Monday, 6 July 2015

the killer itch

At around 33 weeks pregnant, my arms started to get incredibly itchy. The itch was under the skin and my arms felt like they were burning, but yet they were not red and there was no rash. Calamine lotion did nothing to help, the only relief was from a cold, wet towel draped over them.
I mentioned the itching to the doctor at my antenatal appointment but he dismissed it as being nothing more than my skin stretching.

A few days later (Saturday), with the itching still intense and stopping me from sleeping, I went to the Women's Assessment Unit to get some answers. I knew a little bit about a condition called Cholestasis of pregnancy and believed this is what I had. Typically, the itching occurs on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet but can be anywhere on the body and it gets worse at night.

They put the baby on the monitors to check his movements and I had a blood test, although they said the results wouldn't be accurate as I hadn't fasted. On May 7th I went back for more monitoring and tests, then again on May 12th where I was finally diagnosed with ICP and started on medication. Back on the 15th for more monitoring and tests (this would happen every Tuesday and Friday for the rest of the pregnancy). If my levels were improving with the medication and his movements were all good then they would keep him in as long as possible, otherwise they would induce me at 37 weeks.
6 days after being diagnosed, I went into labour.

Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy occurs in 1 out of 200 women and 1 out of those 200 pregnancies end in stillbirth. It is a serious condition that unfortunately many doctors are not aware of. Luckily I trusted my instincts and went and got a second opinion, otherwise Z may not be alive today.

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