Change of Heart
After Autumn was born I struggled with Post Partum Depression and began having seizures. I was put on medications, had to stop nursing and lost my Driver’s License. I was devastated, scared, and certain that I would never be physically, emotionally, or mentally ready for another child. I had all but decided that Autumn would forever be a Singleton. Slowly (very slowly) I began to miss the baby days.
At the beginning of this year, Matt and I began discussing the possibility of adding another member to our family, addressing my fears about the potential impact my health and medications would have on a fetus. We were able to separate my irrational fears from the actual medical concerns that surround epilepsy and pregnancy. In March, we decided that we were ready to have another baby, like ASAP.
I was able to go off of my most risky medication and was given some much-needed reassurance from doctors that more than likely I would be able to have a safe, healthy, yet high-risk pregnancy. The odds were in my favor. We were ready!
Big Fat Positive
I woke up on Monday morning feeling off. I had a weird dream (which is especially odd for me since I don’t often remember my dreams) and felt uncharacteristically sick, like I had the stomach flu. Something inside me knew that I was pregnant.
Conveniently I had a pregnancy test in the medicine cabinet. While Matt and Autumn were still waking up, I took the test. I anxiously watched the dumb little windows on the test and had to pinch myself when I saw the oh so faint line in the “Pregnant” window. I double checked the instructions to make sure I read it correctly. I did. I was almost speechless when I showed Matt the test. We had a Big Fat Positive.
We went to the Women’s Health clinic at my doctor’s office to confirm my test results. I was dated about 3 weeks 3 days along, just barely pregnant. I guess I’m really good at knowing when I’m pregnant; with Autumn I knew around 5 weeks. My Estimated Date of Delivery (EDD) was placed around February 3, 2018.
It’s Really Happening
After we told our parents and siblings, there was business to tend to: I need to find a Maternal Fetal Health specialist that accepts my insurance, can see me before my 6 week mark, and isn’t terribly far from our little rural town outside of San Diego. That’s a pretty tall order.
I have been oddly comforted by the annoying queasiness, food aversions, and mood swings (sorry Matt). These symptoms remind me that there’s really a bun in my oven. Since I’ve already been pregnant, I feel way more prepared and ready to face the special obstacles that my high-risk pregnancy carries.
All pregnancies where the mom has active seizures (like me) are considered high-risk, as well as pregnancies where the mom is taking medications known to pose a risk to the growing baby (like my mom had with my brother and me). I will be monitored more frequently than “normal” moms, need more invasive tests, and likely not have all the options for delivery that are offered in low-risk pregnancies.
This time around, I am more focused and dedicated to being the healthiest vessel for my little baby-to-be. I need 5 times as much folate as a typical mom, I need to practice the best self-care I can, and commit to regular exercise. Following these recommendations will help reduce risks caused by my medications, prevent seizures, and help me carry to term.
T-Minus 9 Months
Here I stand, at the beginning of a 280 day journey to meeting our new baby. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t scared. Though the statistical odds of me having a healthy, event-free and full term pregnancy are in my favor, the usual concerns of birth defects and other average complications are always in the back of my mind. I try not to dwell on the negative possibilities, especially those related to my unique condition.
I am doing, and will continue to do, everything in my power to give our baby the best chance at a healthy start. I can only control so many factors and worrying about “what ifs” can’t do anything for me other than stress me out. I am educated about the potential risks of my medications and have considered with Matt what these scenarios would mean for our family. The only thing that really matters is having as healthy a baby as possible and providing the love and care that our baby needs.