In part two Chris covers from the 12 week appointment, through to the neurology appointment at 16 weeks. As well as the sickness and his own views on how the first 16 weeks have gone.
Faye was being sick a lot which wasn’t helping at all. Those who have been pregnant or have been around pregnant women know how awful “Morning sickness” can be. Now throw in the fact that being sick was affecting Faye’s drug levels. AED’s don’t tend to work when they’re in the toilet with this morning’s breakfast. To put it short Sickness + Epilepsy = heightened seizure activity. As for “Morning Sickness”? How about “Every-part-of-the-day Sickness”? That’s more like it. Faye is suffering morning, noon and night. Faye has ended up as a mixture between Bella when pregnant in the Twilight Saga (my man card has just been revoked…) and the girl from The Exorcist. Throw in a high level of absences and my wife is no longer herself. The absences are not nice, they happen randomly and from my point of view there’s no “tell” with them. I can be in a full blown conversation with Faye and she wouldn’t have heard a word. Or Faye can ask me something, I answer and then I get asked the same question seconds later. It’s not fun for either of us.
12 week scan
Faye was really nervous before this appointment even though we saw the baby the week before. She is a lot more superstitious than me and compared to her I was calm and looking forward to it. The midwife we saw initially started off giving us all the information we needed, but once she was told that Faye had epilepsy she couldn’t help us anymore. She seemed to be reading from a script and couldn’t cope with anything outside of a “normal” pregnancy, and she was pushing ideas that just wouldn’t have worked with the epilepsy.
Then we got to the scan and guess what: the baby wouldn’t cooperate, and Faye was frustrated. She wanted to know that baby was ok. Faye holds herself responsible for the babys development and no matter how many times I reassured her that if anything was wrong with the baby, it would never be her fault it just wouldn’t sink in.
The fun part of this appointment is that we came away and told people we were expecting. Sharing it with friends and family was a brilliant feeling. Then we got to go back the week after and see baby again, this time they cooperated enough for everything to be done. The baby was fine and we were both VERY happy.
Neurology: 16 weeks.
We had talked about this appointment over the weeks as Faye’s epilepsy hadn’t improved much. We were not in agreement about how to go forward. At the last appointment it was discussed about introducing another drug after this appointment. Faye was in favour of Clobazam and I really wasn’t. I know this drug had helped Faye in the past as a recovery drug, but I didn’t like the idea of it as a secondary drug. Faye was like a zombie on Clobazam. The other drug that was mentioned was Keppra and I wanted Faye to try that instead as I knew the risks were lower and I was hoping the side effects wouldn’t be as harsh on her. Luckily the neurologist stopped this from turning into a full scale domestic because after telling Faye her drug levels were low; he said he was confident an increase would start to help and she had always tolerated increases well. No new drugs then. I was relieved, especially as he explained that now we were past the 12 week mark the effects on baby were minimal.
The obstetrician then went on to tell us that he was asking for a foetal echo. One of the side effects of the AED was problems with the heart. He scanned baby once again and told us the heart beat was strong, that was me happy and reassured. He also talked Faye through her concerns from the 12 week appointment with the midwife and she came away a lot happier and more relaxed which made me happier.
The first 16 weeks: summary.
It has been a funny old time, firstly you have the normal concerns and then throw in there the epilepsy and sickness and it’s not been easy.
Epilepsy has had a huge impact on our life over the first trimester. Faye is normally so independent and self-assured yet all of a sudden here she was reliant on me for basic stuff. This was hugely out of character, my wife is the most stubborn person I know, and for her to admit she needed help made me realise how bad she was feeling. If I’m honest it has been draining at times to adjust to this. Faye is someone who normally doesn’t need to rely on anyone and is now suddenly relying on me for so much. It’s not easy, but it’s harder to see how frustrated she is at not being able to do the everyday things. It has also had its impact on my work as there have been times that Faye has been in such a bad way with the epilepsy and sickness that I have had no choice but to leave and come home. Thankfully my work have been very understanding.
Faye has become ratty and irritated by small things, which is not like her. Noises irritate her ‘fuzzy head’ and for someone who is normally hands on she can’t bear to be touched when she is having seizure activity, which is quite a lot of the time! It is difficult to watch changes that are so out of character.
We have also had to contend with people passing opinions on things they don’t understand. This upsets Faye hugely. I welcome any question no matter how silly people think they are, because I’d rather answer them and people have an understanding than have to listen to people pass opinions on things they know nothing about.
Overall it is an exciting time, it’s sunk in that I’m going to be a Dad and I’m excited for the future. One of the plus sides to Faye having to see the team so often is that we are getting to see baby once a month, a bonus if ever there was one.
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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.