Thursday, December 13, 2012

Even Superman's Gotta Go

Thought I'd share this picture with you taken in Austin at a nature center as your afternoon entertainment. We're all human...even Superman's gotta go.




Thursday, November 29, 2012

His Heart Pursuing Mine

In the midst of all of the Thanksgiving feasts, Black Friday ads, and Christmas parades, I feel like I've been informed everyday of someone either dying or someone's cancer may have returned or someone's divorce is final or someone's child is very ill or someone is struggling with scary memories from their past.

My intention is not to be Debbie Downer...but this is real life.

I was just feeding sweet Baby Blair in her warm, cozy nursery. I couldn't help but think about what her life will look like ahead of her. As much as I want to shelter her from the storms, I can't. I'll do my best to raise her in a safe and loving environment, try to guide her, teach her about Jesus...but I don't know what her life will look like.

My mom couldn't protect me from diabetes, from heartache, from struggles very, very few people even know about. I'm sure that when she was rocking me in my childhood nursery, she wanted to protect me from this world, too.

But you know what calms my anxious heart? And I'm not just using that phrase flippantly. Seriously, it is what I cling to constantly. That the very same Jesus that has sought me out, protected me, and fiercely pursued my heart takes care of my children, my family, my friends, all of us.

Never have a known a deeper, purer, more steadfast, unchanging and beautiful love than His. And His love, though intimate and personal, isn't only for me. He will pursue Blair and Grant the same way. He seeks out the brokenhearted. He is pursuing the man who cheated on his wife. He is tightly squeezing the mom who is fearful her cancer has returned. He is knocking on the heart of the high school boy who is questioning His very existence.

And that puts me at peace.

My worrying is useless because the very same God who has made my life into a beautiful story desires to do that for every one of us. Doesn't mean it's without heartache, desperation, and struggles. But it does mean that we have nothing to fear since the enormous Creator will do whatever it takes to grab onto our heart and loves us like nothing and no one in this world can.

"Then Jesus told them this parable: Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'" - Luke 15:3-6

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Blair's Birth Story (Part 2 of 2)


(Part 2 of 2)

When people ask your daddy “how was labor?”, he typically responds…”INTENSE.” The time period he is referring to is from between 12:45 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

After Dr. Lamar broke my water, the contractions immediately intensified. There was no longer a buffer for pain, so it was much more uncomfortable. I remember your Mimi and Papa coming in somewhere around 1 p.m. That is when I had to start breathing through the contractions. I sat on a big purple birthing ball that we brought from home and rocked back and forth for comfort. For a few minutes, Erin sat behind me and tickled my back and head to help distract me. Occasionally, I would lean over the bed and move my hips from side to side through contractions. Daddy would squeeze my hips and put pressure on my tailbone to make me more comfortable.

At some point, Wendy and Erin suggested that I get into the shower in hopes that the warm water would relax me. Sounded great…and into the shower I went, still sitting on the birthing ball. (It became my closest friend that day.) Daddy sat behind me, talking to me in between contractions. I was still talking and laughing between contractions with him. And still somewhat aware of the fact that I was naked, in a shower, on a ball, in front of several people. That all changed.

What you have to understand is that somewhere in the shower, I lost complete recollection of time. And complete recollection of modesty. Your brain shuts down and all you can do is cope to get through one contraction at a time. Easier said than done.

Another thing worth mentioning is that the pitocin running on the pump through my IV was at its maximum level, leading me to contract every 1.5-2 minutes with about 30-45 seconds of down time between contractions…resulting in intensity. Someone who is in labor on her own normally contracts (less painfully) about every 3-5 minutes. My uterus was on overdrive.

Somewhere around 3 p.m., I made my way out of the shower for another check and an attempt to get your heart rate recorded. It’s kind of a blur. I’m pretty sure I was dilated to about 7 cm. In retrospect, that’s great. In the midst of the pain, I was devasted. Just a 7, I thought?! I couldn’t take much more of this. (*Correction: After looking back on records, I was actually only dilated to 6cm. Wishful thinking.)

I made a beeline back to the shower and my best friend, the birthing ball. Your daddy sat behind me on the bench with the shower wand in his hand, spraying my back. He was awesome. Encouraging when appropriate, but always a steadfast presence. Just having him in the room made me at ease. Wendy stood next to the shower, talking to me and encouraging me. Erin was the gopher, bringing ice and updating people with texts and phone calls.

And let me tell you where Jesus was.

My friend Sherril encouraged me to purposely look for Jesus while I was in labor. Since He is always with us, never leaves us, never forsakes us, He’d definitely be there in the midst of your birth. After spending time praying and thinking about this entire experience, Jesus very clearly revealed Himself to me. He, with His outstretched arms, had a hand on Daddy’s shoulder and a hand on Wendy’s shoulder. He would lean over and whisper in their ears. And right after they would hear Him, they would talk to me. And you know what? It was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. “Just make it through this contraction,” Wendy said. “You are doing great,” Daddy said.

One time, Wendy said, “You are living life to the fullest.” I know this is not a typical thing she says to her clients in labor because she told me so. How did she know that I needed to be reminded that I was living life at that exact moment? That I was fulfilling a dream, crossing something off of my bucket list? She knew because she too loves Jesus and because she had her heart and ears open to Him. Because she loves Him, she has the same Holy Spirit that I do and He told her to tell me that because He knew I needed to hear it at that exact moment.

