Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Could You Be The Most Beautiful Girl in The World?

October 22, 2013.

I woke up around 5:30 AM to shower, and get ready for work. 

After my shower, I put a towel over my head and walked into my kitchen to take my Synthroid and my supplements. My phone had a text message, at 5:57 AM. It was my mom. "r u up" it asked. I texted back that I was, and is everything alright? "Katie is in labor, water broke."


My sister and my amazing brother in law, Drew, were finally going to become parents, and make me an aunt to this amazing baby girl.

I went into work, to open the clinic, turn on the TV in our lobby, print the doctors out their schedules, etcetera. 

I called my clinic manager at 7:08 to tell her about the good news. We agrees that I could stay until the 8:30 medical assistants clocked in. 

My patients arrived for their appointments, and I couldn't conceal my excitement. I told them what was happening, and everyone wished me well when I left around 8:36. 

I drove from Columbus to Delaware, which is about a 45 minute commute, but with the morning traffic, it set me back about an hour and a half.

Once I reached my exit, I filled my gas tank and stopped for coffee. It took another 20 minutes to get to the hospital.

Parking was so easy; I was relieved.

I walked in the automatic doors of the main entrance, and was greeted by a brunette sitting at the Information Desk.

"May I help you?" she offered. "Yes, if my sister is currently in labor, where do I need to go?" I asked. She directed me around the corner to the elevators, and instructed me to take it to the 4th floor: Labor & Delivery. 

I remember passing the hospital gift shop and coffee shop; oh man! They have Starbucks coffee here? I could have saved some misery going through the drive thru! No matter!

I got to the 4th floor and turned to the right, as previously instructed. The maternity waiting room was very small, with 2 flat screen Plasma TV's. There was a call light that had to be pressed to enter. The card read, “Please state your name and reason for visit.” 

Someone responded, "May I help you?" I advised them that I was Katie's sister. Open Sesame. The double doors opened wide, and I cautiously walked through them to the nurses's station. 

Once I was escorted to my sister's room, I walked in to find her tied up to IV's. She had a nasal oxygen mask on. Panic set in. Drew was sitting beside her, and he greeted me with a big hug. 

Katie said the contractions were, "no joke." She prides herself on being able to tolerate certain degrees of pain, but she said these were unbearable. Every 3 minutes. 

I laughed when she told me about her water breaking. She admitted she felt loopy from the epidural she had received, just minutes before I got there. 

Her nurses's name was Megan; she was very personable, and I was happy with how she was treating my sister. 

The nurse decided to start another IV to kick start Katie's contractions. I decided to go back to their house to hang out with my mom; I wanted them to have this moment together, without their kid sister getting in the way. 

I left around 10:08, and got back to Katie and Drew's new home. You can still smell the fresh paint when you walk in; I love that.

I found my mom vacuuming their living room, while our dog, Maggie, was patiently wagging her tail at me.

I made some coffee, and sat down to hang out with Mom and Maggie.

At about 12:30, we got a text message from Katie; she was fully dilated! We grabbed some miscellaneous items, and a baby gift, and headed out the door.

When we got there, Katie looked sleepy, and was watching a horror movie on Sci-Fi. Drew was pacing. Drew's parents arrived, and we hung out in her delivery room for about 30 minutes, before the show was ready to get on the road.

Drew's parents and I waited in the maternity lobby for over an hour. We were told at 2:30 that she had just started pushing. 

At 4:15, I was growing impatient. I kept ringing the call light for the maternity ward. "Hello?" someone asked. "Yes, this is Katie's sister. Is she OK?" I asked, breathlessly. "She just started pushing," someone responded. I was in disbelief. Someone has these important events turned around. I needed to know; I'm the aunt of that baby! 

The double doors to the ward opened up, and a nurse who must have just finished her shift, saw all 4 of us standing there, waiting for some kind of update. 

"You guys can't go back there yet." 


Another half hour passed. We asked a nurse in the hallway about Katie and Drew. She went to ask another nurse at the station; when she came back, she was smiling! Elliana was here! She had been born! She advised us that Drew would be out shortly, to deliver the good news.

Drew came out of the ward, in all smiles, with a paper mask hanging around his neck. Elliana Joy was born at 4:51. She was 8 pounds, 7 ounces, and measured 21" long. He showed us pictures; she had a full head of dark hair, and gorgeous, chubby cheeks! 

We wanted to go back, but Katie was doing skin-to-skin contact with Elliana. Drew told us to go have dinner somewhere, and come back.

We went to the Bag of Nails Pub that was up the street. All of us ordered our food and ate it in record time. Drew's dad ordered meals to go for the new parents. 

We met back at the ward, and Katie's best friend since childhood, Lesley, greeted me. 

We all walked into the ward to Katie's room. Katie looked beautiful; she was sitting upright in the bed, with Elliana in her arms. 

Elliana is perfect! She has the longest lashes you've ever seen. Her nails were so long! She didn't make a sound, she was so content. 

We all took our turns holding her, and watched the nurses give her a bath, as well as her immunizations. My baby girl niece is perfect! I am in shock! I still can't believe she's here! I just spent the last 7 months rubbing my sister's belly, and talking to her, and now, here she is!

