful ending. Read on if you’d like. Or skip to the pictures if you’d like.

The story of how my darling daughter came into the world isn’t all beautiful. It IS beautiful because all stories are beautiful in their own way, but it isn’t ALL beautiful, and I can’t pretend like it is.
I want to write everything down before I forget it.
I’ve also been putting off writing everything down because every time I start to think about the labor, I cry… and not in a good way.
Bear with me as I sift through emotions today. It must be done.

I almost went to the hospital on the 11th. I had spent the day helping my sister-in-law clean my house, and I was so grateful she’d come over. It had gotten my mind off of the fact that I was hours away from a life-changing event. That night with my husband and kids by my side, I stretched out on the couch and could. not. move. I was in pain everywhere. There was contractions, pressure… I couldn’t move my legs.
The contractions weren’t consistent enough for me to drive to the hospital, but I was tempted to anyway.
“Hello, I’m due to be induced tomorrow, but you’ve got to admit me NOW. Never mind if I’m contracting or not. I’m miserable. Admit me.”
I realize that misery alone is no reason to gain an all-access pass to labor and delivery, so I went to bed. ish.
I slept for three hours, I curled my hair, I drank some hot chocolate, I ate a bowl of granola. I took a picture.

My cousin came over just before 6 am to take care of babysitting, and a few minutes later, we were off. My husband and I were in our car, my mother was behind us in hers.
My mother-in-law had driven to Flagstaff the night before and was waiting for us to get there.
We arrived, we checked in.
I put on my gown and my husband snapped a picture even though I told him -not very nicely -not to.

“Look at me, hon,” he said, “Just look, come on… show me how you feel. Let’s see a smile.”

(for those of you who aren’t familiar with my facial expressions, that’s my “get outta my face” face)
I didn’t want pictures of me. I wanted pictures of things like the prepared table, waiting to house and love my baby:

I kept picking up those little diapers and thinking, ‘No way. No WAY is this happening! But it is. My own little BABY is going to be wearing THOSE.’
A few minutes after I was dressed, my doctor came in to check me.
I was dilated to a SIX. A SIX! No wonder I had been so miserable the night before!
“Let’s not bother with anything to get labor started,” she said, “Let’s just break your water.” I was so happy! It felt so good to know that I wasn’t totally forcing my baby out of my own accord, she was already on her way!
But then. Something happened that had never before happened in the history of my doctor’s doctoring. She lost my cervix. Throughout my pregnancy, it had never been easy to find. Even when she had JUST checked me, it had been a bit of struggle.
But she HAD found it. I mean, I was DILATED to a SIX.
SECONDS LATER, my cervix was gone. If she couldn’t fine my cervix, she couldn’t break my water. She was frustrated. She couldn’t do something she’d done so many times before.
She looked for my cervix once. She let me rest. She looked for my cervix twice. She REALLY looked for my cervix.
It REALLY hurt. I started inching up on my bed, trying to breath, trying to fight the natural urge to KICK the person causing me so much pain.
I cried.
Finally, she gave up. She apologized. She was baffled. I just cried.
The nurse was left with instructions to “gel” me, and the nurse was kind enough to just leave me the heck alone for awhile. I was glad. I went to the bathroom where my husband and I could be alone. I held onto him and cried and cried and cried. The baby was hardly moving -she’d slept through it all.
After a few hours when I’d perked up a little (enough to laugh at the pregnant woman on my hospital bed)

