When Meghan Miller wakes up every day, it’s with excitement and joy as if it’s Christmas morning.
Her best gift ever – her first-born child, Natalie – arrived in July at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital, and the popular TV news anchor and reporter has been experiencing a new level of love ever since.
“Every day is just a new adventure with her,” Miller says. “Everything’s more fun. Everything is just different out there, because we’re not seeing it anymore through the eyes of being an adult. We’re seeing it through the eyes of a child now. It’s just magical. Parenthood is absolutely magical.”
WBTW viewers went through the pregnancy journey with Miller, offering tremendous support and encouragement that meant the world to her and helped her push through on rough days – especially being nine months pregnant in the sweltering summer heat.
Behind the TV lens, the always calm and collected TV journalist experienced the range of emotions of a typical first-time mom, but she put her trust in the team at Tidelands Health to provide the best care and support throughout her pregnancy and delivery. Through the years, Miller has regularly seen a family medicine provider and other specialists, so it was a natural decision to give birth at Tidelands Health.
“I understood that I’m going to get great care at Tidelands Health, and that just made the process so much easier for me,” Miller says. “And I felt that ease and I felt that calm the moment we walked in Tidelands Waccamaw to have Natalie. I think that’s part of the reason why my birthing experience was so good is because I could just concentrate on having Natalie, making sure she gets through a healthy delivery and know that if anything happens to go wrong, she’s going to get good quality care.
“And as a mother-to-be and as a mother now, that’s one of the most important things for me.”
‘It really solidified it’
Dr. Lisa Maselli, an OB-GYN who has practiced for 22 years in the area, confirmed the pregnancy for Miller and calculated her due date. It’s always a special moment for a growing family.
“Everyone is so excited,” Dr. Maselli says. “It’s so fun to see the ultrasound, see the baby for the first time, see the heartbeat. When you see the heartbeat, it makes it so real. It really solidifies it.”
Miller had a healthy pregnancy and continued her role at WBTW through most of the nine months. She found support and knowledge through the Centering Pregnancy Program, which provides specialized support in a group setting of women all due at roughly the same time. The women connect over shared experiences that only they can relate to. Even to this day, Miller and those in her centering group share photos of their little ones through a group text.
“She did amazingly well. She had a great pregnancy,” Dr. Maselli says. “Her pregnancy was very normal, very uncomplicated.”
But Miller grew increasingly uncomfortable as she approached full term during the sweltering summer heat.
“As she got closer to her due date, it was getting harder for her to work,” Dr. Maselli says. “Of course, her schedule is very demanding. Her work is very demanding. She adjusted as best she could.”
After talking it over with Dr. Maselli, Miller decided to schedule a time to induce labor. The original date was bumped a day, but Miller says that was meant to be in the end.
“It felt really right in my heart,” Miller says. “I knew this is when I was supposed to have my baby. Everything is on God’s time. And this child certainly is working on God’s time.”
‘Closest I will ever be to heaven on earth’
As she rode to Tidelands Waccamaw in the early morning of July 21, Miller – the dedicated journalist she is – pitched in on a breaking news story. By the time she arrived at the Murrells Inlet hospital at 5:30 a.m., the emotions that come as you are about to give birth started to build. But the energy, positivity and encouragement she received from the hospital security guard, registration professional and others helped ease those often-overwhelming emotions.
“When we walked in the day that we were going to give birth to Natalie, just from the moment we stepped in the hospital, it just felt right,” she says. “It felt like home. We just felt that really good energy, and that helped alleviate a lot of the anxiety of what I was about to put my body through.”
That level of positive energy and professionalism continued as the care team got her settled in for delivery and started her IV. The kindness of the first nurse to care for Miller made all the difference, she says.
“She was just – I’ll never forget her because she was just so positive,” Miller says as she started to tear up recounting the memory. “Just that little, tiny extra moment of care, that little, tiny extra TLC just meant the world to me.
“You’re a complete stranger to them. You’re just like every other patient that rolls through Tidelands Health. But I knew that I was in good hands by that one, very first nurse that I interacted with.”
With her husband and the care team cheering her on, Miller pushed for about 40 minutes. Little Natalie arrived at 12:32 p.m.
“We delivered her while watching the noon news – ironically enough,” Miller says. “But it was just a good experience. We were laughing and we were giggling and we were watching the noon newscast while I was giving birth. And I couldn’t have asked for a better environment to be in.”
Seeing Natalie for the first was simply the “best moment of my life,” Miller says.
“It was just the closest I will ever be to heaven on earth. It was truly seeing God’s work in a miracle happening right in front of me. It was a moment I will never, ever forget,” she says, reaching for a tissue to wipe tears from in her eyes.
“The moment that I heard her first breath and she started crying and everybody was clapping and cheering, like I just felt complete.”
Nearly four months later, little Natalie is thriving – discovering something new every day as her loving parents revel in their new roles as Mom and Dad. Miller is back at work, coming into viewers’ homes every evening on the TV screen to deliver the news. She’s even added another newscast at 4 p.m. weekdays to her duties.
As she reflects on her pregnancy journey and delivery, the anchor known for her kindness and positivity is grateful for all those who supported her along the way, including WBTW leaders, the viewers and her social media followers. They flooded her with words of support and heartfelt gifts including blankets, a crocheted bonnet and knit prayer shawls.
“Those little acts of kindness just made the bad days better and the good days so much sweeter,” Miller says. “It made it much easier for me to kind of go through this process because it was scary going through something so private, so publicly, and I felt very vulnerable. That little extra support of theirs, it just meant the world.”
She’s also grateful to Dr. Maselli and the entire care team – especially the many nurses who provided care and support. Because Natalie had a low blood sugar level, she and Miller stayed at Tidelands Waccamaw for a few days. That gave Miller a behind-the-scenes look at what nurses encounter every day – and made her appreciate them even more. She saw firsthand the amount of work each nurse juggled and the sacrifices working long shifts and extra shifts during a busy time on the labor-and-delivery unit to make sure every mom and baby received compassionate, high-quality care.
“Our local nurses have gone through so much during COVID, they’ve been beaten down. They are resilient,” Miller says. “As a journalist, you talk about it, but as a patient, you see it. I wish everyone could see what I saw during my short three- or four-day stay at Tidelands Health.
“I wish everybody could see what these nurses do. At the end of the day, people need to see what kind of work is being done behind hospital walls. It’s almost emotionally overwhelming to see what these nurses go through on a daily basis and then to take into account, I’m just one person. If they’re showing that same level of care to everyone else and to moms who maybe have a sick baby or are not doing well postpartum themselves, I can only imagine that that care was times a million. And you know what the thing is? They did it with a smile on their face.”
For now, Miller and her husband are soaking up every moment with Natalie.
“Motherhood? Absolutely fantastic,” she says. “Everything just has new meaning.”