ICP Care Team Member
My name is Kathleen Adkisson. I am a Virginia Ambassador for ICP Care. My journey began as I began experiencing symptoms of itching on my belly during my second trimester of my first pregnancy. When I complained of how uncomfortable I was, many people attributed my discomfort to stretch marks, and “normal” pregnancy bodily changes. Being that this was my first pregnancy, I assumed this was just par for the course. When the itching progressively got worse and spread to the tops of my feet, shins, and lower arms, I began advocating for myself as I knew this could not be “normal”. Upon speaking to my OB, she said there was a “rare” condition involving your liver that they could do bloodwork for to see if that would explain the itching. Although she felt doubtful, as it was fairly early on in my pregnancy, I pleaded to test for anything that would explain my debilitating symptoms. One week later, my bile acid liver test came back higher than normal, which indicated that I indeed had ICP. From that moment forward, beginning at 26 weeks, I was monitored closely with regular blood tests and sonograms to track my baby closely. I was given Urdisol to help with my itching, and thankfully my symptoms began to subside.
Once confirmed with ICP and learning the possible outcomes of the condition, I was extremely fearful, and felt alone not knowing what was ahead of me. I decided to do some independent research online to educate myself, and it was there I came across ICP Care. Upon joining the online community, I soon became in contact with many women who shared their journeys with me. They provided me with guidance to help me navigate the process, and it was through their stories that helped me make decisions to successfully know how to manage my ICP journey. I was induced at 37 weeks, and after my son was born, we spent a few extra days in the hospital for him to undergo bilirubin treatment in the pediatric nursery. For the first month of his life, we continued to monitor his levels, but it was quickly managed and I now have a very strong, healthy boy!
My goals as an ICP Care Ambassador are to raise awareness of what Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy is, and to be a support to others through their journeys like many women were for me. I was very blessed to have supportive doctors who listened to my concerns, but I have learned this is not always the case. I want to change this narrative, help educate medical professionals, and encourage women to advocate for themselves during their pregnancy so that they can get the help they need.