Lots of tears were shed; ones of pure joy. 

My dad and my brother came up the very next day to visit with Elliana. 

Since she has been born, I have changed her and held her countless times. She is a very good baby. I'm known as Aunt Meggie, or Auntie M! 

It's the best feeling. My sister and Drew are such great parents; I'm so lucky to have the family I've got. 

Until next time...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Cinderella Story

Last night was interesting.

It started out as an ordinary Wednesday evening after work. 

I popped in Jim Henson's "Labyrinth" (circa 1986), and measured out some cereal to munch on. 

My living room was dark, except for the candle lights flickering. 

My vision started to get fuzzy, and spotty. I brushed it off as just needing to take my contacts out. I checked my Dexcom; it was 82, and I had just confirmed it with a finger stick glucose, not even ten minutes before (my meter had said 76). 

Then my brain started feeling fuzzy. I was getting tunnel vision, and I started getting the head tics that happen, right before a seizure happens. 

I started panicking and ran over to my meter bag. I struggled to get a single test strip out of its bottle, and it took me two or three tries to get the test strip inserted into the meter the correct way.

I pricked my finger, and because I was snuggled under a blanket, and my fingertips were still warm, the blood came flowing out, and ran down my finger and pooled into my palm. Five seconds later, the number on my meter that greeted me sent me into sheer panic.


31, 31, 31.

My heart immediately started racing; I couldn't tell if it was out of rhythm, because it was pounding so fast.

I paced back and forth in my tiny apartment; ran into the bedroom, nothing there. Ran into the living room, nothing there. Raced to the kitchen, and looked into the refrigerator. Two Juicy Juice boxes. I grabbed them, and ripped off the straw, unwrapping it and trying to insert the straw into the top of it. I broke my straw. I grabbed the other juice box, and couldn't get the straw in, so I gave up and threw it. 

I found my stash of Gala apples from the apple orchard, and bit into it. The juice was cold, and so sweet. It tasted so good. I rummaged through my cabinet and found my half-eaten jar of Jif peanut butter, and started scooping it out with my fingers. I coated my entire mouth with peanut butter, praying the sugar from the apple, and the "protein" in the peanut butter would bring me back up. 

I checked Dex again; double arrows pointing down, and not even a reading, just the word, "LOW." 

I started hyperventilating, and crying. 

I am alone in my apartment with a severely low blood sugar, and there is no one to help me save my life, but myself.

I'm still having the head tics at this point, and I can't support my weight by standing up in my kitchen, so I sink to the kitchen floor and lean up against the cabinets for support.

I can hear the Labyrinth blaring in the background; my favorite part! The "Dance Magic Dance" scene! I'm trying to sing along, and picture the movie playing out in my head, but I can't focus. I can't keep my thoughts together. The only thing that is permanent, is this:

"Keep eating, Meghann. Keep eating. Keep eating. Keep eating."

After I finish the apple and peanut butter (I didn't even wipe my hands off, let alone wash them of sticky apple and peanut butter), I went back out into my living room. The movie is still playing. Dex keeps vibrating and beeping at me. Still double down arrows and LOW. 

I feel awful, I'm scared. I can't breathe. I'm shaking. I'm terrified I'm going to have a full-blown seizure and pass out. Who will find my body, if the worst happened? I remember thanking myself for wearing my medical bracelet with my mom and dad's telephone number on it. 

I'm laying on the floor of my living room, curled up in a ball. Terrified. 

I look up to the clock to see what time it is. 9:08. This started at 8:56. 

Then my eyes fell on it—the glass pumpkin jar, filled with my fall favorite—candy corn. I remember yelping out in happiness; pure sugar. Something I know for sure will raise my blood sugar. 

I remember buying the bag, over 2 weeks ago, at Wal-Mart with my mom. She scolded me, and told me I shouldn't eat them. But the $2.25 bag of Brach's candy corn ended up saving my life. 

I shoved 42 pieces of candy corn into my mouth and chewed them as fast as I could. I wanted that sugar to coat the inside of my body and raise my blood sugar as high as possible. I didn't care how high, I just didn't want to die. 

While still chewing, I made it into my bedroom, and fell face first into my pillows.

I texted my mom. 

"Blood sugar went super low to 31 but I am ok. Ate a lot of food, just wanted you to know."

I can feel my vision coming back. My thoughts stop racing. My heart isn't pounding anymore, and I'm no longer having head tics. 

Mom tells me to test my blood sugar again; 136. Fifteen minutes later, 167. 

I feel so much better. Everything happened so quickly. One of the most terrifying moments of my life. The sheer desperation of eating to live, and the fear of being alone combined, wore me out. I cried from relief, and a little embarrassment. 

Mom and I made plans via text messaging to recheck my blood sugar at midnight. 

It's amazing how something so insignificant, like candy corn, can be such a beacon of hope in a moment of desperation. 

That small, pumpkin-shaped glass jar filled of candy corns saved my life. And maybe the Gala apple and Jif peanut butter! 

This Cinderella made it home before midnight, and lived to tell the story.