This time things were very different. We had looked into adoption after the traumatic labour experience with Riley and been told that we couldn’t adopt until Riley was much older. So we had spoken to the amazing epilepsy midwife Kim Morley about our experience and her words ‘it doesn’t have to be that way’ had given us the confidence to give it another go.
We got pregnant with Benji much quicker than we expected and I knew I was pregnant before I could even take a test, I felt so sick, I knew what it was this time around. We saw Kim in clinic when I was just a few weeks pregnant and just talking to her gave us so much hope that this time things could be different.
This pregnancy was even more straight forward than with Riley. I was completely seizure free this time on Keppra. I didn’t increase my medication levels as I didn’t have any seizures. I turned down a lot of the extra scans and doctors appointments as I wanted to have a chance to enjoy my pregnancy not feel like I was living at the hospital.
I wasn’t silly, I went to all my midwife appointments and I had the 12 week scan and a detailed 20 week scan done by a consultant. I did see the obstetric doctors once or twice in my pregnancy but I told them I wanted a natural birth. They were happy with me not having an epidural but it was the IV that we argued over. Luckily we had Kim’s support not to have an IV as I had never be in status epilepticus before and a midwife should be able to site an IV if needed. Also Kim made me realise that a seizure in labour is no worse for the baby than a contraction. If I did have a seizure I didn’t need to have any medication, just let it resolve and then make a decision as to what to do next.
This time I made sure I had a birth plan that I had written. I wanted a natural birth if possible. I wanted to use mindful birthing for pain relief and gas and air if needed. I didn’t want an epidural, if I needed a C-section I would have a spinal block.
I wanted to be active in labour I didn’t want to be sat in a bed. I asked if I could go in the birthing suite but was told I couldn’t but that they would make the room on the ward as non medical as possible.
I did not want an IV in unless needed medically for some reason and I wanted my husband to be with me at all times while in the hospital in case I had a seizure. That included on the ward which they agreed with. I also asked for as early a discharge as possible and they said they would see.
Funnily enough I went into labour at the exact time on the exact day with both! Both were due on the 5th of the month and on the 2nd at 6pm with Riley and 4pm with Benji I started feeling contractions.
This time though I stayed calm, I used my mindful birthing techniques and I felt in control of the situation. At about 8pm my Mum who was there to look after Riley told Rich to take me to the hospital as she didn’t want to be delivering a baby!
We arrived at the hospital at about 8.15pm, I walked up to the ward in between contractions and as soon as I was there I felt I needed to push. When I told staff there they didn’t believe me. There was no midwife available but after a firm talking to from Rich they ran up to the ward to get a midwife.
Sure enough I was fully dilated and ready to push, a bit of gas and air and a few pushes later Benji arrived. We both cried, it was so much more straight forward than last time. The perfect birth experience. I had a few stitches, lots of cuddles with Benji, a hot cup of tea and a shower and then walked up to the ward.
We had to stay in hospital a few days due to worries with Benji but they turned out to be nothing and 3 days later we went home to start our journey as family of four.
Adjusting to life as a family of four
Life as a family of four was far easier an adjustment. Benji just tagged along to everything we already did. He slept so much better than Riley did which made managing life so much easier.
We had a few problems with feeding but other than that life as a family of four was amazing. Benji made our family complete and his big sister had a new best friend.