It was week 28 when I started itching. One night, I was so itchy I googled “intense itching during pregnancy”. First thing that popped up was “Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy”! After reading about it, I knew I had it. I remember telling family, I think I have this. I had an upcoming appointment, and I told my doctor. He said “we’re going to test you but try Calamine lotion & Zyrtec and let’s see if it helps for the meantime until the results come.” I remember saying “It’s not going to.” He did have me try Calamine Lotion & Zyrtec but he did request blood test for cholestasis also. It didn’t help.
It seemed like forever to get the results but I received them and I did end up having cholestasis of pregnancy. The itch was unbearable. I remember saying “I’d rather be in pain than this itchy!” I would leave scratch marks all over my body. I would bleed because of how bad the itch was after scratching.
I remember crying at night because no matter what I did, the itch wouldn’t go away. I would stay up all would night scratch keeping my husband up because of my scratching. He would even help me scratch my back.
I would have two appointments every week. One week it would be 1 appointment for the non-stress test (sometimes 2), one with the gastroenterologist, the next week it would be 1 appointment for the non-stress test again & 1 appointment for the perinatologist specialist. I knew I had to be induced by 37 weeks. But our plans were interrupted at 35 weeks, on December 21st while taking a nap my water leaked. It didn’t break completely. I went to the hospital and they confirmed that it had leaked. I delivered my first son on December 23rd, he stayed in the NICU until January 1st weighing 4 lbs. 14 oz.
With my second, I developed ICP at 30 weeks. I knew more about it this pregnancy and knew what to expect. I had another little boy but this time, at 37 weeks & 3 days. November 7th, 2019. He weighed 6 lbs. 5 oz. with no NICU time but we had to stay in the hospital another day due to his bilirubin. My boys are 2 years & 11 months apart. I’m so blessed they are still here and healthy.
I am so grateful for my Doctor and his Medical Assistant (Dr. Accetta & Priscilla, Bakersfield CA). I have read that some doctors do not know about ICP. My healthcare providers were aware of cholestasis and I know with their help, that’s why they arrived safely.
Being a first-time mom, it was difficult going through all of this, but I would pray & be comforted. Even though I knew the seriousness of having ICP, I knew I had to trust God. I know with parenting we are so quick to rely on our strength and guidance for our babies’ lives, but they are his kids before ours and I had to remember that. I pray for the ones that have lost babies. I also pray that ICP awareness is spread and talked about more because the more people know about it more lives will be saved. I was told itching was normal in pregnancy, but my momma instincts said different. Listen to your instinct’s mommas.
Through the itch, came miracles. Through the tears, came smiles.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10