ICP Care Team Member
I am a mother of three children under 5 years old who keep me busy.. My first pregnancy was seemingly free of complications and my son was born on his due date. However, looking back there were some symptoms that make me wonder if I did have ICP with him. 10 months after my son was born, I was pregnant with my daughter. The pregnancy progressed well but at about 30 weeks I started experiencing URQ pain and brought it up to my midwife at my 32 week check up. She said it could be normal or an indication of certain conditions, cholestasis being one of them. However, the midwife quickly ruled it out because I wasn’t itchy. I had never heard of ICP before so I Googled it and felt relief thinking I didn’t have this condition. Anything that can result in your baby going Into distress and a risk of stillbirth is concerning. A few days later, I started feeling itchy and my thoughts were initially all over the place: “am I feeling itchy because I was just reading about this?”, “Is the itchiness intense enough?”, “… but what if I do have it?”. I knew that I needed to request to be tested at my 34 week appointment. On the way to this appointment, I received a cancellation notice but called to ask to see another midwife. This midwife didn’t take my symptoms seriously but I talked to another one who did and gave me the requisition. In the experiences and stories I had read, there seemed to be a common theme of people needing to advocate for themselves and their baby and I determined that I was going to do that too. I got the blood work and a few days later received a phone call saying that yes, I did have ICP.
I was now 35 weeks and was told to go immediately to the hospital to meet with an OB there, I was given a non-stress test, prescribed ursodiol and had my bile /liver function tested again. I continued to do this every 3-4 days until 37 weeks when I was induced. My little girl was born 14 hours after the induction and 14 hours after she was born we were discharged. I am so grateful that my little girl was born healthy! She was actually due the week the Covid-19 pandemic was declared so I was grateful to give birth early, while things were still mostly normal.
In early 2022 I learned I was pregnant with my youngest child and was prepared to be diagnosed with ICP again and my OB monitored me throughout my pregnancy. My bile acid levels were in the normal range up until 33 weeks. I had already been going for regular MFM ultrasounds due to baby boy having a single kidney so at that point ICP just got added to the discussion. However, In 3 weeks my bile acid levels went from 9-84 while on 1500 mg of Urso a day for the past 19 days. My OB was on vacation so I went to Labour and Delivery to ask for a plan to be made (at that point I was expecting a 38 week induction). As my bile acid numbers were climbing quickly the decision was made to induce that day, at 36+2 weeks. It was a relief to have him in my arms. My hospital keeps babies under 37 weeks in for a standard 72 hours and we stayed one extra day for phototherapy due to jaundice.
Spreading awareness of ICP is something I feel is important because so many people (like I was) are unaware of this condition and because it is not a routine test, I feel that it is important that women, their partners and caregivers are aware of the signs and symptoms. I am excited to be a part of the ICP Care board to help further this mission.
Professionally, I have worked in family support for the past 12+ years, working in frontline positions and team lead/supervisory positions. I have a bachelor’s degree in Human Ecology, major in Family Studies, from the University of Alberta in Canada. I am looking forward to using my skills in supporting members of this group. Everyone’s experience with ICP is different and I feel that each person should feel validated and supported in their prenatal and postnatal experiences.