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Jan Follet, aged 47

Epilepsy Mine image - Jan Follet page

To be a woman with epilepsy is no big deal really, except for the pregnancy aspect, I suppose. I was never given any advice about pregnancy and epilepsy except that it might be best if I didn’t get pregnant. I remember ringing my mum to tell her I was having a baby, and I got told off! The medics said nothing really but I was whisked away immediately into hospital (I was teaching in Basingstoke at the time). They quickly altered my drugs regime – I can’t remember the exact drugs I was on. Nothing was really explained to me but I was told that my baby would probably have extra digits – fingers or toes (she hasn’t!). I remember I saw my consultant and he wrote to me after the birth saying ‘Congratulations Jan – you did it!’. I’ve still got that letter; it means a lot to me. My time in hospital was awful. The wards were dark. I was frightened because of the epilepsy and my condition. My husband was away at sea, and because the hospital was in London and my family was in the north, I got no visitors. I was alone and frightened. This is not how a woman is supposed to feel when she’s newly pregnant.

I was eventually allowed home but I had a thrombosis in the left groin and spent the last 4 months in my local hospital in a bed with cot sides, which served their purpose as I had several seizures.

However, the labour was very long but all was okay. Apart from pregnancy I suppose not being able to put the shopping in the car after the weekly shop is the other main hassle. Not being able to drive because of the epilepsy means I have to rely on my husband to give me a lift home, as I cannot carry all the heavy bags.

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