I am a Mom of four amazing boys and currently pregnant with baby #5 due in November 2018. I had three completely normal pregnancies with my first three boys arriving at 38.5, 39, and 40 weeks respectively. Unfortunately, my fourth pregnancy was anything but normal.
At my 20-week ultrasound doctors found an abnormality with one of my son’s lungs. It was a mass, called a CPAM, taking up the space where the lower half of his left lung should have been. This meant my care would be taken over by MFMs instead of the midwives I had been seeing. I had ultrasounds twice a week to keep an eye on the mass and my son, and at one point we thought Noah may need fetal surgery to avoid fetal heart failure. Thankfully we were able to avoid that, but it still wasn’t an easy pregnancy. We had a plan to induce me at 39 weeks in a completely different state with doctors who specialized in my son’s condition and would be able to perform surgery at birth if needed (another thing we were lucky to avoid until he was six weeks old).
That plan changed when I began to itch on my feet around 30 weeks. I didn’t think much of it, but had made a post on Facebook about it. That’s when a friend urged me to look into ICP. I went and looked it up, and despite thinking “there can’t be more happening during this pregnancy” I called and spoke with one of the MFM nurses. She immediately said that she was going to talk to the on-call doctor, but they would likely be putting orders in for blood work to test my liver function as well as bile acids. I was lucky to be with knowledgeable doctors who didn’t just brush off my symptoms. After 6.5 weeks of testing, my bile acids finally became elevated enough for a diagnosis at 36+5 weeks. I was given a prescription for Urso and we planned induction for 37+2. Noah needed a week in the NICU for breathing problems and jaundice, but we knew that was a likely scenario for him.
It was during those 6.5 weeks of testing that I needed a distraction from my son’s lung mass and threw myself into researching everything I could about ICP. I found the ICP Care website and the Itchy Moms Facebook group and they were an amazing resource for me during that time. When not, all providers are knowledgeable about this disorder it can be difficult to know how or what to advocate for. I am so happy that I have a chance to offer guidance and support to other itchy mamas during a time that can be stressful and confusing.