The new mum, 35, from Rugby, said: “I have epilepsy and we had different information given to us about whether or not we should have kids.”
Dental Nurse, Nicky and her engineer husband Nathan, 38, decided they were going to try for a child anyway.
Nicky said: “We decided to give it a go and let nature take its course. We saw Mr Holger Allroggen, Consultant Neurologist when I was already pregnant. He was really supportive and understanding and put us in touch with Epilepsy Specialist Nurse Paula Taylor, Antenatal Consultant Sadia Malik and Research Midwife Debbie Bullen who were all fabulous and perfect with us.”
From there Nicky was put on the EMPiRE research programme to help manage her antiepileptic drugs during her pregnancy.
She said: “In our first appointment, Debbie took a lot of time explaining the research and Ms Malik explained what sort of care she would give us. Everyone gave us their contact details in case of a problem, like if I had a fit.
“I believe the care would have been fantastic anyway but being part of a research programme also provided a different kind of support during my pregnancy.
“Both myself and my husband are very pleased we were offered the opportunity to take part in the EMPiRE programme with the research midwives and relevant team.”
Debbie Bullen said: “Women, like Nicky, that were recruited to the EMPiRE trial are helping to guide the future clinical practice of women with epilepsy.
“Participants of the EMPiRE trial had continuous care by the same professionals throughout their pregnancy. We understood their epilepsy and could answer questions as a multidisciplinary team relative to their care. They also had our contact telephone number and would call us often for advice and reassurance.
“It is great to hear that James is doing well, following Nicky’s participation in the study.”
On her scan at 36 weeks, the decision was taken to deliver James by caesarean section at 37 weeks.
Nicky said: “The staff arranged all the anaesthetist explanations and pre-surgery talks to be done that day so that I wouldn’t be stressed.
“Sadia Malik wasn’t meant to be working the day of my operation but came in to deliver my son which was an amazing personal touch and was so nice.”
Nicky now feels fantastic and baby James is doing well.
She said: “I would absolutely recommend my care to anyone, they were all brilliant. Now James is doing really well. The care was second to none. We were worried about the baby being small but not about the care we received!
“We were being monitored very closely and were reassured constantly about treatment, progress and points of contact if there were any concerns.
Nicky also offered advice to other epilepsy sufferers who have dreams of having children of their own.
She commented: “The advice I would give is, if in doubt speak with your GP and get a referral to neurology. This opens a pathway of care and support from all the relevant specialties within the hospital, also it is in depth look at the mum-to-be’s health, medication, and expectations before, during and after the birth.”
University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust