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My Pre-Wedding Seizure was the Best Thing Ever

Warning: This story contains a homebirth.

My husband, Miles, and I have been together for 27 years and celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary last summer. One of the best things that ever happened to me and for our marriage was the tonic clonic seizure I had three days before our wedding.

Let me explain.

I used to be a homebirth midwife. Long labors, middle of the night births, hospital transports, etc, don’t align well with epilepsy.  However, being a midwife had been my calling since I was a child and epilepsy wasn’t going to stop me (until it did.) 

Here’s the story: I had some clients who were also friends, their baby was due about two weeks before my wedding, they said, “Are you sure?” I said, “Yes.” The baby’s due date went by, and another week went by… They’d already had a few babies born at home and the dad was an EMT, so they were well equipped for another homebirth.

It was the week of the wedding; our families had started to arrive… And then it was four days before the wedding. My pregnant friend had signs labor was imminent but it hadn’t started.  We realized it would probably be that night, my birth assistant lived a half an hour away and the family about three miles from my house.  My assistant came to spend the night so she’d be closer and could drive me there.

We were sleeping when we got the call around two am that labor had started in earnest. We knew it would progress pretty quickly so we made some tea and headed out. I had a seizure in the car about halfway to the birth.

So - we live in a rural area and it was the middle of the night. My home is down a half mile dirt road, my client’s home was down another dirt road (address unmarked.) My birth assistant was well prepared in case I had a seizure and quickly she knew I was going to be ok, minus the hot tea I had knocked and spilled all over us and the car. The big issue was she didn’t know the way to our client’s house, and while I was “ok” I wasn’t exactly cognizant. This was before smartphones, yes, some cell phones but no cell service in our area.  She made the swift decision to drive back to my house and get Miles to help with this situation. She woke him up and they decided he would drive up, guiding her and staying a bit to make sure I continued to recover well. I don’t remember any of this as I was still postictal. Luckily I hadn’t injured myself.

By the time we got there, their baby had just been born. Her dad had caught her, which was exactly what they wanted. The baby girl was perfect, healthy, and doing great. The mom did fine too. The family was overjoyed. I had woken up from my postictal state right as we drove up to their house and was so confused why Miles was with us.

We did the standard postpartum care. As usual after uncomplicated births, we were all elated and full of blissful adrenaline.

After tonic clonic seizures I’m usually in a bit of a daze. At the same time I can usually hone in on the most important things that need to be done. Even if I don’t injure myself my endorphins seem to stay on high alert for a day or two or this time for three days. So, after this seizure, after this birth, I was in this floaty flow state. I knew and remembered the important details that needed to get done (it was A LOT.) But I stopped worrying or even noticing the unimportant things.

I shall repeat; three days before my wedding I stopped worrying or even noticing the unimportant things. I think some people would pay money for this. Or at least take medications, do drugs, or drink alcohol for this type of mellowness three days before their wedding.

Along with the post seizure fogginess I experience a few days or a week of extra clumsiness, unsteadiness on my feet. This is a big issue for me now I’m older, but then I was still pretty sturdy, except my Victorian style wedding boots were very high and I wasn’t at all used to wearing high heels. Plus, our wedding ceremony was at the beach. It was many steps down steep wooden stairs, a walk along a dirt path, across the sandy beach covered in driftwood and scruffy coastal plants. I had to let go of worrying about so much but I was worried about my ability to walk gracefully during the wedding in my fancy high boots. Plus, wedding dancing! At least it was a brick patio at our reception location.

While slightly off kilter, I was reassured I probably wouldn’t seize on the day or night of our wedding.  My electrical storms seem to reset my brain and I rarely have seizures closer than a month apart, another blessing.

I had taken the driver’s seat in a lot of our wedding planning, but as we walked hand in hand across the beach towards the site of our ceremony I realized I really needed Miles to be the steady one, the driver so to speak. And later for the dancing I had to really, actually let him lead, practically hold me up on my teetering heels (and I wasn’t even drunk.)

This subtle but oh so important shift into deeper relationship coherence has really helped my mindset over the years of our marriage. So this seizure really was one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

Yarrow on her wedding day wearing victorian boots and a vintage dress
Yarrow Rubin on her wedding day rocking the boots

Yarrow Rubin 2024

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