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G

Age at interview: 37
Brief Outline: G is living with epilepsy. She has two children: her son is 6 and her daughter is 1 year old. G’s experiences with health services during her pregnancies were mostly positive. She is also happy with the social support she received from her friends and her husband’s family.
Background: G has a son, aged 6, and daughter, aged 1.

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G has two children: her son is 6 and her daughter is 1 year old. The first time G found out that she was pregnant she was 13 weeks in. She recalls feeling shocked because she wasn’t planning on having a child at the time. Most of her family members thought she wouldn’t be able to raise a child, but she feels that she proved them wrong. She has received much support from her husband’s family though, and her friends also provided her with the help and advice she needed. She also received information through pregnancy classes, so by the time she went into labour, she felt well-prepared for giving birth. Due to unexpected complications, she had to have an emergency caesarean. She remembers feeling scared because she didn’t know what was going to happen, but the operation went well, and her and her son could leave the hospital a couple of days later. 

G feels that she had to get used to being a mother. She had a health visitor, whom she was very fond of. She is also very grateful for the midwives, who showed her how to bottle feed or change nappies. G thought that readjusting her sleep schedule was the most difficult for her, but she found that “when your body gets used to it, then it automatically does it”. She also had visitors from social services, and she felt that they “were watching over [her] shoulder”, but she thought they were helpful and she was glad to know that they were available if she encountered any problems.

When she found out that she was pregnant for the second time, G didn’t tell anybody for 2 months. She was worried about how her in-laws might react, but she found that they were just as supportive. She didn’t do the pre-natal classes this time because she felt that she already knew how to manage her pregnancy. She also decided to have a caesarean for safety considerations. She was, again, happy with the hospital’s support, but she found the paperwork challenging, so she had to ask her friend’s help with that.

G’s epilepsy medication didn’t interfere with her pregnancies. The doctors “tweaked” her medication while she was pregnant, and she feels that her drug regime “steadied” her epilepsy. She had a seizure during her first delivery, and she had another seizure when she was 16 weeks pregnant with her second child. Fortunately, neither resulted in serious complications. She has had some seizures since, but much less than she used to in the past.
 
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G’s epilepsy medication was tweaked when she was pregnant and she had some seizures.

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And did you have any - was there any issues with your medication?

The doctors tweaked it a little bit, to sort of level out while I was pregnant. So, it's stead- steadied by medic- my epilepsy out through the pregnancy. I had less, less turns. And then, and then I think it was a couple of weeks before I had [son’s name], I had like a couple of them in a day. But they knew that was down to building up to going to have him.
 
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G couldn’t understand some of the words in the information from the midwife but a friend explained it to her.

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When I got back, the midwife came out the same day. And at the time I didn't realise I knew the midwife. And she was very pleased. Give me quite a lot of information. But I went round to my friend's house with the paperwork, and she took it through the paperwork with me. I just took that information.

Right. Was it - so there's no easy read version, or anything like that?

No. It was sort of some words that I couldn't understand. So I did sort of ring my friend and said, "Ooh, can I come round?" that night, "Because I've got paperwork that I don't understand." And she said, "Yeah, bring it round and I'll go through with you.”
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