A large turtle and a small turtle do yoga on a riverbank

Staying Seizure-Free as a Pregnant Mom with a Toddler

As we all know, becoming and remaining seizure-free is an extremely high priority in all epileptics' lives. Due to this, I am diligent in following my neurologist's requests for bloodwork and instructions for the dosage of medication.

I also stay away from my triggers and do my best to stay as healthy as I can. My family needs a mom who can take on the day and a mom who remains seizure-free.

Being a mom with epilepsy

I love being a mom! Since I was younger, I have wanted to stay at home with my children during those pre-elementary-school years. I've been able to experience helping my daughter learn her alphabet, numbers, and types of dinosaurs and now we are learning about the solar system and beluga whales. She is my little sponge, and I am so grateful to be able to be a part of helping her learn and grow.

I can't wait to start the process again with our second daughter coming this April. I'm also determined to be a part of their extracurricular lives. I am willing to sit and cheer through any activity (even if it's golf). My ultimate dream is to be as present as possible in their lives.

To ensure I achieve this dream I make sure to follow my treatment plan. An important part of my treatment plan is proper sleep.

Getting enough sleep is important

My growing baby girl is already a rambunctious child in the womb. When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, she had a regular sleep schedule. This bundle of joy seems to only need a couple of hours of sleep at a time. Then she is happy to roll and kick in mommy's tummy. As much as I love and am grateful to feel her move, I also love sleep.

Sleep is so important for anyone who has an epilepsy diagnosis. Having my sleep continually impacted can lead to me feeling "off." On my "off" days my daughter and I stay close to home. We mainly draw, play with dinosaurs, and sing about the solar system. On these days I am extra slow-moving. Luckily, my daughter likes to play a game where we are turtles. She knows that turtles go "very slow." On my off days, I always say I am a turtle.

I want to be the best version of myself for my daughter, for my husband, and for my own well-being. To combat not sleeping well, I started taking a low dose of melatonin. My neurologist has told me many times that sleep is an extremely vital part of remaining seizure-free. I want to make sure that I limit the number of "off" days that I have. I am happy to be a turtle even when I feel as lively as my toddler.

Managing pregnancy pain on top of epilepsy

Another obstacle I am having with this pregnancy is general discomfort. Good lord, my hips have been killing me. The third trimester hit and so did intense hip and lower back pain! I did not have such discomfort with my oldest daughter.

Unfortunately, the discomfort is another reason I feel like a bum at times. After a little housework or going around the block a couple of times with my daughter, my hips hurt and beg for me to sit. This means I am not getting as much exercise as I did before I was pregnant.

Here's my comparison, the week before I found out I was pregnant, I competed in "Beast Week" at iLoveKickboxing. That means you show up to one kickboxing class every day. Now I'm excited when I get 4,000 steps in. Even with a low number of 4,000 steps, I end up using our massager.

Getting exercise

The solution I came up with is to incorporate my daughter into an easy exercise routine. I looked up 10-minute workouts to prepare the body for labor. My daughter and I have a great time doing these brief exercises while listening to her favorite song. (My little 2-year-old is probably Black Pink's biggest fan.)

A couple of hours later (before naptime) we go on a walk around the block. This solution has allowed me to be more present with my daughter while we both get exercise. It also allows my hips to get some rest in between workouts.

Stress can be a seizure trigger

Relieving the stress from being in so much discomfort has had a positive impact on my health as well. Stress is a very big trigger for me. Finding ways to limit my stress give me a better quality of life and helps reduce my chance of relapsing with a seizure.

What are some of the largest obstacles in your epilepsy journey? Always remember, you are not alone.

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