(In some special way, Jesus also made Himself evident to your big brother Grant (2 years and 4 months old). Two weeks after you were born, I was sitting on the bed, feeding you and asked Grant to come sit next to me. I asked him what he wanted to talk about. Completely unprompted, he said, “Um, let’s talk about Jesus.” I said okay…what about him? Where IS Jesus, I asked? “At the hospital. When I was there with Grandad.” (Your brother had never heard me mention this. The day you were born, he spent most of the day with Grandad and Noni, with some of the afternoon at the hospital.) “He’s really tall. With lots of hair,” he said. So in whatever way He chose, Jesus also comforted Grant on your birthday, too.)

One day soon, we’ll talk about how beautiful, comforting, and life changing hearing Jesus’ voice is. He loves you and leads you just like he does me, Daddy, Wendy, Erin, and Sherril.

And the next hour or two are even more of a blur. With contractions coming hard and fast every 1.5-2 minutes, my goal was to just survive until you were born. Our bodies are amazing things. We are designed to know exactly what to do to give birth. Every woman comes up with some rhythm or pattern to help them cope through contractions. Mine was groaning. I would make an “O” sound and moan in short and long bursts through the contractions. Daddy said I kind of sounded like I was singing. I think I probably sounded more like a cow or an animal in heat. From what I remember, it was loud and awkward sounding. But it worked.

During this time period, I remember a few things really specifically.
A.             I only said three curse words. If you ever experience natural childbirth, you will understand the pride I have in keeping my words appropriate. (*Another correction: I did only technically say three curse words. After this blog post, I was informed by those in the room that I repeated those same three curse words numerous times. Again, wishful thinking.)
B.             I thought my uterus was going to explode. The intensity and strength of contractions was unlike anything I have ever, ever experienced before. IT HURT.
C.             I never, ever asked for an epidural. Not because I didn’t want one…but because I was certain I would be dead long before they arrived to ease my pain. And I WASN’T going to tarnish my story with asking for an epidural if I wouldn’t live to even experience pain relief.
D.             I repeated numerous times, “I can’t do it anymore. I can’t take it anymore.” Well, here’s the deal. Deep down inside, I knew I could continue on. But I also knew that the phrase “I can’t do it anymore” is indicative of being close to completely dilated, so my altered reasoning mind thought if I kept repeating the phrase, then surely I was almost done.
E.             I felt sorry for the next-door neighbor. One of the other things my body naturally did to help cope with the pain was bang my head into the shower wall, in rhythm with the moans, through each contraction for the last 30 minutes of labor. When I realized that smashing my forehead into ceramic tile over and over again was “soothing,” I thought to myself, “Wow, this must really hurt.”  I did find out later that day from my friend and co-worker Tessa who was taking care of the patient next door that at one point, the patient said, “So, is that what you sound like without an epidural? If so, I want one.” Apparently, we made an impression on her.
F.            I also kept asking, “How will I know how to push?” I was quite fixated on this. I felt pressure from your head starting at about 8cm (especially since you were OP). Wendy kept saying, “You’ll just know.” Well, it’s true. At the end of a long, painful moan, without even trying, I started to bear down and push. In the shower.

This leads us to why a lot of L&D nurses get a little nervous when their patient labors in the shower towards the end. You don’t want to catch a baby there. Once I had the urge to push, everyone told me I needed to head for the bed. Stacy had checked me about 15 minutes before and said I was 9cm dilated. (It was the first time she had ever done a cervical exam on someone standing up, in the shower. What a friend.)

I had a brief moment of clarity as I arose from the birthing ball and began to make my way out into the room to the bed. This is my place of employment. And I’m completely naked. And there are 9 people in the room. I panicked. All I remember is Dr. Lamar’s calming voice coming from somewhere in the room. “I will get you a sheet. You’ll be okay.” That really put me at ease. Not only was my doctor in the room, ready to deliver you, I also wasn’t going to be completely exposed to anyone and everyone I sit next to and each lunch with at work.

I slowly made it into the bed in between contractions. At first, they had me lying on my back. That was so unbelievably painful. I pushed through one or two contractions that way. Daddy said I was gripping the bed rails so tight and pulling them inward to my chest that he was sure I was about to break them. Honestly, I bet I would have if I pushed a few more times that way. And somewhere in the there, Dr. Lamar checked me and said that you were OP. (We didn’t know this until now.) “It can’t be OP!” I cried…loudly. I knew how tough OP deliveries could be. He said it’d be okay and that hopefully the baby would rotate while I was pushing. Dr. Lamar then suggested I tried pushing on my side. I rolled to the left and pushed through one contraction. Again, unbearably uncomfortable. At this point, Wendy suggested that I get onto my hands and knees and try pushing that way. A couple of things about that: We are so fearfully and wonderfully made. It is our body’s natural way to help rotate an OP baby and take the pressure of the back of the baby’s head off of the mom’s tailbone when you are on your hands and knees. So obviously, this became the most comfortable and chosen position to push. HOWEVER, it had been a running joke amongst the L&D nurses and OB-GYNs that I would deliver that way. Not because it’s not great and comfortable and natural, but because it looks a little awkward to the outsider. Yet HOWEVER, at this point, I did not care how awkward it looked…I wanted you OUT.

