Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Lucid again


First off – wow. Bowled over by all of the bloggy land love. Thank you all so much for cheering me on during and welcoming Tessa after. I’ve had several real life people express awe at all of you being here for this wonderful occasion. Being so far from most of our friends and family it was wonderful having a virtual waiting room full of all of you waiting for news.

Now for what you came for – details and photos.

My doctor broke my water at 7 am yesterday. The nurse said she never gets to use words like “copious amounts” in her notes but breaking my water qualified. It was rather amazing and a bit painful. About an hour later, I was sitting on the bed talking to Steve and there was another geyser – water running off both sides of the bed and flooding puddling on the floor. The nurse came in and said I now officially had the most water in my that she had ever seen in her years of nursing. (Heh…that doesn’t even count what I’m still holding on to in my legs and ankles.) I couldn’t stop laughing and imagining it happening at the grocery store “Clean up on aisle 5”. I was having regular contractions so they decided to hold off on the pitocin (no idea if that is the correct spelling – it is the med that helps jump start labor). Around noon, the pain was getting worse and they want to start pitocin so I received my epidural. I was stoned off my ass for the next 4 hours. Didn’t feel a single contraction from then on. Epidurals rock.

I hit 4 cm at 4 pm. My doctor said she was starting the active labor clock then and she wanted to see some progress in the coming hours or we would have to make some decisions. At 8 pm, I was still stuck at 4cm. Steve went out to get himself something to eat while I tried not to growl at him since it had been 24 hours since I was allowed anything but ice chips. He had barely left the hospital when I was informed we were heading down for a c-section. I freaked out until they tracked him down. We all headed for the operating room. I was a little freaked by it all happening so fast (the c-section, obviously not the labor). I didn’t enjoy the c-section experience. It didn’t hurt exactly but wasn’t comfortable either. Knowing they are tugging out your innards while rocking you around on the table is rather disconcerting. Tessa didn’t want to come out but they eventually managed to get her free and clean her up. Steve and I immediately started crying when we heard her cry.

She is beautiful and perfect. She has been wonderful so far. I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night but that was more my fault than hers. I catnapped while she slept on my chest and fed every few hours. I will admit to some trepidation that I couldn’t possibly love another child as much as I love Sabrina but I quickly fell in love with Tessa. I am completely enchanted by her. It is different from our first days with Sabrina but no more or less amazing.

As for me, I was shocked by the amount of pain immediately following the c-section. And I continued to be shocked by the pain through the night and this morning. They still didn’t give me the okay for food this morning and I started getting very sick to my stomach. I told the nurse that I was going to be sick if they didn’t feed me so they brought me broth. Didn’t help. They gave me percocet and 2 saltines. When the lactation consultant came to see me at 11am this morning and found me unable to pay attention to her and in tears, she immediately rounded me up some food. Too late, the pain killers were too far ahead of the food and I ended up tossing my cookies. I felt horrible for hours but once the pain killers got out of my system, my day started looking up considerably. I still have some pain at my incision site, but nothing I can’t handle. I’m moving slowly but I’ve showered and been moving around a good bit as the day has moved on.

We are both enchanted with our beautiful girls.  Many of you have asked what Sabrina thinks.  Unfortunately, she was here during my not-so-lucid period today so I wasn’t able to interact much.  She said baby and hi and wasn’t amused that mommy didn’t pick her up.  Otherwise, no real reaction from her that I noticed.  Abuela has been keeping her happy at home.  Steve and I both miss Sabrina a lot so he went home to stay there tonight.  We look forward to us all being under one roof.

posted under Pregnancy | 81 Comments »

Tessa Catherine


Please welcome Tessa Catherina to this wonderful world. Tessa and mom are busy right now learning to to breast feed, so the proud dad is making this post.

Born at 8:52 PM CST. 6 pounds and 12.8 ounces, and 20 inches. Here she is about 5 minutes after greeting mom and dad for the first time.

The Newest Brownlee

Drugs ‘R Gud


Steve here posting on behalf of Michelle at her request.

She’s heavily medicated at this point and is barely able to form coherent sentences, let alone control her fingers enough to actually type out a full blog post.  However, she’s comfortable, in no pain at all, contractions are coming along nicely and she’s slowly dilating to delivery readiness.

As I finish this, Michelle has requested that I provide this quote: “Duuuuude”.

posted under Pregnancy | 52 Comments »

Long night


Well, that was fun *please note sarcasm*.  Why is the getting knocked up part fun but getting un-knocked up not so much fun?  I spent the night with the medicine on my cervix have having painful contractions.  They gave me an Ambien to help me sleep so I was able to grab a couple of cat naps when my contractions settled down.  This morning they checked me still only 1 cm despite the pain.  But my cervix softened and I am contracting pretty regularly on my own.  They broke my water this morning (okay that wasn’t pleasant) and are letting me contract on my own for the moment (meaning sans pitocin medicine).