The nurse gelled me. She couldn’t find my cervix either, but she made a good guess -it ended up bring RIGHT on -and left me to let the gel set it.
My nurse was so good -she listened to me, REALLY listened to me. When I said, “my body is hyper-sensitive to any medication” she listened to me.
When I said, “I don’t want the jets in my jacuzzi tub,” she listened to me (even though she gently tried to reason me outta that one).
An hour after the gel sat, I walked around. I walked and walked and walked. My mother-in-law hit the stairs with me. Once there, I got three HARD and good contractions.
We made our way back to my bed. Per my request, my husband had put on one of my comfort movies. When I’m uncomfortable in any way, I know that movies will soothe me. I don’t want silence or sleep or music.
I want a movie. I want a movie I know well, one that has great acting, great characters, great writing… one I’ve seen so many times I know what’s coming, I’ve memorized the lines.
When I’m in pain, I NEED noise. Silence makes me tense. And so my sainted support team put up with “Christmas in Connecticut” (The old Black and White one) on repeat for HOURS.
And they put up with me contracting, moaning, breathing hard, and then laughing… because the movie is just FUNNY.
My contractions came every two minutes.
They were intense, but they were -in their own weird way -wonderful. As I let go of my body -as I let my body DO what it wanted to do, I could feel my body pushing my baby down. The pressure was intense, but with each contraction came a euphoric -yes, euphoric -sense of progress and release.
It made me smile… my eyes were clenched up, my body was working incredible hard, and it felt surprisingly amazing.
My husband poked fun at me for smiling, but I couldn’t help it. It wasn’t something I forced… believe me, it was embarrassing.
As I lay contracting, my husband looked at me and said, “Alice. I think her name is Alice.”
“Alice?” I said, “Okay, that sounds good. Whatever you think is best.”
He never settles for less-than-perfection, so I trusted him whole-heartedly with the baby naming business.
My contractions kept steady, but they started coming ever four minutes instead of every two. My nurse popped in the room and asked if I’d like more gel.
I didn’t.
Because more gel meant more looking for my all-elusive cervix. My nurse told me the problem with my cervix was that it was cah-put. It was mush.
Basically, it’s done it’s time. It’s tired.
“It feels like Sharpay,” she said, and we all joked about naming the baby Sharpay… you know, after her mother’s cervix.
I’m glad to know my cervix is shot. I’m glad. It explains so much. It explains why my body coughed out one IUD and managed to let me get pregnant with another, and it explains why my latest birthing experience was in it’s own way… traumatic.
Reluctantly, I asked for a VERY VERY low dose of Pitocin. My nurse was glad. She didn’t want to go looking for my cervix again. She doesn’t like making her patients cry.
Earlier as I had sat laboring in the jet-less jacuzzi tub, she had inserted my IV. She got it right in, but it wouldn’t give her any blood. She had to dig this way and that way and try this and that…
“Do you want me to stop while you contract?” She asked.
“No,” I shook my head, “Let’s just DO this. I can multi-task.”
“What a mother!” She said.
It was a great bonding moment for us… despite my absolute stark nakedness and her large pointy needle.
Thank goodness she was able to get the IV to work because that was where I got my VERY low dose of Pitocin. And then something irregular happened.
My nurse disappeared. It was probably her lunch break, or something. But I was sad when I rang for her and got someone else instead.
I was ACCOSTED by this. this.
She adjusted the IV machine. She glanced at my low dose of Pit. She raised her eyebrows, “Want me to up this?” She jerked her head toward the machine.
“No,” I said.
“One is a super low dose,” she said, talking to me as if I was about 10.
“I know, that’s what I asked for… I’m really sensitive to medications (I hate rehearsing this story. It makes me sound to fragile). If I go any higher it will send me into hard and fast contractions.”
“Isn’t that the point?” She asked.
I. wanted. to. slug. her.
But I didn’t. I just said, “It’s fine the way it is.”
She shook her head in disbelief and she walked out.
And thank goodness.
My nurse reappeared.
And thank goodness.
She took me OFF my low dose of Pit because she saw what it was doing to me. I was in full on labor. I had been in full-on labor since 10:30 in the morning. The Pit sent my body over the edge.
I was writhing in pain.
Months into my pregnancy, I had a gut-feeling that I should NOT, by any means, get an epidural. I don’t know why I felt that way, but if I’ve learned anything about my gut it’s to LISTEN to it and NEVER NEVER ignore it.
I told my doctor I didn’t even want to be offered an epidural.
I told my nurse the same thing. She listened. Because she is something of a Saint.
As she waited to “gel” me earlier that morning, she asked, “How long was your last labor?”
“Two and a half hours,” I said. The excitement in her face was evident. I tried to reassure her that this pregnancy was NOT to be predicted -there could be NO expectations! This baby had been fooling me right and left, and I was more that prepared at that point to labor for 30 days and 30 nights before ever seeing face or bum of my daughter.
“Well, you’re dilated to a six. You’ve been contracting this morning already. I imagine it won’t take long.”
“Don’t say that,” I shook my head, “Don’t SAY that!”
In this case, she turned out to be right. It was -once again -a fast labor.

