Finding Balance: Surviving Guillain-Barre neurological disorder while pregnant Pt. 1

The week that changed my life forever. Posts from Meggy Shantz's survivor's blog.

  • Health   Sun, Jan 12th, 2020   Meggy Shantz
November 2018 -Shortly after being hit by a rare neurological disorder while pregnant, Meggy Shantz enjoys a hospital visit from her daughter.

November 2018 -Shortly after being hit by a rare neurological disorder while pregnant, Meggy Shantz enjoys a hospital visit from her daughter.


Let me start by telling you about a great day – September 20th, 2018. I was at work, and it was lunch – I was currently a Grade 4/5 teacher, teaching in a Long-Term Occasional position. I got a call from the school board offering me a job as a full-time permanent contract teacher – I was ecstatic, as this is what I had been working towards for about 5 years.

I left work that day, picked my 2-year-old daughter up from daycare, and headed home. The evening continued as usual, but once my daughter was in bed, I decided that it was time to head to the store and get a pregnancy test. Late that evening, my husband and I were excited to find out that we’d be welcoming baby #2 in May 2019!

Life was good! Everything was going according to my “plan” – my career was taking off and our family was growing. What could possibly get in my way now? If only I knew what life had in store for me exactly one month after this exciting day…


Fast forward one month later, and things started to get weird.

I came home from work Friday afternoon (Oct. 19th), and was happy to have finished my first week as a permanent teacher. However, all day my coffee and water were leaving a metallic taste in my mouth, so naturally I googled how that could be related to pregnancy. Turns out it’s pretty common during the first trimester, so I didn’t think much of it. Saturday morning, I couldn’t keep anything down and did not feel like eating much. Morning sickness? Probably. I didn’t really have it with my first pregnancy, but once again, didn’t think much of it. I was not feeling well at all, but had a baby shower to go to that afternoon, so I figured getting out of the house would be a good distraction.

I ended up driving my mother-in-law, sister-in-laws and daughter there, which ended up being the last time I drove. My mother-in-law could tell I wasn’t feeling well, so she offered to keep my daughter, Kenzie, overnight. I had no idea that the sleepover would end up lasting for over a year.

Sunday morning I woke up, and almost fell over. I was dizzy and constantly tripping over my own feet. My husband, Cody, and I decided it would be a good idea to head to the hospital, especially due to the pregnancy. One Emerg visit later, a few prescriptions for strep throat and nausea, and we were back home so I could get some rest. By Sunday evening, I was getting worse, so I decided to call in sick to work. Cody thought it would be good to stay home too, and my mother-in-law graciously offered to keep Kenzie for another night.

I don’t remember much about Monday. I know I was uncomfortable, barely sleeping, and just moving back and forth between the bed, couch, and bathroom. Tuesday morning, we headed back to Emerg. Not much was said, other than I should stay on my meds and try to get as much fluids into me as possible. Both Cody and I were getting frustrated because I was getting sicker and could not get anything into my system. We didn’t realize that at this point I was already losing my ability to swallow.

By Wednesday night, things went from bad to worse. My mom came over to help out and we decided we better head to the hospital again. I could not get myself dressed to leave because I could barely lift my arms.

Cody and my mom helped me down the stairs and out of the house. This was our first home together. This was where we brought Kenzie home to, a home that held so many firsts for us. Cody lifted me into our truck, and I never returned to that house again.

Off to the hospital we go for the third time. This time I needed a wheelchair to get into Emerg and was barely being able to sit up in the wheelchair by the time I was taken to a bed.

Even though I was at a different hospital this time, I had the same ER doctor that I had during one of my previous visits. This worked in my favour, since he could tell right away how much worse I had gotten in a matter of days. I was admitted to the clinical teaching unit the next day.

That Thursday was a blur for me. No one knew what was wrong with me, and I honestly think the pregnancy threw them off. I felt like I was on an episode of “House”. The doctors ordered multiple tests for me, and luckily my pregnancy wasn’t negatively affected by any of them. That was a tough conversation Cody and I had to have. We obviously didn’t want to risk losing the baby, but we had Kenzie to think about too, and she needed her mommy. I’m thankful everyday that I was able to be properly diagnosed, while at the same time keeping my baby healthy (she’s currently having an afternoon snooze while cutting more teeth!)

Next week: Diagnosed with a rare and paralyzing neurological, life threatening disorder (The Wilmot Post is honoured to share Meggy Shantz's journey in her own words for the first time.)