From across the hallway, they see each other. After years of marriage and four pregnancies, they can still call each other their best friend.
Mrs. Jolynda McGrath and Mr. Alan McGrath, both teachers, reflect on their life events that led them here.
“If you know the both of us or have had both of us as teachers you should have noticed that we have drastically different personalities,” Mr. McGrath said. “We tend to even each other out.”
They met while teaching at Spring High School. Mrs. McGrath was working with an administrator and Mr. McGrath was a soccer coach. Mr. McGrath requested her as a sub and left his phone number. Mrs. McGrath left her number in response. That Sunday, he invited her to his Super Bowl party. It was there that their love story began.
“I left shortly after and called my best friend to tell her I was on my way over,” Mrs. McGrath said. “I told her ‘I guarantee you we will be engaged in a year.’” “He missed it by about 2 months.”
After getting married, they had two daughters and started working here. While here, students like Colin Jones and Lauren Ferro both said that Mr. and Mrs. McGrath have impacted their life for the better.
“Alan is everything you need in a friend,” coach John Griffith said. “He would do anything he could do to help you.”
Mr. McGrath teaches Economics, Psychology, AP Psychology, and Sociology. Mrs. McGrath teaches BEAR TV. She currently has students competing for state in film.
“She inspires me to think outside the box and encourages others to be passionate about what they do,” sophomore Lauren Ferro said. “Her strong positive attitude makes me smile even on my darkest day.”
This year, Mrs. McGrath was a surrogate for the second time. It was for a couple who had done 11 rounds of IVF. Eight resulted in pregnancy, but they miscarried all. Most of their miscarriages were late ones, her last one being twins at 16 weeks.
“We had the ability to help a family that desperately wanted to have a child and tried over and over again, each one ending in miscarriage,” Mr. McGrath said. “We had a miscarriage early in our marriage. The loss was difficult. We were able to get pregnant again within a year and everything went incredibly well. I can’t imagine wanting to start a family and experiencing miscarriage after miscarriage. “
The first surrogacy was problem free. Mr. McGrath even got to hand the child to the couple. The second surrogacy had some complications. Once they got the baby out, Mrs. McGrath turned to someone and said, “I think I’m going to be sick” and threw up.
“They cleared the room of everyone and put Coach in a waiting room while they attempted to get me stable,” Mrs. McGrath said. “He sat for about 45 minutes I think, and they came to get him and told him they had to take me back into surgery to take out my uterus because they couldn’t control my bleeding or get my blood pressure out of the 20’s.”
She was suffering from AFE, Amniotic Fluid Embolism. AFE is often fatal and is characterized by respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. She was her OB’s first patient with AFE. They put in port and stitched her up because removing her uterus would result in too much blood loss. The human body holds 6 liters of blood, and she lost 4.5.
“My first visitors in ICU were actually Dr. Rees and Mrs. Hendrix, which really meant a lot to me,” Mrs. McGrath said. “My Bear TV kids came as a group but weren’t allowed to see me, which is a good thing.”
She still has no memory of Thurs., Nov. 1,the day she delivered, or Fri., Nov. 2, the next day. Once she was out of the ICU, she got to go home to her husband and two daughters.
“Almost dying brings a whole new outlook on life,” Mrs. McGrath said. “ Most of all, I realized how loved I was and what a blessing my community and my family are to me! I don’t take things for granted or try not to at least.”