Michelle Stephen

Postnatal Facebook Moderator

Michelle- Team Volunteers Page

I am 32 years old, born and raised in Mexico, currently living in the USA. I am a first-time mom of a precious baby boy. Since the beginning of my pregnancy I had a couple scary moments. I was diagnosed with a subchorionic hematoma that luckily dissolved; but it could have ended in miscarriage. When I was around 20 weeks pregnant in December 2016, I started feeling itchy almost all over my body. I was lucky to have an OBGYN who knew about Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP)! I got my blood work done, and I was diagnosed a week after. She decided to have my blood tested even though I was not itching on my palms nor soles. I was also seen by a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist. She recommended my OBGYN for me to get Non-Stress Tests twice a week after week 32.

This journey was not easy at all. Having ICP is really worrying as it can end with stillbirth. Also, the fact that I was in a country where I did not have health insurance made all of this harder. I went almost three weeks without medication after having been diagnosed due to insurance issues.

During the rest of my pregnancy I found a lot of support on the ICP Care Facebook group. It is always good to find people who are there for you to solve your doubts and listen to you. Especially to me it was a life saver, as all my family and friends live in another country.
My bile acid levels went down with the Urso medication; and even though I was still itchy, I just tried to focus on being positive and staying strong for my baby. At 33w5d I went into spontaneous labor and gave birth to my baby boy, just a day after my fourth NST. We spent 9 days with him in the NICU, and it has definitely been one of the hardest moments my husband and I have gone through.

After all this happened, I decided to spend some of my time helping people feel better about ICP, and to solve their doubts. I felt like I needed to give back, as an ICP Care volunteer for the Español support group and now the Postnatal support group. Also, I am an administrator in two other Facebook groups, one for moms of preemie babies, and another one for our neighborhood. It feels good to give back to the world, and I consider myself lucky to be a part of the ICP Care Team volunteers and ICP community.