Raising a toddler is probably some of the most fun I have ever had, its magical and every day is an adventure but it is also the most frustrating, tiring stage I have come across yet. When I started this blog all I could think about was how I was going to keep a defenceless baby safe, not once did it occur to me to think about how I was going to manage when that tiny baby started moving, got a mind of his own and a strong will to go with it. My life is a constant risk assessment of how to keep Noah safe, if we go somewhere new it brings anxiety as I work out how I could handle situations if they arose. The goal posts have totally moved, so todays blog I will look at life as a Mummy with Epilepsy to a toddler and the problems I face and some of the ways I try and combat them.
They can move…FAST! Noah can give Usain Bolt a run for his money, I have never seen anyone move with the speed he does, its hard enough to keep up with him on the days I feel ‘normal’ so the second I feel funny he could run rings around me. That’s before I even start to think about what happens if I have a seizure or lose consciousness, my little baby who I could put down safely and would lay still and be in the same spot when I came to is now incapable of sitting still. My solution to this if at home is pop him in his cot, strap him in his pram, or close him in his room (we have a baby gate on it and there is nothing in his room that he could hurt himself on.) However if we are out it leads me to my next point…
Reins… BY this I mean I have a Lion backpack reins. When I mentioned these to my epilepsy Nurse last week he said he was going to add it to his information pack as he thought it was a great ide and hadn’t thought of them! I know this is one that splits public opinion but as Noah is growing and wanting to be more independent, walk and not be in the buggy they are my god-send. I tried a wrist strap and ended up convinced I was going to dislocate his wrists, but our Lion make me feel safe. I put them on him if we go out without the buggy, I put it around my wrist so if I do go down or lose consciousness for even a split second he is attached to me. It worries me how far he could go or what he could do in 30 seconds never mind longer, again though my epilepsy nurse maintains he thinks he will be too worried to run off. If I can I do take the buggy and strap him in by roads, but I have to accept he is growing up.
Tube: being a Londoner the tube is a blessing given I can’t drive but so many of my anxieties around my epilepsy and Noah exist because of what happened at a tube station, so before Noah could even understand what I was saying I started teaching him safety at stations. So we don’t just stay behind the yellow line because if I was to fall that close to the track there is a chance I would fall onto it, we stay behind the yellow line AND the boxes on the floor (if you use the tube you will know what I mean). Then when we get off of the tube he has been taught that he goes straight to the wall or a seat and waits there until I am ready to move, this way I can only hope that he will head away from the track of train if something happens to me as we are getting off.
BE HONEST: Kids are frightened of the unknown and despite the fact Noah’s understanding is limited I made a promise to myself never to hide epilepsy or lie to him about it. I explain that he has to wear the reins, step away from the edge etc in case Mummy is poorly and falls down. It’s a horrible condition but I try and make it the norm so it frightens him as little as possible.
Swimming lessons; a slightly different one but an important one to me. In spite of everything I am a strong, confident swimmer and I LOVE the water, thankfully Chris is with me and considers swimming an important life skill. I have been swimming with Noah from 16 weeks old, I consider it so important for life, but equally I also think that if anything happens to me in water I’d like to know he could at least keep himself afloat for a minute or two. Noah is confident in the water and I am fairly sure he would make an attempt to reach a side or at least be able to keep his head above water if I was unable to look after him.
Taking plug out of bath: I know this sounds like a silly one but I have taught Noah to pull the plug from the bath, and will continue to teach him if anything happens to Mummy to pull the plug. We also invested in a plug that just covers the plug hole so that he doesn’t struggle to pull it out.
Spare keys: This has been a standard one since I fell pregnant. A few friends have keys and are prepared to help me no matter what state I may be in. It is a real reassurance for me to know there are people close who can help, who will love and protect Noah. As he gets older I will teach him to use the phone to call them.
Bum shuffle down stairs: Sounds crazy but this is my attempt at keeping him safe on stairs, we bum shuffle down stairs at home so that I wont be carrying him if I fall. It makes me smile of a morning now when he says “ Mum Bum” when he is ready to go downstairs.
Put all relevant information somewhere it can be found: Laminate a card with the details of my condition and numbers to be called on Noahs behalf. Then the plan is to put in Noahs bag and he is taught that if I have a seizure he gives it to an adult, or hopefully someone will try looking for any relevant infomration. I am also starting to teach him that if I have a seizure that he doesn’t go with anybody else he stays by Mummy no matter what they say unless it’s a police officer or paramedic. This will obviously take a while as he is young but I am hoping it sinks in soon.
Get out and about: This one is more about confidence and ensuring Noahs life is ‘normal’ no matter how much the epilepsy frightens me. I make sure that we get out most days so we have both had fresh air and he isn’t tucked away no matter how rough I feel.
Rest when I can: Sleep when baby sleeps, best advice I have been given ever and as Noah turns 2 it is advice I swear by. Having Noah has taught me to slow down, to listen to my body and even days like today I have been to bed and slept following a seizure yesterday. Some days I just nap because I am just so tired and know that this will lead to seizures.
I don’t have all the answers I am still learning as I go and would love to hear other peoples solutions to keeping children safe. However these are just some of the small ways in which I am trying to care for Noah. I’m not sure the fear of having a seizure whilst I am alone with him will ever go but I will do everything I can within my powers to ensure that this fear doesnt rule our lives.
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My names Faye, mostly known for being a tea addict and keen runner and swimmer. I'm 32, married and I had my 1st child in June 2015, oh and I also happen to have epilepsy. This is my story of Pregnancy, Motherhood & Epilepsy.