Cuddling my daughter Freya, three, I smiled as she patted my rounded tummy. It was April 2019 and we had lots to be excited about. ‘I can’t wait to meet our baby,’ Freya beamed.
Months earlier, in September 2018, my husband David, then 30, and I had discovered we were expecting again. This pregnancy felt like a miracle because, that August, I’d suffered a devastating miscarriage at eight weeks.
Now this baby – a girl – was healing our pain and we were looking forward to being a family of four. But my happy thoughts were overshadowed by a familiar thud in my forehead.
The pain kept building
‘Not again,’ I groaned, remembering the headaches I’d suffered towards the end of my pregnancy with Freya.
Thankfully, they’d eased after her birth in April 2015. But recently, the throbbing had reappeared, more frequent and intense. ‘It’s like pressure building inside my head,’ I told David at 36 weeks pregnant, in May 2019.
I knew bad headaches in late pregnancy could indicate the potentially fatal high blood-pressure condition pre-eclampsia, and I shared my concerns with my midwife. But, to my relief, tests were clear.
‘Just stay hydrated and rest,’ the midwife advised me.
On 9 June 2019, David held my hand as Erin was born at LeicesterRoyal Infirmary. Holding her, she was perfect and I remember thinking how similar she looked to Freya. We went home later that day and my heart swelled, watching Freya fuss around her little sister.
‘There’s nowhere I’d rather be than with my gorgeous girls,’ I said happily.
Sadly, though, those precious first days at home in Leicestershire were marred by ever more painful headaches, despite taking painkillers. I also felt utterly drained – more than the usual ‘new mum tiredness’. Even changing Erin’s nappy was a challenge because looking down worsened the pain and pressure in my forehead and behind my right eye and I’d have to lie down. I was forgetful, too.
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