Webb's first daughter, Beth, was born at 36 weeks via emergency Cesarean (she was breech and it wasn't discovered until Webb was in advanced—and preterm—labor). Shortly after the birth, Webb began vomiting and having seizures. "I had my first seizure when I was holding the baby, showing her to my little brother who had stopped by on his way home from high school," says Webb. "The first time he held his goddaughter was when he grabbed her out of my arms when I was seizing."
Beth was fine, but it took days for Webb's seizures to be controlled.
Her next two pregnancies were closely monitored by high-risk specialists, as Webb was now dealing with epilepsy and preterm labor. Webb went into early labor at 34 weeks with her second daughter, Jeanette, and spent three weeks on bed rest. However, she made it to nearly 38 weeks and had another healthy baby. Jeanette has three small birthmarks, but as Webb says, "Some people would call them birth defects—we don't."
By her third pregnancy, Webb was 34. She was expecting a boy—her son Nathan—and it turned out to be the hardest pregnancy yet. Webb was hospitalized four times—twice for preterm contractions, once for concerns about the baby following a routine ultrasound, and once after a seizure. "I was worried the most with this baby, because I was older and he seemed so unresponsive during ultrasounds," says Webb. Nathan was born healthy at around 38 weeks.
Coping with pregnancy and epilepsy was tough, says Webb. "Comments like, 'Aren't you tempting fate?' or 'What if the baby isn't normal?' were not helpful! I did think about how the medication was affecting my baby; twice a day I would be reminded of what I could be doing to my baby when I took my meds. I felt a lot of ... guilt, I suppose," says Webb. "During my third pregnancy my neurologist once said, 'You seem so happy.' And that helped, somehow." As Webb's seizure activity is aggravated by stress, it was important that she stay calm and positive during her pregnancies, and she and her husband worked hard at it.
All the children are doing wonderfully today, says Webb. Beth is now 15, an athlete, writer, and cook who is in Advanced Classes at her high school. Jeanette is 11, an animal lover who also does well in school. Her birthmarks have faded, says Webb, "and we all think she is beautiful." Nathan is three, and "a real character." Nathan has suffered from a mild speech delay, but is taking speech therapy and has almost caught up to his age group.
Webb adds that she had never planned to let epilepsy prevent her from becoming a mom. "I've spent my whole life not letting epilepsy stop me from doing things."