When we’re kids, we have this idea on how things are going to work out. For me it was becoming a nurse, getting married, having kids. The usual stuff. When we’re adults we often find out that the path isn’t quite that simple.
The dream about becoming a nurse fell apart a couple of years ago. I was in my first year of my degree when a couple of things went wrong (shunt included), which resulted in me getting such bad marks that I was excluded for the university for a year. By the time the year’s exclusion was up it was pretty clear that my shunt was not going to behave itself enough for me to move 2 hours away from a Neurosurgeon to do nursing. I adjusted to that fact, and I’m now doing a Bachelor of Arts, which I love. And I did end up moving back to being 2 hours away from a Neuro. Screw it, if the shunt crashes they can transfer me right? I might even go back to doing nursing one day.
The latest bit of the ‘dream-smashing’ isn’t so easy to brush off.
I’ve always wanted kids. I’m the eldest of 9, I have a HUGE extended family, and most of my friends have kids. Basically, I’ve been around kids my whole life, so having them myself seemed like an obvious step in my life.
I found out a couple of years ago that there were certain risks associated with being shunted and pregnant, but there are also many cases where shunted women have had kids with no problems whatsoever, so even though it was a scary thought I wasn’t too worried. Then came the epilepsy diagnosis….
I was diagnosed with epilepsy about 4 years ago (I can’t remember exactly), and put on Sodium Valproate, which controlled the seizures but the side effects were shocking! I went back to see my neurologist who decided that since I am a woman of child-bearing age, I should be put on Lamotrigine anyway because it’s considered the ‘safest’ drug to be on should I happen to fall pregnant. All drugs have risks associated with them during pregnancy, but this was considered the best option for me. I was happy with that, the dream was still alive. For now….
Today I read a new study on the effects of anti-epileptics during pregnancy, and it turns out Lamotrigine isn’t as ‘safe’ as the neurologists once thought. There is a pretty significant chance of developmental problems in toddlers of women who were on Lamotrigine during pregnancy, not to mention the heightened risks of neural tube defects associated with any anti-epileptics. Just what someone with Hydrocephalus wants to hear! So basically, from the research I’ve done so far, the chances of me ever having a healthy pregnancy and child are very slim.
I am struggling with this, obviously. Kids aren’t on the agenda just yet, I’m still at university and being single, I’m kinda missing the other parts I need to make babies anyway, but kids were always in my future. One day I’m going to have to decide whether it’s worth the risk, and even though that ‘one day’ won’t be any time soon, it’s still plaguing me.
I have had 3 miscarriages in the past, so maybe that was just my body telling me it’s never gonna happen anyway. Who knows!
Sorry for the whining rant post, but I needed to get this out. Just to balance it out I’ll put another post up now that’s a bit more positive!