Monday 30 April 2012

34 weeks ~ Vitamin K saga

I saw a consultant at Epsom, again a different one.  But she seemed really helpful and much friendlier than the last consultant I had seen. My wonderful Grandad took me to the hospital, he was truly wonderful, he would take me to work, hospital appointments, out to see friends anything, he didn’t like to see me get the bus and train and I loved spending time with him while we drove places.  I was very close to my Grandad and spent a lot of time with him, later in this diary he will sadly pass away before baby arrives but at this point and to the day before he died he was very much alive in every way.

The results came back from my blood tests and my lamotrigine levels had dropped again so my dose went up to 575mg daily.

So we arrived at the hospital at 10.00, I saw the midwife briefly, my blood pressure was fine, my urine was +1 for glucose which they put down to just having eaten breakfast… but that it needed to be monitored.  The consultant listened to the baby’s heart beat and actually let me listen to it for a few seconds unlike most doctors who locate the heart beat and then quickly move on.  We discussed the plan for the birth so far, she referred me to an anaesthetist so they could review me and check that it was possible to get an epidural in and to discuss a plan for an epidural.  She also said that the policy was all women with epilepsy should take vitamin K but that she had heard it was quite difficult to get hold of, so she sent me off to the hospital pharmacy to see if they had any, after a 20minute wait they came back and said they didn’t have any. So back to the consultant I went who said I could take the Vitamin K injections orally… so back to the pharmacy we went, after another 20minute wait they came back with 10 vials of vitamin k, they seemed sceptical that they would work as they were for babies and didn’t think they would absorb orally in adults, they then went onto say that 10vials would only last 2days!  When they then explained I would have to break each vial and use a filter needle to make sure there was no glass in it, I started to think maybe the benefits wouldn’t outweigh the hassle of doing all of that.  Especially as I had read some research suggesting that the benefits were debatable and any shown seemed to be in enzyme inducing AEDs which Lamotrigine isn’t.  I went back to the midwife and asked about this, she rang the top consultant who said he had just read a ppiece of research to say that Vitamin K has little effect and so they would be changing the hospital policy, so I didn’t need to take anything!  It was now 1pm, I was late for work and my Grandad had stayed with me the whole time, looking back I’m so glad for every moment I spent with my Grandad.

Monday 23 April 2012

33 weeks ~ Epilepsy Presentation

Being the fool that I am I had agreed with the volunteer co-ordinator at Epilepsy Action I would do some epilepsy awareness training with a carers company in Tonbridge.  It was a little daunting anyway as I hadn’t given a presentation for epilepsy action before, just done some with groups at work.  Being 33 weeks pregnant didn’t help my nerves.  I had organised with work to leave a bit early as I had to get the train there and back which was a mission in itself.  Public transport when being pregnant isn’t fun, there are some wonderful people who give up their seats to you (and usually not the ones you’d stereotypically think would, another example of don’t judge people), but there are also times where you end up crammed on a bus and then you see someone with a bag on the seat next to them, that really is my pet hate.  Anyway the presentation seemed to go well, I did find it hard to fill a 2 hour slot but I think what I said was meaningful and it wasn’t like I was just reading from a sheet.  People seemed impressed by what I had achieved, and it made me feel quite good, that I had overcome epilepsy to achieve so much.

I also picked up my vitamin K prescription from the doctors, thinking I had finally sorted it all out, to find that the chemists wouldn’t be able to get hold of any as it had been discontinued.  I despaired and decided it could wait until I saw the consultant at Epsom the next week.

Monday 16 April 2012

32 weeks ~ final scan

We had our final scan, we met Emma at Epsom Hospital and this time I wasn’t so nervous, just very excited to see our baby again.  We were told that baby would be too big to fit in a picture.  It was amazing to see how our baby had grown, from the tiny formed baby that had fitted into the scan screen to a proper baby size body where their face could just about fit in the screen, it was amazing.  Baby was sucking it’s thumb, it was amazing to watch, we would later find out at our anti-natal class that babies that suck their thumbs are more troublesome to deliver as they won’t put their chins down as they are born… but at the time is was just sweet to us!  I was so excited seeing our baby again, hearing its heartbeat, seeing how real it all was.

Monday 9 April 2012

31 weeks ~ a frustrating day

I had a midwife appointment at the local GPs, just routine and everything was fine with baby and me.  I queried about starting Vitamin K supplements as it had been requested by the first consultant I had seen at Epsom and was meant to start from 32weeks.  The midwife didn’t know anything about vitamin K and when she asked the GP he seemed a bit vague too.  From what I had read it was to help with blood clotting in both mother and baby at work as there was some evidence that epilepsy medication can put you more at risk of bleeding.  But reading on it seemed to suggest that it was only enzyme inducing epilepsy medications that there was any evidence that this was the case and as Lamotrigine isn’t enzyme inducing it didn’t seem so crucial that I push for it.  They said to come back in a couple of days to pick up my prescription.

A few days later I had organised with my sister to go up to London to get my Lamotrigine levels re-tested as the consultant had asked me too.  I had rung her secretary a week or so before to ask if I could have a blood form and as it hadn’t turned up in the post presumed it would be at reception at the hospital.

It was a horrible day, when we left home it was drizzling and we first went to the doctors to get my vitamin k prescription, by which point we were soggy to say the least, and it wasn’t there…  I had to wait half an hour to see a doctor who said he didn’t know anything about vitamin k and had been trying to get hold of a consultant or midwife at Epsom Hospital to find out exactly what needed to be prescribed and the dose which seemed fair enough.  But I said I would give the hospital a ring myself to see if I could get anywhere.

So off to London we went, and when we arrived at the hospital they couldn’t find a blood test request form for me, after waiting around for quite a while and lots of people looking blank as to what to do in the end a porter at the hospital said “why don’t you call the epilepsy nurse?” just shows the little people quite often have the best ideas.  Eventually the epilepsy nurse came down and gave me the request sheet and apologised for keeping me waiting.  Funny thing is about 2 weeks later the blood request form turned up in the post with a big red stamp on it from Royal Mail saying postage not paid, even though it had a stamp on so it wasn’t really the hospitals fault, more the postal system…

So after sorting out the bloods, Nikki and me went for a lovely lunch and then to the foundling museum.  It was really good to spend some sisterly time together.  We were very close anyway, I see her more as a friend than as a sister, but it’s always nice to go out and do something just the 2 of us.  On the way home we stopped at the library to sort out my bus pass… some of the few perks of having epilepsy is you are eligible for a disabled rail card (giving you and a “carer” 1/3 off), free bus pass and a prescription charge exemption certificate.  It turned out nothing was going to be straight forward that day and they weren’t able to change my address and surname on the bus pass at the same time and when they tried they reset the whole thing so I had to give them all the information again and they weren’t sure if it would work, they wrote a note and sent copies of all my information off to the head office and said wait 2 weeks and if it doesn’t turn up ring them.  But on a day where everything had been a fight I half expected it never to turn up, I was wrong though, it did turn up all be it without my surname changed but it doesn’t really matter no bus driver will ever know.  I felt like I had dragged my poor sister around all day trying to sort out all my medical problems and although I loved spending time with her I felt bad that we had only got a chance to spend a small amount of the day doing interesting things, I went home feeling a little down, like I’d had to fight for everything all day.