• Chloe James

My First 8 Weeks as a Mama with Epilepsy

Seizures, Sleepless nights, and mama-ing the coolest little dude on the planet!

Today marks 8 weeks since he made his dramatic entrance into the world through unplanned, unexpected and difficult c-section delivery.

And from that very first day, he's shown us his funky and quirky personality (that I swear I could tell even when he was inside me!!).

Seizure Triggers

So far, we've managed to find a loose routine that helps my seizure threshold by making sure I at least get some sleep at night. This has meant my (amazing!) husband has taken up some of the slack at night, and it has unfortunately taken an impact (amongst other things) on breastfeeding. But that's another story altogether!

Even with husband taking up a night time feed, it's a stressful and tiring time. And it has taken its toll.

First Seizure as a Mama

My first seizure as a mama happened last week. I was up with Charlie for his morning routine, and I got enough warning to get him up safe surrounded my pillows before landing on some very hard ground myself! My husband found me, and eventually I made it to bed (yay for no longer having to go straight to hospital like I did in pregnancy!). I spent the majority of the day in bed, unable to do anything else.

And the mama guilt hit hard.

All I was able to do was get up for a few minutes for a cuddle and some food to take my medication with, and then go back to bed. I feel like I missed a whole day of his life, which when we're counting his life in days and weeks right now feels like a very big deal! I know I did what I needed to do. I know taking care of myself was what I needed, and I know there was little other choice if I wanted to avoid anything else happening or making things worse.

Yeah, but tell my mama guilt that. She needs reminding!

Keeping Ourselves Safe

There are a few things we're doing to make sure that everyone stays safe, just in case I do have a seizure:

  • Changing on the floor. We have a few wiggle rugs that my awesome mama made us, and a changing pad that we change Charlie on. At first, it was quite hard to get up and down after surgery but ultimately best to get into that habit for seizure safety. We have changing stations set up both in the living room and in Charlie's room, and it's made it so much easier to establish this as part of our routine!

  • Bath time isn't a solo venture. So far, I'm lucky that my husband has been home due to self-isolation, so this hasn't been an issue. But we had to agree before Charlie was born that bath time should be something either husband does, or we both do together. There is no tool safe enough that we could find that would make it so that Charlie would be safe in the bath if I had a seizure.

  • Medication is timed with alarms- and so is food! So, this is something I addressed when I posted about epilepsy self-care and I still advocate for it even if you're not a mama. But as a new mama, time loses all meaning! And not eating and drinking, and especially not taking medication, hugely lowers my seizure threshold. Not something any of us need! So I now have alarms for not only my medication, but reminders to have snacks as well.

  • Napping during the day. Yes, I know, we've all heard it- sleep when the baby sleeps! But mama guilt, at least for me, made it hard for me to swallow going and having a nap when it seemed like everyone else was up and doing things. But this turned out to be super important! Napping when I was tired, especially during the day, meant that I was able to get up when Charlie needed me and I was at a safe level of alertness for him, and my seizure threshold wasn't too low.

  • Not being alone out of the house. We've had the chance to go out for a few walks, and I've made sure to be with someone each time. Even if it's just a short walk, if bubs is with me, it's safest to have someone with me.

So, because we've been on national lockdown, we've been mainly at home and as a result, those are the biggest things we've come across so far. As we come up with other tips or tricks, I'll be sure to put them up.

What did you find most helpful when your bub was little?

It's been 8 weeks so far, and there have been countless ups and downs. If you're in the same boat, let's remind ourselves

we've got this!

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