Pregnancy had always been a dream of mine. No one in my family ever had any complications and they all really enjoyed being pregnant. I naively expected the same thing. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 10 weeks. I was devastated, but I got pregnant again fairly quickly. I was very grateful to be pregnant, but terribly unprepared for the challenges that came with it. My early pregnancy was accompanied by extreme morning sickness (I suspect HG), which came and went in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters as well. There was one night when I was 28 weeks pregnant that my feet began to itch terribly bad. It was very intense that there was no way I could fall asleep. I’m a bit of a pregnancy/labor/birth fanatic, and read dozens of books about pregnancy. Not one of them mentioned itchy feet. I knew PUPPS was a thing, but I knew this was different.
My next step was turning to Dr. Google. I distinctly remember sitting in my recliner at 4am, googling “itchy feet during pregnancy.” The first page it took me to was ICPcare.org. I think I read the entire website that morning. And I was convinced I had Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy. I was also overwhelmed with fear for my baby girl’s life. I called my Dr’s office as soon as they opened that morning and asked for the blood tests for ICP. Luckily, my Dr. knew enough about this condition to know how to help me and to take me seriously. My bile acids and liver function tests all came back at high levels, enough to diagnose me. I was put on the medication to treat it called Ursodiol, and an induction was planned for 37 weeks.
A big part of my pregnancy dream was to have a completely natural labor and delivery. I had to adjust this expectation, but I was still determined to try for an unmedicated birth. Unfortunately, my body had different plans. My baby girl was born on December 14, 2016 via C-section, after a 48-hour failed induction. While I didn’t get the birth I had hoped for, I am thankful I got the most beautiful and healthy baby girl “My Little Itch”. It was such a relief to have her out and, in my arms, where I didn’t have to constantly worry for her life.
One month after she was born, I decided to start my baby and kids Etsy shop with approval to use the name by ICP Care 501c3 nonprofit charity- “My Little Itch.” As a stay at home mom, I felt like I needed a separate creative outlet for my own emotional health. But I needed it to be meaningful. I joined the ICP Care Facebook support group during my pregnancy and read many stories about how misinformed healthcare providers can be about ICP, and how many women have to advocate and fight for their baby’s life. I knew I needed to use my shop to help raise awareness of ICP. From the shop’s name, to informational inserts sent out with each order, and shared stories of itchy moms on our Instagram during June ICP Awareness month. I did everything I could to incorporate awareness into my shop. In addition 10% of all proceeds are donated to ICP Care to assist their efforts to educate healthcare professionals around the world as well as to support the research of ICP. While my shop has provided me with a wonderful creative outlet, my biggest hope is that I’ve helped in some way to save the lives of ICP babies.
Annie Edwards, Utah