So it was, on my hands and knees I started pushing. I remember Stacy trying to get your heart tones and then checking my pulse at the same time. I knew she was having a hard time distinguishing between your heartbeat and mine and that yours may be dangerously low. And I got very nervous. In 1.5 seconds, I came to a quick conclusion that I was about to be rolled out of the room for an emergency c-section. As long as you were healthy, I didn’t care. “The baby is down!” I cried out. Stacy and Dr. Lamar assured me everything was fine…you were fine. I felt immediate relief. And I continued to push. Once my mind wrapped around the fact that I was pushing, I got really nervous again. I pushed almost 2 hours with Grant. It was horrific. I was certain that I literally would not survive 2 hours of pushing again.

Enter Jesus. Without me saying ANYTHING, Wendy leans over into my ear and says, “This does not have to be the same as last time. You are almost there. This is different.” Pretty amazing, huh? Yet again, exactly what I needed to hear to continue on.

Somewhere in the midst of a push, I felt something crack. It happened to be your right collarbone. (But I’m still not certain it wasn’t my tailbone, too.) And after that crack, I felt you start making your way out.

There is something called “The Ring of Fire” in delivery when a baby’s head is crowning and about to exit. Let me tell you…I know where it got its name. IT BURNS. At that point, I had this overwhelming desire to push but Wendy convinced me to pant through a contraction or two so I wouldn’t tear as badly. Then, I heard someone say how much hair you had. And I heard the excitement in your daddy’s voice as he said that you were almost here. I had to start pushing again. And after 10 minutes total of pushing, out you came.

I thought I heard Dr. Lamar say the word “she” or “her” but I wasn’t sure. And honestly, I don’t know who even announced that you were a girl. I heard afterwards that Dr. Lamar asked Daddy, “Do you want to tell her?” and Daddy said he wasn’t sure himself of your gender and was really afraid he was going to say the wrong one. At some point, it sunk in that you were a GIRL. I wasn’t completely shocked, but I couldn’t believe it. I HAD A GIRL!

I immediately felt relief after you were out. I rolled back over and they handed you to me. You were BEAUTIFUL! You had so much dark, thick hair. I saw what everyone was talking about! And you were so long! (21.5” and 8lb 3oz). Your head was perfectly round and you were so alert! I held you for a few minutes, cried, laughed, hugged and kissed Daddy, and handed you to the nursery nurses.

Blair Elisabeth, after you were born, I was the happiest, most fulfilled person on the planet. You were here. You were healthy. You were a girl. I delivered naturally. If I could do that, then I could do ANYTHING!

Your big brother Grant got to meet you first. He was enamored and gave you a giant kiss right on the mouth. He ran out into the waiting room and told all of your grandparents that you were a girl. Everyone was so excited…especially your grandmas! The family, Wendy, and Erin all loved on you. All of my work friends came and saw you. Sarah, Katie, Alli, John, James, David & Bery all came to see you. We texted friends and family and put a picture of you up on Facebook. You breastfed beautifully about an hour after you were born. You, my dear, were quite a hit! And rightfully so.

There are a few days I look back on in my life with absolute thankfulness, gratitude, and joy. The day I believed in Jesus and asked Him to be my Savior, the day I married your Daddy, the day your brother was born, the day I went to something called Discovery, and October 30, 2012…the day you were born. I am beyond grateful and so honored that Jesus picked me to experience your birth and to be your Mommy. Other than knowing Him, there is nothing sweeter.

I love you, sweet Baby Blair. I will always cherish you and will never forget how precious of a gift you are. Thank you for being my daughter.

Love,
Mom

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Blair's Birth Story


(Part 1 of 2)
Here's something I'm thankful for this year...

Blair’s Birth Story

Written by: Meagan Renee Hoover (Mommy to you)


Sweet Baby Blair –

I can’t believe I have a precious baby girl to hold in my arms. I get to dress you in pink, with headbands and bows and ruffles…you made one of my sweetest dreams come true when you were born at 5:00 p.m. on October 30, 2012. Let me tell you about your birthday.

There were many times I thought you were about to make your grand entrance. When I was 36 weeks pregnant with you, I started contracting late one night, for several hours, every 3-7 minutes apart. I had to rock on my hands and knees, back and forth, just to get comfortable. And your Daddy slept through all of it. But, you decided to stay nice and cozy inside and my contractions stopped.

Then again at 38 weeks…for several nights in a row…I lost a lot of sleep having contractions. It made getting up to go to work kind of difficult. Especially when I was getting up to go take care of other pregnant mommies who were having their babies long before their due date!

And the big fake out came on Friday night, October 26. I started contracting at 5 p.m. that afternoon. We ate dinner. Your daddy and big brother Grant went to a football game. The contractions came closer together, started getting stronger. I even took a shower to see if they would slow down. And they didn’t. I made sure our bags were packed. I called our doula Wendy to give her a heads up since she had to drive in an hour to get to our house. I kept contracting every 3-8 minutes apart…until 4:30 a.m. That is when I called into work (since the 27th was supposed to be my last day before maternity leave) and told the girls that they would probably see me that Saturday in labor. Then, I finally fell asleep. And the contractions stopped. And you didn’t come. I was so disappointed!

