Itching. Itching was part of my life from 30 weeks pregnant with my second child. It all began suddenly hands, feet, back, and eventually everywhere. At first I thought, "well my body is stretching in a lot of places, so this is normal right?". They always say one pregnancy is different from another. I had called my OB Gyn by this time and told them what I was experiencing. They told me it was probably nothing and to keep my scheduled next appointment with the midwives. I showed up to my appointment and everything had been measuring fine, movement was great, my only symptom was itching. I had looked up my symptoms prior to this appointment and found www.ICPCare.org, I didn't say anything about me looking into a diagnosis. The midwife did her normal visit and in the middle walked out and said she would be right back. She came back in and told me that she had discussed with a doctor about the possibility of Cholestasis. She said to not jump to conclusions until my lab work came back. The lab work took two weeks to come back and by then my urine seemed really dark, my stools were light, and my itching had gotten worse. My lab work came back and my bile salts were 89. They switched me over from seeing the midwives to the doctors since they said I am a high risk OB. They told me that I would need to come in weekly for biophysical profiles and non-stress tests. Along with going weekly, they put me on Ursodiol. My itching was not getting better and worse at night. Since I had been diagnosed with ICP, not one doctor had said anything to me about taking the baby at 37 weeks. With research and being apart of the ICP support facebook group, I knew that this was what needed to happen. At my OB Gyn doctors office you go through seeing each doctor incase that's the one you get for delivery. I had been asking the question at each weekly appointment about induction and I was getting scared because I was getting closer and closer to 37 weeks. Finally at 35 weeks, the doctor I saw immediately said, "well I see that at 30 weeks you were diagnosed with Cholestasis, we are going to have a baby at 37 weeks!". I was so relieved to hear this! I didn't have to ask or explain my worries or bring up what I had researched again. Huge relief and I could stop being so worried all the time. Of course, I was worried and praying that my baby boy would make it to 37 weeks. We scheduled the induction at 37 weeks. Induction went easier than I thought I would and he came into the world as a perfect, healthy baby boy weighing 5 lbs 14 oz.
In knowing now what Cholestasis is and how it can get overlooked my pregnant women who avoid symptoms or doctors not thinking that it could be it because it is so rare, I can't begin to stress to pregnant women how important it is to listen to your body and tell your doctor of any strange symptoms your having. I am certain that I had a slight case of Cholestasis with my first child. The symptoms started at 37 weeks and she was born at 39 weeks. I had no clue of ICP or what it was until my second child. I am so blessed that she was born healthy and everything was fine. My husband was such a great supporter through it all. Worth Every Itch.
Review from #MyGivingStory
Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) is a potentially fatal disorder to unborn babies, and yet it's entirely treatable. Despite the fact that the 15% increased chance of stillbirth can be completely reduced to normal with proper care this deadly disorder during pregnancy is still relatively unheard of and leaves questioning mothers and families isolated, even in a world of books and the internet full of information on nearly anything else. In this desert of help there is an oasis flowing with research, support, education, one on one guidance and international group connections. This beautiful oasis is the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization ICP Care. ICP Care is dedicated to saving every unborn baby from stillbirth to this treatable disorder. Run entirely by a handful of volunteers, including myself, there is help day and night on our Facebook support group for panicking families, depressed moms, moms who have been forced to become their own advocates over night. It is a life saving non-profit, in more ways than one.
After having two ICP pregnancies and realizing how much work still needs to be done it's an honor and a gift to now be able to pay it forward volunteering on behalf of ICP Care and spreading awareness daily. I've personally experienced the amazing strength ICP Care freely gives out to all the mothers and families suffering with this little known disorder. In my first pregnancy I was suffering from the classic symptom of ICP - intense, unexplained itching - but I allowed myself to ignore it. I never told my doctor and so when my body started shutting down and my sweet little baby stopped moving we couldn't understand what was happening, but we knew he was not going to live much longer. I was emergency induced at 36 weeks for "unknown distress". My second pregnancy was shortly after and again this intense itch came back, it was stronger this time. Strong enough to be impossible to ignore. The hospital suggested antihistamines but nothing helped. In a desperate search through pregnancy books and google I finally found ICP Care and everything, absolutely everything, finally made sense. Thanks to all of the information and support from ICP Care I was able to get the life saving medication needed during the pregnancy and my second son was very safely carried to 37 weeks when I was induced again; early delivery is the second piece of proper treatment. I know ICP Care saves lives because I have seen it first hand. I have experienced the love put into every single mother suffering. I've seen the knowledge shared with every single mother scared. I am now one of the volunteers working daily to provide the same love and support to other ICP moms!
Review from #MyGivingStory