At this point, things hurt but are bearable.  We’ll see what happens as the day progresses.

posted under Pregnancy | 43 Comments »

Bedridden **updated


I’m now in the hospital and have needles in me, equipment strapped to me, and only minimal control over my television (the only button that works is to change the channel up). The nurses did their usual 50 question survey of my medical history, and I made my usual responses… again.

Steve is here with me and we’re watching Family Feud, waiting for the nurses to come back. They better get here soon because I’m uncomfortable, have a giant, painful needle in my hand, and I’m hungry. If I don’t get a hamburger soon, there’s going to be trouble. I’m sure I already have “difficult” in my charts somewhere, so people shouldn’t be too surprised when things start to fly.

Everything’s good. Tessa’s heartbeat is healthy, although she’s been giving the nurses a hard time.

** Thanks for all of the wonderful well wishes and good thoughts.  Steve wrote the above for me because I’m kind of strapped down.  They have me hooked up to fetal monitors but Tessa will only cooperate for about 20 minutes at a time.  When we get a good heart beat, I can’t really move around much.  It is going to be a long night at this rate.

I did get my hamburger for dinner.  The maternity ward apparently went a little crazy tonight (4 babies in 2 hours) so I kind of got lost in the shuffle.  So Steve went out and brought me some dinner before things got ugly with this hot, uncomfortable, hungry, very pregnant woman.  I’m no longer hungry or hot.  I am very uncomfortable for a variety of reasons that I won’t bother whining about.  It isn’t too awful – a couple of Tylenol took the edge off so we haven’t gotten into any of the hard stuff yet.

My blood pressure is setting off the alarm every 30 minutes (high but no one is freaking out about it yet) so between that and Tessa moving out of range of the monitor, I’m pretty high maintenance for someone who isn’t in labor yet.  Heh.

I really do appreciate all of you keeping us in your thoughts.  I promise to update (or have Steve do it) when I am able tomorrow.

posted under family | 45 Comments »

Last baby watch 2008 update


I had my last OB appointment yesterday. No progress. Still only 1 cm. So I have to go in Monday night so they can try to soften my cervix before inducing labor on Tuesday morning. I’m not excited about the extra night in the hospital but I did learn that they have wireless net access in the rooms so I will be reading blogs, emailing, and writing posts about how bored I am. Lucky you guys! You won’t have to wait and wonder what is happening. I can tell you all about the gross lime jello for dinner and the mean nurse who couldn’t find a vein right after it happens!  And of course either Steve or I will update after Tessa’s arrival as soon as we have a few minutes.

My mom arrives late tomorrow night.  She’ll be here to hang out with Miss Sabrina while the action happens.  And I still don’t have a hospital bag packed.  Now I’m off to spend my last full day alone with my little monkey.

Officially ready


Yesterday, thanks to Ashley’s reminder, I waddled off to a consignment sale.  I found an infant seat (just afraid the Britax Marathon will be too big for her for the first couple of months) and a few other items so now my list of must-haves is officially complete. I even made it through a trip to the grocery store after consignment shopping and cooked dinner. I felt quite accomplished.  I had wicked contractions all night reminding me why I’ve been such a home body but I only whined a little.

This afternoon Sabrina and I are off to see my doctor. That is 2 days in a row we are out and about – exciting stuff.

Now I just need to pack a hospital bag…



Yesterday’s inspection issue has been the most exciting part of my week.  Seriously, I haven’t gone further than the driveway since Sunday.  The trip to the mailbox each afternoon is our highlight this week.  I’m going to have to force myself out of the house to get myself to Target at some point because the infant seat I was expecting for Tessa never arrived so I have to go get one or I hear they won’t let me leave the hospital with her.  Picky, picky…wanting to ensure the safety of my newborn before letting me drive off with her – the nerve of some people.  And we might make it to the grocery store but I am a serious couch potato this week.  Every time I try to venture further than the mailbox, I start having contractions or spasms in my back muscles.  So I sit my butt back down.  I really don’t want the first words I hear after my water breaks to be “Clean up on aisle 5” so I am being a wimp playing it safe and staying close to home.

Anyway, I had a point when I started all of this.  Oh yes – BlogHer.  I was looking forward all weekend to reading all of the BlogHer stories.  I enjoy it every year – the silliness, the socially awkward moments, the booze, the drama – it makes for fun reading for those of us who don’t attend.  And I usually find some fun new blogs to check out from all of the linking going on.  But this year?  It might just be my mood but I’ve been feeling let down.  Everyone says they had fun.  No one complained about feeling left out. No real drama (a comment during a key note speech is all I’ve read about).  Of course everyone and no one only encompasses those blogs that I’ve looked at – perhaps I am missing some with angst and drama.  Obviously the lack of angst and drama is great for the attendees but those of us with our noses up against the BlogHer window want some entertainment!  Going on and on about how fab everyone was and how great the conference was – boring!

