I have covered my last pregnancy a bit in a past blog. This time I want to focus on Cholestasis. I am in no way an expert at this and all the information I have obtained from reading other blogs and my own experience.
My last pregnancy, 2016, I was diagnosed with Cholestasis when I was 39 weeks. I had severe itching throughout my body. I tried multiple things to help out the itch but nothing helped, to the point where I would bleed. I have scars now on my stomach and thighs from the scratching. I had a late diagnosis with that pregnancy since I thought the itching was part of pregnancy so I did not let my doctor know. The itching began late in the third trimester and I waited until I had my monthly check up to let my doctor know. I got a brief explanation as to what Cholestasis was and that it could harm my baby causing stillbirth. Being a first time mom those words just scared me. I cried, of course. I gave birth and knew that I would eventually want to get pregnant again but there was a fear in me about what would happen my next pregnancy.
The OB advised me that if I were to get pregnant again the chances of this happening again were about 60% chance.
How was I going to do this? I googled so much and read so much to help myself understand what this disorder is really about. I found a Facebook group for people with ICP as well as a website, ICPcare.org. I read so many stories and asked so many questions.
Let me take you back a bit because I got too ahead of myself. ICP stands for Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy. A short description of what this is, it’s a liver disorder where blood work reveals an increase in bile acid which can harm the baby causing stillbirth. There are a few symptoms to this disease which include but are not limited to:
- itching, primarily feet and hand, but many experience itching different parts of the body,
- dark urine
- Right Upper quadrant pain
- and some have reported Jaundice symptoms
I recommend you visit ICPcare.org for more detailed information. They show the research that is being done to help people with cholestasis as its a disorder that is considered to be rare.
Fast forward to 2017, we decided to get pregnant. As exciting as the news of our pregnancy was, fear of what I was up against filled my thoughts. I had really bad morning sickness once again as I did with my first. The fatigue was so bad this time around I had such a hard time just doing anything, I could sleep all day if I could. Slowly but surely a few weeks into the pregnancy I began having itching eyelids. Random, right, I didn’t think much of it,then the itching on my stomach, then legs, then feet. But the itching wasn’t consistent, it varied and it would come and go. At my 25 week appointment I let my Ob know, they ran test and sure enough May 9th, I got the call. I had mild Cholestasis. 25 weeks, I was put on Ursodiol and starting at 28 weeks I was to go to Kaiser 2 times a week for 30 minutes for non stress tests.
Having a toddler at home that needed me, my anxiety grew daily. I dreaded Mondays and Thursdays. Every morning as I drove myself to the doctor I cried. I cried of fear that maybe in one of those visits we would not hear a heartbeat. My body had failed me once again. I was not going to have a normal delivery again and this time I would be induced at 37 weeks.
I counted the weeks, days, hours to just be able to hold my breathing baby in my arms. When I say, “For this child I prayed”, I really mean it. I knew I wanted to be a mom and for my children I have done more than I ever thought I could. I have never known fear as much as I did being pregnant. They are so strong for fighting and making it through to 39 weeks and 37 weeks. My body failed me and I am the happiest most grateful mom.
I want to speak about this disorder to help others like myself who feel alone and are unsure of what to expect or do during this time. This disorder caused me a lot of anxiety, which I felt was worse than the itching. It was very draining and emotional.
For information on Cholestasis visit icpcare.org or ICPcare on Instagram.
“Fight the itch. Save a life” Our babies are “worth every itch”.
Thank you for reading, Love
Full Time Mom Love
Ian 2018 & Adrian 2016