At this point, I started wondering if you were a girl. You see, we didn’t find out if you were a boy or girl. Your daddy and I made it through at least 5 sonograms without anyone telling us whether you were Blair Elisabeth or Ethan Garrett. So, since you kept teasing me and being indecisive about making your grand entrance, I thought, “Hmm…this is a girly thing to do. We’re pretty good about teasing and manipulating…maybe this baby is a girl.” Little did I know…

So, the morning of Saturday, October 27, I called Wendy to tell her how I wasn’t in labor. I told her about my contraction pattern, the timing of contractions, my back pain, and how the contractions would double or triple at times, then space out. We both agreed that we thought you were what’s called “OP” or occiput posterior position…meaning face up…and that my body was trying to start labor but you just weren’t in the right position to get going. So what my contractions were doing was trying to rotate you face down. Wendy suggested I go “curb walking” to try and jiggle you face down into my pelvis so we could get the show on the road.

So curb walking it was. For over a mile, I would walk with one foot on the curb and one on the road, up and down Berkeley, Clarinda, Speedway, and Avondale. Your daddy pushed the stroller with Grant in it and did his best not to laugh at me. I probably looked a little crazy. But I didn’t care. I wanted to meet you…and be able to breathe again.

During our walk, I was so proud of myself for not falling off of the curb and hurting myself. And then about 100 yards from our house, as I was telling your daddy while looking at a less-than-optimally maintained house that I hoped the new owners would clean up, I stepped into a hole in the sidewalk made by a big oak tree, heard my left ankle pop, and almost fell to the ground in pain. Like a doofus, I sprained my ankle. I started sobbing because A. it hurt so badly, B. I was embarrassed, and C.12 hours before, I was certain I would have a baby by then and not be walking around the neighborhood like a weirdo halfway up the curb. Your daddy offered to go get the car and drive me home, but because of my pride, I refused and hobbled and cried the remaining 100 yards to our house. When we got to the back porch, we took off my shoe and my ankle was black and blue and size of a softball. And you apparently did not feel sorry for me because my contractions had completely stopped and I had no hope of going into labor before my set induction date of October 30 (40.0 weeks).

In hindsight, it was all part of Jesus’ plan for you to not make your arrival yet because Dr. Lamar (my longtime OB-GYN) was out of town and Wendy was in the pre-stages of a highly contagious and vicious 24 hour stomach bug. The absence of either one of them would have completely changed the story of your birth. So, as downcast, tired, and sore I was…I guess He knew what He was doing.

We’ll fast forward a little. The night before your induction, we went to the Young Life banquet where we had dinner with friends and heard about how high school kids are learning about Jesus. Grant spent the night with Derik, Sarah, and Elliot Schnieder. Your daddy and I were packed and ready to go. And then it hit me. I WAS ABOUT TO HAVE ANOTHER BABY. I had a tried and true panic attack. You see, my intention was to have you “naturally.” Meaning, without an epidural or pain medication. And I knew that was going to be really hard to do with an induction. I felt like my dreams of a natural delivery, laboring at home with your daddy and the doula, the middle of the night water breaking…it was all shattered. (Plus, I was hormonal.) I cried, I had a hard time breathing, I threw up…I think your daddy thought I had officially lost my mind. And then, I remembered what Wendy told me one night on the phone…”Even before the foundations of the earth, God knew the birthday of this child.” All I needed was that simple reminder that He was in control. Not me, thank goodness.

And why did I want to have a natural delivery, you ask? Well, for several reasons.
1               As a type 1 diabetic, I have always felt a little different. Lots of doctors appointments, lab tests…even getting being pregnant is deemed “risky” for both mom and baby. I wanted to do things the “normal, natural” way.
2               I’m a labor and delivery nurse. I wanted to experience birth in the fullest extent I could, to better identify with patients.
3               I wanted to bond with your daddy on a whole new level. I was counting on him for support and guidance.
4               It’s healthy. They say that babies are more alert after delivery without pain meds.
5               I pushed for almost 2 hours with your brother. I was hoping that the ability to move around with lessen pushing time immensely.
6               I wanted to see if I had what it took…if I was tough enough to do it.
7               It was on my Bucket List. You only have so many chances to cross “Have a natural birth” off our your life’s to-do list.

On the morning of Tuesday, October 30, 2012, your daddy and I woke up at 4:30 a.m. because we had to be at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. I was so nervous. Excited, but nervous. So many unknowns…boy or girl, epidural or natural, healthy or not?

We got to the hospital, signed the paperwork, peed in the cup (me, not your daddy), put on the gown (again, me and not your daddy), IV started, and pitocin (which makes contractions start) all by 6:30 a.m. Kathy and Kayla were efficient! I was dilated to a “loose” 3, 50% effaced, and -2 station. About the same as I was in the office the day before.

Your daddy and I talked for a while. Looked around the room. He asked if it was weird to have a baby where I worked. I told him yes and no. I was definitely more comfortable being the one taking care of someone rather than someone taking care of me. But I was also so confident about the care you and I would receive. I work with some top-notch girls and had no inhibitions about us being well taken care of.

Daddy and I played cards for at least an hour or two. Poker, to be exact. I didn’t do very well. He took all of my money. I was hoping my luck would change as the day progressed.

My nurse for the day was my sweet friend Stacy. I was thrilled when I found out she was going to take care of us. Not only is she smart, experienced, and a quick thinker, she also makes me feel relaxed and at ease. A real friend.

My contractions started to pick up a little as the morning went on. Wendy arrived at the hospital mid-morning, about the same time as my best friend Erin did. I told Wendy that I wasn’t hurting much (because the plan was for her to come to the hospital when the pain picked up) but she, being the dedicated and caring doula she is, came anyways. Erin came, too. She drove in all the way from Austin just to be here when you were born. (And she, along with her husband Aaron and her mom, were the ONLY ones who knew you were a girl. And fingers-crossed, she didn’t tell me!)