There are going to be some mini 1 day BlogHer conferences in different cities in October.  One of them will be here in Nashville.  I will likely attend and I promise to make up some drama and angst even if none exists.

posted under Misc. | 13 Comments »

Are we sure it isn’t Monday?


I’ve mentioned that we are renting the house in which we currently reside. We rent through a decent sized property management company. One of the things in the lease agreement was that they would do quarterly inspections at their discretion. I figured it was a CYA clause recommended by their attorneys and we would never see them again. Last week, we received a letter telling us that our quarterly inspection would be sometime Tuesday or Wednesday of this week between 8 am and 5 pm but they couldn’t or wouldn’t narrow it down beyond that. And if they arrived and couldn’t gain entry due to locks being changed or an unsecured animal, we would be charged a $75 fee for their time and trouble.

My first reaction was annoyance. Even the freaking cable company can narrow things down to a 6 hour window. But I am usually home at this point and when I am not, the dog is in his cage so it shouldn’t have been a problem. Key word in that sentence being “shouldn’t”. Guess when he came? Go ahead, guess. If you’ve been reading here for awhile, you’ll know that my luck runs in such a way that the guy showed up this morning in the 15 minute window that I was in the shower. Sabrina was in the bathroom with me playing with a toy and I couldn’t figure out why she kept pounding on the closed bathroom door yelling “dada”. I turned off the shower and heard: the doorbell ringing, the dog going insane, my phone ringing and Sabrina yelling for Dada (anytime the phone rings, she is convinced it is Steve). I pull a towel in front of me (because at this point in pregnancy, I would need a beach towel to actually wrap it around me) and run out to answer the phone. It is Steve. He is frantic because the property management people called him and he thought something was wrong since they were reporting no one home and a dog running free in the house. I assure him that all is fine. I open the door a crack (still dripping wet in my towel mind you) and tell the guy he is going to have to give me 10 minutes because I was in the shower. I get dressed as quickly as my fat ass and swollen legs can move these days and scoop up Sabrina, who is a little freaked out by the commotion, and go back to the door. The guy is gone.

If they think we are paying a $75 missed inspection fee they can bite my big pregnant butt. Not happening. Go ahead and laugh. It is kind of funny.

** Updated…apparently his wittle feelings got hurt.  He called the office and said the mean lady slammed the door in his face so he left.

posted under nashville | 19 Comments »

this and that


Does anyone else think the sloth on It’s a Big Big World (PBS Kids) is a big pot head?


Someone asked if the next door neighbor had cut that strip in his yard that abuts our fence. I looked on Saturday because I hadn’t noticed. The answer was no.  Then my hubby was out with the dog yesterday and said that the neighbor had finally cut it.  So yes, it is gone now.


Someone else asked for a full on nursery shot of Tessa’s room now that it is done. Honestly, I’ve shown her crib and her dresser – there isn’t anything else to see. Her room is nursery/guest room so in addition there is a queen size bed and a night stand. I haven’t put anything on her walls yet. She will be sleeping in our room in the bassinet for awhile so I haven’t even bothered with a mobile yet.


One thing I will miss about pregnancy – my nails are growing like crazy (I have to cut them back because they get too long) and my hair never falls out (as opposed to the large handful I lose each day when not pregnant). I hear I will lose all of my hair after giving birth and I’m sure the nails will go back to normal.  Look at these bad boys – with no effort on my part:


I finally found a diaper bag that I think will work and that I like the looks of:

The couple I used for Sabrina were either too small to accommodate 2 children or I had already decided I disliked for other reasons.  I didn’t use one with her for very long once we returned home from Guatemala.  I just kept a bag with couple of diapers and wipes in the car in case I needed them.  The bag I liked best was barely big enough for just her when I was using it.  And another that I had and loved in theory was a backpack then I discovered how impossible it was to access a back pack while juggling a small child.  It was also incompatible with the sling/carrier I used.

This one (found it on Ebay) has lots of pockets and places to stow things and is cute but not so cute that Steve will feel emasculated carrying it.


My current pregnancy food obsession is peanut butter.  Specifically, peanut butter on graham crackers and chocolate peanut butter ice cream.  This is my last week to eat that kind of crap – then I’m going to have to start trying to undo the damage that has been done.


Sabrina has suddenly decided to start adding words to her vocabulary.  She has been repeating things we say after months of refusing to even try.  She has started putting together 2 word sentences – hi mommy, hi puppy, ride car, etc.  Sometimes, I don’t know where the words come from.  Last week I was holding her and she was rubbing my tummy saying “Nana” (her word for baby) and then started poking my chest saying “boob”.  Lovely.


I find myself counting down the days I have left alone with Sabrina.  It makes me much sadder than I would have guessed.  We have 4 days left alone then we have the weekend with daddy home and abuela arriving.  I wish I had more energy so that we could go out and do things for this last week.  But it is 98 here and showering and dressing seems to be as ambitious as I get right now.


Seriously, that sloth has a big old bong behind the tree.  He’s totally stoned and eating Doritos off camera.

posted under Misc. | 19 Comments »
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