ICP Care Team Member
My passion for helping spread ICP awareness stems from my personal experience with ICP in both of my pregnancies (2017 & 2019). My journey with ICP began in 2017 while pregnant with my daughter. At the start of my 3rd trimester, I started getting itchy and by 32 weeks was experiencing severe itching. At this time, I had never heard of ICP, and had no clue that this itching was an indicator of something so serious. I asked friends about it and they told me itching was just part of pregnancy and that I was being very dramatic about how miserable it was. Luckily, I continued to look into it, and I learned about ICP when I found another itchy mom’s post in a pregnancy forum. Immediately, I started researching the condition, and the more I read, the more convinced I was that this was in fact what I was experiencing. At my 35-week appointment I finally told my doctor all of my symptoms and she offered me an Ursodiol prescription while waiting for my bile acid test results, due to the fact I had all the symptoms. My results came back positive, so I continued treatment and was closely monitored with NST tests and ultrasounds until successfully being induced at 37 weeks and delivering my healthy baby girl.
Going into my second pregnancy I assumed that getting the proper care and treatment would be just as easy the second go around, unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. My itching started much earlier, at the end of my 1st trimester. My bile acids were in the normal range and I had to fight for further testing. Even towards the end of my pregnancy my levels were considered to be normal, which caused my mental health to suffer. It’s so frustrating to have all the symptoms, but not have the numbers to show it. It made me feel like my doctors just thought I was crazy for feeling these symptoms, I still had to fight for further testing, and to get NSTs done. Finally, on my very last test my levels came back elevated, and I was diagnosable. I went into labor on my own and delivered my son at 36+6; unfortunately, he was rushed to the NICU for respiratory distress. He spent 12 days in the NICU, which means he was nearly 39 weeks before he could breathe on his own, which isn’t uncommon for ICP babies to have respiratory issues even at this late of a gestation. He was finally able to leave the NICU with a prescription of caffeine which was used as a stimulant to help him breathe, he had to continue this until 46-weeks gestation. Aside from this, he has been a very healthy baby.
I studied Economics and Accounting at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and the University of Alaska – Fairbanks, where I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in 2015. Along with my degree I have several years of experience in organizing and assisting in fundraising. I’m excited to have these skills to offer to such an amazing organization as this one. It’s because of this organization, and its social media platforms that I gained the knowledge I needed to advocate for my babies, and also the comfort of finding a community of supportive women that have gone through experiences very similar to my own. For this I’m so grateful, and I’m excited to work with this outstanding group of individuals on our mutual goal to spread awareness of ICP.