Dr. Lamar came to check on us about 9:30 a.m. He kind of let me do my own thing regarding when he would break my water, how my blood sugars would be managed, how fast the pitocin would be turned up…which was great. He checked me and I hadn’t really made any cervical change. That was a bummer. He told me he’d be back around lunchtime.

Honestly, I don’t remember much about the next two hours because not a whole lot happened. Your Mimi, Papa, Noni, and Grandad all came to visit. Some of my work friends came to visit. And your daddy and I texted updates to people. But that’s about it.

Dr. Lamar came back again at about 11:45 a.m. I was dilated to 4cm and your head had come down. So, a little change. My pitocin was still being turned up but he told me that unless I wanted to have a baby on Halloween, he needed to break my water. I agreed but asked him to give me a little time without extra intervention to see if my body would start progressing. He said that was fine and that he’d be back about 12:30 to check on me.

Well, 12:30 p.m. rolled around and I wasn’t hurting any more than I had been. Go ahead and break my water, I told him. He did…and things got rolling…HARD and FAST.

Monday, June 4, 2012

20 Years Speech

This past Saturday, I had a party with some of my closest friends and family to celebrate my 20 years of living with diabetes. It was awesome. I felt so loved and blessed. Food was great, weather was gorgeous, the company was even better. That day, I felt like a stuck a steak with a flag attached to it in the ground, claiming a victory. I thought I'd share my "speech" I had waited 20 years to give.


Yesterday, I was in line to check out with the plethora of food and flowers sitting before you when it sunk in…I am buying this for MY 20 years of living with diabetes. At least I could pass off the tears as a “pregnancy” moment.

I was eight years old and sitting in my pediatrician’s office, feeling sicker than a dog, peeing all of the time, eating constantly, absolutely zero energy, and having lost 30 pounds in a little over 2 months, when he told me I had diabetes. I remember asking very bluntly if I was going to die. When they told me I wasn’t, I knew I’d be okay. I accepted the challenge without much hesitation…”IT IS WHAT IT IS.” Or so my favorite phrase goes.

Twenty years has entailed a lot. I did some calculations…
Approximately:
• 25,550 insulin shots
• 51,100 finger pricks
• 2,310 insulin pump site insertions
• And 40,000 hours of talking on the phone with insurance and medical supplies companies

But you know what else it’s brought me?
• 8 summers at the magnificent diabetic camp, Camp Sweeney…where the animals were diabetic, we sang songs like “My Blood Sugar was 59”, Condor Man delivered sugar-free gum from airplanes if we danced in the field to catch his attention, and my first kiss with my first “real” boyfriend named Chris Madsen who happened to be a full foot shorter than myself
• An occasional excuse to quit running suicides during basketball practice because I was “low”
• The best Texas Tech Rush story ever…
o When I first got my insulin pump, Nurse Ginger told me I could wear it in my bra so it wouldn’t show. Well, I’m not very gifted up to, so in order to wear my pump in one side, I had to buy a gel insert to place in the other side to even things out a bit. Flash forward to Chi Omega Rush in 2004. I am dancing front and center stage during a skit. I feel something start slipping, and no, it’s not my insulin pump. It’s the gel boob. And quickly grab it, hide it behind my back, and attempt to throw it behind the wooden train that is our backdrop…where it proceeds make a loud bang, stick on the side of the train, and slide down in front of 80 girls. Thank you, Ginger. That was a great idea. Won’t make my pump obvious at all. The fact that 80 girls now think I stuff my bra steals all of the attention.
• Being asked my a woman as she whispered with bloodshot eyes at Sam’s where I got my morphine pump because she had been looking into getting one for herself
• Having people think I’m really important with such a ginormous pager
• Falling deeper in love with my boyfriend who then became my fiancĂ© when I was highly intoxicated on my 21st birthday, as he woke me up to test my blood sugar and bring me juice since I had a night off from being “Responsible Meagan”
• A love for helping people…which led me to fundraising for children’s hospitals and eventually, to become a nurse
• The opportunity to sit in a patient’s room who became diabetic while pregnant, find out she didn’t want to take care of herself because she didn’t feel like she was “worth it”, hug her, listen to her, reassure her, and watch her start testing and writing down her blood sugars for the first time ever
• Have a mom at church come up to me because she knew I was diabetic and ask me to go talk to her 8 year old diabetic son because he started crying the night before because he felt “different”. I got to tell him that “sure, we’re a little different…but no less special than anyone else.”
• A deeper appreciate for a healthy child…and utter joy in being pregnant with a second one that a lot told me I would never have
• An intricate walk with Jesus that I would not have without the path He has placed me on. I used to be a highly anxious person…thinking I had to be a close to “perfect” as I could get in order to have Him bless me. There has been much of my 20 years as a diabetic that have been far from perfect…some because of my leniency and some because of the nature of the beast, yet he has chosen to bless me with health and healthy children.

Thank you for coming today to celebrate this victory with me. Diabetes is an integral part of who I am. It is not something I can run from or hide from, ignore or despise. It never goes away. I don’t get a day off from it. Yet, it is part of my beautiful journey. And honestly, I would have it any other way.

So, to my parents, thank you for your dedication to making the best decisions you could for me. For your countless hours of care, devotion, and money spent to give me the best life possible. You set the foundation of health for me.

