June is Cholestasis (ICP-intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy) Awareness Month and I wanted to share my story in hopes of helping a pregnant mama who may experience these symptoms; if you are itching, inform your doctor and ask them to test your blood!
My story is actually kind of cool in some ways, I can see God’s hand on my life, Scarlett’s little life, and even Trevor’s life as God started to prepare us for my diagnosis and for getting induced with our first child at 37 weeks.
Let me back up, I have ALWAYS heard of first time moms having their babies LATE. Most of my friends had their babies over a week late and so I knew I should expect to be pregnant and uncomfortable longer than the due date that they give you. We kept our pregnancy between Trevor and me, and just a few people, secret until I was 14 weeks. I turned to online forums like “What to expect when you’re expecting” to try and read up on what was normal and what other women were experiencing at the same time as me, but as I began to read I actually found a lot of stories of women having their babies early. I even mentioned to Trevor that we should be prepared for Scarlett to potentially come earlier than we thought. Most things I read talked about how when complications occurred often times they would be induced at 37 weeks.
I read all about random complications and remember reading about cholestasis at that time.
I was about 32 weeks pregnant with Scarlett, our first baby. Pregnancy the first time around is a mystery. You’ve never experienced any of these symptoms before, you don’t know how your body is going to respond to housing and caring for a baby. You are so unaware of whats normal and what’s a warning sign, so what does a first time pregnant mama do when she starts having ANY symptom? Google it of course! As much as the internet can be scary when you try and figure out what’s going on with your health, there really is good information out there. As I googled symptoms of itchiness I started finding stories of Cholestasis and remembered what I had read earlier about it.
You guys, when I say itchy I don’t mean just kind of bothersome, I was SOOOO itchy, the itch happened for me mostly in the early evenings or at night when I was trying to sleep. My hands and feet itched the most but I remember scratching so much with out even thinking about it, and Trevor telling me I needed to stop. I bought Cortizone cream and that didn’t help at all! Since I had read about Cholestasis I decided I should mention it to my midwives at my 33 week appointment.
I was working with four midwives and would rotate visits with them so I could meet each of them. The way it works with this team is that whoever is on call when I had my baby would be my midwife, so they wanted you to be familiar with each of them. I had my appointment and Trevor had to work so he wasn’t there this time around; he usually was at all my appointments. I am not a big complainer and again, as a first time Pregnant mama, I didn’t know what was normal or abnormal so I mentioned to my midwife that I had been really itchy. She asked me where I was itchy and I told her mostly my hands and feet. She told me to drink more water and shrugged it off. I honestly just thought, okay, I guess I don’t have it and that’s just normal….
My next appointment was supposed to be two weeks from then but we ended up making it three weeks later. At my 36 week appointment I had a different midwife and told her about my itchiness. She instantly stopped and said, “how itchy have you been?”, and Trevor spoke up for me and said REALLY ITCHY, she immediately told me they were gonna do some blood work.
My appointment fell on a Tuesday. Wednesday passed and I heard nothing so I figured I must be fine. By Thursday I got a phone call from them telling me to come in for a non-stress test, an ultrasound, and more blood work. I was two days away from my 37th week of pregnancy and I was diagnosed with Cholestasis of pregnancy, and was told they were gonna induce on Saturday.
My 48 hour induction and Scarlett’s birth story are a whole ‘nother story for a different time, but I was totally calm and just kind of knew she was going to come early, which I think was totally God preparing us. We had everything we needed and had two days to get anything else figured out. Trevor was happy he didn’t have to drive me to the hospital while I was in labor and even though it was a long induction I am thankful my midwives let my body take its time. Most importantly a healthy mama and baby came out on the other side!