There must have been a miscommunication on the pain meds… I said “no epidural” and I think they all heard, “ALL NATURAL, BABY!”
Just before the pit was taken off, my contractions came hard and fast and harder and faster. They wouldn’t go away completely before they came back.
I was given no mental break to regroup and focus. The pain was outrageous. It took over, and I started yelling and screaming things like, “I’m going to DIE!” and “MY BODY IS GOING TO BREAK!” and -of course -“I CAN’T DO THIS!”
This labor was NOTHING like my son’s. His hurt, yes. But THIS. Something was much much MUCH different.
SHE was face up. I was taking insane amounts of pressure in my bottom. I was sure at any given moment, my entire body was going to crack in half and kill me.
When I could finally take something of a breath I asked my nurse if there was ANYTHING she could give me that wasn’t an epidural. She look surprised.
“Yes, would you like something?”
“YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!” I yelled out just as another contraction hit me and escalated. She dropped the birthing ball she’d been holding and gently insisting I try to see if it would help ease the pain.
Silly nurse. I couldn’t even MOVE let alone get up off my bed and bounce on a ball.
The nurse raced out of the room, my water broke (first time it’s ever done that on it’s own!) and I made sure everyone on the labor and delivery floor knew that my baby was on her way out.
I can’t tell you how many pushes it took. I can’t. Everything was a mess of pain in all the wrong places and mushy cervix and me lying on my left side, gripping the hospital bed with one hand and my husband with the other… bearing down knowing that my life was seriously about to be over (seriously) and then.
Suddenly the room was filled with people. What people? I don’t know. I’d never seen them before. But they were all saying something about her head and something about how I could do it.
And before I even knew what was happening, I DID do it. My poor nurse came running back into the room, bewildered.
“What happened?” She asked my husband.
A strange doctor just happened to be nearby and caught my baby for me. Minutes later, the on-call doctor from my OB office was there.
“It only took me six minutes to get here!” he tapped his pager, “SIX. What happened?”
He was mad at himself for missing “the party” as he called it.
I was still writhing in pain… when I had given birth all-natural to my son, the pain had gone away when he was born. This time? Pain was radiating throughout. I was gripping my tiny daughter, brand new, pure, perfect… but I couldn’t really “see” her through the pain.
All I could say to her was, “Did you know you tried to kill me?… But I love you.”
“Can I have something for the pain right now?” I asked.
The doctor assured me I could, but it would make me tired -it would interfere with baby-bonding.
“I can’t bond with her through this pain,” I said, crying. This picture captures it pretty well… I felt like such a child -I just kept my eyes locked on my husband because in that moment, he was all I knew.
Every time I look at this picture -see my eyes -I’m taken right back to that moment… the “what just HAPPENED to me?!” moment.

Remarkably, my tearing was minor -first degree.
I’ve given birth to a “sunny-side-up” baby before. But that time, my cervix was intact, I had an epidural, and I’d been laboring for 18 hours.
I also wound up with third degree tears.
This time? My cervix was Sharpay, I had no drugs, and I labored from 10:30 am to 1:39 pm.
Alice Michelle came into the world without so much as a squeal. Though my world was spinning out of control, her’s was completely calm, content and everything was as it should be.

The nurse offered to take my baby to let me rest, but I couldn’t let go of her. I wasn’t exactly bonding or feeling WASHED OVER with love, but I was feeling exactly like a helpless child.
who just went through hell to get what was rightfully mine. No takesies.
I finally had to give her up because no matter now much I love her, we are here to learn how to SHARE. And Alice had two grandmothers and a Daddy who were itching to love on her.

We did get one picture with the Sainted Nurse who I will go to my grave loving.

After I’d had something to eat, we were moved from our labor and delivery room to our recovery room. Once situated, my husband and his mother stepped out. My husband’s birthday was this weekend, and his mom wanted to take him out. After they left, it was just my mother, me, Alice and the after-effects of the drugs I’d been given. For the first time, I was able to really look at my daughter -really SEE her.

And that’s when it hit me. Even the pain meds I’d been given after she was born couldn’t stop the emotions from rolling through.
I was in absolute awe -deep in unconditional love.
And for the first time since I’ve met my husband, my soul reconnected with someone… someone I’ve known before, someone I didn’t know I waiting for.
A part of me jumped for joy as I looked at my daughter. Part of me was celebrating a reunion.
I don’t understand it -I didn’t understand it when I felt the the first time as I sat next to her father on an old, dirty couch in college… but there it was.
I KNOW her. I don’t know how I know her, but I do.