To my brothers and my closest childhood friends Waverlee and Jen - thanks for not making me feel weird or that you were ever embarrassed of me. It’s not easy feeling “different” as a kid…and you made me feel normal, accepted, and wanted.

To Sherril, thank you for helping me love me as I am and teaching me how to hear Jesus.

To Erin, Alli, Sarah, Katie, Danielle, Ashley, Jennie, both Megans, and Caroline, you have helped me heal emotionally from my diabetes and really, life in general, in more ways than you can imagine.

To Ben, you have loved me, insulin pump with all of the awkward moments it brings, and all. Thank you for your encouragement, hugs, and empathy.I could not have married a more real and loving man.

To the rest of my precious friends and family here, just like the invitation said…You are my favorites. Thank you for supporting me, loving me, and being my friend. You are all so precious to me.

And, as any speech concludes, I want to give a shout out to Jesus. Your plan for me far surpasses what I could have come up with on my own. Thank you for pursuing my heart. For never giving up on me. I can hear Your voice and feel Your presence more closely than ever before.

So raise your glasses with me…
To beautiful friends and the next 20 years.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Adventures in Potty Training Boot Camp

I know I said I'd tell diabetes stories all this month, but I lied. Children tend to change our plans. So I'm blogging about potty training Grant. We started a 3 Day Potty Training Boot Camp yesterday. I've had several friends do it with complete success. The lady who wrote the book encourages you to do the boot camp at 22 months...she says it's the optimal age. Any earlier and they may not be physically or mentally ready. Any later...particularly after 2 1/2 years old, and old habits die REALLY hard. So, we tossed the diapers, put on the big boy pants, loaded up with treats and prizes, and are giving it a shot. He HATES wet underwear. I mean, the second he starts to go, he jumps up, runs to me and we haul it to the bathroom. Occasionally, he finishes in the Big Boy Potty. Usually, he doesn't, we put on clean underwear, and he goes in his pants again...which repeats the above cycle...approximately 2 minutes later. However, in 28 hours, our successes do include: peeing outside 3 times, peeing in the potty 5 times (1 was ACTUALLY PROMPTED BY GRANT HIMSELF!), one marble-sized poop in the toilet, waking up dry from his nap yesterday, only 1 overnight accident at 11:30p and waking up dry at 7a...and we'll see about naptime today. He's sleeping...which is why I can blog for a second. I'm going to say the good overshadows the 35+ pairs of underwear we've gone through since started yesterday morning. The book says that most kids take until the end of the 3rd day to actually put everything together, realize that going to the potty is good, recognize when they have to go, and tell you in their own way. Once that happens, they get it. It's all about praise, recognition, rewarding...you never scold when the have an accident. You just encourage when they do ANYTHING at all. Keeping the fingers crossed that we're doing the happy dance by Sunday morning. (And you can think about Ben. He's got the potty duty tomorrow since I have to work.) I'm really proud of my little guy. Poor kid though. Part of this simply boils down to a battle of the wills. I know he's ready to be potty trained. He can stop a stream when he starts in his pants and then continue it on the potty. One of the biggest issues at hand is that his world is changing. No more wetting pants while playing because it's easy. No more laying down to be changed. Growing up is tough. Last night, after his accident and once he was changed and in clean clothes and sheets, he kept screaming "OFF!" and tugging at his underwear. They are changing his little world. He went down for a nap an hour early today...just because I think he's emotionally and physically exhausted. I'm going to finish blogging and pray for my little guy. Even potty training isn't too small of a prayer request. Jesus gets it. I think I'll pray for my sanity, too. Both Grant and Jesus know I need it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wardrobe Malfunction

On May 26th of this month, I will be celebrating my 20th anniversary of living with Type I Diabetes. I see it only fitting to share some of my stories with you of living with diabetes. This one happens to be quite entertaining and embarrassing.

In between my sophomore and junior year of college, I got my first insulin pump. What is it, you ask? It's an ingenious $4,000 piece of equipment that holds insulin and sends it into my body through a tube via a port that I insert every 3 days. Kind of like an IV, only not into a vein. Super cool. Looks like I'm sporting a 1990's pager on my back pocket. Come on people, give me more credit than that. I have an iphone, ok?

When I first got my pump, I was a little insecure about wearing it. I didn't want to have to explain what is was to the entire world. (Now, I LOVE talking about it!) So, the nice little lady who came to our house to get me set up on the pump told me that some women wore their pump inside of their bra. Sounds like a great idea. Except for the fact that I wasn't sure where I was going to hide it. You see, large bosommed I am not. Except when I'm breastfeeding...which I was not as a junior in college.

However, it seemed like it was worth a shot, so I headed out to the local Victoria's Secret where I knew I could find some thickly padded braziers to attempt to hide my new addition in. I found a bra...one cup size too big...that I could hide the pump under one of the girls in. She must of looked lop-sided, you say? Yes, I did. So to solve that problem, I bought half-cup gel inserts to put into the other side of the bra to even things out a bit.

Talk about some quick enhancement. Not even too lumpy looking. I was impressed with my find.

So I headed back to college at Texas Tech a few weeks early to start gearing up for Recruitment Week (aka Rush in the non-politically correct world). One of my favorite times of the year. I am a Chi Omega and was looking to pick us up some new Baby Hooters (no pun intended). The week of Rush includes skits, presentations, lots of talking, singing...but we're going to focus on one of our skits where the "Wardrobe Malfunction" occurred.

