I was aware that as and when I wanted to have a baby, I should discuss my plans with my GP and (if necessary) a neurologist. I had assumed at least a six month lead in time to trying to get pregnant. So I went to my GP to discuss it in late 2010. She had a few concerns and referred me to a neurologist at my local hospital.
My neurologist noticed that I had not had a trial withdrawal from my medication. He would have recommended that I had a trial withdrawal, at the age of 20 - 21. This is because some people no longer have epilepsy once they come out of puberty.
So I faced a choice; a trial withdrawal of my medication or continue to take it. I knew there was a possibility that I didn't really need it anymore. But it seemed like a much bigger decision now, than it would have been if I was younger. It felt like I had a lot more to lose. I was now married, hoping to have a family, and had a demanding job. But I knew if I didn't do it, then I probably would never do it, so we went ahead.
My medication was reduced over a period of two months. The day after I stopped taking my medication completely, I had a series of fits. So it was clear, I still had epilepsy. I went back onto my medication, but it was physically difficult. I felt very disoriented and exhausted as my body readjusted to the drug. It took about two months before I felt back to normal again. Overall the entire process was not much fun, and hard on my family. But it’s good to have clarity on the situation.
Once that was all over, I could get back to the reason we started the whole process in the first place, trying to have a baby. My GP was really firm that I should take a 5mg dose of folic acid every day for three months, before trying to conceive. A further delay, but that was ok; it gave us some time to adjust to the idea.
The moment I knew I was pregnant
In November 2011 I became pregnant, but had a miscarriage. It all happened quite quickly, so nothing related to my epilepsy really came up. And I knew it was quite normal for someone my age, so I wasn't worried.
I became pregnant again in May 2012, and will hopefully have a daughter in February 2013. It was exciting to become pregnant again. But having had a miscarriage, we were cautious about thinking about it too much, before the first scan.
The first 12 weeks
From week six to 14 of my pregnancy, I had really horrible morning sickness and complete exhaustion. I got through it eventually, with a lot of help from Hula Hoops! The main thing I was conscious of was being careful not to take my epilepsy medicine first thing (in case I was sick and lost it). So I waited until mid-morning to take my morning dose (to make sure I kept it down). I've continued to be a lot more tired than my friends. But I know pregnancy is different for every woman.