We were overjoyed to learn that the hospital had lifted RSV restrictions a few years ago, and my sister-in-law made a long trek (with four little kids!) to the hospital to meet the baby (who at the time still had no name):

The kids were instantly in love -and SO excited to meet her:

Our new little family unit:

The next morning, my husband disappeared to “get some breakfast.” He came back with flowers:

And a bag of “It’s a Girl” chocolate kisses (please take note of the granola in the background. That granola was a life saver while I was in the hospital. I love it so much. It’s my mom’s recipe and can be found on my cooking blog) (my husband gave me a bag of kisses the day I moved away from him in college when we were dating):

A Baby’s First Christmas ornament:

A Christmas ornament for me that sent me into tears:

I was named after my great-grandmother Alice. As a little girl, I used to sit in her parlor and just LOVE her small ceramic shoe collection. I wanted one so badly. I used to pick them up, smell them, touch them, wonder what it would be like to WEAR them… I told myself that when I was big and had my own money, I would buy my own little shoes.
When my great-grandmother passed away, I was given one of her little shoes. For my 20th birthday, my husband bought me another shoe. As the years have gone on, I’ve collected one or two more. It’s a meager collection, but it’s mine. I made the promise to buy myself little frivolous shoes, and I HAVE.
My husband knows me so well, and every time I see evidence of it… it touches my heart. It means so much to me.
He didn’t even take time to get himself breakfast… and the minute he got back, he picked up our daughter and said, “It is TIME to get this baby named.” He stared at her for a minute and then went to work:

The nurses came in and offered their opinions:

My husband loved the name Annalise, but I just didn’t FEEL it.
“If we could call her Anny,” I said, “But Annalise is just too much. I’m fine if we use it, but I’m going to call her Anny.”
“She’s not an Anny,” my husband said, his eyebrows furrowed.
He studied her:

While my husband was gone “getting breakfast” something came to me.
My daughter was born on 12/12. My brother, Michael, was born on 12/13. Mike was the third born in our family, this baby is OUR third born.
And so I texted my husband, “Alice Michelle Deets?”
And so the middle name was chosen. It just FELT right. My husband had second thoughts about Alice clear up until we got home on the evening of the 13th, but in the end, he decided it was her name.
And he will call her Alli. And I will call her Alice.

When the nursing staff learned her name, they sent up a small cheer -they’d been rooting for Alice all along. She just… IS an Alice.

It made the little shoe ornament all the more meaningful.
Here’s our little Alice Michelle all packed up and ready to go home for the first time:

She was born at 1:39 pm on 12/12/12… she was 19.5 inches long… and she weighed 6 pounds and 15 ounces (despite the mistake I made on the chalkboard).

And last night, she kept Daddy and I on our toes. But we didn’t mind. How could you mind when the one keeping you on your toes looks like this:

Alice is -without a doubt -the healthiest baby I’ve ever had! She eats well, sleep relatively well, and boy can this girl fill her pants! We love her to pieces, and you know you have it really good when you and your husband passive-aggressively argue about who gets to stay up with the baby.


  1. Thank you so much for some happy tears. I have been crying too many sad ones when I get on the internet the last few days. (TV isn’t even a possibility)

    I hear you about labor and being traumatized. I have been traumatized by each of my labors in different ways, but especially the first one! Everything went exactly opposite of how I hoped and planned it would, and when it was over (ie. he was born) I wasn’t sure if I was okay or not. I had my last without any pain meds (my epidurals only partially worked for a while before, but I always have to be induced due to blood pressure) and I completely understand the feeling that you’re just going to break and that there’s no way this can end well (for you). I have a super good memory, so I have to consciously try to push the memories aside or there is no way I would ever do it again.

    Alice is completely precious and I am so glad for your little family! You did it, and as awful as it was, I’m sure she was worth it! ;-)

  2. How any woman gives birth without an epidural I’ll never understand!! haha. Good for you! Sunny-side up kids are feisty little ones! I like to believe that since Nathaniel gave me so much trouble in utero and during delivery, he’ll be an angel child. :)

  3. Loved this — thanks for sharing all the gory details :-) (I’m a birth story junkie.) Sorry for all the rough parts, but man she is beautiful! And I LOVE her name (did you know my oldest, Annie, is actually named Annalise . . . though we almost never use it as she was always an Annie.) Good work Mama! :-)

  4. a gorgeous story. despite the pain and the trauma i was touched by the reunion of you and alice. welcome to the world Alice!

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