You see, I love the stage. Where I'm a SINGER, and not too shabby of an actress, but not a top-of-the-line dancer. But, in this particular skit, I am dancing front and center-stage. As we start our routine, I am confident since we've practiced it 5,000 times. I know the words (because it's sort of a song-and-dance routine). I know the steps. Not too complicated. I look cute. All is good. So I start. And remember, I have my fantastic little pump stuffed inside of my bra as to not make it obvious.

We're sort of jogging in place at the start of the dance. Energetic and cute-like. Like little school girls, which is how we were dressed. As I ever-so-cutely bounce, I feel some slippage out of one of my bra cups. Oh no, the pump! you think. No. It's the gel boob I have on the OTHER side of the bra to even the girls out that is making it's way down my shirt into the outer world. In front of 90 girls I do not know.

Quick-thinking, I grab the gel boob from under the front of my shirt, pull it out in lightening speed, and hide it behind my back. I continue to dance, for an actress never breaks up a performance. I glance around, catching the eyes of some of my fellow Chi Omegas...who show looks of concern thinking something is wrong with my insulin pump. I glance at the Rush-ees, who are oblivious to what is taking place in front of them. Until...

I decide to take a risk and toss the gel boob behind the wooden train that is our stage background for the Chi Omega Choo-Choo skit. I couldn't possibly keep it in my hand while I continued to dance. So, with all of my strength, I toss the gel boob into the air, over my right shoulder in hopes of tossing it behind the stage prop. Utter failure. In reality, what happens is that you hear a loud bang as my gel boob hits the front of the train, sticks, and slowly slides down to the ground. Mortified, I hear chuckling coming from a few in the crowd but choose to avoid eye contact with anyone. And what makes matters worse is that no one (except my Chi Os) knew that I had the insert in to even out the girls since I had a medical device in the other side of my bra. I'm sure I just looked like a flat-chested college girl who was trying to stuff her bra.

We got some laughs out of that one at the end of the day. For all I know, I could have been deemed "Boob Girl" on Greek Circle for the rest of my college career. No, I take that back...there were lots of other girls who rightfully earned that title at Texas Tech ahead of me.

So, the moral of the story? Don't stuff your bra. And don't be afraid of wearing your insulin pump for the world to see. It is part of who I am...and I'm proud of it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Updates

Oh, sweet blog...it's so good to be back. I've noticed that just like with friends who I have a lot of catching up to do with, sometimes I avoid writing because they're so much to write about. I'm trusting that you won't hold it against me, as I'm guessing I'm not the only one who functions like that.

A quick update on us:

-I'm pregnant.
-Ben started a new job.
-Grant's getting tubes in his ears.
-We're moving to Sweden.

Kidding about the move. But Sweden sounds good knowing that we're approaching summer in North Central Texas.

So yes, I'm preggers with Baby Hoov #2. Due on October 30th...making me 12 weeks along tomorrow. We're excited. Haven't been too sick with this one. Only occasionally. Just more tired and moody. And I always feel like eating Chicken Express. And call me weird or granola or whatever you'd like, but the plan is to:
A. Not find out the sex of this baby until he/she has been expelled from my uterus and
B. Have a totally natural, unmedicated childbirth.

And yes, Ben started a new job. So proud of him and thankful for this opportunity!!! He is one of two practicing attorneys at The Nix Law Firm and doing personal injury, a little bit of defense work, and a few other legal odds and ends. So if you're in need of a good attorney, give him a little ringy-ding. You don't get a more hard-working, ethical, studly and handsome (but he's taken) guy than him.

And yes, Grant is getting tubes probably next month. Poor kid. He's a breeding ground for ear infections, viruses, and any other contagious bacteria you can think of. He'll probably win the perfect attendance award in grade school though while all of the other kids are out sick building up their immune system. He's already one step ahead of the the rest ;)

And no, we're not moving to my homeland, Sweden (or as I like to claim. I am approximately l/3 Swedish.) We're still living in the same wonderful old house. Next project: adding storage so we can make room for Baby Hoov #2. Grant will be moved to the bigger bedroom in the front of the house...that is currently full of LOTS OF SH.TUFF. In all of our free time, we will attempt to rip out one of the walls in the back mud room and replace it with wooden cabinets along the top and bottom of the wall with a countertop in between. And I'd like to add in bench seating and new windows....so one of you, hurry up and get into trouble and hire Ben as your attorney so we can afford to do this project. Kidding, kidding.

I promise it won't be as long between posts. For my sake. I like blogging. I hope you like reading.

Monday, January 30, 2012

I HEART Monday afternoons

I HEART Mondays, especially around 12:30 p.m. It means that I'm off (because I always have Mondays off), that Grant is fed, he is in his room either napping or gearing up for a nap, Ben has just come home home to grab lunch on his way to play a pick-up game of b-ball, and if the weather is nice, it means that Grant, Scout and I have already been on a morning walk around the neighborhood and have played in the backyard.

And I particularly HEART this Monday afternoon because I'm sitting in my favorite spot in our house. It's on my bed, next to two corner windows that overlook our backyard. And between 11 a and 2 p.m., the sun perfectly shines down into this particular spot, creating a pocket of warmth and sunshine...reminiscent of a late spring day.

I just finished reading today's devotion in a book I HEART...Jesus Calling...Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young. If you're looking for a great, short daily devotion, I HIGHLY recommend it. Honestly, there hasn't been a day I read it that I haven't thought, "hmmm...how perfectly planned that I read that today." Probably because it's written like Jesus is talking to you about relaxing, trusting Him, and enjoying all of who He is.

