You know what is ironic?
Being released from the hospital where you have been informed that the absolute LATEST your baby will be allowed to arrive is 7 weeks from now at 36 weeks gestation and coming home to a letter from your insurance company telling you that it is IMPERATIVE that you let your baby cook the full 40 weeks and giving a bullet pointed list of all of the horrible things that can happen to your baby if you voluntarily schedule delivery before then.
It’s very helpful to your emotional well-being, let me tell you.
Apparently I couldn’t just call it a day at kidney stones and have an uneventful third trimester. Instead I went to a regularly scheduled appointment hoping to get the go-ahead to take Benadryl for my itchy feet and got admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with Cholestasis of Pregnancy.
Something is wrong with my gallbladder and it is not draining bile from my liver like it’s supposed to. Instead, all that toxic goo is just spilling over into my bloodstream. And it makes me itchy. So very, very itchy. There are other symptoms. Some of which have to do with what color things are in the toilet department so I’ll just let you Google to your heart’s content in that area. It’s not really likely to be harmful to me, just really annoying and uncomfortable. The baby is another story. Still birth is a big risk with this condition because the toxins can pass to the baby. So we walk a fine line of keeping the baby in until it has time to mature enough to survive in the outside world and keeping it safe from the toxins in my blood.
So I am taking a medicine called Urso that will hopefully lower my bile acid numbers and I will be closely monitored twice a week to check the baby’s heart rate and stress level as well as my acid levels. If things stay low enough to be safe and the baby stays healthy, we will get to continue gestating for 7 more weeks and then induce labor (boo) to bring the baby 4 weeks early. If my numbers get too high or the baby goes into distress, we’ll have an even earlier baby.
In the meantime I try not to scratch too much and try not to worry too much and fail at both. I have bruised myself from clawing and I can barely function because the itching never goes away and is so distracting. I do ok if I can stick close to home and rotate ice packs on my itchy spots constantly. This also includes lots of sitting with my feet in ice cold water and wet towels wrapped around my legs. I attempted to go back to work today and only lasted a few hours before coming home to work from here where I could cover myself in ice packs. It looks like I might be working from home a bit longer, depending on if the Urso kicks in to lower my levels enough to help with the itching.
It’s been almost a week since that terrifying night in the hospital where the on-call Dr. told us she’d be happy to get 2 more weeks out of me. Thankfully my regular Dr. has a more positive outlook so far but the constant uncertainty of what could happen next and worrying that my own body is hurting my baby is difficult to deal with. We just try to stay positive and focus on the success stories of people we know who have been through this and came out the other end just fine with a healthy baby while trying to be mentally prepared for the other possible outcomes. If I have to be itchy for 7 more weeks, then so be it. But I’d rather have my medicine work on my acid levels AND my itchiness so that I’m not clawing at myself while I still get to cook this munchkin for 7 more weeks.