ICP Care Team Member
I am a very proud wife and mom of two beautiful boys. One son I hold in my arms and the other in my heart. My journey with Intrahepatic of Pregnancy (ICP) has been a complex and traumatic one, however the love I have for my sons have given me the passion to help all who are impacted by ICP.
I had my first experience with Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy when I was 30 years old and pregnant with my first son, Bennett. It started when I was 35 weeks pregnant with an insatiable itch on the palms of my hands and my feet and ankles that could not be helped with any amount of lotion or itching. The itch seemed to only come on in the evening before bed. I had an appointment with my OB a few days later and was told that itching can be very normal in pregnancy. I felt this wasn’t a ‘normal’ stretching itch and at my weekly fetal monitor, I inquired again. I am beyond thankful now for the monitoring I received in that pregnancy as it brought us safely our Bennett into the world. Comorbidly, I had Gestational Diabetes (GDM) that was diagnosed at 28 weeks, however was well-monitored and controlled with diet and a small amount of metformin. Several pricks a day and I felt like we were safe as my sugars stayed controlled. It was during that fetal monitoring that the doctor noted my question about the itching (it was not recorded as an inquiry the first time I reported it) and I was sent for ‘tests’, still unaware of what it could be. To this day my bloodwork indicating I had ICP sits in my chart, never disclosed to me what the diagnosis was. No response to my ICP was made even though my LFTs were abnormal. I was induced a week later due to Bennett being a chunky little dude. He was born via emergency c-section after 42 hours of labour in January 2015 at 38 weeks of gestation weighing 9 lbs 4 ounces. No wonder he got stuck in my pelvis! Bennett is now a beautiful healthy boy who loves everything Hockey (can you guess we are Canadian?), Geography, Hot Wheels, and Math. I’m in awe of him and am so profoundly blessed to be his mom.
Five years later, after many years of heartbreak, 6 miscarriages, and a diagnosed Pituitary Macroadenoma (tumour), we had our next little miracle on the way. And if that wasn’t perfect enough, he was due on his brother’s birthday! Six years apart. January 2021; in the middle of the Covid 19 pandemic. With my second son, I had all the same conditions, just more severe this time around and Hyperemesis Gravidarum right from 5 weeks till 22 weeks. I look back at this now and wish I had known more about ICP; wish that I had known I had ICP in my first full-term pregnancy. That Cholestasis of Pregnancy can start early and can be associated with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. I wish I had known that the fetal monitoring we received in Bennett`s pregnancy saved his life. Our Beau was so healthy, so big, so full of life. The feistiest of spirits. Beau`s little heart gave out moments before our scheduled delivery. When I say moments, I mean he was kicking at his brother’s cheek minutes before we left for the hospital; about 45 minutes later we could hear a fading heartbeat on a Doppler as c-section prep commenced. A delivery at 36-37 weeks and I would be holding my little boy now. Beau was 37 weeks, 4 days. Oh, how I wish I screamed for my son! That more was commonly known about ICP. My BA results were reported to me as 61 (in reality, 61 was what my BA WERE 11 days before); I had severe ICP for the last 11 days with little to no intervention. Beau had aspirated meconium, another common associated risk factor with ICP. Our beautiful little miracle we held physically for such a short time. He had beautiful little rolls, `football shoulders`, shimmery copper hair, and the sweetest face and smell. We wish we could hold our Beau forever. Watch him grow. Hear his sweet little voice and see the expressions of his face. Watch him live his life with his brother. Our wishes will never come true and our hearts will forever long for our little boy.
I wish we were informed about this condition, that we had found ICP Care before Beau died; but I didn’t. This is my passion and mission in life now, that no other family endures what we have due to Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy. We have made significant gains in our Obstetrical Health Care here, in response to Beau’s death, in regards to ICP and management of high-risk pregnancy, including changing lab standards and developing an algorithm for medical management of ICP. We are working on educating medical professionals and creating more educational materials for professionals and parents. I am a medical professional myself, with a Masters in Occupational Therapy and over 13 years of Pediatric experience. Educating and supporting others has been a passion of mine throughout life, so this role seems fitting for me. Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy will be a commonly known condition, we will make sure of that. Our Beau, along with the work ICP Care has done and continues to do, will be saving babies` lives. I have become an ICP Ambassador for this reason. This work is a labour of love and a small way I can parent my little man.