As I was sitting, relaxing, and letting Jesus love on me a few minutes ago, I found myself literally leaning off the bed just at the right angle to catch the sun's rays hitting me square in the face. When I opened my eyes, I started laughing. I don't know how long I had been sitting like that, about to fall off of the bed. My face was pink...I think I may have even gotten a little sunburned. But basking in the sun felt so good!

Used to, the old Meagan wouldn't have had time to sit and enjoy a little peace, quiet, and love. I would have felt lazy...like I wasn't using my time wisely because my to-do list was not fully checked off. Nope...not any more. I've found that when I take a moment to bask in the sun...I mean Son...'s glory, it is far more productive to my soul than anything else on my to-do list.

So, if you wouldn't mind excusing me, I'm going to get back to catching some of the Son's rays. They make me feel pretty peaceful.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Ready to start again

I have never been so ready for that ball to drop in Times Square to start a new year as I was this year at 12 a.m. eastern time (we celebrate an hour early so we can go to bed). Seriously. I chopped off all of my hair on December 29th just to give me a running start. And p.s., it's really cute.

Designing Christmas cards was not my favorite holiday activity this year. Every day, I would check the mailbox and we would get the MOST PRECIOUS cards from friends and family. Like, picture-perfect, printed-professionally, even-the-three-month-old-kid-is-smiling cards. Our card consisted of three pictures - one of the three of us smiling, one of Grant holding a football and looking away from the camera, and one of Grant throwing a fit, sliding off of the chair he was supposed to sit on with the "Merry Christmas" sign he was supposed to hold laying on the ground below him. That's real life around here. I kept telling Ben I really felt like we needed to have a Bible verse on our card since we ARE celebrating Jesus' birth. He asked me which one I wanted to add to the card. We couldn't help but crack up when all I could come up with were verses from the Psalms like "Oh Lord, why have you turned your back on me? I cry out in desolation..." What I wouldn't give to see peoples faces when they opened our Christmas card to see that.

I'm halfway joking. But seriously, this year...not my favorite. Let me give you a quick synopsis of the last two months of 2011.

The first burr under my saddle is our stupid wireless internet connection. In the grand scheme of things, it's NOT a big deal. But it's the little stuff that drives you crazy the quickest. I have spent at least 12 hours on the phone with AT&T the last two months because our wireless internet will drop signals for no reason. Twenty-five phone calls, 14,000 line checks, one new modem, 16 foreigner call center technicians, four local technicians, and a $260 Web Fire bill later, we STILL have a jacked-up internet signal.

I started a new job December 13th in Labor and Delivery. Love it. I think it's right up my alley. But the stress of a new job can be tiring.

I've been nauseous for about 6 months...plus have had some weird dizziness, fatigue, and (yay) weight loss. We have a pretty lengthy family history of something called Crohn's disease so one of my other docs wanted me to get checked out. I went to a GI specialist here in Wichita Falls who wanted me to have a colonoscopy, gastric emptying study, and upper GI scope. All done during my first week at my new job. I love having to eat radioactive oatmeal on my days off...don't you?! Sparing you of the details (in this post...;) my stomach empties a tad slow and which could make me nauseous. And I had yeast growing in my esophagus. Not contagious...but has to be treated. I'm good with the diagnosis. At first they thought my diabetes could be the culprit to my stomach issues but they're pretty certain that it's not. That's good news. But I had a lot to wrestle with emotionally, particularly about my diabetes, while waiting for the results.

Oh, and the day I had my colonoscopy and upper scope done, Ben had to take Grant to the doc because he had strep. And I failed to mention that I had to miss a Christmas party with all of our best friends because I was at home "cleansing" for my colonoscopy.

And talking about emotions...have had lots of difficult events...both past and present that have reared their ugly heads this year. Necessary to address, just not very fun.

And I got the flu two days before Christmas. While we were out of town. I felt like death with a 104 degree fever. I got better by Christmas...just in time to visit both families and make it back into town to work for a couple of days.

The day after Christmas, Grant projectile-vomitted on Ben in the middle of Market Street while we were grocery shopping. Then he did it again the second I laid him down in his nice, clean bed.

Two days later, I noticed that Scout (the dog) had tapeworms. So we got her de-worming medicine and refilled her Heart Guard prescription. It was $110. Gave her the medicine when we got home at 5:30 p.m. Four hours later, she puked on our living room rug. I haven't had the heart to check and see if her tapeworms are gone. I doubt it, since she didn't even have time to digest the medicine.

And the next day, you ask? Well...our water heater started spewing hot water out of the top. The plumber pronounced it dead-on-arrival and we spent $800 for a new lunk of metal in the closet that I so desperately wanted to install a tankless water heater in. Except I found out it was going to cost about $3200. So the same day our water heater died, so did my dream of getting a new closet to store linens in.

Am I complaining? Yes. Am I okay with that? Yes. The last two months are a nice little snapshot of how I feel like the year has been. Full of trouble-shooting. Full of perseverance. Full of sickness. Yes, there have been little morsels of goodness along the way. I think God has given me those nudges through the year to help me make it through to 2012.

So, to 2011...I'm sure you're going to be a year I look back on with a love/hate relationship. Love because you made me grow. Hate because you really kind of sucked.

Here's to a new year. Thank God for new beginnings.